Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

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. ....


Three Elections, One Story
Vijay Prashad

The repression in Egypt, the war in Syria and the political suffocation in Algeria make conditions for an election impossible, with even nominal campaigning by challengers inconceivable Within a month, Algeria, Egypt and Syria held presidential elections. In all three cases, despite nominal challenges, the elections had only one candidate on the ballot….


Politically, it will be very important because it will set new manoeuvres which may present stability in the region – the role of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the political strategy of Israel will continue to enhance diplomatic interests in these three regions. When we retrospect, the coups in Egypt were started in Abdul Nasser’s reign. Gaddafi in Libya overthrew King Idris. Ali Abdullah Saleh petrified the tribes of Yemen which actually resulted in a political conundrum…..


Observers from 30 countries monitored the election and issued a statement indicating that the elections were free, fair and transparent. However, those who say that the elections were a mockery of democracy has every reason to characterize them so, because democracy requires much more than what took place last week in Syria. The US, the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declared the election illegitimate…..


Respect for state institutions holds state and society together. It also helps avoid that adversarial relationship which one finds in Pakistan between the people and government. Surprisingly, in spite of having a secular constitution, all Turkish governments have continued one vital Ottoman tradition — mosque imams are paid by the government. This has served to choke a major source of mischief and discord.....


Can Egypt rise with Sisi in Power?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Egypt’s prosperity will reflect on a region that is swamped with chaos. We don’t only blame the Brotherhood for the dire situation. Egypt was calm and stable during Mubarak’s very long time in power. It was a dormant state. Controlling the region and saving revolutions require integrated forces that have political and geographic expansion capable of providing stability. Unlike those who finance chaos in Egypt because they think this will help them prove that Sisi’s governance is a failure, Saudi Arabia and the UAE need to help Egypt succeed, not out of spite for the Brotherhood but because this serves the interest of all Arabs……


Benghazi, the CIA, and the War in Libya
Eric Draitser

From the outset of the war against Libya, the United States and its NATO allies utilized a variety of terror groups and other intelligence assets to topple the Gaddafi government. While some had been directly linked to the CIA, others were pulled from the stable of terror organizations utilized at various times by the US as Mujahideen in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and elsewhere. Essentially then, the US developed a loose network of proxies, some of which were ideologically opposed to the US and to one another, that it unleashed on Libya to do Washington’s dirty work…..


What Palestinian Unity Is All About
Ramzy Baroud

In recent weeks, the word “unity” has been used in many ways, some erroneous and others quite disingenuous. Hamas and Fatah party officials — all operating with expired mandates — have repeatedly infused a more sentimental meaning of “unity,” with few exceptions including that of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. The latter, although optimistic about the future potential of the agreement, understands that the transitional government is merely a first step in a long program aimed at the unification of the Palestinian body politic…..


Is Iraq-Syria Becoming New Af-Pak?
Serkan Demirtas

Believed to be composed of around 10,000 jihadists with some of them even coming from western countries to fight against the Iraqi army and seize control in the country’s mostly Sunni regions, the ISIL denies its affiliation with the al-Qaeda and claims to be moving independently. The ISIL has recently launched operations in different provinces of the country and yesterday seized control of Mosul, a city of Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds…..


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