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Islam and Politics

Writers Take Centre Stage
I.A. Rehman

Romila Thapar’s assertion that there could be no democracy without secularism could not be challenged nor could one disagree with Ayesha Jalal’s plea for a critical appraisal of the concepts of democracy, tolerance and the dominant Muslim mindset. Asma Jahangir applied a democratic test to Pakistan’s Constitution and its political structure. Perhaps a discussion on politics in South Asia can be more fruitful if the interdependence of democracy and secularism is accepted as a historically established fact and political systems are tested from the democratic and rights perspectives and not necessarily from the minorities’ point of view....

 

Pakistan in Its Labyrinth
Roger Cohen

India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons, its prime ministers as susceptible to a violent end as Henry VIII’s wives, struggling to define its identity almost 68 years after it came into being. The fog of war is rivaled only by the fog of Pakistan, in which Osama bin Laden lived and paced for several years....

 

After the brutal killing of the founding father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman, ISI and its wing tried almost possible everything to create an Islamic B'desh to destabilize this secular democratic state and its moral values based on 1971 freedom struggle upon which B'desh was created. So there is nothing to hide about conspiracy of ISI & Pakistan Gov't against Bangladesh & its people. But this Sheikh Hasina government closed all the doors for ISI and its alliance for provoking any act of terrorism. Though about 90% people are Muslims & very pious here but aren’t religion blind. Others mainly Hindus, Christians & Buddhists are also traditionally religious here but aren’t religion-blind. ...

 

Arab Armies Can Only Make Matters Worse
Rami G. Khouri

The most important is that the resort to military force across the Arab countries in recent decades has been a recurring catastrophe. Arab countries are falling apart one by one under the destructive impact of runaway militarism, in the absence of legitimate democratic governance systems. We need less militarism, and more civilian control of armed forces and police, not a new collective military adventure that would take the incompetence and national corrosion of officers’ rule from the national to the regional level....

 

Obama Asks Arabs to Target ISIS before Netanyahu Speaks On Iran
Saeed Naqvi

There is another problem. Autocratic regimes have taken advantage of the war on terror by settling scores with their internal opponents in the guise of fighting the war. The obvious example is the Egyptian military regime cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood. The reverberations of such a crackdown will be felt wherever there is a sizeable presence of the Brothers — Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, Gaza. Recruiting agents of the ISIS then go into action....

 

Violence and Non-Transparency Won’t Get You Far
Ersu Ablak

We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally. Too many people do not feel free to practice their religion, or express their opinion, or love who they choose. It is a world in which that can make a difference between life and death. If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right to privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money. We risk our way of life....

 

Manifesto For a Modern Islam
Loay Mudhoon

Four years after the Arab Spring, the hopes that a wave of democratization would wash over the Arab world have largely been disappointed. In that time, dialogues within the Islamic world - debates on the ways and concepts needed to solve pressing problems - have rarely taken place, if at all. The "Islamic world" itself does not exist as a unified political entity and never has. It remains fragmented, with the majority of Islamic states busy with internal conflicts and numerous proxy wars - and not with discussions about reform....

Fools Confuse Religion and Criminality
Rami G. Khouri

Why would some young men born and raised in France, Denmark, Canada, Germany Belgium, the United Kingdom or other impressive societies travel to ISIS lands to fight for what they see as their existential cause, or turn against their own societies? Why do new pockets of extremist criminals spring up regularly in new countries, such as those in Libya who slaughtered Egyptian Christians this week? Why, above all, do some of these killers who brandish the holy book of Muslims mostly kill fellow Muslims in the Arab and Asian regions?....

 

Saudi Mufti’s call on keeping away from politics
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The kingdom’s mufti, who is also the head of the council of senior scholars, is known for being humble, highly educated, and for his tendency to keep away from political controversy. He represents the old generation of Salafist scholars, the purest ones before some tried to politically exploit Salafism and “renew” it with their own ideas and plans. Although most criticism and blame today is directed towards traditional Salafism, the truth is actually otherwise - this branch of Islamic thought has reigned over the modern Islamic school....

 

On one hand, we have more Milaads, Darses, Tableeghi Jamaats (religious gatherings) and other religious functions. On the other hand, we now often see upper middle-class families flaunting Saudian appurtenances with religious associations. These and several other signs around us are indicative of the influence of increased international Muslim consciousness and activity over the world and, also, huge sums are being poured in from outside sources to promote religion....

 

Is ISIS Funded By Israel? Does That Even Matter?
Bisma Tirmizi

Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three mightiest religions on the globe… and then there is oil. The American interest in the region is obvious; the American clout in the region is obvious; the American biases in the region are obvious and the Frankenstein monsters it supports in the region are very obvious too. For that matter, the Frankenstein monsters America creates obviously, or by default, are the bane of the world right now; Taliban, al Qaeda and the father of them all, ISIS....

Moreover, up to the East Pakistan debacle, the army was secular. Mr Bhutto was a case of someone outside the mainstream gaining control of the power structure; thus he faced a lot of criticism and was executed for his temerity. Then came Ziaul Haq with his Islamisation of the country and army. Zia’s policies had numerous long-term detrimental effects like supporting the mujahideen that promoted the Kalashnikov culture and drug trafficking, which later evolved into the Taliban, the start of terrorism, sectarianism and violent student unions, and the ISI manipulating politics. All of this resulted in sham democracy, political injustices and declining professionalism in the army. Islamisation gave a further evangelist mission to the Islamic discourse....

 

Populations are not sacks of potatoes. As the regime’s intent becomes clearer, the refugees will understandably resist it and many will refuse to leave Lebanon. Ultimately, the thinking may be that if a Sunni ministate emerges in Iraq, a broader Sunni state between Iraq and Syria may attract rural Syrian Sunnis. However, such a view smacks of wishful thinking and hubris, and may well perpetuate sectarian conflict in Syria indefinitely. Worse, from Lebanon’s perspective it may heighten domestic sectarian hostility, damaging communal relations....

 

The Mohajirs continued to propagate the Islamic national discourse to maintain their privileged position. The institutions were very secular. However, they too used the Islamic national discourse to suppress and discourage dissension in the provinces of East Pakistan, Sindh and Balochistan. However, in those days there was no assertive proselytising of any manner and the minorities were treated with respect and felt secure….

 

The violent and terrorist acts by those who claim to act on behalf of and for Islam intensify the already established suspicions of Muslims and, more importantly, make it even more challenging to argue against such an understanding of Islam. The fact that the perpetrators somehow justify their actions according to Islam does not necessarily make the political aspects -- whether domestic or international -- of the corresponding matters in question any less important or valid as in many cases what appear as “religious” are in fact mostly political in nature. However, this does not change the fact that religion, which is, in this case, Islam, is being utilized and perhaps instrumentalized as a driving force for a certain ideological construction with a particular understanding of Islam that justify violent actions....

No Trace of Shia Blood
Dr Mohammad Taqi

No Trace of Shia Blood
Dr Mohammad Taqi

Traces of Shia blood are splattered all over the Imamia mosque but not a single federal government representative or a military official has bothered to visit the site yet. According to media reports, government and military officials have instead ordered the Turi and Bangash tribesmen of the Kurram Agency to disarm. The predominantly Shia Pashtuns of Upper Kurram Agency are perhaps the only tribal entity that has successfully fought off the Taliban and their allies since at least 2007....

 
The Golden Visa
Rafia Zakaria

The Golden Visa
Rafia Zakaria

While much conversation and negotiation takes place between Pakistan and the US on various issues, the one concerning the ability of skilled Pakistani workers to live and work in America is seemingly of low priority, if at all. It is a pity, of course, given that Pakistan too is a labour-exporting country and Pakistani workers reportedly sent back over $10m in just half of the year....

It's time to appraise the turbulent situation in Bangladesh in terms of historical sociology. Like Pakistan, Bangladesh came into being in absolute haste (thanks to the stubbornness of West Pakistani leaders and military), almost without any plan or preparation on the part of the would-be founders. The cumulative effects of the  unprecedented brutal killing, rape and torture of tens of thousands of unarmed Bengali civilians by Pakistani troops and their local collaborators, and the destruction of the administrative, business, communication, and industrial infrastructure— during the Liberation War—were simply overpowering for Bangladesh.....

 

Who Is The Ruler Of Israel? Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Of Course, WRONG
Uri Avnery

From the point of view of Israel’s vital INTERESTS, it is sheer madness to provoke the President of the United States of America, who controls American’s flow of arms to Israel and the American veto power in the UN. But from the point of view of Adelson, who wants to elect a Republican president in 2016, it makes sense. ....

"Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al-Qaida funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization."....

 

Assad’s efforts in 2011 to depict the uprising against his rule as no more than the work of armed terrorist gangs have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Syrian regime helped assure that extremists would gain control of the revolt and turn it into a sectarian conflict....

 

Let us not forget that just as we can’t relinquish Islam because it has been, or is being, abused, we can’t relinquish Sufism for the same reasons, as, without it, we can’t understand Islam’s deeper spiritual or metaphysical ground and the glorious heritage of traditional sciences, arts, crafts and in fact the beauty that has been the hallmark of Islam as a civilisational force…..

 

The Silence of the Liberal Muslim
Hasan Suroor

A Muslim woman is accused of blasphemy, sacked by her employers, dragged through police stations and courts, and is forced to go underground in the face of a vicious hate campaign, including death threats. This is not a story from the badlands of Waziristan, and her tormentors are not the Sharia-enforcing Taliban. It is happening right in the heart of modern India — in cosmopolitan Mumbai, to be precise — with our own Taliban leading the show.....

Democracy and Islam: Whoever Contemplates the Fundamentals of Democracy Will Find That It Is In Harmony with the Essence of Islam
Nadeem M Qureshi

The Quran is silent on the specific issue of a system of government for the Muslims. So we have to look further afield to the Prophet Muhammad and his companions for an answer. When he died, the Prophet did not nominate a successor. This was a conscious decision. He was aware that the end was near several days before he died. He could have named his successor at any time. But he did not....

The legitimacy of identifying Christians as infidels in Islam is uncertain. While militant Muslim groups, such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS, kidnap, kill or expel Christians because they consider Christians infidels, the practice of labelling Christians as infidels is definitely not unanimous among Muslims. There is simply no consensus, which presents an opportunity…..

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