Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Truth, Lies and the Jamaat e Islami
Abdul Majeed Abid

Founded in 1941 by Abul A’la Maududi, as the ‘vanguard’ of Islamic revolution, the Jamaat’s history is full of skeletons in its closet. Starting from an anti-nationalist position, JI changed its colours faster than a chameleon after the creation of Pakistan. Following the make-over, JI became the flag bearer of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan,....

The Danger of Civil War(s) in Turkey
Nuray Mert

This is the first time that a civil institutional body has truly confronted the civilian government without the shadow of the military hegemony over civil politics. That is why I call it a “civil war” of sorts. Besides, it has emerged that the rise of civilian actors in politics does not always result in democratic politics and social peace. …..


Qadhafi Wanted Out
Alana Cook

According to a Citizens Commission Report, a senior aide to Qadhafi requested a 72-hour truce with U.S. military command officials to negotiate a cease-fire with talks to be held in Tripoli. If all conditions were deemed acceptable, Libya would “stop all combat operations immediately and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of all cities, and assume a defensive posture.”….

Being on Nuclear Verge May Suit Iran’s Political Goals
Steve Kramer

Iran hasn’t been occupied in modern times, but was a “playground” for foreign powers from the early 19th century until the 1940s, when Mohammad Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi became Shah of Iran (1941-1979). During the previous century and a half the Iranians became masters of politics and negotiations……


Palestinian Unity: It’s Better Late than Never
Ramzy Baroud

It is untrue that the rift between Fatah and Hamas goes back to the January 2006 elections, when Hamas won the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and formed a government. The feud is as old as Hamas itself. The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, was founded in Gaza with two main objectives, one direct and the other inferred: To resist the Israeli military occupation at the start of the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987 and to counterbalance the influence of the PLO……


The Sheikhdom of Fear
Yusuf Kanli

Having the courage to say the problems of the country, criticize the administration or the absolute ruler, express opinions, let’s say on a new legislation and brand it as a tool of intensifying dictatorship deserves praise, definitely. Yet, in democracies, there should not be the need for heroes or courageous knights of the world….


Pakistan Bows Down To Saudis
Mehr F Husain

The usual ‘Khuda Hafiz’ has morphed into ‘Allah- Hafiz’; cotton chadors have been pulled off and sombre black Abayas are donned; where once a moustache was the pride and honour of a man, it’s been overshadowed by a beard - the longer and more unkempt, the holier a man is; history is now rewritten so that the country’s bloodline and lineage has nothing to do with South Asia but is in fact Middle Eastern…


In The Mideast, Election ‘Carnivals’ Are the Greatest Tricks
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The question remains, do you still believe in democracy around you? This is an old story that Britain tried to impose in the first decades of the 20th Century in Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Iraq. The Americans tried to do the same in Iraq and consequently, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has grabbed more power than the former dictator Saddam Hussein, whose toppling cost amounted to a trillion dollars…..


There's No War in Syria, We’ve Been Imagining It
Raed Omari

So, there is no war in Syria. It is safe and sound and the biggest concern of Syrians nowadays is who to support among the "many" presidential hopefuls. In brief, it is the best time in Syria now to hold presidential elections. Plus, the presidential election is never going to be a "one man show," as it has never been. On every such election in Syria, there is always a fierce competition among the leftist, rightist, centrist, conservative, liberal and secular and Islamist candidates representing all Syria's mosaic…..

Qur'anic Morality and Satanic Development Model
Kazi Wadud Nawaz, New Age Islam

The Holy Quran in Sura An-Nisa, Ayat 119 has clearly articulated the evil crooked paths of the Satan like this. Defacing the fair nature means transgressing Universal Balance of Justice in worldly life that encompasses both nature and society. Disturbing the balance in relation between man and man, man and society, man and nature, disturbing the balanced eco system for super profit, infusing perversion in human nature related to biological system and imbalance in material and spiritual aspects of human life all come under the purview of defacing the fair nature. Many Western countries have now permitted homosexuality, lesbian marriage and marriage between same sexes. Such is the climax of Western Civilization and Moral Standard of Western Society! This is absolutely an act of defacing fair nature through perversion in biological system of mankind on the part of the Satan and from Qur'anic point of view the so-called civilized West has now turned out to be follower of the Satan and the present Corporate Development Model has become a Satanic Development Model....

Can Hamas-Fatah Unity Lead to Mideast Peace?
Noura Erakat, Jonathan Schanzer, Ali and Ami

The two main Palestinian factions, the Palestine Liberation Organization, which runs the West Bank and is dominated by Fatah, and the militant Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have agreed to overcome their divisions and form a unity government within five weeks. Because of this, Israel has suspended talks, citing Hamas’s refusal, until now, to recognize its right to exist.

But can reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas end up improving the chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which have dimmed as American-backed talks have foundered?...

This is a pity — as the number of civilians who were killed in atrocities by the Pakistan military in 1971 was, without doubt, very high. Whatever might be the actual figure, it would not affect the government’s current policy for the need for criminal accountability for these offences......


A Bloody Misalliance: Radical Islam and Infantile Marxism
Philip Bounds

Let us not exaggerate the problem. The majority of the world’s Muslims are similar to the majority of the world’s Marxists: tolerant, compassionate and sincere. But the alliance between the authoritarian deadbeats of the revolutionary left and the Islamofascist right is not to be taken lightly. It is not simply individuals who are judged by the company they keep. The more that Marxism and Islam allow their margins to be clogged up by bigots, the greater the likelihood that their virtues will be obscured. If the genuine members of both faiths wish to rescue themselves from obloquy, they have no choice but to police their borders more rigorously. Their only option is to put up some barbed wire, employ a few security guards and display a clearly marked sign: “No Fundamentalists Allowed”....


Turkey Was Inept, Not Evil, in Syria
Mustafa Akyol

History is full of failed grand narratives. Just as George W. Bush’s idealistic “freedom agenda” crumbled when his occupation of Iraq produced a divided and bloody country, the freedom agenda of Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a much less belligerent but similarly idealistic vision of the Middle East — ran aground in Syria…..


Syria: From the Front Page to the Abyss
Joost Lagendijk

Driven by a mix of despair and nostalgia, Long glorifies the Spanish Civil War, in which anti-fascist writers and intellectuals such as George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway not only wrote about the defining moment in European history but actually travelled to Spain to help the rebels….


Afghanistan's Fleeting 'Camelot' Moment
Helena Malikyar

Preliminary tallying has confirmed a slight move away from ethnic politics. Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, received a percentage of votes from the northern mostly non-Pashtun provinces. Abdullah attracted voters from the south and the east, the so-called Pashtun belt, even though he is considered a leader of the Tajiks…..


Israel Shows Zionism’s True Colours
Rami G. Khouri

The consequence of trying to create a Jewish state in such an environment is that those millions of people who are not Jewish either have to be isolated and penned into restricted zones of residence, work and travel, according to apartheid-like rules, or else detached from their non-Jewish compatriots and enticed into the Zionist endeavour. The latter is what happened to the Druze population in Israel…


The Saudi-Brotherhood Divide
Caryle Murphy

The Brotherhood’s origins in the kingdom go back to the 1950s and 1960s when the monarchy welcomed members being persecuted by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab leaders. Although not permitted to formally organize, they flourished in a spiritual environment congenial to their Islamic ideology. They also found jobs in the expanding Saudi bureaucracy and raised funds for their work.....


Lebanon’s Sufi Orders Threatened by Rise in Salafism
Haytham Mouzahem

Were it not for some news reports on Sufi ceremonies and video clips on YouTube depicting remembrance sessions and spiritual dances, one would almost think that Sufi orders are completely absent in Lebanon. This comes in light of the media, political and military dominance of fundamentalist Salafist currents on the religious scene in Lebanon……


No Honour for a Career of Hate, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Amina Wadud

Most of the resistance to her, as a public figure, comes because of her own categorical statements against Islam. Not only does she choose to be an atheist, but she lambasts those who do not make her same choice. Her sweeping statements are meant to galvanize support against the Islam she has suffered from both as a child in a conservative family and as colleague of a brutally murdered film maker…..


Another ‘Sham’ Election Is Over, So What Now For Algeria?
Robert Fisk

In Algeria, politics is theatre, blood is real. You may joke about Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s re-election for a fourth-term presidency – sick, wheel-chaired, 77 years old – with 81.5 per cent of the vote, but you cannot doubt the ambush and killing of 14 Algerian soldiers at Iboudarene….


Presidential Elections and Kurds
Nuray Mert

Turkey failed to see the risks of replacing “military hegemony over civil politics” with that of civil political hegemony over society. It is assumed that the empowerment of civil politics will automatically lead to democratization. Now, we should not fail to see the risks of replacing a centralized authoritarian political system with decentralised authoritarian and corrupt politics by assuming that decentralisation automatically leads to democratisation….


The Unbearable Weight of Politics
Taha Akyol

….Yeni Şafak, referred to the battle between the government and the Gülen community as “a state of madness.” Noting that political and religious concepts were interfering in this fight, he emphasized that attributing religious features to “this extremely political” clash was, more than anything else, disrespectful to religion…….


Voting against the Taliban: Free Elections in Afghanistan Mark the Beginning of an Arduous Road to Peace
Khaled Ahmed

I was wrong. The Afghans went and voted, not along ethnic lines, but as a nation opposed to the Taliban (read: Pakistan) and ready to make sacrifices for peace under a political order bequeathed to them by a UN-sanctioned international force....


Democracy after America: War, Islamism and Elections in Iraq and Afghanistan
James Bradbury

The idea of terrorism always consists in a rejection of politics; in the Islamic context in particular, terrorism is conceived in opposition to political Islam. Concurrent with (infuriating) Western arguments over whether the Middle East is “not yet ready” or even “culturally incompatible” with democracy are lively debates between and among Islamist movements over the role that democracy can play in achieving Islamic government….


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