Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Gaza And Mosul: Where Is The Connection?
Murat Yetkin

The three Israeli boys were kidnapped on June 12, one day after ISIL raided the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul and captured 49 people, including the consul general; it has been a month in captivity as of yesterday. Was there a link between the two provocative actions in two days? It is hard to tell now. But the events have started to unfold in an inflammable manner afterwards. Iraqi Kurds have captured the other oil-rich city of Kirkuk, ISIL has shortened its name to Islamic State (IS), only claiming control over parts of both Syria and Iraq and declared its leader Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi the new Caliph of “all Muslims” on June 24….


Israel’s Bloody Status Quo
Roger Cohen

Israel could send Gaza back to whichever age it wishes. Its military advantage, its general dominance, over the Palestinians has never been greater since 1948. But it chooses otherwise. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk of a ground invasion is empty. The last thing Israel wants, short of a cataclysm, is to go into Gaza and get stuck…..


Iraq Crisis: How Saudi Arabia Helped ISIS Take Over the North of the Country
Patrick Cockburn

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein's monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to ISIS, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.....


Growing Salafi Influence in Turkey
Hasan Kanbolat

It would be naive to think that the two Kurdistans on the southern borders of Turkey and a second Saudi Arabia in the same area will not affect Turkey. This refers to a probable Afghanisation of Iraq after Syria and Pakistanisation of Turkey. When will the Turks who have been bystanders to the developments so far wake up to the realities?....


The government argued that the word is unique to Islam, and restricted its use to Muslims. This goes against the established fact that non-Muslims have used the word “Allah” since time immemorial in the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world. Few were surprised by the ruling. Christians and other minorities in Malaysia knew that the issue was not really about the usage of the word “Allah,” but rather a show of political force about who really rules the country…..


Islam, Iraq and Syria: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Declares Himself Leader Of All Muslims—Who Don’t Buy It

A mix of ruthlessness, astute publicity and clever tactics has allowed SIC to punch above its strength, estimated anywhere between 7,000-20,000 fighters. Its expansion in both Iraq and Syria has followed a pattern. Potential allies such as tribal groups and local militias are wooed with cash, guns and promises. Leaders who resist pledging allegiance, as well as allies who have served their purpose, are then targeted for assassination……


"The interior ministry is reinforcing the Zawiyah to eliminate Wahabism,” he says. “Thanks be to God, the Sufis are strong here.” Morocco’s Sufi revival is likely to mean Sufis will play a growing role not only in national political life, but also as a tool for furthering Morocco’s regional, and even international, influence……

Is the term 'state' intrinsically secular? Does it require a parliament, a capitalist economic model and every political structure mimicking a modern nation state? Well, no. The error of making a distinction between a Caliphate and an Islamic State, is quite frankly, odd. A Caliphate and an Islamic State are synonymous terms. The only difference is the former is the given name of the state and the latter being its ideology. When referring to Caliphates of the past it would be hugely inaccurate to disregard them as examples of states due to the lack of modern governmental trappings……


Let the Arab People Decide Their Destiny
Dr Ahmad M Zaidan

The colonial powers and their stooges, who are still influential in the region, had two objectives: to suppress the Sunni majority, which was regarded as a remnant of the Ottoman empire and, therefore, liable to be punished and declared rogue; and the vacuum created by the abolition of the old system to be filled by a new elite loyal to the new system and its masters. This preface is important in order to understand the current Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia and had a snowball effect, which is still being felt. This can be blamed on the dysfunctional system imposed on the Arab people.....


In Afghanistan, Danger of another ‘Caliph’ Looms Large
Mansoor Jafar

The second-attempt victory of Ashraf Ghani in the Afghan presidential election reminds me of the post-Saddam era in Iraq when a foreign qualified and self-exiled Nouri al-Maliki took the reins of power with pomp and circumstance. Interesting commonality between the Afghan president-elect and Nouri al-Maliki has alarmed many political commentators. Foreign qualified Nouri al-Maliki also returned to Iraq from self-exile after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that overthrew Saddam Hussein and his party Dawah soon emerged as a major political force - with Maliki among its vanguard…….

Will ISIS Unite Tehran and Riyadh?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Some may think that Saudi Arabia does not have the upper hand or the ability to propose a new regional system in the region because it is itself threatened by ISIS from its Iraqi and Yemeni borders. This is not true! ISIS and the other extremist Islamist parties are only capable of destroying areas where there are political vacuums or exhausted by military rivalries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Sunni provinces in Iraq. After all, ISIS is an organization used to spread chaos and deepen crises. It can threaten Saudi Arabia’s domestic security, as al-Qaeda did before, but it’s not capable of threatening the state itself......


Pakistan: Final Shape of Allama Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan’s Revolutions
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

It’s to be seen to what extent Tahirul Qadri can demonstrate the power to bring about the Revolution. The biggest threat before Tahirul Qadri is the injured terrorists thirsty for revenge than the Federal or Punjab government that can target any public rally to take revenge. Tahirul Qadri has a tough stance vis-à-vis such miscreants having issued a comprehensive fatwa against suicide bombings some time ago. After that terrorists do not have any soft corner for him. Another reason for the terrorists’ aversion to Tahirul Qadri is his inclination towards the army and Tahirul Qadris’ organization, Pakistan Awami Tehreek is the only party that has organised rallies in support of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan.


Political Islam: Why Militants Now Symbolise Muslims
Anwar Iqbal

As the war in Afghanistan grew in intensity and the Soviet occupation forces made it obvious they had come to stay, Washington and its allies began to search for an ideology to counter the communism that the Soviets had brought with them to Afghanistan. They did not have to look far. Political Islam was the ideology they needed, and madrasas provided them with thousands of volunteers willing to die for their faith…….


Arab Spring, Jihad Summer
Pepe Escobar

"To be or not to be" is so … metaphysically outdated. IS is - and here it is - in full audio glory. And we're talking about the full package - Caliph included: "the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn 'Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn 'Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra'i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship" or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.......


While Endless Suffering and Misery Have Been the Bane of Muslim Lands for Decades, This Year Is Truly Turning Out To Be Annus Horribilis
Aijaz Zaka Syed

UN Assistant Secretary General Kyung-Wha Kang who visited soon after was shaken by what she saw in Myanmar’s Rohingya camps. "In Rakhine, I witnessed a level of human suffering in IDP (internally displaced person) camps that I have personally never seen before, with men, women, and children living in appalling conditions with severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, both in camps and isolated villages," Kang said ….


Hard As It May Be On the Poor Muslims of Xinjiang, This Ban on Fasting May Not Bring a Break-Up between Pakistan and China
Rafia Zakaria

According to a Pew Research Centre survey done just last year, the only country that loves China more than China itself, is Pakistan. Now, suddenly, there is news that threatens to fray these bonds of affection. According to news reports, the Chinese Communist Party which has long placed restrictions on fasting in the Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang has issued a ban on fasting. A Government website announced that all teachers, all students, and all civil servants would be banned from fasting in the month of Ramazan......

The Tragedy of the Arabs

Islam, or at least modern reinterpretations of it, is at the core of some of the Arabs’ deep troubles. The faith’s claim, promoted by many of its leading lights, to combine spiritual and earthly authority, with no separation of mosque and state, has stunted the development of independent political institutions. A militant minority of Muslims are caught up in a search for legitimacy through ever more fanatical interpretations of the Koran. Other Muslims, threatened by militia violence and civil war, have sought refuge in their sect. .....

Ramadan, Beijing Style

Though concentrated in western China, Islam is practiced across the country, with more than 23m adherents. Having spread to China along land and sea trade routes as early as the 7th century, Islam is embedded in Chinese history and society. Beijing alone has an estimated population of 250,000 Muslims, most classified by state demographers as Hui but who, apart from religious belief, are largely indistinguishable from the majority Han Chinese population. Islam in China tends to be practiced with broad flexibility……


Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, has just begun — but a number of China’s 23 million Muslims won’t be allowed to participate in the daily fast that is so central to the holiday, and in some cases are even barred from entering mosques. Authorities in Xinjiang, a largely Muslim semi-autonomous region in China’s northwest, have sharply limited Ramadan observance for Muslim students, teachers, and civil servants, who are now prohibited from “fasting and other religious activities.” “China has taken draconian steps to smother Islam as a means of subordinating Uighur nationalist sentiment”….

The Principle of Survival Defines the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

There is no single thread that explains the turbulent Middle East today, no single map being redrawn, no one dominant force that motivates the actions of hundreds of millions of agitated people. The drivers that make individuals behave in certain ways are multiple and fluid – including economic needs, social stresses, sectarian fears, nationalist aspirations, material greed, religious protective actions, anti-colonial and anti-occupation resistance and others……


World Is Wrestling With A Variety of Events, All Classed Under the Name of Islam
Ooi Kee Beng

Given the hierarchic and caste-based nature of the many ancient Indic kingdoms that dotted the archipelago, Islam came as a liberating ideology for the lower classes. This democratization of religious consciousness did not go very far, and traditional authoritarian structures of power did in fact prevail. The nine sultans in Malaysia and the Brunei Sultanate are a case in point. Culturally, however, a sense of Islamic cosmopolitanism, inclusiveness and liberation was enhanced over time. Such had been the peaceful historical nature of Islam in Southeast Asia…..

In Other Parts of the Muslim World, Religion and Politics Just Might Be Working
Jonathan Steele

Mustapha al-Khalfi, minister of communications, says that four factors explain Morocco’s stability: political pluralism and the wisdom of the mainstream parties in refusing to join revolutionary movements; the effectiveness of civil society; the consensus behind a road map for reform via the new constitution; and the central role of the monarchy in leading the reforms.  “We’re not here to challenge his Majesty but to work under his leadership in co-operation with others.  We’re not going to succeed unless we do it in a gradual manner. The monarchy is not the problem.  It’s the solution,”….


The Arab Millennials Will Be Back
Juan Cole

Over the next two or three decades, as they come into their own politically, expect big changes in the region.  Someday, there will undoubtedly be an Arab Summer and the youth of this era will be honored for what they did against all odds.  Mubarak’s hired thugs attempted to ride them down with camels.  That regime isn't there anymore and the Millennials are biding their time.  We haven't heard the last of their generation......


Simple answer; the embrace of Wahabism in Malaysia is a source of radicalisation among Muslims here. In 2001, the PBS news programme Frontline noted that Saudi Government has been franchising Wahabism all over the globe; disguising their operation by funding charity work, education and religious institution....


The Negative Results of Envero-Islamism in Turkish Foreign Policy
Ihsan Yilmaz

The results clearly show that Turkey must jettison the Envero-Islamist foreign policy and return to its soft-power diplomacy, which enables Turkey to talk to everyone in the region and to act as an impartial referee. ....


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