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Books and Documents

Islam and Politics

The Good Muslim: So Much More than 'Not A Terrorist'
Nelly Kaakaty

In the news, Muslims are not humanized by stories; we are explained through statistics. We are discussed primarily in the context of terrorism and in conversations about extremism. When a headline deems a Muslim responsible for an atrocity, I am expected to speak out against actions that in no way represent me, or anyone like me. My existence should not be used in juxtaposition to violence. I am not your contrast to terrorism. I am not your example of a “good” Muslim; rather I am in the vast majority. What you see on TV, the narrative you are fed, is the anomaly.....

Is Bangladesh's Ruling Awami League Caving To Fundamentalist Pressure?
Shantanu Mukharji

The Greek goddess statue in front of the Supreme Court came under attack by Hefazat-e-Islam for removal as it was seen as unIslamic. Secondly, text books in educational institutions were tampered with to give an Islamic stance to the curriculum. In both cases, the government did not seem firm in its approach. This leads us to believe there is a likely drift to keep the fundamentalist lobby happy with elections in mind. This, therefore, necessitates formation of an Islamic wing....

 

Welcome to Everyday Life of a Muslim in Times of Lynch Mob
Nazia Erum

Probably, a picture of a blood soaked man with folded hands pleading for a fair chance in the face of camera phones doesn’t touch hearts anymore. It’s a sign of how developed we are, see even the so-called fringe has a Smartphone! Probably, we must not be affected by the gory details but look for positives and buy into the various theories that make us feel good about such ‘stray’ incidences. Let’s continue to unsee, unhear, and unfeel the fear next door in the life of your Muslim neighbour or colleague....

 

The Fall of The Roman Empire And The Rise Of Islam
Tom Holland

It was the prompting hand of God, not a mere wanton desire to extort sheep that had first motivated the Arabs to leave their desert homeland. Such, at any rate, was the conviction of Ibn Hisham, a scholar based in Egypt who wrote a century and a half after the first appearance of the Magaritai in Herakleopolis, but whose fascination with the period, and with the remarkable events that had stamped it, was all-consuming. No longer, by AD 800, were the Magaritai to be reckoned a novelty. Instead – known now as "Muslims", or "those who submit to God" –....

 

If We Cared About Peace We Would Be Talking To Hamas
Sarah Helm

After 10 years of a crippling economic siege Hamas is struggling to govern. It desperately needs money – not least to pay for fuel – and it needs Egypt to open its crossing into the Sinai. In return, both Egypt and Arab paymasters demand that Hamas show moderation....

 

Why Israel Needs a Palestinian State
The Economist

Israel is too strong for a Palestinian state to threaten its existence. In fact, such a state is vital to its future. Only when Palestine is born will Israel complete the victory of 1967....

 

Rule of Law and Political Use of Islam
Manzoor Ahmed

Political leaders and political parties professing a vision of a modern and progressive society need to take a stand based on principles and idealism and lead the people, appealing to and awakening their best instincts, instead of giving in to fear and prejudice....

 

So much is evident. But another implication of the resolution and its proponents’ arguments promises to have more lasting effects. MLA members are voting not only on the question of Palestine and the time-honoured right to resort to the tactic of boycotting to achieve justice against racism and occupation. Their vote will effectively define what the association is and does, and who belongs in it, in a broad and lasting way....

 

Jewish Nation-State Bill: Israel’s Precarious Identity Is Palestine’s Nightmare
Dr Ramzy Baroud

Israel’s odd definition of democracy and relentless attempts to reconcile between democracy and racial discrimination, however, is rarely challenged among its American and European allies. Palestinians, on the other hand, are bearing the brunt of racism more than ever before, for Israel’s Jewish dream has become their never-ending nightmare.....

 

Palestinians Expect Nothing Good from Trump
Omar Barghouti

The US has been arming Israel's wars on Palestinians and Arabs, and generously funding and protecting Israel's system of oppression, well before Trump. Obama, after all, has committed a record $38bn in military aid to Israel over ten years, even as domestic health, education and employment programmes face severe cuts across the US....

 

The Iranian Presidential Election: Will Rouhani be Stopped by the Conservatives?
Dr Pejman Abdolmohammadi

The results of this election will significantly influence the domestic and foreign policies of Iran for the coming years. If Rouhani is re-elected, Tehran would likely continue its opening towards the West, particularly on the economic level. If Raisi wins, there would likely be changes in the foreign policy of the new government, with a shift towards Russia and China as global allies. The Islamic Republic would also be more involved in regional conflicts. On the economic front, there would likely be less attention on liberalisation and privatisation....

 

We did not get into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban; we went there to get rid of al Qaeda that the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Omar, had foolishly invited in when the Taliban were effectively in charge of the country. We wanted to eliminate Afghanistan as a staging base for al Qaeda, and that happened fairly quickly. The decision to stay around and help the new Afghan government destroy the Taliban while rebuilding Afghanistan into a western-style democracy came later.....

 

Suu Kyi’s Failure to Acknowledge the Persecution of Rohingya Muslims
Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

They see that her words resemble the proverb: “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” She was able to fool many people and even international human rights organizations, which had once mistakenly believed that she was an advocate of human rights. Suu Kyi was also able to fool the Nobel Peace Prize Committee so that the committee chose her for the most prestigious global recognition for promoting peace…..

 

Love in the Time of the ‘Holy Shiver’
Seema Chishti

Once we turn a blind eye to the pattern and tiptoe around the politics that calls for pushing the stunning diversity of India onto one straight line, we may as well be just rapidly filling in the colours in the “meme” that Dawkins spoke of. The “cut-and-paste” may have bloodier consequences than we can ever imagine. Killing “them” can never be the “new normal”: “New” it may be, but “normality” will elude such societies forever. It gets us all in the end. Ask the bloggers in Bangladesh.....

Why a Middle East Peace Deal Is Difficult
Bridget Johnson

Hamas, of course, controls Gaza and is a terrorist organization with nefarious ties and a mission to destroy Israel, regardless of the new PR campaign. If a peace deal is forged with only Mr. Abbas ‘Fatah party, then you’ve only dealt with the West Bank and Hamas will not abide by the security agreements. If you manage to bring Hamas in on the deal, then you’ve automatically created a state that is a state sponsor of terrorism....

 

How Israel's Violent Birth Destroyed Palestine
Ramzy Baroud

Israel's violent birth callously required the destruction of a whole nation - one with a unique history, language, culture and collective memory. Therefore, the Palestinian people had to be wiped out to quell any possible sense of Israeli guilt, shame and legal and moral responsibility for what had befallen millions of a dispossessed people.....

Hekmatyar’s return to Kabul has brought back bitter memories for the residents of the city who he had tormented for four long years. For thousands of Afghans who had lost their dear-ones in Hekmatyar’s rocket blitzes, the pompous homecoming of the ‘Butcher of Kabul’ has only added insult to injury. Hekmatyar — once a UN-designated global terrorist — is accused of numerous atrocities and crimes against humanity....

 

The Extraordinary Ways in Which China Humiliates Muslims

They also called on transport workers to report women wearing face veils or full-body coverings to the police, and prohibited “naming of children to exaggerate religious fervour”. A leaked list of banned names includes Muhammad, Mecca and Saddam. Parents may not be able to obtain vital household-registration papers for children with unapproved names, meaning they could be denied free schooling and health care....

 

Blasphemy and Terrorism: Catchall Phrases to Repress Dissent
James M. Dorsey

A four-decade long, massively funded Saudi public diplomacy campaign has created an enabling environment in Muslim majority countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, where alleged blasphemers and atheists have been kidnapped, abused and sometimes killed in recent months and years. The Saudi campaign was designed to implant Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism in Muslim communities across the globe as....

Hamas Is Trying To Convince the World That It Could Come To Terms with Israel

Its document is also notable for what it does not say. The anti-Semitic language of the charter of 1988 is not repeated. Nor is the declaration that Hamas is a “wing of the Muslim Brotherhood”. The new document makes no mention of the pan-Islamist group, and Mr Meshal made this separation explicit at a press conference on May 1st in Qatar. “We are a part of the intellectual school of the Brotherhood,”.....

 

An Election in Jakarta, an Omen for Indonesia
Eka Kurniawan

Blasphemy cases are nothing new in Indonesia. Artists and critics have been prosecuted for writing a short story about the Prophet Muhammad descending to earth or publishing a popularity contest ranking him 11th, among other things. But the Ahok case is newly worrying because in the wake of the Defend Islam demonstrations, radical Islamic groups have spoken in favour of establishing Islamic law throughout Indonesia. Shariah currently is practiced only in the north-western province of Aceh....

 

Why Now Is the Time to Talk To Hamas?
Tareq Baconi

Compared to the movement’s founding document, this new one is relatively nuanced and politically astute. Although it falls short of many privately voiced hopes regarding anticipated reforms within Hamas, it offers a fair representation of Hamas’s evolution as a movement and governing entity in Gaza nearly 30 years after its founding....

 

India Could Learn a Thing or Two from the UAE about Religious Tolerance
Meenu Sethi

...what is not common knowledge is the fact that in many major supermarkets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there is a section which sells pork and pork products. These sections are usually isolated by a transparent plastic curtain and a signposted—"For Non-Muslims." If the UAE, despite being a monarchy and Muslim country, shows religious tolerance towards non-Muslims, that too temporary migrants, why can't the world's largest democracy, which has the word "secular" written in its Constitution, do it for its non-Hindu citizens?....

 

The “fear of losing Islamic faith”, parallel to Muslims living under Kemalist Turkey, has long kept the Indian Muslim community away from participation in modern system of education, which ultimately proved disaster for the community as it came to lag behind all communities in public and private opportunity structure on account of its educational deficit, though popular discourse among Muslim and secular intelligentsia...

The deeper I dug, the more I realized how convoluted were my own thoughts about myself. In fact my entire family scrutinizes and criticizes conservative Muslims ruthlessly while singing classical Bhajans at friend’s ‘Pujas’. Is it an attempt to appease them? We celebrate Holi and Diwali like all Hindus. My daughter lights up the house with lights and Diyas on Diwali and our neighbours appreciate it. But on Eid, ours is the only house that is lit up, no neighbour has accepted Eid as their own festival. Clearly the majority has never wanted to please its minority but is very loud and vocal on ‘appeasement of minorities’.....

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