Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Kurds: Separatism or Right to Statehood?
Ilya Kharlamov

The Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic community with no state of their own. A total of 30 million Kurds live in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and other countries. The Iraqi Kurds were lucky to be receiving in the early 1990s, but things have been pretty bad for their kinsmen elsewhere. In Turkey, the decades-old warfare between ethnic Kurds and the government has claimed tens of thousands of lives….

Arab Countries That Ousted Their Rulers Are Embarking On The Important Post-Revolutionary Task Of Rewriting History But What To Write Is Contentious

ARAB countries that ousted their rulers are embarking on the important post-revolutionary task of rewriting history. Education ministries in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are purging school textbooks of the praise they once heaped on former dictators. Teachers are making ad hoc changes in their classrooms too. But what to teach is contentious…..

Peace in Kashmir (4)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Peace in Kashmir (4)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

If I were to give my opinion in this matter, I would say that accepting the Indian position on Kashmir would have been opting for the ‘lesser evil’ for the Pakistani President, because it would have been tantamount simply to Pakistan acknowledging something that it had already lost. In return for this, Pakistan would have been rewarded with the opening of all doors of progress that have so far been closed to it…..


Sudhakar Group and Maulana Muniruzzaman Islamabadi Interpreted Islam in Bangla to ‘Cleanse the Faith of Islam’ From the Influences of Hinduism and Christianity - Part 13
Nurul Kabir

THE Hindu-Muslim social, political and economic divide and subsequent discriminatory growth of the two communities of the same populace led to mutual animosity, which helped the British to perpetuate colonial rule in India for 190 years. Moreover, British linguistic ventures in Bengal profoundly influenced the development of Bangla, particularly its prose, on two religious-cultural lines that found expression in two distinct styles of the prose — one Sanskritised created by the Hindu writers and the other Persianised created by the Muslim ones....


Choosing Opinionlessness: On the 'Killed' versus 'Martyred' Debate in Pakistan
Maryam Sakeenah

We gloat over carrion; we gather like vultures to pick up the pieces. We discriminate between dead bodies under labels of ‘Halak’ (merely killed) and ‘Shaheed’ (martyred). As we do so, we don God’s hat, partaking of what is exclusively His right with a self-righteous audacity. Our opinions on the dead may not be worth a shred but they signify the sides we take in this melee over rotting corpses….


Islam, as the Quran insists, is firmly in the Jewish tradition, and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) claims descent through the Prophet Ismail to the Prophet Abraham. There is a resonance between the Abrahamic Sacrifice (which only Islam marks, as Eid ul Azha) and that of the Imam. Christian commentators compare the Abrahamic Sacrifice with that of Christ going on the Cross, and while Muslim commentators do not draw any comparison with the martyrdom, the comparison is virtually inescapable, especially when it is remembered that the Imam was a descendant of both Abraham and Ismail…..

Peace in Kashmir (3)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Peace in Kashmir (3)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

This, to my mind, is the best and most practicable formula to solve the conflict between India and Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan presently control parts of Jammu and Kashmir. If, on the basis of the ‘win-win solution’ principle, the two agree to be satisfied with whatever part of the state they presently control, and, abandoning the path of conflict, they focus on developing their respective parts of the state, it would definitely be very beneficial for both countries. Both countries would embark on the path of progress that has been blocked for a very long time……


Democracy and Pakistan’s Establishment
Kuldip Nayar

The army chief should realise that democracy is not a gift, definitely not from the armed forces. What he was saying from experience is that Pakistanis are not prepared for another military rule. This has been the effect of Musharraf’s failure. It is a plus point for democracy in Pakistan….

The Trouble with Moderate Islam/Muslims
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

The Trouble with Moderate Islam/Muslims
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

Moderate Muslims have become much too predictable these days. The jargon of so much Progressive thinking has become mouldy.  The time has come to recycle the old arguments, starting with the usual defence.  The trouble is not with Moderate Islam, but with moderate Muslims. The trouble is not that other Muslims have hijacked my faith, but that it has become poisoned with the arsenic of my own rationales.....

The Right and the Left Together

From an historical perspective it is important to remember that of the three most active ‘Islamist’ political parties at the time of partition, at least two, namely the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind that in Pakistan devolved into the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and the Majlis-e-Ahrar (Ahrar) were supporters of the All India Congress and its secularist ‘Fabian Socialist’ agenda. The third party, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), though anti socialist, supports trade unions, a social safety network and is entirely egalitarian albeit under its interpretation of Islamic law. .....


Another Lament for Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria

…the greed of those who have gobbled up faith has rendered dissent into blasphemy and silence into survival. Soiled by the politics of power and death, religion stands misused and politics confused. Amid the wreckage of old ideas, of peace talks, amid ready shrouds and promises for the future by the robbers of the past, is the fear that the shuddering, shivering edifice of our nationhood will crumble and fall as it nearly did once before, occasioning from one writer, now long dead, a lament for Pakistan…..

Muslims Making Canada Even Better
Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

Muslims Making Canada Even Better
Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

The last Eid Al-Adha was observed in Ottawa on two different days to Muslims’ dismay. It also brought them ridicule; some children took off from school one day and others the following day, suggesting that Muslims keep quarreling. If eight imams cannot agree, what message are they sending to Muslims and to other Canadians? Fortunately, there is a brighter side….

The True Essence of the Islamic State
Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef , New Age Islam

The True Essence of the Islamic State
Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef , New Age Islam

Islamic state does carry a certain perspective regarding humankind, God and the universe, but it is entirely pluralistic and inclusive in its nature and is based on the concept of an inclusive human society called Ummah, which includes all members of the global human society and citizens of all the territories irrespective of their faith and creed as clearly enshrined in the covenant of Medina known as “Misaq-e-Madina”. The Ummah says Raji El-Faruqi, therefore, is truly an open society par excellence. (2) Islamic state was based on a religious polity, yet it was, as we mentioned above, accommodative to all religious communities. ''The Ummah is an open society. Any human being is welcome to enter it by either of the two ways: the aforementioned confession of faith or the covenant of peace”……

On Private Life: Kemalo-Islamism Vs. Civil Islam
Ihsan Yilmaz

Not just most practicing Muslims, but also some Islamists will have a problem with this approach, finding it sinister and unethical. I hope that these critical, young generation Islamists may move towards an approach of Civil Islam, jettisoning the centrality of the state in the Islamist thinking and practice……


Af-Pak and the Military-Mullah Tiff
Dr Mohammad Taqi

Syed Munawar Hasan and indeed JUI’s Maulana Fazl ur Rehman’s crass remarks have made even the worst critics of the army queasy. It is for the security establishment to reflect over and revisit its association with unsavoury characters from both sides of the Durand Line. But it would be naïve to assume that decades of damage can be undone with one statement. Peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan requires a policy overhaul on the part of the security establishment, not just a knee-jerk reaction only when its toes are stepped on.....


The Ameer of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan, Munawar Hassan  termed Taliban Terrorist Hakimullah Mehsud to be a brave martyr who went down fighting against the infidel forces: End of Jamaat-e-Islami?
Arsalan Faruqi

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman meanwhile went the extra mile to stir up anti-US sentiments by saying that “even a dog killed in a US drone strike would be declared a martyr”. Of course, Maulana’s statement invited the wrath of many from the religious circle who demanded an immediate apology from the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl....


Saudi Investment in Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons
Musa Khan Jalalzai

Saudi Arabia, in the past, has been the subject of speculation regarding its nuclear weapons ambitions. Among the charges levelled against it is the possession of undeclared nuclear facilities. Saudi Arabia’s link with Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme has long been the source of speculation that Pakistan might either station its nuclear forces on Saudi soil or provide a nuclear umbrella to the Wahabi state in return for oil supplies, or that the Saudis would purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan....


Post-Taliban Afghanistan, 12 Years On
Jayant Prasad

Afghanistan’s fragmented polity needs to look at reconciliation — between and among ethnicities, between Afghanistan and its neighbours, and between the government and those elements of the armed opposition ready to embrace democracy and the Afghan Constitution, respect human rights, and end ideological and organisational links with al Qaeda and its associates. As Rumi, the great Afghan Sufi sage said in his Masnawi 800 years ago: “Believe in God, yet tie the camel’s leg.”….


 These are the complicated and convoluted shifting sands in the nuclear ‘game’. Can’t the Saudis be persuaded that it is in their own interest for the west to forge a deal with Iran? The fact is there are good reasons for not taking any risks in securing an Iranian agreement by pitching US and EU demands too high. The US and the EU have no choice, whatever Saudi Arabia...


Is The Mullah-Military Nexus, in Pakistan, Crumbling?
Mubashir Zaidi

The JI traditionally, has been the mouthpiece for the military during the 1980s Afghan jihad and fighting in Kashmir. It’s also established that the army had used the Jamaat’s street power to put democratic governments under pressure through controlled or sometimes out of control protests. It is also believed that there is a huge following of JI in the armed forces. Even the arrests of Al Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from the residences of JI activists has not affected the military-JI relations in the past......


Sudhakar Group and Maulana Muniruzzaman Islamabadi Interpreted Islam in Bangla to ‘Cleanse the Faith of Islam’ From the Influences of Hinduism and Christianity - Part 12
Nurul Kabir

However, throughout the Muslim rule, Persian had been the official language, and both Muslim and Hindu communities widely used Persian. While the Pal dynasty encouraged Bangla language, despite retaining Sanskrit as the official language, the Muslim dynasties helped Bangla language and literature flourish although Persian remained the official language.....

Peace in Kashmir (2)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Peace in Kashmir (2)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Addressing the people of Punjab and Kashmir, I wrote that the ongoing movements for an independent Punjab and an independent Kashmir could never succeed. They were tantamount to breaking one’s head against a boulder. Nothing could be gained from such movements, except, of course, for some broken heads and worse. I advised the people of both regions to be realistic, to accept the status quo and to focus their energies on positive purposes instead…..

Moharram Is the Highest Form of India’s Composite Culture
Saeed Naqvi

My mother had mastered all this choreography. Let us see who carries the tradition forward keeping an unerring eye on details which kept together the family, the clan indeed, the society we lived in. A pity is that the political class around us is totally bereft of any knowledge of the culture which embellishes our observance of Moharram…..


Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood is steeped in a victimisation narrative and a martyrdom culture. In part, this reflects the movement's tortuous struggles with state repression, particularly at critical moments in the late 1940s, early 1950s, mid 1960s and the early 1980s. With the notable exception of the 1970s - when the movement was courted by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat as a counterweight to the .....


Erdoğan’s Illiberal Democracy
Mustafa Akyol

The last time Turkey experienced “total power” and “personalisation of the state,” the ruler in charge was Atatürk. Unlike Erdoğan, he was never elected in free and fair elections, so his rule was both illiberal and undemocratic…..

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