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Islam and Politics

El-Sisi Modifies Stance on Islamic Reform at Davos
Michele Antaki

He sternly condemned the scourge of terrorism that spilled blood across the globe, saying that blood in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Lebanon, Canada and France was “of the same colour.” But he used carefully calibrated words to describe Islamic terrorism as the action of a “minority” that “distorted religion.”  He also called upon Western countries to mobilize against terrorism in “full awareness of the political factors” which had allowed terrorism to penetrate societies…..

 

King Abdullah Embodied the Wickedness of Saudi Arabia’s Regime
Andrew Brown

It is a final touch of absurdity in a kingdom that is wicked in itself, and a source of wickedness and corruption elsewhere in the world. Saudi Arabia practices torture and arbitrary judicial murder. Women are beheaded in the street, liberal thought is punishable by flogging, which can be a death sentence even more horrific, and because it is more prolonged than having your head hacked off with a sword.....

 

Terrorism and Pakistan
Junaid Malik

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice and we as a nation have chosen to remain ignorant. Dumbed-down to the lowest common denominator, devoid of any aspiration, we are swallowing the dominant myths and mindlessly repeating the mantras inserted into our skulls, derived from a generation of cleverly crafted propaganda. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? The fact often disavowed that we are being directed, controlled, censured, commanded, preached at and indoctrinated by creatures who neither have the rights, nor the objective merits to do so……

 

It Is Time for the West to Allow Arabs to Get On With Their Lives in Peace
Jeffrey D. Sachs

It is time for the West to allow the Arab world to govern itself and to choose its path without Western military interference. And there are heartening reasons to believe that a self-governing Arab Middle East would wisely choose to become a peaceful global crossroads and a partner in science, culture and development. The Arab world has played that beneficent role in the past, and it can do so again. The region is filled with talented people, and the overwhelming majority in the region want to get on with their lives in peace, educate and raise their children in health and safety, and participate in global society. Their objectives – prosperity and human security – are our own…..

The bottom line is that whether or not Islam can really be divorced from Islamism, it is strategically important to target Islamism as the ideological driving force and justification for violent jihadists.  It is not just a drones-in-the-air and boots-on-the-ground war – it is also an ideological war…..

 

There Is No 'Muslim World'
Ahmed Benchemsi

Belligerent rightists demand that Muslims distance themselves from terrorists or be deemed their accomplices. Righteous leftists warn against bigotry and Islamophobia while affirming that Muslims, being overwhelmingly moderate people, have nothing to do with terrorism. And then you have the Bill Maher approach: urging Muslims to prove their overall moderation beyond simply condemning terrorism. It is a truly bizarre ritual, this rush to assess whether Muslims en masse are moderate or terror-friendly; and, in either case, to what extent…

 

A 100-Year War In and With Islam?
Harlan Ullman

The persistence of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with Saudi Arabia’s support and export of Wahhabism, have made the issue of violent extremism of vital importance. The attacks of September 11 and the US’s intervention first into Afghanistan and then Iraq conspired to accelerate the forces and influence of violent Islamist extremism. While the ghastly events in Paris earlier this month provoked oceans of condemnation, the long arm of this perversion of Islam shows that this struggle is far from over…..

 

Hezbollah’s Response Will Reveal Much about Its Multiple Roles
Rami G. Khouri

Today, Hezbollah is a different and more complex actor. This reflects new, or merely more explicit, elements of the party’s basic dimensions: its active warfare and military deterrence against Israel; its fighting in Syria to maintain the Assad regime; its fighting against Takfiri militants such as Nusra Front inside Lebanon; its continued structural and strategic links with Iran; and its dialogue with the Future Movement in Lebanon to reduce domestic polarization and reconstitute a legitimate governance system with a functioning parliament and presidency……

 

Islamic Pluralists Must Show Their Face
Ramin Jahanbegloo

The language of hatred and violence in the Muslim community needs to be replaced by a "heart and mind" engagement and cooperation among Muslims and with the other cultures. Therefore, the urgent task for Islamic pluralists is to lift the shadow of violence from the Islamic culture and recall Muslims to their traditions as an empathetic civilization that feels another's sorrow and does not need an enemy for its sustenance.....

Analyzing Present-Day Muslim Militancy: An Un-Islamic Political Ideology
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The objective of religion, including Islam, is to bring about reform in the individual and not in the political system. And, any kind of spiritual or intellectual change can be brought about in an individual only when he is addressed peacefully. Only those who have set political targets for themselves engage in violence and since religions do not have any political target they do not enjoin violence. Islam has adopted a very practical formula in this matter; that is, idealism at the level of the individual and pragmatism at the level of society.....

 

How to Save Islam from the Islamists
Qanta Ahmed

The jihadists’ other objective, of course, is to speak for the Muslim world and advance the idea of a clash of civilisations. This is going fairly well, if opinion polls are to be believed — more or less half of those in Britain, Spain, France and the United States say they believe that Islam is not compatible with the West. And this is why Muslims cannot rely on presidents and prime ministers to denounce terrorism — the public will be persuaded not by what political leaders say, but what we Muslims say.....

The Internet Isn’t To Blame for Radicalization
David Ignatius

What’s the relationship between the Internet and the surge of jihadist violence in France, Belgium and around the world? That’s the puzzle examined by Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist and former CIA officer whose contrarian views on terrorism are worth a careful look. Blaming the Internet for radicalization is really blaming any form of communication for radicalization,” cautions Sageman. “Mere exposure to wrong ideas can explain neither their adoption nor their power to lead people to . . . political violence.....

Terrorism Doesn't Justify Insulting Islam
Sally Kohn

The latest Charlie Hebdo cartoon, produced after last week's horrific attacks on the Paris magazine's offices, literally adds insult to injury. Admittedly a portrait in mixed messages, the cover reads "All is forgiven" above a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed, who is holding a "Je suis Charlie" sign. Who, exactly, is supposed to be doing the forgiving and who must be forgiven is not clear…..

 

When Freedom of Expression Hurts
Harun Yahya

….insulting sacred things under the guise of freedom of the press or freedom of speech, or regarding that as a victory, will merely open the door to troubles. Those who wish to express their ideas through insults, who deprive others of the right to reply, merely encourage isolation and anger in the society in which they wish to live. “Free” Europe, therefore, needs to redefine the concept of freedom of ideas; if it wishes to maintain a strong democracy and rein in terror…..

Time to Lift Veil on Saudi Arabia’s Hijacking of Islam
Fintan O'Toole

Imagine an attempt to ban the veneration of the Prophet Muhammad. Go further and imagine a plan to level his tomb in Medina, the second holiest site in Islam, dig up his remains and rebury them in a secret, unmarked grave. Go further again and imagine the actual, systematic destruction, in the early years of Islam, of the tombs of the major figures, including the prophet’s closest relatives. What lunatic would even imagine going to these extreme lengths to provoke, insult and enrage Muslims? Well, the House of Saud, rulers of Saudi Arabia and guardians of the extremist ideology that fuels much of today’s Islamist terrorism, wouldn’t just imagine them. It does them…..

An Islamic Renaissance, Guided By the Masses, Not the Mullah, Is Long Overdue
Mohd Asim

As Maulana Azad said: "Our history is replete with the doings of Ulema who have brought humiliation and disgrace to Islam in every age". The house of Sauds that exports, apart from oil, medievalism and tribalism in the name of Islam cannot be expected to bring about any change or reform. Their Western friends must also introspect why they turn a blind eye to Saudi well-oiled obscurantism. Saudi Arabia has done more harm to the Islamic understanding and flourish than any other force. It's time to reject the Saudi version of Islam. Revivalism, devoid of reawakening, is no good. …..

Fighting Extremism: Dignity Is the Answer
Walid Jawad

Empowerment is not something the U.S. or the international community can ever bestow onto Arab masses. Empowerment lies within the domain of Arab governments. Nevertheless, as long as U.S. national interest is jeopardized the American administration must employ its political powers to nudge these governments to take concrete steps toward reforming educational systems, political inclusion and freedoms. Unfortunately, turning the tide will not be smooth. In fact, this strategy will be long and chaotic. Keep in mind that the current situation on the ground in the Arab world is already disastrous……

 

Islam’s Problem with Blasphemy
Mustafa Akyol

The only source in Islamic law that all Muslims accept indisputably is the Quran. And, conspicuously, the Quran decrees no earthly punishment for blasphemy — or for apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of the faith), a related concept. Nor, for that matter, does the Quran command stoning, female circumcision or a ban on fine arts. All these doctrinal innovations, as it were, were brought into the literature of Islam as medieval scholars interpreted it, according to the norms of their time and milieu......

 

Contending Visions for Pakistan
Husain Haqqani

Nothing clarifies the two contending visions for Pakistan – ideological versus secular – than responses to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 Constituent Assembly speech. To me, it outlined a vision for a secular Pakistan. The Quaid had said in that speech that “in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”….

 

Indian Muslims: In, and Out, Of the Ghetto
Christophe Jaffrelot

The poor, who are an easy target, have usually been the primary victims and are therefore the first to migrate. The rich have followed once they have also been affected, as in Jaipur in 1990 or Ahmedabad in 2002. Juhapura, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, exemplifies this process of ghettoisation. It grew after the riots of 1969, 1985 and 1992, but it became a ghetto of four to five Lakh people after the 2002 killings, which, for the first time, resulted in the death of elite Muslims, including Ehsan Jafri, the former MP. Incidentally, many of the contributors to Muslims in Indian Cities discovered that the circumstances of Jafri’s death were known to Muslims throughout the country…..

 
O Jerusalem!
Irfan Husain

O Jerusalem!
Irfan Husain

Like moths to a flame they have come: pilgrims and priests; Faqirs and frauds; messiahs and mendicants; heroes and harlots; cutthroats and kings. Dynasties rose and fell. But despite the unending conflict over who should own Jerusalem, one community has clung on tenaciously: the Jews…..

Are All Terrorists Muslims? It’s Not Even Close
Dean Obeidallah

As Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, noted in its report released last year, the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups. For example, in 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs….

With democracy as a benchmark, political Islamists who compete for power within a democratic arena are not a problem. It is militant Islamists, who want Shariah through force, who are a source of disruption in the world. From the Taliban to al Qaeda to ISIL, all attribute their violence to a supposedly “just cause” because the Prophet (PBUH) also waged jihad on various occasions. The problem with this line of thinking is that a prophet could undertake jihad for a cause for the simple reason that the Creator had ordered him to do so…..

 

Is Islam On Trial? Every Time a Lone-Wolf Act Is Done By a ‘Muslim’ There Is a Debate about the Violence within Islam
Rushdi Siddiqui

Is Catholicism/the Vatican on trial every time a priest sexually assaults a minor? Or is the Pope ultimately responsible for the deviant acts of lone-wolf priests? Is Judaism on trial for every illegal settlement expansion and violence against Palestinians? Is Buddhism, in Sri Lanka or Thailand, on trial every time a monk assaults a person of a different faith or destroys property? Put differently, are the teachings and principles of Buddha revisited based upon violent acts of lone-wolf monks? It would appear that since the World Trade Center bombing (in the 1990s) and 9/11, every time a lone-wolf act done by a “Muslim” – from shoe (would-be) bomber to underwear (would-be) bomber to Time Square (would-be) bomber – there is debate, led generally by the Western media, about the violence within Islam or questioning the “peacefulness of Islam”…

Conspiracy Theories for Moderate Muslims
Mustafa Akyol

Had these Muslims instead argued that the West’s own sins – it colonial history, its unlawful “war on terror,” its support for Israeli militarism – form one root cause of Islamist militancy, then they would be saying something right and important. But analyzing the unintended consequences of Western sins is one thing, imagining that the West secretly manufactures all Muslim sins is another…..

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