Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Failure of Political Islamists in Turkey
Abdullah Bozkurt

The Islamists' moves have resulted in the ambivalence of Turks, who believe that Erdoğan's vision has faltered a great deal amid corruption, social tension, economic woes and foreign policy failures. That means the time is ripe for a realignment of Turkish politics…..


The men practice Sufism, a moderate and mystical interpretation of Islam followed by at least 15 million of Egypt's 90 million residents. In the wake of the country's 2011 revolution, they've faced increased persecution, with a rise in attacks on Sufi holy sites by Islamist hardliners…..


‘Secularism and Pluralism Are Incompatible With Islam’: Professor Hayrettin Karaman, a Well-Known Islamic Theologian from Turkey
Semih Idiz

“The system of pluralism gives freedom to diversity, but keeps preferences outside the domain of religious and ethical evaluation. Islam, on the other hand, gives people freedom of religion and conscience, but when this freedom is used to blaspheme, sin, or shame, it subjects these to a negative evaluation.”….

Libya’s Suffering Is Likely to Linger On
Ramzy Baroud

Opportunistic is a fitting term to describe Libya’s rogue general, Khalifa Hiftar, who for the second time in less than four months mounted a coup against Tripoli. Hifter’s opportunism has accompanied the man for the last 45 years, and at 71, he is determined to harness the security chaos in Libya to his advantage……


The attacks on the symbols of the most popular form of Islam in Pakistan were “motivated partly by religious hostility” due to Wahhabi theological antipathy towards idolatry. However, the hostility to the shrines also “stems from the role played by these families in the local elites, which means that the Taliban have to attack and destroy them in order to seize local power”.[47] In July 2010 – just two and half months after I had visited the shrine – the Taliban attacked the Lahore shrine of a major saint in the Sufi order, Data Ganj Baksh, “killing dozens of worshippers and galvanizing Barelvi religious figures into an unusual display of united protest.”....


Uncertainty in Libya: Instability in the Country Cannot Be Explained Away By Clichés of Tribalism or Fanaticism, Politics Is At Work Here
Vijay Prashad

He was unable to control the town-based militias, who, after the fall of Qadhafi, became the centripetal instruments of Libyan confusion. Sidelining Parliament, the militias used their weapons to shut down oil wells and ports to blackmail a government overwhelmingly reliant upon oil money. Hifter echoed the Egyptian military script...


India, Turkey and the Dark Beginnings of the 21st Century
Nuray Mert

As Mishra states, although newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings to mind early 20th century authoritarian demagogues, he “also belongs to the dark days of the early 21st century.” One cannot avoid thinking of Turkey’s darkening prospects too. Moreover, this is not only true for Turkey and India, but also elsewhere we witness almost a global rise of new authoritarian politics in new forms……

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…..

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