Islam and Politics
Sarah Bin Ashoor
Bahrain has faced an analogous cycle of events: The state pursues political and economic reforms. These efforts are then hijacked by unpopular radical Shiite Islamists supported by Iran. Eventually, the state overcomes these challenges and restores stability — sometimes at the cost of initially pursued reform efforts....
Understandably, Sarat Chandra refused to take the responsibility of his and his Hindu colleagues’, literary silence about the Bengali Muslims, who constituted the majority of the Bengal population. He rather blamed the Muslims for the Hindu failure, almost the same way Tagore passed the responsibility on to the Muslim litterateurs. However, Tagore not only carried forward the Hinduised linguistic and literary tradition inaugurated by means of avoiding Muslim characters and Arabicised/Persianised words used in the Muslim society in his literary exercises, he also contributed to dividing the Bangla language on geographical line, Eastern and Western Bengal....
Religion is not meant to be – and never was – forced upon an individual against his or her own will. Unfortunately, Pakistan is facing terrorism and some Islamic fundamentalists want to impose their rigid rituals and rights on non-Muslims. The Pakistani government is in a state of confusion about whether to confront them, which could lead to even more rabid mobs in the short-term, or allow the terrorizing of innocents to continue…..
What is it about America and Bangladesh? At times one thinks they look through binoculars but forget to take the lens caps off and see only a reflection of their own geopolitical projections. Take the lens cap off, and an unexpected reality emerges that doesn’t fit the view constructed and promulgated by the Washington think tanks, which leads to much hand-wringing and nay saying….
Some sixty percent of the population is made up by ethnic Malays, who are by definition Muslim. Many of them follow the Shafi School of jurisprudence, which is one of the four main four schools of Sunni Islam (the merchants who brought Islam to Malaysia centuries ago, without any war or conquest, were apparently mostly Shafi). The rest of Malaysia is made up of Chinese, Hindu and other minorities….
Gayoom was known for opposing radical versions of Islam and Saudi influence in religion during his rule, his policy changed after pro-democracy Nasheed defeated him in the 2008 election. To snatch power from Nasheed, Gayoom expanded the opposition by roping in conservative Islamic parties and organizations.....
The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking ethnic minority who are mostly Sunni Muslim. According to the Xinjiang police, the violence was the latest example of a terrorist assault inspired by Islamist extremism and separatism. The police said the attack had been mounted by “a group of 13 terrorist suspects” established in September 2013 by Mehmut Tohti, “who started to spread religious extremism three years ago,”....
Some will find most convenient ways to explain the chaos: “East Libya is inherently unruly,” some would say; “it takes a strong leader to maintain the national cohesion of a country made of tribes, not citizens,” others would opine. But the truth is oftentimes inconvenient and requires more than mere platitudes. Libya is in a state of chaos…
The spirit of revolution soon spread to other Arab countries, albeit with less-impressive results. Libya suffered from bloody internal turmoil; Egypt reverted to brutal military rule; Syria continues to be ravaged by civil war. In Tunisia, however, the nascent democratic process has not been derailed. The country’s new Constitution — the most liberal and democratic charter the Muslim Middle East has ever seen — remains the Arab Spring’s crowning achievement to date.....
Today, we can argue that these Egyptian and Turkish examples of political Islam with their peaceful, democratic and legitimate rise to power have managed to disappoint. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt became the victim of a military coup; but any objective analysis should also accept that the MB was also the victim of its own incompetence and authoritarianism. Ideally, the party should have been punished at the polls by the Egyptian people, instead of being taken out by a military coup…..
The fractious Syrian opposition that came to Geneva does not represent the main columns of rebel fighters on the ground. These are mainly Islamists — with the al-Qaeda wing represented by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and the rest represented by the Islamic Front. They have no appetite for negotiation. Mr. Abu Omar of the Islamic Front said that Syria’s future would be created “here on the ground of heroism, and signed with blood on the frontlines, not in hollow conferences attended by those who don’t even represent themselves.”…
Dr Haider Shah
The world’s first and biggest democracies do not categorise their citizens along religious lines and hence espouse a genuine cause of equality. Our constitution’s preface, on the other hand, reads more like a short lecture in theology. The opening sentence sets the tone, “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.”...
The traditional Arab left-wing parties were as surprised as the Arab dictatorial regimes by the popular uprisings that started in late 2010 and swept over the region. Ironically, most left-wing parties were caught unprepared for what has become an important revolutionary movement in the modern history of the world. The Arab revolutions forced the Left to redefine itself and its priorities....
Rami G. Khouri
The Salafist-Takfiri groups are only the most recent players in this sad game of weak and contested statehood. They are also among the most dangerous because they perform beyond the usual realm of state-to-state or state-to-insurgency relations, where conflicts can be mitigated and cease-fires negotiated…..
Will they come together to convince the army to step in, in case the dialogue fails, resulting in sharp decline in the security situation? Or will the apologists of dialogue retrace their steps and push for army operation? Both ways, the army stands to gain. One only hopes that the apparent (Nawaz) Sharif and Sharif (Raheel) harmony does not degenerate into Sharif vs Sharif show in the days to come....
It is therefore of great significance that Saudi Arabia has shown a renewed interest in the Orient. Of particular importance are the planned visits of Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defence, to Pakistan, India and Japan later this month. The defence minister’s deputy, Prince Salman bin Sultan, had also visited Pakistan last week, demonstrating the importance of the region to Riyadh…..
“When a person cannot deceive himself, the chances are against his being able to deceive others.” This explains the situation and the outcry from AK Party opponents in Turkey after the latest polls all showed the party in the lead once again in terms of popularity….
The second demand, regarding the imposition of Sharia may include, as it did in Swat, introducing the Nizam-e-Adl. Next they can ask to have Qazi courts with only madrassa (seminary) educated Islamic scholars. They can also ask to make an Ulema (cleric) body like the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) as the supreme body instead of parliament as they do not believe in democracy and elections, which, according to the TTP and al Qaeda literature, is the “curse of the western civilization”….
Arab democrats can legitimately lament their inability to outmanoeuvre their countries’ military. The cravenness of western states aside, Arab societies have too often been pushed by their regimes into either-or choices – where it is stable autocracy versus unstable liberty; or imposed, but stable, unity versus unstable fragmentation, whether sectarian or tribal. How to escape from such desolate binaries will be the task of future generations of Arabs….
The phenomenon of kidnapping, torturing, raping and executing women is so widespread that it seems shocking even by the standards of the country’s poor human rights record of the past. If such a reality were to exist in a different political context, the global outrage would have been so profound. Some in the “liberal” western media, supposedly compelled by women’s rights would have called for some measure of humanitarian intervention, war even.…..
Rami G. Khouri
No other constitution in Western democracies, even pioneers such as those in the United States, France and Switzerland, was as ambitious as this Tunisian constitution in insisting from the start on equal rights and common values and identities for all citizens – rather than waiting a century or more to give women and minorities equal voting and other civil rights. The Tunisian constitution calls for parity for women in elected public bodies, for example, while also affirming universal freedoms and rights for all citizens, which no Western democracy did at a similar stage…..
Rabindranath Tagore was born into Brahmanism, a monotheistic belief system within the fold of traditional Hinduism. However, he was never a typical Brahma, let alone a typical Hindu. He was, as the poems of his Gitanjali and other theological writings suggest, a believer — a believer in a pervasive impersonal God, to whom he was ever ready to surrender, in his own special way. But he never believed in any religious dogma, nor was he a practising Hindu in the conventional sense. …..
...it is clear that the corruption investigations targeting the government today are composed largely of allegations surrounding the donations based on this interpretation of a religious ruling. It is quite natural that these same donations would be used to purchase newspapers and TV channels in an attempt to create a cartel….
M. Sophia Newman
So the movement won some victories, however spooky its cries for death might have been. The idea of demanding a change in Quader Mollah’s sentence was popular because it made sense: what imprisonment could possibly be enough, after a man had murdered hundreds of people and gone free for four decades? The protesters’ concerns about corruption resulting in the reversal of the sentence also reinforced their point about demanding the ultimate punishment....
Jamaat-e-Islami and its even more radical ally, Hefazat-e-Islam, a fundamentalist madrasa-based group that has campaigned to ban women's right to work, attempted to block the ICT's work physically -- and even to destroy its international credibility on the grounds that the court reserved the right to impose the death penalty. Hefazat-e-Islam, which supports execution for so-called “atheist bloggers,” apparently thinks that blogging causes greater harm than mass murder....