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The main challenge is keeping the developed world committed to Afghanistan, especially to the women and children, so that the progress that has been made in the country, especially in women's attainment of human rights, isn't wiped out by conservative forces. The progress is real and significant, especially in terms of the obstacles that have to be overcome. It proves that the Afghan people are behind that progress….

 

It’s hard to imagine that any settlement would not allow some position for the Assad government in a transitional stage that is kind of a minimum condition under which they would even participate. But it is very hard to see if the rebels can even find representation that would appear in Geneva if they want to. It is a very shaky possibility, but it is actually the only one that I can see that has any hope of saving Syria from a plunge to even worse catastrophe than today……

The big temples that were politically irrelevant were never harmed. Those that were politically relevant — patronised by an enemy king or a formerly loyal king who becomes a rebel — only those temples are wiped out. Because in the territory that is annexed to the State, all the property is considered to be under the protection of the State. The total number of temples that were destroyed across those six centuries was 80, not many thousands as is sometimes conjectured by various people…….

Yasmine Hamdan: 'I Am a Nomad'
Yasmine Hamdan
Yasmine Hamdan: 'I Am a Nomad'
Juliane Metzker

I don't think music that is based on geographical borders is something that needs to be understood. It needs to be felt. The fact that you are Arab doesn't mean you feel the music more than somebody who does not understand Arabic....

 

They said: “The bomb will be connected with a button, or something like the remote control of a TV. We will give you this kind of remote, and you will go to the place. “We will also give you a mobile, and we will ring that phone, and press the remote, and you will be blown up with this bomb.” They told me they would use such a large amount of explosives that no-one would even know if it was a man or a woman.....

13-year-old girl Meena says her own family tried to turn her into a suicide bomber. She told her story to BBC’s Pakistan correspondent Orla Guerin.

 

Traditional Islamic organizations get millions and millions dollars from Saudi Arabia, Iran and even our Western governments to spread their 6th century medieval ideology, gender inequality, armed jihad and so on. We don’t have a penny to counter these issues, but still we are contributing as much as possible, which is the need of our times. No business entrepreneur, no government looks at us. Politicians, media and policy makers run after traditional Islamic organizations....

Likes of Prem Ji Should Represent Muslims: Ali Asani
Ali Asani, professor of Harvard University
Likes of Prem Ji Should Represent Muslims: Ali Asani
Kanchan Srivastava

But 1980 onwards, a new Jihad came up after Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. To get rid of communism, US along with Saudi Arabia created, trained and established Jihadis spending billions of dollars. Thereafter, Jihad became a complex issue exploited by fundamentalists. In the US, there are several de-radicalisation programmes for religious scholars where they’re given other views....

 

Securing data is extremely difficult in FATA because of the secretive US program, the lawless and remote nature of the area, and the active control and suppression of accurate testimony by local actors including the Taliban, Al Qaeda linked groups and Pakistani security authorities. This issue is so politicised that it is difficult to take claims on face value. That’s why our research is based on extensive, discreet research from multiple eyewitnesses interviewed on three separate occasions by separate investigators who have worked with us in the past – not just on drones, but abuses by the Taliban and others, abuses against women and so on…..

 
Americans ‘Have Made Up a New Islam’
Nadezhda Kevorkova
Americans ‘Have Made Up a New Islam’
Nadezhda Kevorkova

…the Chechens couldn’t have acted independently, not obeying their leaders. Otherwise they will lose their arms corridor. Turkey keeps these groups under control, looking as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth. It happened a few times, including the incident with chemical weapons. How come there was sarin, the one that was found in the homes of the militants from Jabhat al-Nusra? It was real sarin….

 
'LeT Squad for 26/11 Was 31-Strong - But Many Recruits Ran Away'
Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark
'LeT Squad for 26/11 Was 31-Strong - But Many Recruits Ran Away'
Srijana Mitra Das

The British, French, German and US government were all debating LeT. Almost everything was known about what might happen, barring the date itself, making this the most visible invisible attack, the most imagined unimaginable assault, ever planned. When the smoke finally parted, what was left behind was the Ram Pradhan commission that could only draw together 64 pages on India's 9/11. When we read it, we knew we were right to commit to the story.....

 

“CLOSE THE JIHAD FACTORY, STOP PRODUCING AND HARBOURING JIHADIS AND CRIMINALS”

It was the Lashkar-e-Taiba which founded the tradition of severing the heads of Indian soldiers. In 1995, LeT commander Haibat Khan brought the severed head of an Indian soldier and it was put on display at the annual congregation of the Jamatud Dawah in Murideke. Mujallah Al-Dawa published the story in its December 1995 issue. Ilyas Kashmiri has spun out of the military control but the LeT/JuD has yet to spin out of their control. This is bound to happen, sooner or later. The day LeT spins out of their control, it would be the end of Pakistan as we know it…

 

Related Article:

Sufi Militants Struggle with Deobandi Jihadists in Pakistan

When you go to a Catholic church in Sindh, in my hometown Larkana, there are no pews. They sit on the ground with their legs crossed, in a yogic position. And they don’t have candles, but Diyas. And they put rose petals on the picture of the Virgin Mary. We come from a region where we mix all these ideas and have done so for centuries beautifully. Again in Sindh, we have Jhule Lal, who Hindus and Muslims worship together....

 

We lived together in peace. A majority of the people comes from a Sufi background. We are Sufi descendants. My own grandfather was a student of one of the greatest Sufi masters in the Sudan. We are part of the Quadiri order of Sufi. So we are peaceable. Overall, the Sudanese are very humble people. Sudan has the Nile, which has the sweetest water in the world, and 23 rivers and resources like gold and oil. But today the Sudanese are ruled by this: one man, one idea, one plan….

 

The story of Pakistan’s doublespeak is as old as the history of that country. Just look at Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Not in any way a practising Muslim, he used to drink alcohol, eat pork, smoke 50 cigarettes a day, and dress like a English gentleman. Yet, it was he who created Pakistan in the name of Islam....

My concern has always been how to make sure that Pakistanis are part of the 21st century and not living in some dream world of the 7th or 8th century. Pakistan's raison d'etre shouldn't be some abstract ideology; it should be the prosperity of our people. I'm also here because I'm working at a think tank in Washington DC called the Hudson Institute which has an initiative called 'India, its neighbours and globalisation'. Is this region the outlier in globalisation? Are our problems catching up and holding us back? Are we spending too much energy on our little quarrels? ....

People who say such things can be forgiven. There is extreme hopelessness in our country and people are even disappointed with politicians. The important thing to note is that it is not important whether Malala was shot or not -- Malala is not asking for personal favors or support. She is asking for support with girls' education and women's rights. So don't support Malala, support her campaign for girls' education and women's rights…..

 

The enormity of conflict in Balochistan has had always been downplayed – and branded as a normal crisis of governance, tribalism and issues of local competition. But we have to understand – that bad governance, tribalism and societal crisis that includes criminalization and Talibanisation are instruments of Islamabad’s larger policy to maintain colonial control.

 

It's always good when Israelis and Palestinians sit down across from each other and negotiate together. When a third party is there, an American, or the UN, or whoever else, then nothing good comes of it – because every third party has its own interests and keeps them in consideration. Unfortunately, there's now no alternative. If the Americans aren't involved, then nothing at all happens….

I have a Muslim for nineteen years. Growing up, I did not know anything about Islam. Nothing about Prophet Muhammad; so, once I came to know was when I read some books about Prophet Muhammad. Then I realized the continuance of all the religions that have come before. I think it was actually very easy to accept Islam....

Sectarianism, Sectarian Conflict and Inter-Sectarian Dialogue Among Muslims
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Sectarianism, Sectarian Conflict and Inter-Sectarian Dialogue Among Muslims
Question and Answer Session with Maulana

According to a Hadith report, Muslims will be divided into seventy-three sects, and only one sect will remain on the right path. However, no sect has the right to claim that it is on the right path or that it is what is called the firqah-e-najiyah—the sect that will receive salvation. Those who have differences with other sects have only one right—that is, of peaceful persuasion. If persuasion does not work, then they can do Dua or supplication to God. That is all.....

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Madrasa Education and the Ulema
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Madrasa Education and the Ulema
A Question and Answer Session with Maulana

Unlike some others, I am not critical of or opposed to the madrasas as such. Muslims need both types of education—religious as well as secular. Muslim children should have knowledge of both their religion as well as secular subjects. There is, of course, no need for all Muslim children to go to full-time madrasas to train to become Ulema. However, some children must do so in order that the tradition of religious learning can be carried on. We need madrasa-trained Ulema who have knowledge of the Quran, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and Arabic. As far as the question of madrasa ‘reforms’ is concerned, I really don’t believe in this talk of ‘modernisation’. You certainly cannot ‘modernise’ the Quran and the Hadith. So, I think the word ‘modernisation’ in this context is uncalled for….

I regularly teach American officers in various summer schools, and seven years ago they started telling me, ‘Professor, I’ve served in Afghanistan for a year and the people who were shooting at me were coming from Pakistan. They are our ally. Why are they doing this?’ I would tell them that Pakistan is playing a double game. And that began a slow shift in American opinion about Pakistan. Ironically some Republicans are more anti-Pakistani than the Democrats. It used to be the other way around....

 
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Violent Conflicts in the ‘Muslim World’
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Violent Conflicts in the ‘Muslim World’
A Question and Answer Session with Maulana

…violence is condemnable in the absolute sense of the word. I don’t believe in the theory of ‘justified violence’. According to Islamic teachings, there is no justified violence. All cases of violence are wrong. No excuse whatsoever gives a person the license to kill other human beings. According to me, the only option before us is that of peace. War and violence are no options at all….

That exists especially for people who haven't moved from Bangladesh. For them, it is constant speculation. For me, the third construct was curiosity. When I was in Dhaka, they kept asking me, "Do you eat meat in India?", "How much does Shah Rukh Khan charge for his films?" or "When do they fly kites in your country?" …

 

When these Afghanistan alumni returned, they brought home Salafist jihadist ideology and Wahhabi religious practice. It created a stir among the DI members at home because they were essentially traditionalist Muslims in the Indonesian sense — they also believed in mysticism….

 
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