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Islam and Politics

High Price of Cheap Oil
Praveen Swami

Nearly 50 years from that day in Caracas, it is hard not to hail Perez Alfonso as a prophet. The devil’s excrement brought untold wealth to West Asia-North Africa, but it also throttled education and industry, leaving the world’s largest oil exporters poorer, relative to the world’s great economies, than they had been. It sustained despotisms, paving the way for civil war and terrorism. Indeed, it opened the door to endless war….

 

Turkey: The Great Muslim Democracy
Burak Bekdil

It is not a coincidence that Turkey, where, in the Prime Minister's words, the pious Muslims are the main actor of the political system, ranks 154th in the prestigious Reporters Without Borders global press freedoms index. And it was not a coincidence that, despite too much political euphemism…..

 

Erdogan’s Last Act
Saeed Naqvi

Remember how tersely Valery Giscar d’Estaing dismissed Turkey’s application for membership of Europe: European civilization is Christian civilization. For a leader like Erdogan there was sympathy and admiration. He looked like a transformed leader who had come out of his narrow, provincial Islamism, outgrown his Madrasa roots. But alas it turns out that he had only disguised his strong Ikhwan ul Muslimeen, Muslim Brotherhood, background…..

 

Contradictions: We Turks Have To Wonder, the Kobanis Are Thanking a Man on the Other Side of the World and Not the County That Gave Them Shelter and A Chance To Survive
Dogu Ergil

Sultan Muslim, a Syrian Kurdish woman from the besieged town of Kobani, has given birth to her seventh child in Suruç, a town in Turkey where she sought refuge with her family. You would expect that she and her family would feel grateful that Turkey has offered them a safe place and livelihood during such dire times. Instead, she and her husband named their newly born son Muhammed Obama Muslim, after US President Barack Hussein Obama. One might expect that the child would be named Recep Tayyip or Ahmet. But instead they honored President Obama as their savior, not Turkey's president or prime minister…..

 

Hope Springs from Tunisia Again
Semih Idiz

Ennahda, which still has significant support, has not been voted out, of course, and will undoubtedly share power in a coalition government. This is normal in a secular democracy. Tunisia, as a predominantly Islamic country, also has serious problems to overcome yet before it can become a genuine democracy. It is nevertheless the country that inspired the Arab Spring and which is inspiring hope today…

 

Normalization between Ankara and Jerusalem? Guess Again
Burak Bekdil

Erdogan (and Davutoglu, for that matter) has both pragmatic and emotional reasons to challenge Israel publicly, and to maintain Turkey's "cold war" with Israel. Emotional, because a holy struggle against Israel is a prerequisite for his pro-Hamas Islamism. And pragmatic, because the cold war and his explosive rhetoric around it have yielded a treasure-trove of votes in a country that champions anti-Semitism.....

 

The Beautiful Faces Clouded by Syria’s Ugly Regime
Diana Moukalled

Here we are taken back to the beginnings of the Syrian uprising, back in 2011. How can any people revolt against a youthful, handsome president, who was trained as a doctor and is married to such a beautiful, elegant, educated woman, and who was previously hailed by the West only years before? In reality, this president is nothing but a butcher, responsible for the deaths of almost 200,000 of his own people and the destruction of an entire country….

 

Tunisia Should Be Turkey’s ‘Model’
Mustafa Akyol

…. the same Islamists in Turkey also bitterly lack the civilized political language that their Tunisian counterparts have. That is why I keep saying, “they are too Turkish, not too Islamist.” That is also why I am increasingly convinced that if we need a “model” nation in the Muslim Middle East, it should be not Turkey, but Tunisia….

 

Deafening Silence over Rohingya Issue
Harun Yahya

Despite the atrocities being committed against the Muslims of Arakan, better known as Rohingyas, the international community has so far done nothing to protect these people. The world appears to be sitting on the fence, as these people are being systematically persecuted. This minority Muslim community in Myanmar — termed the most persecuted people living on the face of earth…

 

Who’s Afraid of India’s Meek Muslims?
Aijaz Zaka Syed

The more cautious Europeans have been equally puzzled by the meekness of Indian Muslims. It is not said in so many words but the nuanced suggestion and implication is not lost on anyone. That at a time when their brethren elsewhere — true to their image of bloodthirsty fanatics — are going berserk everywhere, why in God’s name do they defy the good old traditions and stereotypes to retain their sanity? The ever reasonable Economist attributed it to the thousand year legacy of Sufi Islam in the subcontinent….

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the Western powers, particularly Britain, France and the United States, viewed the Muslim Middle East, as hunting grounds for economic resources, investment and markets. Geopolitical manoeuvres, artificial state creations, military installations and regime changes were all part of a Great Game to achieve that objective. A class of compliant local rulers were installed who in turn looked for legitimacy not from the people but from the mullahs and the military......

Tunisia: The Arab World's Full-Fledged Democracy?
Soumaya Ghannoushi

It had watched helplessly from a dark distant corner as ordinary Arab men and women rose up to topple the corrupt despots who had crushed them for decades. As the mass popular movements of protest came to occupy the centre stage of history, its grandiose exhibitionist spectacles of violence and devastation looked more absurd than ever. Its claims about the impossibility of change except through bombs, bullets and blood rang hollower than empty drums. Never did al-Qaeda seem more isolated and less relevant….

 

Who Prefers ISIL To Kurds?
Mustafa Akyol

“Türk Solu,” or “Turkish Left,” which is an online magazine that subscribes to a blend of very hardcore nationalism and secularism. Its website presents a nice photo of Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, and most of the magazine’s writers define themselves as “Atatürkist” or “Kemalist”…..

 

Political Islam: An Evolutionary History
Nadeem F. Paracha

The term ‘Political Islam’ is an academic concoction. It works as an analytical umbrella under which political analysts club together various political tendencies that claim to be using Muslim scriptures and historical traditions to achieve modern political goals…..

 

Success of the State Has More to Do with Justice than Religion
Azis Anwar Fachrudin

After a tense relationship, the revelation instructed them to break up the alliances. The contextual narrative of the revelation (Asbab An-Nuzul) can be read in Tafsir at-Tabari, the oldest interpretation of the Quran. By looking at the substance and the interlocutors of the verse, it is clear that the context in Medina with authority over the so-called Islamic Ummah was focused only on the Prophet and cannot simply be transplanted in this age, in the context of the nation-state in which all religions are equal before the law, let alone a democratic system in which the executive has only one-third of power. By applying past political systems built upon religious community, we are essentially going back to the medieval age….

 

Malala Yousafzai and the Future of Islam
Stephen Schwartz

Notwithstanding the abominable condition of women in many Muslim, as well as non-Muslim, societies around the world, Islam includes important factors for women's rights. One of the fundamental changes in Arabia after the revelation of Muhammad was the abolition of the abhorrent practice of female infanticide, which had been common since girl children were considered a burden. As stated in Qur'an (81:8-9), at the end of time, "the female child who was buried alive will ask for what crime she was killed.".....

 

Growing Radicalisation of the Indian Youth
Sandhya Jain

Maulana Salman al-Husaini Nadwi of the Lucknow-based Nadwatul Ulema wrote an enthusiastic letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after he overran Iraqi cities, massacring hundreds, razing shrines of Shias and Sunnis (for idolatry), and forcing Christians out of Mosul. This provoked the Delhi-based Anjuman-e-Haideri (a Shia body) to advertise in Urdu dailies for volunteers to visit Iraq, ostensibly as nurses, doctors and engineers to help Iraqi Shias, but in reality to defend shrines such as Karbala. Around one Lakh registered, and 6000 applied for Iraq visas. A startling 25 per cent of the volunteers were women…..

Islam for Peace, or Violence?
Javed Anand

One, do not “essentialise” religion. Remember that Gandhi’s Gita and Azad’s Quran do not say the same thing as the Gita of Nathuram Godse and the Quran of Osama bin Laden or “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Like other religions, there is no one Islam; there are many Islams.  Two, look at the history of a religion. Islam is over 1,400 years old. Remember that the Yazidis and Christians being butchered by the barbaric IS used to be free, relatively at least, to practise their faith in that very region for centuries under Muslim rulers. Jews hounded out of Christian Europe found refuge in the Ottoman Empire.  Three, beware of “catastrophic” over-generalisations. Yes, al-Baghdadi and Ayman al-Zawahiri are Muslims, but so are Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Malala Yousafzai, and our very own Aamir Khan……

Does The Arab World Hate Us, The Gulfies?
Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi

Some Arabs appear to view their brethren in the Gulf States quite negatively despite the large numbers of them employed in the region, which has helped to boost struggling economies. There has even been the quite bizarre situation where there was less sympathy for Kuwait when it was invaded. Quite the opposite, there appeared to be warmer feelings toward the aggressor….

 

‘Boxed and Packaged Islam’ Trying to Pass Itself Off as Mainstream Islam
Raheel Raza

Since then this brand of Islam has taken on a modern, moderate look; it is "the new normal." Today, it is being exported largely from Saudi Arabia on the wings of billions of petro-dollars in an unobtrusive packaging. Case in point. There is a version of the Quran that is given away free at Dundas Square in Toronto, where the opening prayer has been tampered with. The original ends with the words "keep us on the straight path and not the path of those who have gone astray." For the "Dundas" version have been added the words: "like the Jews and Christians."

This brand of Boxed and Packaged Islam has been so cleverly and cunningly marketed through the Mosque pulpit, print and electronic media that most Muslims do not even know what has hit them. It is beamed directly into their homes and hearts; they are not encouraged to dissent. This point was made by the Imam on the talk show: he said that Muslims should not speak out on Western media about sectarian issues or about violence within the faith. He went on to say that those Muslims who do speak out are liars desperately seeking limelight. So most Muslims either stay silent or deflect the problems into conspiracy theories.....

Though, in terms of coverage, a fractional, violent minority garners most American and European headlines, India’s large and growing community of moderate Muslims should stand as evidence of Islam’s moderate, un-radicalized majority. And in a time where South Asians of all creeds are often stereotyped and discriminated against, and even killed, because of the actions of that radical few, India’s Muslims are a 180 million-strong rebuttal......

Lessons of Gaza
Julien Salingue

There is nothing "maximalist" or "radical" in such demands, which simply reflect the minimum necessary for the subsistence of the people of Gaza, and which are recognized as legitimate by all international organizations. It is these demands that Israel refused to listen to, demonstrating once again that what the occupying power refuses, in the name of its alleged security, is not the satisfaction of Palestinian national rights….

 
Deadly Alliances against Muslims
New York Times Editorial

It is folly for the governments of Mr. Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further......

 

The Post-ISIS Crisis for Sunni Governments
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

There is hope that the danger will be curbed despite the differences and the difficulty of dealing with terrorist groups. The current anti-ISIS alliance is a political, legal and military framework that can be developed to find solutions for the root causes by ending regional political competition, curbing sectarian struggle and ending the likes of the Syrian regime. Without that, stances may change, the alliance may divide, the struggle may expand and different parties will engage in regional proxy wars in which everyone uses terrorist groups to serve their aims……

 

The rise of IS in Iraq constitutes a challenge both to the current system of nation-states regionally and to Muslim identity and organisation globally.  In both cases the BRICS have shown a consensus with the US and the West, which is opposed to the rise of IS in Iraq and its global jihadist rhetoric.  Militarily the US remains the hegemonic power in the region and has reinforced this through its recent air strikes against IS.  The BRICS – and especially China – have either been willing to follow that course or have demurred.  Such sentiments strongly suggest that the BRICS do not want to see any significant change to the current international status quo….....

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