Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

American involvement in the Middle East has put Islam, once a subject of far-off religious study, onto the public stage. The press of the last decade was abuzz with one jihad tragedy after another, beginning with September 11 and continuing with intermittent suicide bombings in Israel and elsewhere. Though we recognize that our enemies in the Middle East are adherents of some form of Islam, our democratic sense of tolerance restrains us from demonizing the entire faith….


Do Iranians Hate Arabs And Islam?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Iranian support to the Palestinians is always channelled to groups opposed to the government in Ramallah. Iran supports Hamas, Islamic Jihad and “Hezbollah” within a framework of activities aimed at, for example, preventing negotiations with Israel, without offering an alternative military or political solution for the Palestinian people and to the Israeli occupation. This support is so little that it does not even provoke Israel into seeking revenge against Iran but it is enough to sabotage any political process and leave the region on fire…..


Blame the State for Sham Arab Democracy
Rami G. Khouri

The recent string of “elections” across the Arab world raises profound questions about the Arab world’s apparent difficulty in adopting institutions and practices of liberal pluralistic democracies. But is the problem really about the ability of Arab social values to accommodate democracy, or is there a deeper problem related to the clumsy nature of statehood that has emerged in this region during the past century?....


When the crime committed was terrorism, 54 percent of the time both Islam and Muslim were included in the article selection criteria, 68 percent of the time when “Islam” was the only article selection criteria, and 74 percent of the time when the article selection criteria was only “Muslim,” the crime committed was a non-terrorist crime. Other findings included that a photo was included in the article 84 percent of the time when the article selection criteria included both Muslim and Islam. For the crime of terrorism, the search terms “Islam” or “Muslim” or “Somali” were much more likely to be included in the headline than non-terrorist crimes…..


…supports the idea of spiritual democracy or social democracy as an ideal form of government for Muslims which will be based on the Quran and Sunnah as its constitution and Shura (body of elected members) as the Executive body. It thus becomes clear that Iqbal did not oppose or criticise democracy as a form of government but only democracy based on the western ideas of unlimited liberalism, secularism and capitalism…..

The Mirage of Political Islam
Mustapha Tlili

How to channel the aspirations of that segment of the Egyptian and Tunisian societies, that is rural, pious, illiterate and conservative, remains a real challenge. Typically, such people are poor and lack economic opportunity. From the period of the dictatorships to the elections made possible by the Arab Spring.....

Maldives: The Long Road from Islam to Islamism
Mushfique Mohamed and Azra Naseem

The beginning of the end of Maldivian Buddhism came with Arab domination of trade in the Indian Ocean in the 7th Century. Just as the rise of China and India, and the US foreign policy’s Asia Pivot, have made the Maldives geo-strategically important today, so it was with the ancient Silk Route. Foreign powers were drawn to the Maldives by its location and its abundance of cowry shells, the currency of many. The spread of Islam along the Silk Route is well documented…..

War on Boko Haram
John Cherian

The U.S. wants to use the anti-terror campaign in Africa to gain strategic control over the flow of natural resources to countries such as China. One-third of China’s oil imports are from Africa, and the country is emerging as the continent’s top trading partner and investor. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang was in Abuja to attend the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa (May 7-9). Li Keqiang offered to invest more than $13 billion to upgrade the Nigerian railway system. He also said that China would help locate the missing schoolchildren.....


Sisi and the Palestinians
Ali Jarbawi

High Palestinian expectations are linked to Egypt’s internal stability. Some will materialize; others are sheer hope. But if Mr. Sisi’s Egypt refuses to shy away from confronting Israel, as Egypt did during the Mubarak era when it was firmly under the American thumb that will be a great boon for the Palestinian cause.....


In Islam Only Peaceful Struggle Is Permitted Even Against Tyrants, Though Speaking The Truth In Front Of A Dictator Is Considered The Highest Form Of Jihad
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Prophet once stood up and narrated all the things that would happen from his time till the Day of Judgment. In this sermon, he strongly forbade his Ummah from political rebellion. He said that even if their rulers oppressed them, so much so that even if they whipped their backs and looted their wealth, they must still obey them. After this, the Prophet spoke about rulers among his people who would mislead them, adding that when the sword emerged among his Ummah; it would not be lifted until Judgment Day.....


Let’s Now Look Within! Let Us Change Our Focus from Narendra Modi, Gujarat Riots and Babri Mosque's Demolition
Dr. Ghulam Zarqani

The basic democratic value requires from us that we welcome our newly-elected Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi with open arms, regardless of our religious or political affiliation. In other words, we had full democratic liberty to criticise him before he was elected as Prime Minister, but now that he has assumed his post, we should have no right to rant against his becoming the PM of India. Now we can only criticise him when he is found guilty of harming our national or community interests. So, our critiques should now be directed towards new disturbing developments, if any, not against Mr. Modi’s becoming the Prime Minister.

But what I see in (Urdu) newspapers, electronic media and social sites is that some people are actively engaged in writing provocative statements and uploading deplorable photos recalling the demolition of Babri Masjid and the incidents of Gujarat. ... provoking religious sentiments does not augur well for us Muslims. We should rather extinguish the fire of religious polarisation, with our wisdom, even if it is lit by the majority group……

Reporting the Mideast: Go Back To the Streets
Ramzy Baroud

However, the quarrel, in part, is concerned with the cost-benefit analysis of some of these revolutions, Syria being the prime example. Is it worth destroying a country, several times over and victimizing millions to achieve an uncertain democratic future? The cost for Egypt was high as well, although not as high in comparison to Syria…….


Instilling Religious Values in Politics Must for Peace
Harun Yahya

Pope Francis is a religious leader who rejects all the material privileges bestowed by the rank of pope, who – it is said – goes out at night dressed as a priest to distribute food to the poor, who teaches that people who suffer will be blessed and, most important of all, who extends the hand of love and friendship to Christians, Jews, Muslims and even atheists. He possesses qualities that are particularly sought after in this century of hatred……


The New Official History and St. Sophia
Nuray Mert

Those who felt excluded by the Westernized secular Republican regime longed for compensation by identifying with “the lost empire.” In this view, it was a grand plot that led to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and indeed it was “a plot against Islam,” since the Ottomans were the champions of the Islamic world…..


Erdoğan Raising New Army of Political Islamists
Abdullah Bozkurt

For that to happen, the level and intensity of the indoctrination of young students must be ratcheted up at the expense of teaching science, math and other essential academic subjects. In this politicized campaign, Islam is not a religion, per se, but rather, it is used and abused for self-serving ideological inclinations, a practice that will damage the spirit of tolerance and respect for others in the next generation. ….


A Bleak Future for Libya?
Stefanie Dekker

That's what the gentleman at the coffee shop tells me too. He says the hope and the excitement in the country after the revolution has gone: "In 2012 we still had hope... we had all the problems, but we believed slowly they would be fixed. But they have only gotten worse."….


Islamic Religious Texts Are Used To Justify Atrocities
Farzana Hassan

Instead of condemning these Sharia provisions as contextual relics of a barbarous era, many Islamist organizations continue to promote the cruel and vindictive code. And such atrocities do not happen only in far flung Islamic lands. Honour killings have taken place in our midst, and Muslims like myself and my fellow Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah who denounce them, are continually harassed for our alleged hypocrisy and heresies……


Reading a Painful Guide to Iraqi Decay
Rami G. Khouri

This frightening, decades old pattern continues to this day. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Palestine, Sudan, Egypt, Somalia and Bahrain have all suffered debilitating civil conflicts, often coupled with fragmentation or collapse. The oil-rich Gulf States have avoided major political violence mainly because they have avoided anything that looks like political rights and activity among their citizens……


Pakistan: The Republic of Hate
Tazeen Javed

…every Muslim is out for the blood of those who do not subscribe to what they consider is the right way of practicing religion. Honour killings citing Hudood as an excuse, random killings citing Blasphemy law as the reason have become so common that people do not even question them. In the land of the pure, a heinous crime like murder gets the makeover of avenging the honour of the family or the honour of the Prophet, the murderer gets garlanded….


Myanmar’s Appalling Apartheid
Nicholas Kristof

Minura Begum has been in labour for almost 24 hours, and the baby is stuck. Worse, it’s turned around, one tiny foot already emerging into the world in a difficult breech delivery that threatens the lives of mother and child alike. Twenty-three years old and delivering her first child, Minura desperately needs a doctor. But the Myanmar government has confined her, along with 150,000 others, to a quasi-concentration camp outside town here, and it blocks aid workers from entering to provide medical help. She’s on her own……


The neglect of India coupled with the exclusive fixation on Europe is very indicative of the Arab and Muslim inferiority complex, which disguises itself as a superiority complex, so to speak, one that compels us to remind others that we once “ruled Spain.” That is, it is “not fitting for us” to compare ourselves to the Indians, especially after hundreds of thousands of poor migrant workers from the subcontinent flocked to the Arab Gulf countries, while the comparison with Europe, our erstwhile colonial master, satisfies our collective narcissism and is balsam to its ever-bleeding wounds…….  


Egyptians, Today Is the First Day of a New Beginning
Abdel Latif el-Menawy

I am telling you to participate in the elections, to choose Egypt, your country and your grandchildren’s future. This is an Egyptian day par excellence. It’s a glorious day in Egypt’s history as it takes us a step forward. Other steps will follow but the journey begins from here, today, from in front of the ballot boxes…..


Haftar’s Coup Attempt in Libya: Another Sisi?
Ramzy Baroud

"Opportunistic" is a fitting term to describe Libya’s rogue general Khalifa Haftar, who for the second time in less than four months mounted a coup against Tripoli. Haftar’s opportunism has accompanied the man for the last 45 years, and at 71, he is determined to harness the security chaos in Libya to his advantage…..


Failure of Political Islamists in Turkey
Abdullah Bozkurt

The Islamists' moves have resulted in the ambivalence of Turks, who believe that Erdoğan's vision has faltered a great deal amid corruption, social tension, economic woes and foreign policy failures. That means the time is ripe for a realignment of Turkish politics…..


The men practice Sufism, a moderate and mystical interpretation of Islam followed by at least 15 million of Egypt's 90 million residents. In the wake of the country's 2011 revolution, they've faced increased persecution, with a rise in attacks on Sufi holy sites by Islamist hardliners…..


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