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Books and Documents

Islam and Politics

A Jinnah for All
Nadeem F. Paracha

A Jinnah for All
Nadeem F. Paracha

The pragmatic Jinnah would try to find unity in diversity and draw from each ethnic culture, as well as from Muslim sects and sub-sects and minority religious groups in the country, choosing the best that they have to offer to Pakistan in developing its economy, its arts, its sports and its reputation as a modern, thriving and vibrant Muslim nation-state. It’s about time we stop studying and propagating Jinnah as an ideologue.....

 

Libya's Slow Motion Coup Ends the Uprising
Patrick Cockburn

The military regimes that came to power in the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s all emphasised the national self-determination of states they had taken over. These regimes turned into vicious self-serving dictatorships, but this does not mean that their original aspirations do not remain valid……

 
Arabicising Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria

Arabicising Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria

The project of Arabicising Pakistan, the painstaking wiping away, hammering out breaking off and denunciation of all parts of our past that do not fit into an imagined always Muslim-ness is not a new one. The reconstruction of old leaders to fit into new guidelines of piety and purity, the banning of customs, the destruction of structures, the dereliction of art….

Saving Libya Would Save the World
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

If it fails, then the entire world will be involved in a new failed state – the latest to be added to a list comprised of Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia. On the international level, Libya poses the biggest threat because it’s on Europe’s maritime borders. The North African state contains around 200,000 armed men who have taken over most cities, bringing the country to the brink of collapse......

 

The ‘Revolutionary’ Face of the Syrian Conflict
Nicola Nasser

Obviously, the “Friends of Syria” have failed to artificially create any credible alternative to the incumbent regime, which, however, did change indeed. …

 

The New Cold War Redux and Its Islamic Dimension
Dr. Can Erimtan

Will the future see an open conflict between Saudi Arabia and Turkey? Will Turkey, as heir to the Ottoman tradition, attempt to eradicate the Saudi hold over the wider Islamic world or will Turkey's pragmatic pseudo-Ottoman stance prevail once more to grease the wheels of commerce connecting the Arab peninsula and Anatolia?....

 

Erdoğan's Policies Perplex Emiratis
Abdullah Bozkurt

Just like many of its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were taken aback by the Chavez-style harsh discourse of Turkey's top political Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeting Gulf monarchies and relentless bashing on Egypt, the most populous Arab nation. Yet Emiratis have avoided responding in kind….

 

Egypt's Salafist Party Plays Neutral amid Anti-Islamist Wave
Sarah El-Rashidi

Political Islam’s evident regression has caused the Salafist Nour Party to pay heavily in its reputation and constituent support, and explains its political detachment from the Islamist current. “We are not a religious party. We are complying 100% with the constitution…..

 

How Worse Can Turkey Get?
Mustafa Akyol

….this “drift from democracy” cannot be too extensive, because Turkey has a vibrant civil society, a liberal Constitutional Court, and, most importantly, a developed yet fragile economy that Erdoğan cannot risk sinking by making too many irrational decisions. In other words, Turkey is structurally evolved enough to rule out both violent internal conflict and dictatorial rule…..

 

The ‘Conquest-Over-Occupation’ Season Opens
Burak Bekdil

Of course, we could always ask Mr. Davutoğlu if he would be willing to explain why Israel should be obliged to implement all U.N. resolutions, but in Turkey’s case both U.N. resolutions and ECHR rulings should be “neither binding nor of any value.”….

 
Inside El-Sisi’s Mind
Geoffrey Clarfield

Inside El-Sisi’s Mind
Geoffrey Clarfield

“The fact that Israel reflects a Western interest raises suspicion among Arabs about the true nature of democracy. This in turn will slow the emergence of democracy in the Middle East.” El-Sisi seems to be saying that since the Arab World is the enemy of Israel and Israel is a democratic client of the West, then democracy as a political system is tainted and suspect….

 

Kemalo-Islamist Erdoğan versus Islam
Ihsan Yilmaz

I have said before that, similar to other ideologies, Islamism is also a modern, worldly, secular ideology that is not directly linked to religion, spirituality or even ethics and morality. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has become a colossal and concrete manifestation of this phenomenon. The term Islamism is a Weberian ideal type here and there have been different varieties of Islamism….

 

Arab Spring Economics, More Than 3 Years Later
Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg

“Economic growth is still too low and the jobs created are far too few to meet the aspirations of the people that took to the streets more than three years ago, in part to ensure better access to economic opportunity. The priority now is to launch ambitious reforms to raise growth and make a dent in the countries’ high rates of unemployment, especially among youth.”….

 

…even in Delhi there is palpable discrimination against Muslim-majority areas in the provision of basic civic amenities by government agencies. Health and education are the most critical requirements for ensuring equal participation in growth and development but here, again, Muslim-dominant areas are at a disadvantage. All that Muslims want is a system that ensures equal opportunity — for education, for health, and for livelihood. These are the issues that the new government should tackle.……

An Open Letter on Hudud
Dzulkefly Ahmad

An Open Letter on Hudud
Dzulkefly Ahmad

I have no qualms in admitting that while the laws ordained by Allah and His Prophet are sacrosanct and inviolable, the codification of these laws represent human effort, which is surely not infallible and, therefore, susceptible to errors of judgments. As a matter of fact, the drafting of any law is a very delicate undertaking and the Hudud Ordinance is no exception…..

 

Two States in a Nation
Meena Menon

As I was leaving Pakistan, my thoughts were on the warmth I had received, the many friendly people I had met but equally so on the intimidation I had faced from some quarters. However, I will cherish my hikes, the long walks and some of the good friends I made. I will also remember how the ‘other half’ lives in the capital, in sprawling slums with their broad and stinking gutters; the women from Skardu collecting firewood near an opulent hotel; the threatened Christians huddling under tents after being displaced from their homes; the plight of the Ahmadis and Shias, and a certain grimness that lay behind all that opulence…..

 
The Battle for Power in Iraq
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The Battle for Power in Iraq
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The plurality of parties, regardless of how small they are, reflects the nature of the morose political situation. This must be blamed on Nouri al-Maliki’s administration as despite eight years of governance, it failed to achieve Iraqi reconciliation particularly after American troops withdrew. Instead of embracing bigger and multiple parties, Maliki’s administration adopted an elimination and marginalization policy……

 
Minority, Like Majority
Abusaleh Shariff

It is hard to find a political leader at any level of government, but especially at the national level, who could present the positive face of the Muslim community and their role in nation building. It seems unfair that even after 67 years of independence, one has to speak for the country’s largest minority, made up of more than 170 million Indians. But it is important to note that they are as diverse as the dominant community of India…..

 

Time for Arabs to Create New Political Ideologies
H.A. Hellyer

Often, it seems as though a substantial number of Arab “liberals” cannot be considered to be attached to liberalism at all – but rather, they’re simply opposed to other ideologies instead. Socialism, communism – and, more recently, Islamism. A political approach whose raison d’etre is to simply be different from another – or just opposed to it – is hardly going to be capable of the creativity and energy that is needed in order to face the serious problems in the Arab world today……

66 Years On, Yafa Continues To Inspire Palestinian Spirit
Ramzy Baroud

“Sido (grandpa) please tell us stories about your adventures in Yafa,” we would plead him, as he sat atop an old mattress in his special corner of a small, decaying house in a refugee camp in Gaza. His stories, which he conveyed with much suspense, trod a fine line between truth and fantasy. When I grew up, I realized that the fantasy was not simply his way to amuse us children, but also a way to express how Yafa represented my grandfather’s greatest triumphs and most humiliating defeats…..

 

Shameless Apologia: All the Endeavour of Progressive Muslims Is Dedicated To Shielding Their Ideology from Criticism, when it’s Actually This Critique That Would Lead To Necessary Reform
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

By claiming that criticism in unjustified, and denying the rather obvious influence of religion on religious extremism, one contradicts the “progressive” and “reformist” labels. While there is no denying that an irrational phobia of Muslims exists all over the world – considerably less than irrational phobia of people belonging to all other religions in the Muslim world, one might add –the term “Islamophobia”, used to shield the ideology, not the people, from scrutiny – and hence reform –, again, becomes a self-defeating misnomer.....

Mixing Politics and Religion in the Middle East
Mohammad Alrumaihi

The region will not be the same after May 26-27. The title of the new chapter may be “politics and religion” — which in fact has been with us for almost the entire 20th century. General Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, the most probable candidate to be elected for the presidency in Egypt, has gone on record saying there’s “no way the Muslim Brotherhood will be rehabilitated, or allowed to participate in future politics of Egypt”……

Modi's Dream Win: Barring Shahi Imam And Aziz Burney's Azizul Hind, No Urdu Paper Engages In Scare-Mongering, All Ask Muslims To Wait And Watch For The Promised Good Times

Pseudo-secular politicians had been scaring Muslims for long of a saffronised India under Mr. Narendra Modi. Even figures like 22, 000 Muslims will be killed in that scenario were bandied about. [How was the calculation made is, of course, anybody's guess.] However, a quick survey of Delhi's Urdu Press, the only barometer of Muslim opinion in the country available, reveals  that barring Shahi Imam's statement published in Mr. Aziz Burney's Azizul Hind daily, and the newspaper itself and a few columnists, no Urdu newspaper is engaged in scare-mongering. No dire predictions are being made. All have accepted the verdict of the people and say in a democracy the people's verdict should be always accepted and welcomed as it reflects the collective wisdom of the people. All editorial writers are asking Muslims to wait and watch for the promised good times. .....

Iran’s Role in the Middle East Grows
Rami G. Khouri

The heartland of political violence has been the vast area covering Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, which effectively has become a single operational arena in terms of the ease of movement of fighters and weapons for those who do battle around here……

 

What Do The Arab People Want?
Khaled Almaeena

Sadly, they did not adopt the right approach and they resorted to force to change the domestic status quo. Thus we witnessed coups and counter coups throughout the 1950s and 60s. Many were bloody. While Egypt had relative stability after the revolution in 1953, self-appointed saviors of the Arab world and “liberators of Palestine” popped up in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Their misadventures caused Arabs a lot of hardship……

 


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