Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Tears of Yarmouk: the Palestinian Lesson for Every Syrian
Ramzy Baroud

In the early days of the Syrian uprising-turned civil war three years ago, the writing on the wall of it becoming an intricate regional and international conflict was there for all to see. Palestinians in Syria were likely to find themselves a pawn in a dirty war, but few could have predicted the magnitude of the crisis, and perhaps, few cared.....


Tiny Qatar has always liked to be different. And its immense wealth, which comes from its deposits of natural gas, has given it the courage to continue being different and not depend on anyone economically. But now its strong and continued support of the Muslim Brotherhood caused a break with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council …..


Egypt and Gaza: a brewing crisis between post-Morsi Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza that can easily explode any time soon
Nervana Mahmoud

Will the Islamic movement sit idly by while watching the Egyptian authorities slowly suffocating its lifeline? Of course not, but what can Hamas do to force the Egyptian authorities to change their minds?....


When Corpses Rule the Arab World
Rami G. Khouri

So Bouteflika will win despite the protests against his candidacy, and will serve another term, or as much of it as his frail health permits. But he will remain a sad symbol of the inability of Arab old men with guns to come to terms with their people’s desire to live with dignity and full rights as citizens…..


Hizmet, Politics and Political Parties
Ihsan Yilmaz

The Hizmet movement is well aware that one of the most critical duties for Muslims is “Amr Bil Ma'ruf Wa Nahy An Al Munkar” or “encouraging good and deterring from evil.” The Hizmet movement is aware that this principle has aspects to it that inherently include and involve both society and the political arena, and thus as a civil society organization -- within the framework of rights conveyed onto it by democracy and the law…

Pakistan Heading Towards Theocracy
Ch Shoaib Saleem

Most of the time I stand aghast at the sight of weird Maulvis appearing on various TV channels and presenting absurd and whimsical interpretation of Sharia and the stuff which is more likely to make them stakeholders of the state. Putting an air of arrogance and self-righteousness, they would justify themselves in the name of religion no matter how flawed and unfounded excuses they would advance during the discussions…..


Mullahs, Mullahs Everywhere
Raza Rumi

Maulana was ecstatic about the news and offered a bagful of platitudes on how important was the so-called ‘peace process’ and negotiating with the terrorists. When I asked him that despite the peace talks, outfits close to TTP had carried out dozens of attacks killing soldiers and civilians the Maulana’s mood changed. In a fit of anger he accused me of ‘sabotaging’ the process and before he could take the argument forward by calling me an agent of Hanood-Yahood, my guest – another Maulana – Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi intervened and rescued me from a live declaration of being an enemy of the peace…..


Bangabandhu's Moment in History
Syed Badrul Ahsan

At an intellectual level, the speech was a masterpiece. Within its parameters, Mujib deftly negotiated his way out of a bind, one in which he had found himself since President Yahya Khan had injudiciously deferred the scheduled March 3 meeting of the new national assembly in a broadcast on the first day of the month. Over the next few days, the feeling grew that the Bengali leader was on his way to a declaration of independence.….


Faces of Extremism in South Asia
Syed Badrul Ahsan

Such being the ground reality, it follows that religious fundamentalism, or fanaticism in plain terms, cannot but go for upward mobility. The spirit of tolerance is fast being eroded, owing to acts and behaviour that have subtly, or sometimes unwittingly, led to the growth of fundamentalism in society. And where have such acts and behaviour been perceptible?....

Pakistan’s Terror Conundrum
Sharat Sabharwal

Pakistan’s response to terrorism continues to be characterised by confusion, lack of national consensus on a way forward, lack of will and capacity to fight the menace and the consequent creeping surrender of the state to extremists and terrorists….


War Games and Warped Priorities of Pakistan
Arif Nizami

Pakistan has the highest growth rate in producing missiles and babies, but at the same time has one of the lowest economic growth rates. Our outlays on health and education as percentage of the GDP are dismal.....


New World Order: May The Maddest Man Prevail?
Octavia Nasr

Russia and Syria have no legitimacy left. What they do have is the bullying power that wreaks havoc as a world. Late to act, it finds itself unable to jump in this bloodbath and powerless in the face of suffering innocent victims….

Lessons from a Lost War
Praveen Swami

Fourteen thousand, four hundred and fifty-three other Soviet soldiers, though, came home in black, zinc coffins. Perhaps 7,000 were maimed. No one knows how many Afghans died in the war for sure; estimates run up to 1.2 million.....


These observations might seem odd given recent scholarship on the links between poverty, state oppression, and support for militant Islam.  Survey experiments in Pakistan by Blair et al and Fair et al have shown that individuals who feel impoverished are less likely to be supportive of violent Islamic groups because they know that they will bear the brunt of the negative consequences of living in a violent environment.  Post-Soviet Central Asia is no exception to this general pattern….

If the game of governance is only to be played by ‘labels without substance’, then the terror outfits have come up with a trump card of their own. The non-state terror outfits now threatening the state itself are also using the label of Islam to capture power and use state resources for their own ends. Will it be too much to say that just as the conduct of the latter has little to do with the spirit of Islam; the conduct of the former in many ways has also had little to do with the culture and spirit of democracy?...


The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalise Muslim Political Dissent
Glenn Greenwald

Moazzam Begg, a native-born British citizen of Pakistani descent, spent three years incarcerated in the most notorious detention camps created in the post-9/11 “War on Terror”: all without ever being charged with any crime. Arrested in Pakistan in 2002, he was transferred to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where he suffered torture and witnessed U.S. interrogators beat an innocent taxi driver to death, and then onwards to Guantanamo Bay where he would be detained for the next three years in conditions he’d describe as “torturous”…..

Moderate Islam? Look to Central Asia
S. Frederick Starr

While violence rages on in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the predominantly Muslim countries of the former Soviet Union — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — are experimenting with secular governments and free markets.....

Hasan Mahmud: Sharia Law Betrays Modern State and Quran
Hasan Mahmud

"Sharia literarily means the path made by animals going to the spot of flowing water or flowing water itself," he continued. "Symbolically, it means path to salvation or Nirvana. This is exactly what the Quran used the word for: ethical guidance or a moral code that leads to peace and paradise. Transforming 'moral guidance' to 'state law' was the very first betrayal the Quran suffered."…

Three years after the Arab Spring first erupted; the results are far from a clear-cut victory for pluralist democracy. Egypt has reverted to military rule after the unpopular administration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi. Libya remains unstable. Syria is locked in civil war. But Tunisia, where the upheavals began with the suicide of a deeply frustrated vegetable cart vendor, last month adopted one of the more liberal constitutions in the Middle East….


Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s Prophecy Playing out in Pakistan
Tufail Ahmad

Azad’s real name was Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin; he was born in Mecca on November 11, 1888, and died in Delhi on February 22, 1958. Over a year before Pakistan’s creation, in an April 1946 interview he gave to journalist Shorish Kashmiri, Maulana Azad forecast the darkness that engulfs Pakistan today….

Related Article:

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Man Who Knew The Future Of Pakistan Before Its Creation


No Outrage over Carnage
Praveen Swami

This is because the conflict isn’t about primitive religious fanatics battling the state: it is, instead, an irreducible ideological conflict about what Pakistan ought to be. The jihadists see themselves as revolutionaries fighting to overthrow a corrupt oligarchy, and build a utopia based on the word of god. Their methods might be repulsive, but many Pakistanis don’t disagree with their ideals....


The Deep Desert Shadows over Pakistan
Ayaz Amir

No one in his right mind will say spoil relations with Saudi Arabia. If the Sharifs have some cachet with our friends from the holy kingdom they should exploit it in the country’s interest. This is a cash-strapped government, indeed a cash-strapped economy. We could do with what help we can get. But our begging bowl is eternal. We are always in need of cash. No one bailout or temporary funding is going to redeem our condition.....


Yet, the nation still has hopes if only it can return to Jinnah's will. Speaking to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1935 Jinnah said: "Religion should not be allowed to come into politics….Religion is merely a matter between man and God." Jinnah drew a clear line between politics and religion, with religion clearly limited to being "between man and God". This statement should have laid the foundation of a secular Pakistan. ….

No to Sharia

While Saudi Arabia and her Gulf cousins as well as Iran had oil to offer something to their citizens, in the case of Pakistan, Sharia will compound working classes’ misery through oppression of the workers.  Lacking any initiative even in the capitalist constraints, it will only resort to violence in response to break working class movements for improvements in livings.....

Creating a Secular Jinnah
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Creating a Secular Jinnah
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

We’ve always been told that secularism entailed separation of state and religion. However, Jinnah’s secularism entailed separation of state through religion. Common evidence provided to establish Jinnah as a secularist, include a lack of beard; alcohol and pork consuming habits and a picture with dogs. If not being a practicing Muslim is the sole criteria for being secular the majority of Pakistan’s population could be dubbed secular....

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