Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Though, in terms of coverage, a fractional, violent minority garners most American and European headlines, India’s large and growing community of moderate Muslims should stand as evidence of Islam’s moderate, un-radicalized majority. And in a time where South Asians of all creeds are often stereotyped and discriminated against, and even killed, because of the actions of that radical few, India’s Muslims are a 180 million-strong rebuttal......

Lessons of Gaza
Julien Salingue

There is nothing "maximalist" or "radical" in such demands, which simply reflect the minimum necessary for the subsistence of the people of Gaza, and which are recognized as legitimate by all international organizations. It is these demands that Israel refused to listen to, demonstrating once again that what the occupying power refuses, in the name of its alleged security, is not the satisfaction of Palestinian national rights….

Deadly Alliances against Muslims
New York Times Editorial

It is folly for the governments of Mr. Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further......


The Post-ISIS Crisis for Sunni Governments
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

There is hope that the danger will be curbed despite the differences and the difficulty of dealing with terrorist groups. The current anti-ISIS alliance is a political, legal and military framework that can be developed to find solutions for the root causes by ending regional political competition, curbing sectarian struggle and ending the likes of the Syrian regime. Without that, stances may change, the alliance may divide, the struggle may expand and different parties will engage in regional proxy wars in which everyone uses terrorist groups to serve their aims……


The rise of IS in Iraq constitutes a challenge both to the current system of nation-states regionally and to Muslim identity and organisation globally.  In both cases the BRICS have shown a consensus with the US and the West, which is opposed to the rise of IS in Iraq and its global jihadist rhetoric.  Militarily the US remains the hegemonic power in the region and has reinforced this through its recent air strikes against IS.  The BRICS – and especially China – have either been willing to follow that course or have demurred.  Such sentiments strongly suggest that the BRICS do not want to see any significant change to the current international status quo….....

Support Allies, Not Terrorists
Shoshana Bryen

If Kobani is shamefully not on their minds, at least a few points might be considered before running billions of dollars more through the corrupt and kleptocratic Palestinian Authority.....


Chinese and Uyghur historical narratives have been a source of contention. Uyghurs have suffered from state repression on the basis of cultural, linguistic, and religious rights and been disadvantaged by a number of prejudicial economic policies that favor the majority Han. While Uyghur grievances have sparked unrest in the past, the recent increase of violence is startling. While the Chinese government has been quick to blame this spate of violence on Islamic radicalization and incitement by foreign forces…..


Liberal ideas become a synonym for heresy, and truth becomes Truth – just one single interpretation of events, the discretion over which lies only with the state – be it Nazriya-i-Pakistan, the controversial 8th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment or the military's influence within the state, that “Truth” cannot be challenged. Pakistanis must tell themselves that though conservatism is acceptable, far-right extremism is not. The opposition of liberalism is more structural than anything else….


Atheism, Islam and Liberalism: This Is What We Are Really Fighting About
Andrew O' Hehir

Viewed through the long lens of history, fundamentalism is almost certainly a sign of religion’s decline and weakness, rather than the opposite. That doesn’t mean that violent splinter groups like ISIS are not dangerous, or that Christian fundamentalism at home does not pose political problems. But the exaggerated fear response of many liberal Westerners reflects our own culture’s weakness and moral uncertainty, not the strength of its enemies…..

Similarities between Crusaders and Zionists
Uri Anvery

Israel suffers from a deep-seated sense of existential insecurity, which finds its expression in myriad forms. Since Israel is in many ways a conspicuous success story and a world-class military power, this sense of insecurity often gives rise to wonderment. I believe that its root is this feeling of not belonging to the region in which we live, of being a villa in the jungle, which really means being a fortified ghetto in the region. It could be said that this feeling is natural, since most Israelis are of European descent. But that is not true. 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs…..

Saudis against the ISIS: Sea Change?
Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Wahhabi kingdom has been the chief exporter of Islamist extremism since its inception — 17 of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi after all — and were it to reverse its patronage of terrorism it would be a most welcome move. Saudi anxiety is palpable but it is not out of compassion for the victims of ISIS’s grotesquely brutal war. Over 2,000 Saudi nationals have reportedly been fighting alongside ISIS and the Riyadh regime is worried about the twin threat that some of them or their fellow travellers within the kingdom and ISIS knocking at its north-western borders might pose. This would not be the first time the house of Saud feels the heat from the jihadist fires it has been stoking as far out as Afghanistan and Pakistan. ....

Israel’s Occupation is More Complex than a Genocide
Jonathan Cook

One day doubtless, a historian will coin a word to describe Israel’s unique strategy of incrementally destroying the Palestinian people. Sadly, by then it may be too late to help the Palestinians.....


How Turkey Repeated US Mistakes in Afghanistan
Mustafa Akyol

US policy in the 1980s, which focused exclusively on the USSR, or the “evil empire” as President Ronald Reagan called it, backfired in the ensuing years. Washington failed to calculate that the mujahedeen it beefed up could one day turn against it. It was a typical case of “unintended consequences,” a rule often overlooked in politics. Yet, conspiracy-prone minds tend to believe “unintended consequences” are actually intended and even diligently planned. That’s why Turkish conspiracy theorists obsessed with the “green belt project” insist seeing al-Qaeda as an “American puppet.”….


Liberal Democracy, a Solution for Yemen and Other Arab Republics
Jamal Khashoggi

Truth be told, the only magical formula for Yemen and other Arab republics is democracy but I don't expect the Gulf Cooperation Council or the Arab League to make such a specific decision. Why? Because most Arab countries have problems with democracy that must be finalized by politicians first before being finalized by political intellectuals and elites who have now buckled under a general collapse which has struck many Arab countries. No one has presented an alternative mission in the Arab world other than war, confrontations, appeals, condemnations and hopes…


The passing of Qanun Jinayat, an Islamic criminal code bylaw, by the Aceh legislative council has revived discussion on the formalization of Sharia. This bylaw or Qanun is among serial efforts of such formalization in Aceh since the enactment of Law No. 44/1999 on Aceh’s special autonomy……


Lingering Palestinian Hopes, Shattered Palestinian Dreams
Daoud Kuttab

Research about divorce had produced an interesting fact: Khula’, the right of women to divorce their husbands, was apparently granted in Gaza, although few women knew that they had that right and fewer actually used it. Nisaa Gaza never had a chance to inform the audience about this important discovery……


Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Kenya and other al-Qaeda related affiliates, often carry the combination of Islamic, local, sectarian, tribal, national, regional and international grievances. They continue to testify the resilience, sustenance and appeal of extremist Islamist ideology to a section of urban Muslim youths, regardless of the powerful and relentless international and Islamic condemnations against them. Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamic terrorist outfit, shocked the world when it kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls. As the “theatre of war” led by the United States looms large in the Middle East with the specific purpose of liquidating the IS, questions remained whether such a military exercise will achieve the desired goals or end up alienating more Sunni Muslim Arabs.....


The Few Brave Men of Turkey
Burak Bekdil

It declared the Islamic caliphate in the lands it captured and has since killed tens of thousands of "infidels," including, primarily, Shia Muslims. It has beheaded the Western captives it held, declaring them casualties in its jihad against the Christian world. Its methods of imposing Salafism were denounced as "too extreme" even by al-Qaeda. Against this backdrop, a recent survey by the prominent Turkish pollsters Metropoll found that 84% of the Turks think that ISIL (or IS) "is not acting on religious motives." Almost a third of the Turks think that the Islamists, with whom they now share a 900-mile border, do not pose a security threat to their country....


Afghanistan: Qualified Optimism
S. Binodkumar Singh

The challenges that confront Afghanistan, nevertheless, remain gargantuan. Chief among these is, of course, the Taliban backed by Pakistan's relentlessly malefic state; the problem is infinitely compounded by a glut of arms in the hands of local and irresponsible non-state actors, corruption, the interference of regional extremist groups in Afghan affairs, and serious economic vulnerabilities that can only grow with diminishing international support......


Race To Fight Islamic State Or Just A Show Of Force?
Octavia Nasr

All this while they forget the fundamental truth that ISIS and its militants come from their midst. They come from Arab countries as well as from the West. They come from a life of privilege as well as a life of want. They are the highly educated as well as the dropouts. All these attributes make ISIS hard to pin down and extremely dangerous to fight. The airstrikes by bomber jets whether American, French, British or Emirati are simply a show of force with limited impact on a group that can morph back into society and hide until it is ready to strike again…..

Turkey Joins the Anti-ISIS Coalition’s War
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

It seems Turkey’s initial stance was a mere manoeuvre to convince ISIS to release the Turkish hostages the former had detained after the Turkish government began to restrain the activity of fighters crossing to Syria through its land. Another reason Turkey altered its stance was that it had been waiting to see the results of popular stances in Arab countries……

Turks Dislike Islamic State, But Would Leave Fight To Others
Mustafa Akyol

Yet, the fact remains that Jihadism is a marginal trend in Turkish society, and sympathy for jihadists — especially those such as IS, which has murdered and oppressed large numbers of innocent civilians, violating the classic rules of jihad — is minuscule. The overwhelming majority of Turks seem to agree with Mehmet Gormez, Turkey’s top cleric, who said, “[IS'] actions have no place in Islam.”.....


The Crisis In Pakistan Is Deepening: Will the Pak Establishment be able to face the mounting Insurgencies?
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

The crisis besetting the state of Pakistan is crystal clear. At a time when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is taking roots in the country by disseminating its literature and pamphlets among its people, the Taliban groups in Peshawar have started suicide attacks. Political and sectarian divides in the administration and the provincial non-cooperation have doubled the problems of the central government. … If the Taliban groups get organised and start attacking Pakistan, the troubles of Pakistan will be maximised paving the way for political tensions to spread far and wide. The situation in Karachi is deteriorating further because the local administration is unable to stop the killers of all kinds. Sectarian killings and attacks on minorities across the country continue unabated.

Ending the Oppression of Muslims: Stop Postulating the Clash of Civilizations
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Allah has ordained that the enemy of the Muslims are those who fight and oppress them. Muslims must not war against those who have not attacked them (in any way). That is the way of Islam – peace unless you declare war against Islam. Muslims who adhere strictly to these tenets and wish to live at peace with non-Muslims can only have credibility and be listened to if the oppression of the Muslims ceases.....

What Do America's Arab Partners Against ISIS Really Want?
Akbar Shahid Ahmed

While Riyadh's rulers have long been willing to cooperate in Middle East operations that matter to the U.S., they take the fight against the Islamic State personally: The group is widely seen as seeking to replace the reigning Saud family with leaders more committed to extreme Wahhabi ideology. The stronger the group becomes, the more capable it is of launching an effort to take over the holy Muslim sites of Mecca and Medina…..

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