Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

The basic issue involved holistic education, as best expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s statement, “No nation can remain free unless its citizens are properly educated.  Proper education consists in teaching and learning virtue.  And no nation can remain virtuous unless both the personal and public lives of the individual are infused with awareness and love of Divine Providence”, which was a theist term (as contrasted with deism) back then for God as Muslims understand it. Unfortunately, even the best philosophers have a streak of hypocrisy. ……


Unrest in Yemen: Houthis Get Huffy

Yemeni officials are suspicious that the Houthis have bigger goals in mind. The government has been negotiating with the Houthis since August, but every time the group is offered a deal, their leaders increased their demands, says a senior official close to Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the president. When talks failed earlier this year, Houthi fighters arrived in the capital. “They don’t want a political solution,” says the official. “They want a state within a state, like Hizbullah,” he says, referring to the powerful Shia movement in Lebanon……


The Dependency of an Islamic State on Sharia
Nurrohman Syarif

….the Prophet is basically a moral and spiritual leader. Although many experts acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet and statesman, such as evidenced by his effort to make common ground with a plural society in the “Medina constitution” issued in his lifetime, Muhammad’s involvement in state affairs was not his main mission. He admitted himself that he was sent to perfect morality. In the history of Islam, Islamic law is developed by experts or Islamic jurists privately and independently. Therefore it is not surprising that Islamic law is diverse, depending on the schools of law and their respective methodology…..

State and Utopia: Are Democracies Collapsing In Asia?
Khaled Ahmed

Goodness is defined on the basis of religious rituals. In the Khyber tribal agency, a warlord called Mangal Bagh coerces you into being good by burning your house if you don’t say Namaaz five times a day in a mosque. This is the “Amr” (enforce good) of Islamic law. The other tenet, called “Nahi” (forbid bad), is democratic and modern, but becomes discriminatory when the law of evidence is applied to women and non-Muslims. Pakistan has both “Amr” and “Nahi”. It can’t protest much about the democracy it can’t have….


Is Egypt Doomed to Autocracy?
Alaa Al Aswany

Islamist extremists, certainly, do not believe in democracy. The global Islamic Liberation Party (also known as Hizb ut-Tahrir) argues that there are several fundamental points of incompatibility between Islam and democracy. Most Islamist extremists share this view; the moment they take power, they will establish a quasi-fascist theocracy.....


The World’s First Christian Imams
Burak Bekdil

It is more than relieving that we have a prime minister who thinks he can end the half-century-long dispute over Cyprus just by having a spot of tea with his Greek counterpart on both sides of the divided island. Why did the whole world not think of this before?....

Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?
Nauman Sadiq, New Age Islam

Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?
Nauman Sadiq, New Age Islam

Democracy is like a school and people are like children. We only have two choices. One, keep the people under the paternalistic dictatorships. Two, enrol them in the school of representative democracy and let them experience democracy as a lived reality rather than some stale, sterile theory. The first option will only produce half-witted dwarfs. But the second option will produce an educated human resource that doesn’t just consume resources but also creates new resources. We are on a historic juncture in the Middle East and North Africa in particular and the Islamic world in general. This is the beginning of a new era. This is the beginning of an Islamic Renaissance and Enlightenment.....

Islam and Democracy: Breaking Myths
International Imam Organization

“Real power does not hit hard, but straight to the point” is a popular Indonesian saying. Hitting straight to the point is the significance of Islam in Indonesian Politics. Islam and democracy are said to be in a relationship fraught with problems as Islam, allegedly does not allow secular law to be put above divine law. Unfortunately, there exists a fallacy of generalization that equates Islam to Arab culture. This identification of Arab culture to Islam has resulted in a misleading perspective that Muslim countries could not practice democracy and that Muslims cannot live under a democratic regime…

Love, Faith and Conversions
Mushirul Hasan

“If a modern Diogenes were to hunt out for Indians with his lantern,” wrote Syed Abdullah Barelvi, editor of the once renowned Bombay Chronicle, “he would be sure to come across fervid Hindus, bigoted Muslims and fanatical souls deeply engrossed with the problem of tirelessly finding out how unjustly their own particular community was being treated, and we would have to ask in sorrow: ‘Where are the Indians!’”……

Two Islams -- The Mangled-up and the Pristine
Mike Ghouse

The Islam that I have studied is based on the belief that God has created the entire universe in balance and harmony (Quran 55:4-13), and that each one of us has the responsibility to manage that balance between life and environment, and the balance within (physical and spiritual) through moderation, and balance with others (religious guidance and or civil laws). Anytime that balance is off, we will witness difficulties with our body, family, society and the environment…..

What’s next For Israel, Hamas, And Gaza?
Noam Chomsky

The disengagement was depicted as a noble effort to pursue peace, but the reality was quite different. Israel never relinquished control of Gaza and is, accordingly, recognized as the occupying power by the United Nations, the U.S., and other states….


The idea that Muslim boys feign love to seduce hapless Hindu girls and forcibly convert them to Islam has gained traction in communities already simmering with mutual mistrust. Muslims have accused Hindu organisations of drumming up the issue of forced conversion of Hindu women in a dangerous bid to divide the electorate along religious lines….

Harper Was Right - Islamism Is a Threat
Tarek Fatah

No one could’ve imagined three years ago that the forces of Islamism would gain such strength that they would carve out an “Islamic State” of their own, butcher thousands, and pose such a threat to the rest of the world that NATO has finally met to discuss how to fight the ogre that threatens our civilization. In the 13 years since 9/11, tens of thousands have died, over a trillion dollars have gone down the drain and we are today worse off than we were on the day the twin towers fell in New York.....

9/11 after 13 Years: Millions of Muslims Have Paid For This Lie with Their Lives
Paul Craig Roberts

Millions of Muslims have paid for this lie with their lives, the destruction of their families, and with their dislocation. Most Americans remain comfortable with the fact that their government has destroyed in whole or part seven countries based on a lie Washington told to cover up an inside job that launched the crazed neoconservatives’ drive for Washington’s World Empire.....

ISIS, Love Jihad and Peaking of Islam Phobia
Ram Puniyani

The ‘social common sense' is so heavily weighted against Islam and Muslims that to talk of reason in understanding religion and its abuse for political goals seems to be a very difficult exercise. To understand that religions are for morality and peace is accepted for other religions but not for Islam in popular perception. Many a processes of ‘Manufacturing Consent' are today fusing to create a picture of Muslims which is neither true nor of any good to the peace in the World……

Communalisation of Crime: 'Love Jihad' In India, Now 'Sex Jihad' In Britain
Hasan Suroor

And as more sober analysts have pointed out, it ultimately boils down to the issue of patriarchy. Not only has the term "love jihad” been invented with a mischievous political motive but the problem has been exaggerated to provoke sectarian passions. Meanwhile, given the amount of love, sex and jihad being attributed to them, Muslims may soon have to carry a disclaimer around their necks: "My name is Khan — and like all normal people I do make love and have sex, but I don't do love or sex jihad"…..

Avoid a Rerun of the War on Terror
Rami G. Khouri

I had the uncomfortable feeling this week that we may be at the start of a replay of that period in 2001-2003 when the United States launched a “global war on terror,” or GWOT, to defeat Al-Qaeda and its brand of terrorism. A decade later, the U.S. and the United Kingdom led an attack on Iraq with a “coalition of the willing.” And now, another decade on, we hear the same language….


Israel, a Gift of the Arabs
Shail Mayaram

The present state of Jewish-Muslim relations, therefore, is an inversion of the friendly relations that had lasted through the last 20 centuries. The Palestinians, through sales of their land to migrant Jews actually made the state of Israel possible on the ground. Israel is, quite literally, as I have argued in a forthcoming book, a “gift” of the Arabs even as the land transfers occurred without Palestinians realising that a “Jewish State” was in the making…..

A distinguished member of a school of thought that prized national interests over parochial ones, Azad was never able to reconcile himself with the communal agenda of the League and explicated his aversion for it lucidly. He sagaciously concluded that the onus of the partition of India would stigmatise the remaining Indian Muslim community and accurately prophesied the myriad of problems that Pakistan would have to grapple with....


If one can discern shades of Boko Haram here, the likes of IS (Islamic State) also seem to be getting a foothold in the province. Wall chalkings in Dasht, Turbat, openly call for the killing of Zikris and Hindus with the words “Zikrion Ka Anjam — Maut Ya Islam” and “Na Hindu, Na Zikri — Sirf Sunni, Sirf Sunni”. These messages inciting murder are signed by Lashkar-i-Khorasan. Shortly after this graffiti appeared, seven members of the Zikri sect were killed…..


Should Muslim Clerics Participate in Politics?
Waris Mazhari

It is true that in the movement for India’s independence a number of Ulema were deeply involved. But to use this as an argument to seek to justify a role for the Ulema in Indian politics today is not proper. Those Ulema who were involved in India’s freedom movement certainly played an extremely important role, thereby discharging their religious responsibilities. It was only the Ulema who could counter the utterly spurious ‘two-nation theory’ of the Muslim League—and that is what sections of the Indian Ulema did at that time......

Politics without the Minorities
Zoya Hasan

One of the biggest anxieties about the Modi government was its antipathy towards minorities and religious diversity. There are some who would argue that this apprehension has come true as extremist elements continue to use communal polarisation as an instrument of political mobilisation — a tendency that Mr. Modi has done little to vanquish. A series of statements by senior BJP leaders designed to aggravate communal passions in different parts of the country, especially in the poll-bound States, constitutes the centrepiece of the second narrative. Many BJP leaders are having a field day manufacturing myths and non-history to subvert the social fabric….

The Angry Youth of Kashmir Won't Accept Al-Qaeda
Soutik Biswas

"You have to understand the dynamics of militancy in Kashmir to realise that militancy cannot be sustained for long. In the early 1990s Kashmir was literally pushed into violence. And then they soon got fed up with it. Local groups passed on the baton to foreign militants during the peak of militancy, and the number of local militants went down," he says. "Al-Qaeda will not get any support here. The ground is just not fertile for them to take root." Also, the disputed region's separatists admit in private conversations that there is no place for extremist groups like a-Qaeda in Kashmir. "Their ideology," says a Kashmir-based observer, "of sectarianism and violence will never be acceptable or work in Kashmir."….

Politics of 'Love Jihad': Spreading Fear through Stereotypes
Praful Bidwai

India's Muslims and Christians feared that they would face exclusion while being asked to subordinate their religious identities to a “larger”, essentially Hindu, cultural super-identity. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat recently said that all Indians must be called Hindu just as people who live in England are called English.....


The country's Muslim leaders say they're allied with secular forces and don't need a foreign, jihadist outfit like al-Qaida to fight for them. Denouncing the creation of AQ's wing in the Indian subcontinent, clerics, progressive activists and community leaders said AQ is a terror group and can't be friends of Muslims, either in India or anywhere else."Muslims in India believe in the Constitution that guarantees freedom to preach and practise their religion. We're self-sufficient and can solve our problems within the Indian framework. We don't need AQ...

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