Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Should Muslim Clerics Participate in Politics?
Waris Mazhari

It is true that in the movement for India’s independence a number of Ulema were deeply involved. But to use this as an argument to seek to justify a role for the Ulema in Indian politics today is not proper. Those Ulema who were involved in India’s freedom movement certainly played an extremely important role, thereby discharging their religious responsibilities. It was only the Ulema who could counter the utterly spurious ‘two-nation theory’ of the Muslim League—and that is what sections of the Indian Ulema did at that time......

Politics without the Minorities
Zoya Hasan

One of the biggest anxieties about the Modi government was its antipathy towards minorities and religious diversity. There are some who would argue that this apprehension has come true as extremist elements continue to use communal polarisation as an instrument of political mobilisation — a tendency that Mr. Modi has done little to vanquish. A series of statements by senior BJP leaders designed to aggravate communal passions in different parts of the country, especially in the poll-bound States, constitutes the centrepiece of the second narrative. Many BJP leaders are having a field day manufacturing myths and non-history to subvert the social fabric….

The Angry Youth of Kashmir Won't Accept Al-Qaeda
Soutik Biswas

"You have to understand the dynamics of militancy in Kashmir to realise that militancy cannot be sustained for long. In the early 1990s Kashmir was literally pushed into violence. And then they soon got fed up with it. Local groups passed on the baton to foreign militants during the peak of militancy, and the number of local militants went down," he says. "Al-Qaeda will not get any support here. The ground is just not fertile for them to take root." Also, the disputed region's separatists admit in private conversations that there is no place for extremist groups like a-Qaeda in Kashmir. "Their ideology," says a Kashmir-based observer, "of sectarianism and violence will never be acceptable or work in Kashmir."….

Politics of 'Love Jihad': Spreading Fear through Stereotypes
Praful Bidwai

India's Muslims and Christians feared that they would face exclusion while being asked to subordinate their religious identities to a “larger”, essentially Hindu, cultural super-identity. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat recently said that all Indians must be called Hindu just as people who live in England are called English.....


The country's Muslim leaders say they're allied with secular forces and don't need a foreign, jihadist outfit like al-Qaida to fight for them. Denouncing the creation of AQ's wing in the Indian subcontinent, clerics, progressive activists and community leaders said AQ is a terror group and can't be friends of Muslims, either in India or anywhere else."Muslims in India believe in the Constitution that guarantees freedom to preach and practise their religion. We're self-sufficient and can solve our problems within the Indian framework. We don't need AQ...

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Ayman Al-Zawahiri: A Doctor Who Joined Hands with Bin Laden

Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times

“India is our country. It is a democratic country. We have certain problems; other people also have some problems. Using the democratic system, we can solve these problems. We don't require any exhortation, advice or help from any outside source. The alleged statement of Al Qaeda is unacceptable to us,”...

Keep ‘God’ Out Of It: ‘God’ Does Not Have a ‘Party’, ‘Army’ or Spokespeople
Octavia Nasr

Hiding behind the safety of religion and relying on existing slogans and symbols known for swaying minds into brainwashed submission, evil now avoids criticism because the word “Allah” is invoked in various contexts. No, “God” does not have a “party,” “army” or “spokespeople.” If you believe that such a thing exists, then you need appropriate professional attention and serious treatment before you join us in the 21st century…..

Why Sunni Arab States Are Dragging Their Feet
Rodger Shanahan

Some states have already provided basing support and there is no doubt that some behind-the-scenes support is being provided.  But the Islamic State is a threat to the region made by the region.  A Western military coalition can halt and degrade this enemy, but it will only be defeated by a concerted regional effort that will entail a public and long-term commitment to marginalising its ideology, stopping its sources of funding and foreign fighter pipeline, isolating it from Sunni tribal support and providing a counter-narrative to its hate-filled agenda……


An Indian Perspective: How ‘Democratic’ Is Pakistan?
Sanjay Kumar

Imran Khan would like the world to believe that the upheaval in the Islamic state is a spontaneous overflow of the pent up feelings of the people of Pakistan. He would like his countrymen and the world to believe that what he is doing is in the larger interest of the country and democracy……


The Moderates, the Orthodox and the Radical Extremists
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Islam is the second largest religion in the world. It is also said to be the fastest growing. Muslims are in the majority in over 50 counties. And though Muslims are united in the core belief of One God, there are many internal differences in practices, and interpretations....

Related Articles:

Thought Control, Psychology of Totalism- A case of Wahhabi-inspired Terrorism-Part 1

Understanding Al Qaeda and the Talibani brand of cruelty: Escape from the Grand Inquisitor- Part 2

Morocco and Jordan Are Successful Arab Spring Models
Jamal Khashoggi

Dear Arab pessimist, don’t limit your observations to Iraq and Syria where there are floods of blood and hatred fragmenting both countries. Don’t limit your observation to Libya, which replaced its freedom and salvation from the dictator with chaos, conflicts and fighting between its rebels. Don’t limit your observations to Yemen, which lost its government. Look at Jordan and Morocco where there is hope and where reforms are paving the way for a better future, despite all the mayhem in the region……


Has Turkey Helped ISIL?
Emre Uslu

Turkish authorities and pro-government academics have been busy in recent days, visiting world capitals in an effort to convince them that Turkey has not provided assistance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces. This has been a nice effort, but it is far from convincing major foreign powers. Such efforts are nothing but a reflection of a state that was caught helping a brutal terror organization……

Imran Khan's Momentous Political Gamble
Nauman Sadiq, New Age Islam

Imran Khan's Momentous Political Gamble
Nauman Sadiq, New Age Islam

Before psycho-analyzing Imran Khan’s colourful personality and determining where does PTI stand in the Pakistani political spectrum- whether it’s a centre-left (liberal) or a centre-right (conservative) party - let us first draw a distinction between politics and culture. A democratic system of governance falls in the category of politics while liberalism as a value-system falls in the category of culture......

Iran and Its Sudden Defense of the Kurds
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

There has been news of Kurdish anger against Arabs and Arab governments, blaming them for the spread of ISIS. If this is true, it certainly expresses the Kurds’ ignorance of ISIS’ regional relations. Meanwhile, Iran’s rush to aid the Sunnis among Iraqi Kurds expresses Iran’s tripartite strategy towards Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Tehran wants to dominate the area to protect its influence in Baghdad…..


From Atatürk to Erdoğan
Mustafa Akyol

Why did Erdoğan draw this historical connection? One explanation is he had to give lip service to Atatürk, as every Turkish politician has to do, whatever his thoughts are. But still, this connection was something that went beyond lip service. Another explanation is Erdoğan turned into an “Atatürkist,” embracing all the policies and the ideological legacy of the Supreme Leader. But one must be quite naïve to think that way, because the ideological differences between Erdoğan and Atatürk are still all too obvious……


To Coup or not to Coup
Ayesha Siddiqa

The establishment and its many intellectual clients often refer to the Bangladesh model. What they often forget is that Dhaka’s political system or people’s choices did not change even with intervention. The challenges are far bigger than what some of the foreign qualified Chicago trained economists, commercial bankers or development gurus could manage to even understand. The US has some of the best universities but it has also produced experts that have often messed up with developing states rather than put things right. The question is can Pakistan afford such experimentation?...


Difference between Enemy and Combatant
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

.... the Quran distinguishes between an enemy, on the one hand, and a combatant, on the other. The Quran commands us that even if an individual or a group appears to be one’s enemy, one should still maintain good relations with them. In this way, Dawah efforts can continue in a balanced and proper manner. Obviously, then, apparent enmity must not be allowed to become a barrier in the way of interaction, because it is through interaction that Dawah efforts can continue to be made—and Dawah efforts have the power to turn even enemies into friends.....


Testing Times for Kazakhstan
Erlan Idrissov

Like Indonesia, Kazakhstan is also a place of religious tolerance and freedom. On the Great Silk Road between Asia and Europe, we have always been a meeting point of cultures, religions and civilizations. As the home of many ethnic and religious groups who live together in peace we are also as proud of our Islamic heritage as our reputation for religious freedom, tolerance and diversity....


What is an Indian Muslim?
Saif Shahin

Most Muslims turn to extremism because they see it as the “normal” or “natural” thing for a Muslim to do. They are wrong. But in suggesting that progressive Muslims’ condemnation of ISIS is not representative of the broad Indian Muslim community, we end up implying that they might be right—that extremism is indeed the norm among Muslims. Willy nilly, we start doing ISIS’s bidding……

An Islamist's Criticism of the AK Party
Ali Bulaç

It is a challenging task to elucidate the fact that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is not an Islamist party and does not pursue Islamist policies, and therefore the blame of its errors and mistakes cannot be attributed to Islam…..


Time to Face the ISIS Inside of Us
Elham Manea

ISIS "did not come from another planet," he said. "It is not a product of the infidel West or a bygone orient," he insisted. No, "the truth that we cannot deny is: ISIS learned from our schools, prayed in our mosques, listened to our media... and our religious platforms, read from our books and references, and followed Fatwas (religious edicts) we produced."….


The Caliphate Delusion: The Political Construct That Bears No Relevance in the Modern World
Ghaffar Hussain

Many of those taken in by Islamist propaganda in their youth grow up to reject it, just as most Trotskyists mature to realise a grand workers revolution won’t necessarily make the world a better place, save a small band of hard-core comrades who continue attending Socialist Worker rallies well into their 60s. I also grew up with the dawning realisation that the Islamist narrative was both historically inaccurate and politically illiterate….


From Kemalist Tutelage to Tutelage of Political Islam
Halil Bilecen

After experiencing several military coups since 1960, Turkey succeeded in reducing military tutelage of late. However, Turkey is now facing another form of tutelage: that of political Islam…..


Lahore, Ferguson and Toronto: Three Sides of the Same Coin
Murtaza Haider

The riots and looting in Ferguson (a suburb of St. Louis), which have lasted for more than a week, show that in the case that fundamental issues of social justice remain unresolved, even American cities are not impervious to riots and chaos….


Can Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE Form Arab Security Alliance?
Wael Nawara

This is a historic moment of evolution for Saudi Arabia, to discard the Sunni-Shiite division as a basis for its national identity and alliances and adopt a “citizenship” approach, more or less similar to what binds Egyptians. It was this national feeling of citizenship, rather than sectarian identification, which provided Egyptians with a sense of comradeship allowing Muslims to denounce Muslim Brotherhood attacks on Christian churches after former President Mohammed Morsi’s removal and Christians to withstand the assaults as they felt they were political in nature rather than an assault on the faith. This was the bond that, perhaps once, unified Syria, Libya, Iraq and Sudan before the sectarian division broke those countries into pieces. If Saudi Arabia can now make that paradigm shift, everything could be possible, including cooperation with Hezbollah, even Iran.……

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