Islam and Politics
The United Nations has called the Rohingya; a Muslim ethnic group
denied citizenship in Myanmar, the world’s most persecuted minority. John
McKissick, head of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees in the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar, near the Burmese border, said
in November that Myanmar’s government was trying to achieve an “ultimate goal
of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority.”....
After decades of warnings that the window of opportunity for two states
may be narrowing, perhaps last week we heard it finally close, not with a bang
but a whimper. We are at the intersection of a number of factors that jointly
threaten to kill the two-state solution:...
The Rohingyas are a people struck by tragedy: persecuted at home in
Myanmar, rejected or barely tolerated abroad, and sacrificed at the altar of
strategic calculations by powerful neighbours. ...
Stanley L Cohen
To make matters worse, despite its gratuitous dicta, the resolution
remains very much a toothless declaration without any enforcement mechanism
whatsoever - essentially relying upon a sudden burst of Israeli conscience to
reverse a steady march of indifference to international law that has led
Israel's way since the very first day it was manufactured from stolen land in
In addition, some analysts fear that turning the Rohingya into a
transnational Muslim cause could draw foreign jihadists of varying stripes to
Myanmar, adding terrorism to an already combustible mix and giving the Myanmar
military a convenient excuse for a draconian response. But after decades of
persecution and violence, to which the rest of the world largely responded with
a shrug, some Rohingya say an armed response is overdue.....
In 1915, Britain privately promised Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, to
support an independent Arab kingdom after the war if he would mount an Arab
revolt against the Ottoman Empire. The venerable Sharif kept his side of the
bargain but Britain did not. On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the Balfour
Declaration, pledging its support for the establishment of a national home for
the Jewish people in Palestine. So Palestine became the twice-promised land....
After the 9/11 tragedy, however, the Western political establishments
and corporate media have become a lot more circumspect, therefore this time
around, they have waged covert jihads against the Arab-nationalist Gaddafi
regime in Libya and the anti-Zionist Assad regime in Syria, in which the
Islamic jihadists have been sold as “moderate rebels,” with secular and
nationalist ambitions, to the Western audience....
Why was this unremarkable formula unsayable for so long? Because
cowardice inhabits Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah: This little diplomatic
flurry has been obscene. Kerry was honorable; Obama lacked courage. Netanyahu
dismissed the “last twitches of yesterday’s world.” It is a measure of where we
are that tomorrow’s may well be worse....
More realistic proponents of Palestinian self-determination will
immediately recognise that a half-century of the Israeli occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip is not going to be meaningfully addressed by international
meetings. Unless the conditions have first been created by the Palestinians
themselves to make those meetings productive. This could happen through
mobilising all the resources at their disposal, both inside Palestine and in
the diaspora, and by effectively mobilising all those who support their cause.
It is a tall order with no alternative...
David Scott Mathieson
Positioning the deplorable repression of the Rohingya in this broader
political context does not exculpate the state’s failure to prevent and punish
any abuses, or exonerate Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi for her seemingly tacit endorsement
of heartless official denials. But only a more calibrated understanding of the
difficulties faced by her government and Myanmar as a whole — not blanket
condemnation — stands any chance of yielding practical measures that could
alleviate the Rohingya’s suffering....
The starting point of Islamist politics was to challenge the politics
of modernity in the name of justice and dignity, but ended up producing the
worst version of modern politics. Islamists managed to challenge the power of
the secular republican system and have come close to ending it altogether in
Turkey, but only at the cost of surrendering themselves to nationalist
authoritarianism with more religious flavour...
Upward of 500,000 are dead from the war, and an untold number of
Syrians have died indirectly from the conflict (the price for destroying
hospitals, targeting health care professionals and using starvation as a
weapon). With more than two million injured, about 11.5 percent of the prewar
population have become casualties. And close to half the population of Syria is
either internally or externally displaced....
The fall of Aleppo signals the beginning of the end of the Syrian civil
war, changing the relevance of many arguments about the specifics of the Syrian
conflict. Yet, the larger lessons remain. Whether we learn them is up to us...
The sectarian rift between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and the presence
of more than a million civilians in Mosul further complicates the fight. The
mostly Sunni residents of Mosul are skeptical about the Iraqi army and the
Shiite militias that participated in sectarian atrocities in the previous
offensives on Fallujah and Ramadi. Thus, who will control and rule the city
following its liberation from ISIL is one of the most burning issues....
Dr. Maha Hosain Aziz
Back in 2014, the Buddhist extremist contingent in Myanmar and in Sri
Lanka publicly formed a global anti-Islamist pact, vowing to fight the
“jihadist threat”. The link between a religious group (Muslims) and religious
extremists (Islamist extremists) was erroneously being made as we of course
noted the rise in Buddhist extremist-led violence against Muslim minorities in
these countries and elsewhere in southern Asia. We also noted how the usual suspects–the
Pakistani Taliban, Afghan Taliban, Al Shabaab and ISIS–vowed jihad in response
to the anti-Muslim violence led by these Buddhist extremists. But there wasn’t
really any action taken–or so it seemed....
Dr Shabir Choudhry
As long as CPEC related projects are not completed and dollars are
coming in, Pakistani government, Pakistani people and even the religious
parties can ignore anti Muslim policies of China. To these people regular flow
of dollars, whether from Washington or Beijing, is more important than to speak
about anti Muslim policies....
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
As various secular and liberal political parties brace for the
UP-assembly elections, the above SC ruling has come crashing down the political
ambitions of a few newly-formed Muslim parties with soaring dreams of a
self-styled Islamic governance system. Clearly, it had to come as a shock to
the religio-politicians whose agendas are relying on the ulterior religious
motives rather than secular principles of inclusive democracy….
On September 755, Abdulrahman, the last of the Umayyad’s, fled his home
in Damascus, Syria to escape the same fate as his family, all of whom were
massacred. He was the last in his line, a Noah’s ark of a dying civilization.
His Aeneas-like departure took him to Egypt and then Morocco following his
earlier Syrian predecessor, Tariq ibn Ziyaad, who in 711 was the first Syrian
to cross the Mediterranean into Spain....
That said, it behooves everyone to understand that coexistence in one
democratic state is not a dark scenario that spells doom for the region. It is
time to abandon unattainable illusions and focus all energies to foster
coexistence based on equality and justice for all. There can be one state
between the river and the sea, and that is a democratic state for all its
people, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs....
Yasser Latif Hamdani
A confident young lawyer, who succeeded in the legal practice at a time
when the profession was dominated by British and Hindu lawyers, Jinnah, had
very little practical use for ideas of Muslim exceptionalism at that time. More importantly he saw himself as an Indian
first second and last, with the fact that he was a Muslim being entirely
incidental and largely confined to his name, which in any event he abbreviated
to M A Jinnah. Amongst his closest friends and associates, there were hardly
any Muslims in that early period. The few Muslims who did get entry into his
circle were like him, incidental Muslims. It is well known that Jinnah followed
none of the dietary prohibitions prescribed by his religion. ....
Joseph A. Kechichian
To be sure, Tunisia is not yet a beacon of democracy, but few should
dismiss how the main Islamist party, Al Nahda, won elections and, far more
important, how its leaders accepted a separation of powers between their religious
and political activities...
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Istanbul has that magnetic charm and warmth about it that makes
strangers fall in love with it and feel at home. Straddling the Bosporus
Straits, Istanbul or Constantinople does not just connect Asia and Europe and the
Black Sea and Sea of Marmara. For centuries, it has celebrated the marriage of
two great civilisations....
“Seek knowledge even if it takes you to China.” This well-known hadith
is a call for Muslims to seek knowledge even if that implied traveling to the
cradle of an ancient repository of knowledge, a great civilization like China.
For most of human history, China had been a great civilization with a rich
economy and superior technology....
Anti-terror outfits have repeatedly framed innocents. Despite that,
governments, whether Congress or BJP, keep backing these outfits — but only
when those framed are Muslim, not Hindu. Irshad Ali and Mauruf Qamar, please
Following the New Year’s Eve attack, Erdogan asked his countrymen to
remain calm. “We will retain our cool headedness as a nation, standing more
closely together, and will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said. If
only Erdogan would follow his own advice....