Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Syria: From the Front Page to the Abyss
Joost Lagendijk

Driven by a mix of despair and nostalgia, Long glorifies the Spanish Civil War, in which anti-fascist writers and intellectuals such as George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway not only wrote about the defining moment in European history but actually travelled to Spain to help the rebels….


Afghanistan's Fleeting 'Camelot' Moment
Helena Malikyar

Preliminary tallying has confirmed a slight move away from ethnic politics. Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, received a percentage of votes from the northern mostly non-Pashtun provinces. Abdullah attracted voters from the south and the east, the so-called Pashtun belt, even though he is considered a leader of the Tajiks…..


Israel Shows Zionism’s True Colours
Rami G. Khouri

The consequence of trying to create a Jewish state in such an environment is that those millions of people who are not Jewish either have to be isolated and penned into restricted zones of residence, work and travel, according to apartheid-like rules, or else detached from their non-Jewish compatriots and enticed into the Zionist endeavour. The latter is what happened to the Druze population in Israel…


The Saudi-Brotherhood Divide
Caryle Murphy

The Brotherhood’s origins in the kingdom go back to the 1950s and 1960s when the monarchy welcomed members being persecuted by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab leaders. Although not permitted to formally organize, they flourished in a spiritual environment congenial to their Islamic ideology. They also found jobs in the expanding Saudi bureaucracy and raised funds for their work.....


Lebanon’s Sufi Orders Threatened by Rise in Salafism
Haytham Mouzahem

Were it not for some news reports on Sufi ceremonies and video clips on YouTube depicting remembrance sessions and spiritual dances, one would almost think that Sufi orders are completely absent in Lebanon. This comes in light of the media, political and military dominance of fundamentalist Salafist currents on the religious scene in Lebanon……


No Honour for a Career of Hate, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Amina Wadud

Most of the resistance to her, as a public figure, comes because of her own categorical statements against Islam. Not only does she choose to be an atheist, but she lambasts those who do not make her same choice. Her sweeping statements are meant to galvanize support against the Islam she has suffered from both as a child in a conservative family and as colleague of a brutally murdered film maker…..


Another ‘Sham’ Election Is Over, So What Now For Algeria?
Robert Fisk

In Algeria, politics is theatre, blood is real. You may joke about Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s re-election for a fourth-term presidency – sick, wheel-chaired, 77 years old – with 81.5 per cent of the vote, but you cannot doubt the ambush and killing of 14 Algerian soldiers at Iboudarene….


Presidential Elections and Kurds
Nuray Mert

Turkey failed to see the risks of replacing “military hegemony over civil politics” with that of civil political hegemony over society. It is assumed that the empowerment of civil politics will automatically lead to democratization. Now, we should not fail to see the risks of replacing a centralized authoritarian political system with decentralised authoritarian and corrupt politics by assuming that decentralisation automatically leads to democratisation….


The Unbearable Weight of Politics
Taha Akyol

….Yeni Şafak, referred to the battle between the government and the Gülen community as “a state of madness.” Noting that political and religious concepts were interfering in this fight, he emphasized that attributing religious features to “this extremely political” clash was, more than anything else, disrespectful to religion…….


Voting against the Taliban: Free Elections in Afghanistan Mark the Beginning of an Arduous Road to Peace
Khaled Ahmed

I was wrong. The Afghans went and voted, not along ethnic lines, but as a nation opposed to the Taliban (read: Pakistan) and ready to make sacrifices for peace under a political order bequeathed to them by a UN-sanctioned international force....


Democracy after America: War, Islamism and Elections in Iraq and Afghanistan
James Bradbury

The idea of terrorism always consists in a rejection of politics; in the Islamic context in particular, terrorism is conceived in opposition to political Islam. Concurrent with (infuriating) Western arguments over whether the Middle East is “not yet ready” or even “culturally incompatible” with democracy are lively debates between and among Islamist movements over the role that democracy can play in achieving Islamic government….


Recent months have brought Islamabad a flurry of visits from leaders of Sunni gulf nations, prompting many observers to question just what Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might be getting the already embattled country into....


Today's Non-Muslims Are Members of the Gülen Movement
Orhan Kemal Cengiz

In fact, we can say that everyone in Turkey has felt and most probably will continue to feel like non-Muslims. Kurds, socialists, Alevis and devout Muslims have all played the role of non-Muslims in Turkey. However, if you ask me, today's non-Muslims are unmistakably members of Gülen movement……


A New Afghanistan: There Is a Hope that it’s Political and Security Dispensation Will Not Crumble In The Face Of Obscurantist Jihadists
Imtiaz Gul

The unusually big turn-out clearly underscored a thumping rejection of: a) violence, mounted by the Taliban since 2001, b) President Hamid Karzai’s legacy (Zalmay Rassoul), and c) leaders whose past is either stained with blood or the flag-bearers of the Salafi brand of Islam personified by Professor Sayyaf…..


Why the Israeli-Palestinian Talks Fail
Rami G. Khouri

Patient, serious diplomacy appears to be bearing fruit in many places simultaneously this week, except in the Israel-Palestine talks that have gone on for two decades since the 1993 Oslo peace accords. It is worth exploring why this is so.....


Some Myths about Muslims
Nivedita Menon

Western and the Indian media share certain basic biases, many people end up believing in a range of myths about the adherents of the world’s second largest religion. This is a quick attempt at exposing those myths. Myth: ‘Muslim’ countries are never secular. Muslims do not tolerate minorities in ‘their’ countries but demand minority rights in other countries.....

A New Muslim Renaissance Is Here: American Muslims Are Poised To Become Mainstream Leaders and Influencers
Rabia Chaudry

And it’s no small irony that while historians bemoan conquest and Western colonialism as the death knell for Islam’s “Golden Age”, this new Muslim renaissance is growing out of the West itself…..

Did Pakistan Cause Afghanistan's Lack of Economic Development?
Murtaza Haider

Afghanistan has a long history of dependence on foreign aid. In fact, Afghanistan’s first five-year development plan for 1957/58 to 1961/62 relied on foreign sources for 75 per cent of the capital requirements. The reliance on foreign sources for capital declined to 64.4 per cent in the second five-year development plan and to 47.2 per cent in the third five-year development plan....


From Istanbul to Islamabad the Liberal Mode Is On the Retreat
M Saeed Khalid

From Istanbul to Islamabad, and maybe beyond, the liberal mode is on the retreat in varying degrees. The western profit-seeking corporate model is fine but the western values of freedom, tolerance and rule of law are under attack......


Has Erdogan Gone From Model Middle East 'Strongman' To Tin-Pot Dictator?
Robert Fisk

Recep Tayyip Erdogan used to be one of Barack Obama's cuddliest allies. Religious but secular, powerful but democratic, independent but a reliable NATO chum…..


US-Saudi Rift: What Are The Issues That Have Put Considerable Strain On A Relationship Forged Over Many Decades?
S P Seth

It is an open secret that relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s important strategic allies in the Middle East, have been frayed for some years. Indeed, Riyadh has been quite unhappy about aspects of the US’s policy and lets it be known without mincing words....


For Meaningful Peace, We Must Build Civil Society, Establish Rule of Law, Separate Religion and Government, Secure Freedom of Thought and Belief, and Expose Human-Rights Violations

Peace is a state desired not only on a personal level but also on national level and in relationships between nations. Yet it continues to elude at all levels. On a very general level it may be defined as, 'freedom from disturbance; tranquility.' Yet, how many of us, at an individual level, have 'complete' peace? Not many, is my bet…..


Islamic parties may not be in terminal decline as many have predicted and they are likely to have a little more clout in the next government than they did in the previous one.  But these results have been greeted more with relief than elation in Islamic parties and questions remain about their longer-term competitiveness, particularly if, as seems likely…


Central African Republic:  Wronged By Colonial Mindset
Harun Yahya

The UN estimates that more than 1,000 people were killed in December alone and almost a quarter of the population has now been displaced due to the conflict. The Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui has seen its Muslim population drop from 130,000 to under 1,000 over the past few months. Out of the capital’s 36 mosques, just eight are left and out of the 375 mosques across the country, 118 have been destroyed…..


Pakistan at a Decisive Crossroad: Taliban, Pakistan Army and Nawaz Sharif Government at Loggerheads While Engaged In Peace Talks
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

If we take cognizance of the daily activities, official statements, publications, speeches and pronouncements of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), they will honestly tell us what plans they have devised to achieve their objectives ranging from an armed Jihad in Pakistan to the elimination of the religious minorities from the region. ... Just a cursory glance at Taliban website “Umar Media” will patently reveal what the real Taliban stand for and what are their true views on the Pakistani state, army and security agencies. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan calls the Pak (pure) or Pakistan army as “Napak (impure) army” and openly acknowledges responsibility for all the atrocities that have been perpetrated against the Pakistani army during the last few years. .....


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