Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Pakistan Is Getting Ready For “Real” Islam after a Taliban Takeover
Khaled Ahmed

This is not the only act of sucking up to the killers. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which “advises” the state on how to implement true Islam, has dropped a new “anticipatory” bombshell on March 10, declaring Section 6 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance (1961) as violative of the Sharia. It decreed that a husband did not require permission from the first wife for his second marriage....


Islamic Democracy: Corrupt and Undemocratic
Burak Bekdil

The Arab Spring did not blossom (or fade) because of Turkey’s Islamic democracy. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s short-lived popularity on the Arab Street was not because Arabs envied Turkey’s Islamic democracy; but because they embraced his love affair with Hamas and accompanying hatred of Israel. None of which has sufficed to keep the Turkish model afloat…….


If the China-Arab Expo can bridge differences between China and the Arab and Muslim countries it does business with, and achieve prosperity for all, then there's no reason to exclude Uyghur participation in the China-Eurasia Expo, Silk Road project, and China's broader economic outreach to Muslim countries.……


Leasing out Pakistan
Najam Sethi

But after we discovered that the cause of the sudden reversal in the fortunes of the rupee was due to an uplifting shot in the arm of the State Bank, we were told not to ask about the “friendly” source and amount of funds. Then, after we found out about the donor, we were told that the Saudi “donation” was a measure of the personal relationship between our prime minister and the Saudi monarch. That is when our happy surprise turned to suspicious incredulity and the game became crystal clear……


Saudi Chameleon: What Next, Jihad in Crimea?
Pepe Escobar

The House of Saud may be up to something in Crimea. Let’s pivot back to the desert to see how that could possibly be accomplished. A week ago, Minister of Information and Culture Abdelaziz Khoja proclaimed that the House of Saud “renews its firm position condemning terrorism in all its forms.” That was the preamble to ask all Saudi nationals, jihadists or otherwise, to abandon Syria. They were committing a crime, Saudi King Abdullah, ever closer to meeting his maker, decreed….


Saudi-Pakistan Threat to India
Tufail Ahmad

Saudi Arabia propped up Jihadi groups and fundamentalist Sunni madrasas, which are the sole reason for the Shia genocide now unfolding in Pakistan. As the Saudis armed the Sunni militant groups, Iran backed Shia groups in Pakistan. Second, Pakistani Taliban militants are now present in Syria, fighting to overthrow the al-Assad regime. These militants will someday return to Pakistan, further drowning the country into jihadism….


Real Democrats Cannot Politicise Islam
Begüm Burak

Political Islam simply means the use of religion for political purposes. Political Islam not only harms Islam but also undermines democracy. What we witness in today’s Turkey is how the reluctant coupling of political Islam and democracy weakens rule of law and paralyzes the notion of separation of powers…..

Pakistan’s Culture Wars
Bina Shah

Two wars are being fought in Pakistan: a military one against the violence of religious extremists and a psychological and emotional one to resist a more insidious change in society itself— the growth of intolerance, a drift toward the right and a decline in room for cultural, religious, ethnic or social diversity. ....

Velvet revolutions are desirable, but a revolution, by its nature, is an extreme solution to an extreme situation. Revolutions often turn violent, igniting civil wars and attracting extremism – whether in individuals, ideologies or agendas – overwhelming moderate voices, the voices of reason. This is our story in Syria today......


What possibilities exist to reconcile these incongruities? Home-grown terror? How do far-right outfits, such as the English Defence League, and Muslim extremists in Britain deepen the divide? And why did British minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi famously point out that prejudice against Muslims had passed “the dinner-table test” to become socially acceptable in the UK?...


Challenges Ahead For Moderate Islam
Farish Noor

…the coming elections in Indonesia will serve as a useful barometer of public sentiment and Muslim sensibilities, and so once again, I state the obvious: Indonesia's coming elections are important not only for that country, but for the region and the Muslim world as well....

How the World Has Failed Syria
Octavia Nasr

Cowardice must be the headline. Everyone is coward except the victims. Start with the cowardice of a regime that prefers to see its nation destroyed and burned to the ground, useless, deserted except for ghosts. A regime that will stop at nothing to remain in power, even if all what is left is power over bodies and body parts....


Bangladesh: Does Freedom Of Expression Guarantee Freedom?
Taj Hashmi

There is nothing permanent about the global index of democracy and freedom. A democratic country with maximum rights, privileges and freedom can turn authoritarian, and vice versa. Bangladesh also experiences relatively more or less democracy and freedom, from time to time. Democracy and freedom in Bangladesh during the last five years are going through periods of crises and uncertainties......


A Syrian Reflection in Many Arab States
Rami G. Khouri

Perhaps one reason why Arab host countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq keep their borders open is that these countries have all experienced the pain of conflicts that sent many of their own citizens fleeing for shelter in neighbouring lands. So we should keep in mind that what is happening in Syria, terrible as it is, should not be seen as an aberration in modern Arab history, but rather represents perhaps the culminating chaos of that history. Syria once referred to itself as “the throbbing heart of Arabism.”....


The story of Asmaa and Berkin reflects Erdoğan’s strong bond with the Muslim Brotherhood
Burak Bekdil

It is too obvious that Mr. Erdoğan feels a much stronger bond with an Egyptian family than a Turkish one over the loss of their children simply because the Egyptian family is from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian next of kin for Mr. Erdoğan and his fellow Islamists. Asmaa had lost her live for the “cause,” i.e., Islamism. Berkin had not. Asmaa’s killers are Mr. Erdoğan’s enemies across the Mediterranean Sea. Berkin’s killers are Mr. Erdoğan’s heroes…..


Political Justice in Turkey
Yusuf Kanli

Turkey is experiencing, once again, some very interesting days. The doors of the Silivri concentration camp were opened, this time to release people confined behind bars for years, without a final verdict declaring them guilty of any crime. They were sentenced with some stuff crafted and concocted at the “Centre for Excellence in Fabricating Evidence,” but they were deprived of the right to appeal, as the reasoning of the verdict was not written by the now officially dissolved “Court with Extraordinary Powers.”…


Libya’s Widening Gap between Politics and the People
Amanda Kadlec

Yet it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when things began to sour. From the outset, the nascent state certainly had its work cut out; a dark dictatorial legacy, deconstructed state institutions, and hundreds of unfettered militias presented inordinate challenges. In late February, Libyans marked the anniversary of the uprisings that initiated the new national narrative just over three years ago. But a darker mood eclipsed the atmosphere of hope that until recently managed to pervade negative perceptions of where Libya was heading….


The End of a ‘Dark Era’
Mustafa Akyol

The terrible fact is that when one “dark era” ends in Turkey, another one begins, while only the victims change, or even change places. The underlying problem is our commonly paranoid, power-hungry and self-righteous political mindset, which cannot find ease without designating some as “traitors” and “enemies within.” Thus we will not find a national peace of mind unless we accept all groups as equally legitimate and agree on a liberal social contract…..


Al-Bakistan, the Arabised version of Pakistan
Dr Tariq Rahman

Jinnah felt that if there was the notion of ‘Pak’ (pure), there would also be ‘Napak’ (impure). He expressed his irritation by calling Pakistan a ‘bad name’ and said: ‘give a dog a bad name and then hang it’. However, his colleagues pointed out to him that the Congress press had gone to town with the name and it would be best to own it now. Reluctantly, Jinnah accepted the name ‘Pakistan’ for the new country.....


Tears of Yarmouk: the Palestinian Lesson for Every Syrian
Ramzy Baroud

In the early days of the Syrian uprising-turned civil war three years ago, the writing on the wall of it becoming an intricate regional and international conflict was there for all to see. Palestinians in Syria were likely to find themselves a pawn in a dirty war, but few could have predicted the magnitude of the crisis, and perhaps, few cared.....


Tiny Qatar has always liked to be different. And its immense wealth, which comes from its deposits of natural gas, has given it the courage to continue being different and not depend on anyone economically. But now its strong and continued support of the Muslim Brotherhood caused a break with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council …..


Egypt and Gaza: a brewing crisis between post-Morsi Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza that can easily explode any time soon
Nervana Mahmoud

Will the Islamic movement sit idly by while watching the Egyptian authorities slowly suffocating its lifeline? Of course not, but what can Hamas do to force the Egyptian authorities to change their minds?....


When Corpses Rule the Arab World
Rami G. Khouri

So Bouteflika will win despite the protests against his candidacy, and will serve another term, or as much of it as his frail health permits. But he will remain a sad symbol of the inability of Arab old men with guns to come to terms with their people’s desire to live with dignity and full rights as citizens…..


Hizmet, Politics and Political Parties
Ihsan Yilmaz

The Hizmet movement is well aware that one of the most critical duties for Muslims is “Amr Bil Ma'ruf Wa Nahy An Al Munkar” or “encouraging good and deterring from evil.” The Hizmet movement is aware that this principle has aspects to it that inherently include and involve both society and the political arena, and thus as a civil society organization -- within the framework of rights conveyed onto it by democracy and the law…

Pakistan Heading Towards Theocracy
Ch Shoaib Saleem

Most of the time I stand aghast at the sight of weird Maulvis appearing on various TV channels and presenting absurd and whimsical interpretation of Sharia and the stuff which is more likely to make them stakeholders of the state. Putting an air of arrogance and self-righteousness, they would justify themselves in the name of religion no matter how flawed and unfounded excuses they would advance during the discussions…..

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