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Interview

A Spy’s Life: An Interview With A Senior Yemeni Spy
Ahmed Bin Mo’aili
A Spy’s Life: An Interview With A Senior Yemeni Spy
Muaad Al-Maqtari

He had different duties in different countries, which required him to travel in several Arab countries. Because of this, Bin Mo’aili acquired tens of wives over the years. Bin Mo’aili worked for 23 years in Saudi intelligence and then for ten years in Yemeni-Iraqi cooperative intelligence. But now, things have changed. Currently, he is facing problems with Yemeni intelligence operations, known as the Political Security Organization (PSO), because they separated him from his 31 children who live all around the Arab countries he has worked in and who are awaiting his return.

 
Socialists and Writers
A.G. Noorani
Socialists and Writers
By A.G. Noorani

Now there is a Persian saying: “Ai Roshnu-Tuba to Burman Bala Shudi” – Perhaps it is an illumination of my mind which became a disaster for me. That is to say, it was because we worked hard and enrolled new members, organised socialist forums and, of course, we had a policy, which was not opposed to the socialists, [that we became suspects in the eyes of the socialists]. In our view [this] should [have been] the policy which all socialists and communists in India should [have followed]....

 
Taking Tea with Afghanistan’s Most Fearsome Warlord
General Abdul Rashid Dostum
Taking Tea with Afghanistan’s Most Fearsome Warlord
By Magsie Hamilton

At six feet tall, he towers a good seven inches above me. I feel my legs wobble – his reputation is nearly as fearsome as his bushy moustache. He is General Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s most powerful warlord, head of the Uzbek tribe, unofficial ruler of the north, and, as the government’s chief of staff, commander of an army of over 25,000 men....

 

When Manji is asked to elaborate on what she means by being free-thinking and Muslim, she gives the Quran as an example saying it contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to thank, analyze, reflect and re-think, than verses that tell them only what is right or only what is wrong. Manji clarifies that this means that there are three times as many passages encouraging Ijtihad than blind submission. In that sense, she adds, progressive Muslims are at least as authentic as the mainstream – and quite possibly more constructive….

Home and the World
Musharraf Ali Farooqui
Home and the World
M A Farooqui in an interview with A M Hashmi

This is more of a challenge with rhymed poetry. If rhymes are involved, much of the poem is lost in translation, only an impression is conveyed. But I have translated the prose poems of Afzal Ahmed Syed, whose work I really admire and whom I consider Urdu's greatest contemporary poet, and they have been very well received. In translations of classical prose such as Dastan-e Amir Hamza I think that about 90% of the original can be communicated effectively if one has control over one's medium....

 
9/11 Was a Turning Point for the American Muslim Community
Zahra Billoo
9/11 Was a Turning Point for the American Muslim Community
Zahra Billoo in an interview with Angelo Lopez

9/11 was a turning point for the American Muslim community, one that really shook many into civic engagement. People started to realize that they needed to do education around who they were and what they believed, very quickly. Many began to host open house events both in their own homes and mosques, to open their doors and answer any questions their fellow Americans may have. Additionally, American Muslims are looking inward to ensure there are no violent elements within the community and that people are not misinterpreting the faith....

New Khaki Tactic: Ousting PM Instead of Parliament
Ayesha Siddiqa
New Khaki Tactic: Ousting PM Instead of Parliament
Ayesha Siddiqa in an interview with Adnan Farooq

This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court's comparative behaviour. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government's ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated....

There is a central role for imams in countering extremism. Hopes are pinned on these scholars to enlighten society, by embodying the teachings of tolerant Islamic Sharia and disseminating the Prophet's guidance in its bright image, not that of extremist groups. As far as jihad is concerned, it is the peak of Islam and the harshest test to win paradise. Its worth was proven by the Prophet (PBUH). God Almighty has called for it... jihad is a form of worship. ...

Do Islamic Business Ethics Exist?
Dr. Tariq Ramadan
Do Islamic Business Ethics Exist?
Dr. Tariq Ramadan

With a host of chief executives and CEOs paying themselves record amounts, does Islam have anything to say about how much people should be paid? … we hear Muslim scholars, intellectuals and businessmen being involved in the world of business, training, management, finance and economy. They are talking about Islamic economy, Islamic finance, Islamic business and ethical business as well. So what is really what we call Islamic ethics in business or in finance, or Islamic finance or Islamic business? ...

I criticise Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word "imam". One of my earlier songs was about the twelfth Shia imam who is supposed to come back and redeem the world. So my new song is, in a way, a continuation of the other one; the narrator is disappointed in the twelfth imam so he asks the tenth imam to save society.

Faith Travels, Cultures Don't In The Weekly TV Program Islam and Life
Sarah Joseph
Faith Travels, Cultures Don't In The Weekly TV Program Islam and Life
Dr. Tariq Ramadan: An Interview With Sister Sarah

Sarah Joseph: Faith travels, cultures don’t! There has to be in Islam as a principle of'Urf (local custom). I mean we see in the travel of the famous jurist Al-Shafei from Baghdad to Cairo how he changed his fiqh, about 80% of his fiqh, because he took on board local customs...

 

 

In William S Burroughs Vs The Qur'an Knight details how his search for his place in Islam inevitably led him to an earlier generation of white Western converts to Islam. In particular he tells of his attempt at writing the definitive biography of his Anarcho-Sufi hero and mentor Peter Lamborn Wilson, also known as Hakim Bey…

 

 
Tariq Ali is Still Searching for Socialism with a Human Face
Tariq Ali is a Marxist, writer, journalist, filmmaker and political campaigner
Tariq Ali is Still Searching for Socialism with a Human Face
Tariq Ali in an interview with Bharat Bhushan

"The army isn’t done with politics. It sees itself as the only force organised and disciplined enough to run the country. But every time it has, it has left a big mess." "The country has gone from bad to worse. It’s staggering how shameless Zardari is. You can’t read regret on his face. He’ll keep going for as long as the US allows him."   ….

Tunisian Ruling Islamist Leader: We Fought for Freedom, not Sharia Law
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of center-right Islamist party (Ennahda)
Tunisian Ruling Islamist Leader: We Fought for Freedom, not Sharia Law
Rached Ghannouchi in an interview with Al-Asaad Be

The Salafis are part of this scene of confusion in the country. But at the end of the day, the turbulent areas in Tunisia are few. The most vocal elements on the political scene are the Salafi youths and their opposite numbers in the secularist camp. Our programme did not call for the implementation of Sharia law. We did this on purpose -- not because we don't believe in Sharia, since, like all Islamists, we believe in the whole of Islam…

No, there is no contradiction.  I think we should give equal consideration to the similar interests of all beings, whether they are human or nonhuman animals.  So yes, the life of a normal healthy human being is at least as valuable as that of a nonhuman animal.  In fact I think it is normally more valuable, because of the particular interest that a normal human has in the future – humans make plans for the future and hope to achieve things in the future, in ways that nonhuman animals cannot. …

 
Michael Muhammad Knight : Religious Laws Can Change
Michael Muhammad Knight is cultural provocateur among American Muslims
Michael Muhammad Knight : Religious Laws Can Change
Michael Muhammad Knight in an interview with Richa

What is it that makes Islam more true than any other religion? Knight: That's like asking what makes English more true than any other language. The only thing that's more true about English for me is that I understand it. English is the language in which I think. That's how I feel about religion. I don't speak the language of Hinduism, but that doesn't mean I see it as less legitimate for those who speak it. …

Saudi Arabia, The Hidden Uprising
Syed Ali Wasif in an interview with Press T V

Saudi sheikhs, self-appointed defenders of God and guardians of the prophet, convened and discussed the burning issue. After a “profound discussion” they decided that the journalist’s tweets were words of “heresy” and that he must be tried according to the laws of Islam practiced in the kingdom. In such cases, as we know, the accused can expect the death penalty. …

Muslims need a theology of pluralism and inclusion, not a theology of exclusion and confrontation

Muslims in the United States need to develop an American Muslim sensibility, but mosques have been a hindrance in the process, says Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). The organisation works with American Muslims and represents their interests to decision-makers in government agencies, media outlets, interfaith circles and Hollywood studios. In an interview with Saif Shahin of NewAgeIslam.com, Al-Marayati says Muslims in the country and worldwide need “a theology of pluralism and inclusion, not a theology of exclusion and confrontation”. Edited excerpts:

Photo: Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

This split is the project of the West, the American project which was already probed in Iraq and other places. As a closest ally and satellite of the United States, Saudi Arabia is actively investing in the second civil war in the Islamic world. The consolidation of all countries of the Arabian peninsula from Saudi Arabia to Qatar proceeds actively. But today, they failed to set them all under the Saudi banner. Salaphites do not constitute the majority in the Islamic world but there are other political forces which view the Saudi Arabia as a refuge of the dark forces. Israel and the United States also show cautiousness, because from time to time, they get signs of Iranian unpredictability. -- Heydar Jemal, Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia in an interview with News.Az

 

Talking about the Salafis, even the word is difficult because the term Salafi has meant so many different things. The most basic meaning has to do with the early followers or companions of the Prophet. Then, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you had the great Islamic reformer Mohamed Abdu, whose movement was also called Salafi. Recently, the term has tended to be applied to people who are what I would call ultra-conservative, and it gets used at times interchangeably with Wahhabi. What surprised people in Egypt and outside was to see the kind of "quiet Salafis" turn into political players who have done well in the elections. In some areas they are not that different from the ikhwan, but in other areas they are quite different from them. -- John L. Esposito in an interview with Ezzat Ibrahim (Photo: John L. Esposito)

 

The German poet-philosopher Goethe believe that the central message of every great religion was of a universal nature. Applying his doctrine to Islam, I found that Islam fully answers the description. The Quran puts emphasis on man's relationship with God, and men's personal and social conduct, rather than on religious belongingness. To make explicit that there is no essential difference between various religions, the Quran declares the founders of all religions to be the messenger of God, “to every people we sent messenger” (10:47). -- Ziya Us Salam

 

In the ‘social contract’ philosophy of people like Locke and Rousseau the idea was that people are living in a constant fight of what Thomas Hobbs refers to as ‘everybody against everybody’, and the justification behind the formation of a state is to create law and order and security for the people. Locke went even beyond that; he said that the main aim, which you’ll find it in the Declaration of Independence, of a constitutional government is to protect the natural human rights of its citizens. The concept of sovereignty was developed in a very state-centred manner. It says that you are sovereign as long as you can effectively control your own territory and your people. If torture is systematically practiced by the police, by the military or by the intelligence, it is similar to the death penalty, in that it contributes towards the brutalisation of society and vice versa, of course. If society is very violent, I give you examples from my fact-finding missions, Nigeria for example, has very, very high levels of violent crime like robbery or Jamaica as another example, and Papua New Guinea where you have a lot of violence and organised crime in Jamaica with the trafficking of arms and drugs.-- Manfred Nowak, United Nations Former Special Rapporteur  in an interview with Wajahat Masood

 

Pakistan has recently experienced the enormous growth of anti-Americanism in public opinion. It was always present but it was submerged much of the time. The real problem is that the Pakistani military officers and political leaders are all driven by this anti-American public opinion, which is fanned by the media. One example of how anti-Americanism can appeal to public opinion is the emergence of Imran Khan as a politician of consequence. -- William Bryant Milam, a former US ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh in an interview with Malik Siraj Akbar (Photo: William Bryant)

 

I met Sultan Shahin, a Delhi-based journalist and now a friend, back in 2000 at Geneva for the first time. It was a conference organized by the UNO. I was representing RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) at this moot. A common friend introduced me to Sultan Shahin since he had written a book in which he had lavishly praised RAWA. Ever since I go to Delhi, his home is my shelter. Back in 2008, he launched a website New Age Islam. Though I have not been able to fully reconcile with the idea behind this project yet the way Sultan Shahin’s determination and commitment has made this project a success deserves respect and attention. In an interview with Viewpoint, he discusses his New Age Islam. Read on:– Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam in an interview to Sahar Saba

Almighty God has created us all with unique qualities. By expressing this creativity, we pay respect to the creative power of God. If that is being provocative, then I am provocative! Yet I truly believe that there is something deeply religious in this. By encouraging young people to accept themselves with all their individual traits, we intensify our relationship with our Creator. I believe in my fellow Muslims and know we are capable of being better than our mullahs and imams – and even the media – think we can be. -- Irshad Manji in an interview with Christoph Dreyer (Photo: Irshad Manji)

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