Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Iran’s Role in the Middle East Grows
Rami G. Khouri

The heartland of political violence has been the vast area covering Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, which effectively has become a single operational arena in terms of the ease of movement of fighters and weapons for those who do battle around here……


What Do The Arab People Want?
Khaled Almaeena

Sadly, they did not adopt the right approach and they resorted to force to change the domestic status quo. Thus we witnessed coups and counter coups throughout the 1950s and 60s. Many were bloody. While Egypt had relative stability after the revolution in 1953, self-appointed saviors of the Arab world and “liberators of Palestine” popped up in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Their misadventures caused Arabs a lot of hardship……


Failed Democracy and the Soma Tragedy
Nuray Mert

Some of the most shining examples of post-Cold War “economic miracles” are also examples of “social misery” and “political malady,” from major China to minor Singapore. The most recent election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India is another bad omen for the global retreat from democracy, another promise for an economic miracle at the expense of social misery.…...


Muslims Must Fix Boko Haram
Mike Ghouse

Poor religion has been an easy target of blame for the evils men do, as if it is a tangible being that can be beat up, butchered, buried, and put to rest. Blaming religions does not do any good; it's like barking at the wrong tree; but getting to the individuals and having a conversation with them increases the chance of building cohesive societies……

A Secularism Gone To the Moths
Saba Naqvi

A cold, calculated round of bloodletting that involved children being shot dead should have been a sobering moment for India, since presumably we are human beings before we split into Hindu and Muslim. Yet a day later, the nation’s PM-in-waiting travelled to another state that borders Bangladesh and has a large Muslim population. In West Bengal, Narendra Modi declared that worshippers of Durga are welcome to Hindustan and they will stay here. But the “infiltrators” would be deported. The same day, his most loyal deputy Amit Shah travelled to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, which has a large Muslim population, and described it as a “base of terrorists”....

"What's important is that our behavior is Islamic and by that I mean upholding justice, rule of law, defending ordinary citizens' rights, welfare, health, stability—all that is in line with Islam," said Said Aqil Siradj, the head of NU. "We don't need an Islamic country or Islamic parties to do that."……


Israel and Palestine: Two States and the Extra Step
John Bell

The lessons for the future may come from an unusual place:  current reality. The "facts on the ground" in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (over half a million settlers), the impossible Israeli political system, the deep demands of the Palestinians, and the unravelling of the Arab world may all have something to tell us......


The Muslim Brotherhood’s Anger at Sisi’s Piousness
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Sisi certainly struck a chord and made the Brotherhood lose their temper and he competed with them by talking about his vision of religion. Until recently, the Brotherhood were accusing him of being against Islam and Muslims. Sisi succeeded at the test of faith, and the Brotherhood’s confusion stood out from their contradiction. Are they accusing him of fighting Islam or of using it? Religion is, after all, the only political card that was actually winning…..


The Untold Story of Yemen
Ramzy Baroud

In fact, little was known about Yemen in the West before October 2000, when U.S. naval vessel U.S.S Cole was damaged in a suicide attack, killing 17 U.S. military men. The attack was later blamed on al-Qaeda, paving the way for the opportune narrative, which continues to define U.S. involvement in Yemen until this day. The U.S. “war on terror” had in fact reached Yemen even before the war in Iraq was unleashed a few years later….


Lessons from Arab Spring Go Unheeded By Political Islam
William Leong Jee Keen

By successfully incorporating religious claims within their agenda, these movements were able to launch powerful critiques against those regimes that were undergoing a growing legitimacy crisis. They were also able to derive support from large segments of society that were frustrated with the corruption, authoritarianism and patronage of those existing regimes. As protest movements, these Islamist parties never felt the need to develop habits of negotiation and compromise ……


Democracy and Religion: No Organised Religion Should Stand As an Obstacle to Democratic Realisation or Present Itself as an Excuse for Its Delay
Saad Hafiz

Democracy is an institution that enshrines universal human rights and the principle of equality within it, based on reason and common sense. There is no alternative to democracy. All nations should move towards it. No culture or tradition nor any organised religion should stand as an obstacle to its realisation or present itself as an excuse for its delay. There are no variations in democracy when it comes to upholding basic human rights and defending it for the wellbeing of the people.....

“Sisi is personally interested in ‘true Islam’ and ‘correct Islam’ and undermining the Islamist movements,” said Ashraf al-Sherif, a lecturer in political science at the American University in Cairo. “It’s part of his personal mission.”….


After the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, a debate raged among Egyptians and Tunisians over the very nature of their societies. How much of the ongoing “Islamisation” was imposed and manufactured, and how much of it was an “authentic” representation of society? Without the stifling yoke of dictatorship, some reasoned, Arabs would finally be able to express their true sentiments without fear of persecution. The ensuing—and increasingly charged—debate over the role of religion in public life put Western analysts and policymakers in the uncomfortable position of having to prioritize some values they hold dear over others…..

The Random Muslim Scare Story Generator: Separating Fact from Fiction
Nesrine Malik

In Britain, there is now a cycle of Islamic scare stories so regular that it is almost comforting, like the changing of the seasons. Sadly, this rotation is not as natural, or as benign, although it is beginning to feel just as inevitable. We had the Niqab winter last year, as the country lurched into the Niqab debate for the second time in three years. Now we are in the spring of Halal slaughter....


Turkey is not North Korea – nor Syria, nor Egypt
Burak Bekdil

The truth is, a country does not become a first-class democracy just because its foreign minister publicly states twice a week that it is not a second-class democracy. That’s not really a sign of self-confidence, a quality which, this columnist knows, Mr. Davutoğlu strongly urges every Turk to possess.  Self-confidence is good. One of the traits that proves this is the virtue not to take accusations too seriously. Another, perhaps, is to avoid laughable propaganda. ….


The Muslim League and Pakistan
Yaqoob Khan Bangash

A strong party structure was important to function in a democratic setup post-independence, but over dependency on one ‘charismatic leader,’ i.e. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, made the whole state machinery lopsided…..


Despite A Bleak Arab Spring, the Youth Still Have Time
H.A. Hellyer

It is not simply that we believe the revolutions “failed” – it is that we begin to question whether or not they were a good idea in the first place. Some of the more honest do not obscure their real beliefs – perhaps what they believed all along – that, indeed, the revolutions were an awful idea It is an attractive idea. Looking throughout the Arab world, the situation appears far bleaker…..


PPP: The USA Is Our Faith; Double-Speak Is Our Politics; Corruption Is Our Economy; All Power to the Robber Barons
Farooq Sulehria

True, under Benazir the PPP affiliated itself with Socialist International. But in the late 1970s, many populist parties in Latin America also joined the house of ideological corruption called the Socialist International. It is fashionable nowadays to blame Asif Zardari. In fact, long before Zardari’s rise, the PPP’s founding principles had become: The USA is our faith; Double-speak is our politics; Corruption is our economy; All power to the robber barons......


The Quaid's Concept of Pakistan
Dr Majid Nizami

“The drama of power politics that is being staged in Palestine, Indonesia and Kashmir should serve as an eye opener to us. It is only by putting up a united front that we can make our voice felt in the counsels of the world.”.....


Slowly But Surely the Violent Islamists Are Pushing Pakistan towards the Brink
Amir Zia

Slowly but surely the violent non-state actors are pushing Pakistan towards the brink. Little by little we are witnessing the state’s writ being eroded. Gradually Pakistani society’s descend into lawlessness is gaining momentum. And step by step Pakistan’s status as an internationally pariah state is being paved and cemented.....


Attack on Pakistani Journalist Hamid Mir: Good Days for Self-Styled Agitators
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

Taking this pathetic state of affairs into account, one can realise why a suicide bomber in Pakistan gets ready to end his own life in order to take other lives. It is quite natural and plain truth that we cannot completely agree with any media outlet or media person, rather, we sometimes strongly disagree with them. But it does not imply that we should get ready to take lives of everyone who differs from us......

Malaysia and Turkey have quite a lot in common. They are both countries where Islam is the most widely followed religion. Both countries have been held up as proof that the Muslim faith is perfectly compatible with multi-party democracy, a pro-Western foreign policy, and healthy economic growth. Last month, they signed a free trade agreement, designed to bolster an already healthy commercial relationship. Both countries are active in the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation, and they are considered as moderating influences within that body……


Parliamentary Opposition Severely Restricted In Turkey
Abdullah Bozkurt

Erdoğan, who has been more assertive in displaying his political Islamist ideology in recent years and started building a country in his own image, is now the main driver in reversing hard-earned democratic gains that this country has been able to achieve after a painstaking process and turbulent decades…….


‘My Son in Law Is a Gülenist but My Daughter Is a Muslim’
Murat Yetkin

“What do you mean? Do you mean that you don’t consider your son-in-law to be a Muslim because he is a Gülenist?” He knew that his son-in-law was a follower of U.S.-based moderate Islamist scholar Fethullah Gülen when his daughter got married. Possibly he was proud of that fact at the time, when Gülen was still a strong ally of Erdoğan. Both Erdoğan and Gülen are pious Sunni Muslims. But now because of the ongoing political conflict between them, this AK Party supporter was telling a waiting room full of men that “His son in law is a ‘Fethullahçı’ (Gülenist), but his daughter is a Muslim.”…..

Soul Searching Inside the Gülen Movement
Ahu Özyurt

Academics and former politicians inside the movement quietly tell stories of some of their brethren being seduced by promises of high level appointments and huge sums of money to defect to the AK Party lines before the elections. None of these can be confirmed of course, but these are signs of internal debate inside the movement……


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