Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

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……


Does Erdogan Really Want Gulen in Turkey?
Semih Idiz

Erdogan is also not 100% certain that all his deputies in parliament agree with the way he has been hounding Gulen, an imam previously much revered by all Turkish Islamists. It is therefore more than likely that Erdogan actually prefers Gulen to stay in Pennsylvania, and provide the AKP with political fodder, rather than see him come to Turkey, where he is bound to cause serious headaches for the government…..

Navigating Syria: An Impossible Mission
Ramzy Baroud

Those who cried over the victims of Israeli wars on Gaza did not seem very concerned about Palestinians starving to death in the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. Some squarely blamed the Syrian government for the siege that killed hundreds, while others blamed the rebels. Some writers even went further, blaming the residents of the camp. Somehow, the refugees were implicated in their own misery and needed to be collectively punished for showing sympathy to the Syrian opposition. The only line of logic that exists in the Yarmouk narrative, as in the Syrian story as a whole, is that there is no logic…..


Don’t Give up Gentlemen, One Day We’ll Be a Second-Class Democracy
Burak Bekdil

Less than a year after that, and only two days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “Turkey’s freedoms and democracy have advanced remarkably,” the Freedom House published its 2014 rankings and put Turkey into the “not free” category of countries, down from an earlier “partly free” class. …


Al Qaeda Hovers As Egypt Persecutes Brotherhood

The conflict in Egypt is the same as unveiled in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, a primary school teacher, who was posted near the Suez Canal: Can an Islamic society tolerate a Western style secular democracy? The Muslim Brotherhood, once the inspiration of all such fundamentalist organisations in the world, had a long walk to their version of democracy…


In Gujarat, the Media Only Speaks To Riot Victims, Not the Perpetrators
Zahir Janmohamed

The stories written by many journalists reflect their own anxieties, stereotypes and ideological leanings rather than what they have seen.


Kurds, Democrats and Leftists; A Family Saga
Nuray Mert

One does not need to be a fortune teller to foresee that the facts of Turkish politics will push the Kurds toward a very difficult situation and they will be forced to make a tragic choice. I do not know yet how things will evolve for all of the parties involved with the deal and the controversies, but polemics have already started between “the loyal supporters” of the Kurdish movement and “the sceptics.”…


What is the end game in the controversy surrounding the implementation of Hudud? No one seems to know as both PAS, which is pushing for the Islamic system of justice, and Umno, which has reacted in a manner some deem to be positive to the Islamic party's stance, have run into a brick wall with their political friends…..

Religion and Politics
Mohamed Salmawy

Religion and Politics
Mohamed Salmawy

In fact, had it not been for the advancements achieved by the Arabs your European Renaissance would never have occurred. Today, Arab societies seek to emerge from the mires of underdevelopment the ills of which they have suffered for so long. Yet you think that instead of moving forward they should turn back to the conditions of your Middle Ages which your societies boast of having conquered.”…..

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