Islam and Politics
Tunisia held its second legislative elections in three years. Unlike elections in other Arab countries—Iraq, for instance—Tunisia’s was not marred by sectarian divides; nor, like Egypt, did it deepen the schism between secularists and Islamists. In what was a first in the Arab world after the Arab Spring, a faith-based party, Ennahda, politely handed power to its secular opponent, Nidaa Tounes. The secularists—a coalition of loyalists to ousted leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, liberals, and leftists—responded in kind. “We in Nidaa Tounes believe that the Ennahda movement has become a reality in the Tunisian political landscape,”…
An individual Arab listens to the news is incensed by the latest outrage against the Holy Shrines and drives his car into the nearest group of Israeli soldiers or civilians. Or takes a knife from the kitchen of the Israeli restaurant where he washes the dishes and stabs people in the street. No prior information.….
In his article about the wannabe Jihadists who bought “Islam for Dummies” on Amazon, Mehdi Hasan cites a leaked 2008 classified briefing note on radicalization prepared by MI5’s behavioral science unit. It revealed that a large number of radical Muslims “do not practice their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could… be regarded as religious novices.” Contrary to their misguided belief that they are fulfilling commands in the Quran, western wannabe jihadists project onto the scripture conclusions they concoct in their minds after reading newspapers. Without the tools of interpretation, this is all they can do with the Quran they recite. However, while this religious ignorance may characterize Western men who join extremist groups, the case for those indigenous to Muslim majority countries is somewhat different…..
Arab leaders failed to nip in the bud the steady deterioration of order. This plunged very quickly into chaos and destruction. This rapid decline and complete breakdown of the few existing and struggling social and political institutions has now almost created a point of no return. The Arab world cannot absolve itself of blame for the current impasse, nor can it deny its responsibility for the social ills that contributed to the sectarian divide…..
Moreover, it is not just sections of liberal, middle-class Muslims that have bid adieu to the polemics around secularism. Poor Muslims in rural India have also begun showing greater concern for their economic interests and survival than for identity politics. For instance, in Birbhum district of West Bengal, many poor Muslims switched their loyalty to the BJP because functionaries of the Trinamool Congress stopped paying their MGNREGA wages. This shows that possibilities of the community rising above identity-based politics continue to exist, despite the trend represented by the MIM......
The issue of Gaza with regard to violence in Sinai is a red herring. In the past year, the authorities and the media have made Hamas – an offshoot of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood – a convenient scapegoat for many of the country’s problems. The resulting public animosity towards Hamas has meant that claims against the group have gone unquestioned…..
Perhaps 15 million Uighurs versus 1.300 million, overwhelmingly Han Chinese. David confronts Goliath. But violent resistance by Uighurs against Chinese targets has made the Beijing rulers jittery about security. They perceive that obscure race could be the spanner in the works of their mighty Communist party. Like insignificant specks of grit that can jam up a mechanism, the Uighurs might bring the regime crashing down. Hence Comrade Xi Jinping has vowed to ruthlessly repress the ‘rampant terrorists’….
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The greatest problem with a large section of the Muslim community is that its members are lagging behind in modern, scientific education. It is modern education alone that can change traditional mindsets. There is another problem. Some Muslim thinkers of the 20th century have interpreted Islam in political terms. A number of such Muslims are obsessed with a politicised ideology of Islam. The need of the hour is to counter this problem. However, it cannot be countered by means of the gun. This problem can be solved only through ideology. It is not an issue of ‘gun versus gun’, but is rather an issue of ‘gun versus ideology’. We have to present Islam as a religion of peace.....
The combination of right-wing politicians allied with religious zealots is now defining the Israeli attitude towards Palestinians, particularly in Jerusalem. They are eyeing al-Aqsa for annexation; the same way the Israeli government is labouring to permanently annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank.....
Pakistan still doesn’t have an effective, institutionalized anti-terrorist state structure. Nor is there sufficient spine or vision in its ruling civil-military classes, media and judiciary to compel a systematic and comprehensive policy response to the creeping “religiosity” in state and society. But this is a recipe for dysfunction and instability rather than a takeover by IS or the Taliban…..
What they need is not only a roof to live under, but, more importantly, a horizon that can give them hope for the future. Gazans, especially the young, want to know what they can look forward to and what they can plan for. Most Gazans see their future in emigration to a third country, whether legally or illegally. Neither Hamas nor the PLO has done much to give people in Gaza have a goal…..
Barrister Harun ur Rashid
The ideology canvassed by Islamic parties does not appeal to the majority of voters in the Muslim majority countries. It is noted that last April, Islamic parties also did poorly in the general elections in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority in the world with about 240 million people, of which 88% are Muslims. Voters in Indonesia have reaffirmed the appeal of broad-based secular parties over Islamic-oriented rivals…..
By our failure to act and by promoting the narrowed thought we see everywhere, we have put ourselves in real danger. The road has been left open for forces such as the Islamic State to walk in. Some suggest the group, neither Islamic, nor a state, but backed by the same powers that have promoted hard-line sects in our country before, is already here. .....
Hindus see Muslims as a religious community first, and vice versa. The state sees Hindus and Muslims, especially the latter, as a religious community. Consequently, the religious elite and religious bodies become guardians of the community’s interests. It is the religious elite who, for many in the Indian state, define and understand Muslim interests. The intellectual elite, especially those educated in the best Western tradition associated with the Congress or the left, often assert that only they, the secular, can address the problems faced by the Muslim community. Secularism reduces the entire set of problems the Muslim community faces to one of the state retaining its “Dharm Nirpekshita”…..
The anointing ceremony is devoid of religious or scriptural legitimacy. In Islam, there is no concept of a hereditary position of ‘Imamat’, but the family of the Shahi (royal) imam has been holding it for 16 generations. According to the Sunnah of the Prophet, the most qualified people to lead the prayers are those who are the best readers of the Quran and if they are equal in reading the Quran, then the most knowledgeable of them about the Sunnah of the Prophet....
That is why the West largely remained silent when the military toppled the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. Ennahda has proven that this prevailing view about Islamists in the West is not necessarily true. It did not insist on remaining in power and accepted its defeat during the elections. ....
Yasser Latif Hamdani
Bangladesh’s separation affected the debate around religion in Pakistan in three significant ways: it was a blow to Pakistan’s self-identification as a Muslim homeland, forcing it to seek its raison d’être not in the Two Nation Theory of the Muslim League but the Islamic ideology of those religious parties that had opposed the Muslim League during the Pakistan Movement. It stripped Pakistan of the bulk of its non-Muslim minorities. Finally, it elevated religious parties, particularly Mufti Mahmood and Maulana Maududi, to the status of a national opposition….
Dr Walaa Ramadan
The dominating matter which emerged from the Arab Spring is Saudi Arabia and UAE's position regarding the emerging popularity for Political Islam when the populace of the respective countries was allowed to democratically choose who leads them. Following the toppling of their despotic leaders, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya saw the rise of Political Islam. While Tunisia attained relative stability and the Islamist party, Ennahda, has been partaking in the democratic electoral process since the fall of Ben Ali, Egypt and Libya have not seen a similar calm…..
Sinai is both heaven and hell. This triangular desert boasts an arid landscape of hopeless horizons often interrupted by leftover military hardware from previous wars. The land is comprised of breathtaking beaches, incredible history, and a fusion of fascinating cultures that reach back into the past as far as ancient times can possibly go. This thrilling land of contradictions is amazing, yet lethal….
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….
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…..
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…..
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…
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.....
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…..