Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

A Time for Arab, Asian Statesmanship
Talmiz Ahmad

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners are in a painful dilemma. There is deep mutual animosity between them and ISIS, and ISIS’ successes in Iraq threaten their security. But, the countries are also wary about the Shia upsurge in Iraq, the improving U.S.-Iran engagement, and the likelihood of an Iranian intervention to maintain Shia primacy in the country. ....


Model Town tragedy and Qadri vs Sharif brothers: Will Dr. Tahirul Qadri succeed in toppling the government following the Minhajul Quran firing case?
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

Going by the effects of the campaign against them under the leadership of social media and rumours, Mian brothers are going to face a serious predicament very soon. Imran Khan is inclined to use this tragedy to his own political ends. The Muslim League leadership is as usual confused and paralysed. The abilities of Chief Minister of Punjab, who is considered more dynamic and politically sagacious than Nawaz Sharif seem to be faltering.

Saudi Arabia’s Duplicitous Legalism
Eman al Nafjan

The revolutions sweeping the region have struck terror in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy, which for most of its existence was the only law of the land. The kingdom’s Basic Law was only issued in 1992, during the reign of its fifth head of state, King Fahd. His successor and half-brother, King Abdullah, is today hailed as a modernizer, a leader who has pushed the country further away from tribalism toward civil law......

Stopgap Arrangements Will Not Help Mideast
Harun Yahya

There is no arguing that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s policies polarized the Iraqis and prepared the ground for the formation of the ISIL, which now reportedly enjoys support of some Sunni groups, tribes, Al-Maliki’s opponents, some Turkmens, Kurds and former personnel of the Baathist army. Situation in neighboring countries, which are astounded by ISIL’s gains in Iraq and consider this group as a genuine existential threat…


Saudis Debate Salafism and Democracy
Abdulmajeed al-Buluwi

Salafist movements share with ISIS the ideological references found in the books of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qaim and Mohammad ibn Abdel Wahhab. Despite this, Salafist movements have divergent political stances. Some completely refuse all forms of rule that exist in the Islamic world and describe them as apostasy, rendering state employees and soldiers legitimate targets of bombings.…..


Arabs Search for Legitimate Statehood
Rami G. Khouri

Syria, Libya and Iraq are only the most dramatic examples of countries suffering from serious sectarian and other forms of warfare that could easily lead to the fracturing of those states into smaller ethnic units. Similar but less intense tensions define most Arab states. With the exception of Tunisia, the citizens of every Arab country have always been denied any say in defining the structure, values or policies of their state……


The Mongols Are Coming, the Mongols Are Coming
Hisham Melhem

The fall of a city the size of Mosul in the hands of a Jihadi/ Takfiri organization driven by dark visions like ISIS, that crucifies and slit the throats of those who oppose it, and still dream of the establishment of a Muslim Caliphate is as stunning as it is historical. The brutal way ISIS treats Muslims who disagree with its words and deeds have become an integral part of its modus operandi…..


Muslims Incapable Of Handling Their Own Affairs: Begin by De-Recognising Madrasa Degrees for This Simple Reason; This Country and Muslims Deserve Better
Tufail Ahmad

Narendra Modi assured Muslims to promote their economic development and preserve their culture, stating: “I want to see you, laptop in one hand, Quran in the other.” Typically, Muslims too look up to the government to fix their life. Every other day, newspapers carry stories in which Muslim leaders and well-intentioned Hindu politicians accuse the government of failing to address Muslim backwardness. For all problems confronting Muslims, the government alone is blamed……

Globalization and Radicalization
Dogu Ergil

As Islamic movements and political organizations created under their influence proved to be ineffective in delivering basic assurances like dignity, prosperity, justice and political stability, these movements and organizations became more radical. It was believed that moving closer to the putative original principles and way of life of the times of the Prophet Mohammed, would make Islamic society become purer, more inclusive and powerful……


'Ownership', as defined by Oxford English Dictionary is ‘the act, state or right of possessing something’. In Urdu, it translates into Milkiyyat, while in Sindhi the alternative is Maaliki. When someone, something or some place is considered abandoned or ownerless, the Sindhi people often say: Adaa! Hinjee Maaliki Keeran Waaro Keer Kon’hay. What Karachi is going through right now is quite an image of that Sindhi phrase.....


The Dangerous Game that Saudi Arab is Playing by Funding Radical Extremism An enraged Saudi Arab, anger by USA's refusal to either bomb or send soldiers to Syria, went ahead on its own and has over the last two years pumped in billions of dollars to fund the foreign Jihadi elements in Syria that also saw in reciprocation, both Iran, the most powerful Shia dominated country of Middle East as well as Hezbollah.…..


If Saddam Was Bad, Then Rate the ISIS
Gwynne Dyer

There were no terrorists in Iraq in 2003. There were people with radical Islamist ideas, but they kept quiet for fear of Hussein's torturers, and there weren't very many of them. And there were no weapons of mass destruction either. It was an exceptionally dumb war, to borrow Mr Barack Obama's famous phrase, and it began the destruction of Iraq. It was the fight against foreign occupation after 2003 that radicalised people in Iraq and drove so many of them back into narrow sectarian identities. ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’, the original name for what now calls itself ISIS, was born in that struggle, and Mr Blair and Mr George W Bush were its midwives......

Beware the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East
Michael Curtis

American refusal or hesitation in helping to control the Islamic threat in Iraq is even more unacceptable because the objective of ISIS is clear.  It is fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Persian Gulf area, and to become the leader of global jihad.  ISIS has declared that “we are soldiers of Islam and took on our responsibility to bring back the glory of the Islamic Caliphate."….


‘Liberal’ Democracy Is the Way for Muslim-Majority Indonesia - Part 2
Endy Bayuni

The aspirations for an Islamic state and Sharia clearly exist in Indonesia. They are legitimate voices that should be accommodated in the country’s political processes. Barring them would only send them underground and possibly make them more dangerous and difficult to monitor as we have learned from the Sukarno and Soeharto dictatorships. But while these Islamist aspirations exist, the four democratic elections held, in 1999, 2004, 2009 and in April this year showed that they don’t enjoy widespread support, not even among the majority of Muslim voters…..


Atatürk, Secularism and Religion
Charlotte Mcpherson

“To be a Turk is to be a Muslim” is a statement that defines both nationality and culture. More than 99 percent of the population is Muslim, although they may not be practicing Muslims. In Turkey, nearly half of the population would describe themselves as secular Turks……


The End of the Arabs and the fall of Arabism
Eyad Abu Shakra

Yes, the presence of political and theological incubators has contributed to a large extent to the emergence of jihadist and Takfirist groups that have spiraled out of control, producing several offshoots of their own. However, mere personal empathy on the part of individuals or governments is not enough to enable these groups to do what they are doing in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or North Africa. The operations of these groups that are overrunning Arab cities and villages surely require huge logistic infrastructures that cannot be sustained solely by donations…..

Was Turkish Government Betrayed In Iraq And Syria?
Murat Yetkin

When asked about accusations by opposition parties that the Turkish government has given military support to Sunni Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, who now hold Turks hostage in Iraq’s occupied city of Mosul, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç gave a very interesting answer on June 13. Arınç first rephrased the question and then answered it like this: “Was there any help knowingly from Turkey in the form of people, arms or money? No. We can absolutely say ‘No’ to that.”  The key thing here is that Arınç added the word “knowingly.”…..


‘Liberal’ Democracy Is the Way for Muslim-Majority Indonesia – 1
Endy Bayuni

Indonesia and Pakistan, the two largest Muslim-majority countries in the world, have been struggling to define the role of religion, or more specifically Islam, since they became independent states in the late 1940s. The battle is in determining the extent to which the government has the power to interfere in matters of the faith of its citizens, or more specifically, the extent to which religion is considered a public as against a private matter…..


‘Al-Assad and al-Maliki Are Responsible’
Yalçin Dogan

Turkey is calling NATO solely for consultations, it does not say, “There is an attack against me, come and help.” Actually, it cannot say so. NATO equals the U.S. And the U.S. is avoiding military operations. While it has withdrawn from Iraq, while it is withdrawing from Afghanistan, why should it enter Iraq once again? There can only be one reason: If oil is at risk. .....


The ISIS Peril Clarifies What Arabs Need
Rami G. Khouri

Iraq today has reached a momentous moment of reckoning for the weaknesses of modern Arab statehood and governance. External factors certainly played their roles, such as the Anglo-American war on Iraq in 2003, decades of Israeli meddling in Arab conditions, and Iran’s growing influence in the region….


Iraq Crisis: Created By Bush and Blair and Bankrolled By Saudi Arabia; Bush and Blair Said Iraq Was A War on Islamic Fascism; They Lost
Robert Fisk

So after the grotesquerie of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 suicide killers of 9/11, meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama. From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles......


The Biggest Threat to Islam in Malaysia Comes From the Muslim Authorities Who Are Supposed To Uphold the Tenets of the Religion
Mariam Mokhtar

Contrary to popular indoctrination, the biggest threat to Islam in Malaysia does not come from the Christians, the DAP, the Singaporeans, the foreigners, the Hindus, the Buddhists, non-Muslims, Israel or the CIA. The biggest threat to Islam comes from the Muslims. Sadly, we see many Muslims bent on disturbing the peace to create chaos. We do not see much Islam being practiced….


‘Turkey’s Bark Is Worse Than Its Bite’
Burak Bekdil

The assessment in the title line does not belong to this columnist, but has been cherished in this column since a Turkey specialist realistically put it in a Reuter’s analysis a couple of years earlier. The barking goes on as loudly as before, but the jihadists in Iraq (and Syria), once Turkey’s comrades in arms, just like the common enemy, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, seem to have ignored the doggy threat…..


Two Arab Countries Fall Apart

Three years of turmoil in the region, on the back of unpopular American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have benefited extreme Islamists, none more so than the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a group that outdoes even al-Qaeda in brutality and fanaticism…..


Egypt and Syria Look More Dynamic Than This Circus Called Pakistan
Ayaz Amir

This is not a dysfunctional government. If it were just that we would be lucky. Being dysfunctional implies room for improvement – the stalled engine being made to work. What we have is something beyond that: a government fast losing the ability of even going through the motions of functioning. For all the leadership that there is, Pakistan is on auto-pilot, at the mercy of the elements. There’s no hand on the wheel. If we aren’t getting this, we have a problem on our hands. ....


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