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Islam and Politics

Friend, Foe, Brother, Enemy
Nadeem F. Paracha

Terrorism in Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria grew manifold and in the next two decades the state in these countries was at war with those elements that they had first fattened with American dollars and Saudi riyals to fight the ‘undemocratic, atheistic and imperialistic Soviet empire.’….

 

Indonesia’s Democracy in Peril, but Prevailing
Tobias Basuki

This election has proven that the organic voluntary movements of Indonesians won the day over political machinery. I am proud to say to outside observers that Indonesians have chosen to move ahead with our democratic consolidation and not let polarizing issues bind and tie us down……

Islamists in Tunisia: A Third Scenario for Islamism in the Arab World?
Manel Zouabi

Between the first model of pre-revolutionary Tunisia and the second one of the Islamic Republic of Iran stands Tunisian post-revolutionary Islamism. To be fair to the En-Nahda experience in power, this Islamist party presented a unique model of the way Islamists can respect the democratic goals of the Revolution and adapt with political plurality.....

 

War for Democracy in Pakistan
Mehr F Husain

But then came in critics with the ethnicity card — if preserving democracy was the issue of the hour, what about the people in Balochistan? If war was to be pursued, why not start in Punjab? Why wasn’t war announced when the Shias in Hazara protested by refusing to bury their dead — did they not matter at the time? Tied to war was the question of whether the State could afford one, given the dismal state of the economy?...

 

The majority of atheists, as well as some Baha'is and Shiites, choose to stay silent and not give their opinion concerning religious matters, which makes them one of the most ambiguous groups for the government. This is what hinders the state ministries' control over their spread.....

Does The Islamic World Really Exist?
Burhanettin Duran

When the powerful turn their backs on the law, they hurt the international community's sense of justice. The silence of the atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and the Shujaya neighborhood of Gaza, among others, when evoked, put strains on one's conception of justice. When the world's leading powers justify such massacres under the pretext of "the right to defend oneself," however, they undermine humanity……

 

Indian Muslims Can Easily Quit Their Ghettos
Jawed Naqvi

John Dayal says while he is always there for Muslim victims of injustice it is not necessarily a two-way street in terms of the Muslim leadership’s sympathy quotient towards other troubled communities. His lament was instructive. There is indeed almost always a spontaneous outpouring of fellowship and solidarity among groups ranging from Sikhs to Dalits, from representatives of the north-eastern tribes to intellectuals among Kashmiri Pandits, who rally support and solidarity for the Muslim underclass.

Middle of the road Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, pagans, communists, all form a protective ring around Muslims when they are under attack. But I am scratching my memory in vain I think to remember when a Muslim body last intervened on behalf of Sikhs or Dalits, or Christians, let alone remote tribes people in their hour of need.

A police station official in India’s Jharkhand state this month reviled Christians who sought protection after Hindu extremists beat and threatened to kill them for refusing to convert to Hinduism. Does the story touch Muslim hearts? For, when it does begin to matter, India’s Muslims will not find themselves in their ghettos any longer. They will be leading a minorities’ collective, in which women and people of different sexual orientation will have a strong voice too.

The choice is squarely with India’s largest minority community whether they wish to crawl out of the ditch, which they have dug for no good reason or remain tethered to the mullah’s sectarian agenda.

The 'Moderate Muslim' Problem
John Hayward

Can I be blunt here?  Part of the reason Dana Milbank and his little cadre of half-hearted defenders lost their minds and declared Gabriel beyond the pale is that she isn't pale.  She's from Lebanon, speaks with an accent, will never be mistaken for Ben Stein calling the roll at Ferris Bueller's class, and is very passionate on this subject.  The way she talks is making these supposedly multi-cultural liberals carry on as if she jumped down the audience member's throat, and they're not wild about the thought of non-pale women aligning themselves with conservatives. They're also wigging out because Gabriel dared to use the Nazis in an analogy, something only liberals are allowed to do….

 

Don’t Use ‘Islam’ To Explain All Actions
Ooi Kee Beng

Given the hierarchic and caste-based nature of the many ancient Indic kingdoms dotting the archipelago, Islam came as a liberating ideology for the lower classes. This democratization of religious consciousness did not go very far, and traditional authoritarian structures of power prevailed. The nine sultans in Malaysia and the Brunei Sultanate are a case in point. Culturally, however, a sense of Islamic cosmopolitanism, inclusiveness and liberation was enhanced over time. Such had been the peaceful historical nature of Islam in Southeast Asia…..

'Victory Is For All Indonesia'
Zarina Banu

Moreover, at every step, the messy coalition politics that dominates Indonesia's political theatre could cripple Jokowi's abilities to achieve the transformation Indonesia needs. If Prabowo manages to persuade his seven-party coalition to stick together, before Jokowi takes office in October, this could leave Jokowi leading a minority government. This would undermine the president's abilities to govern and affect reform. Indonesia's short history of democracy is at a critical juncture. The stakes may have been high in the campaign, but they're even higher now. Indonesia must make sure that Jokowi's victory is indeed a victory for all......

 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has offered a reward of $10 million for his capture, "Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden and the main figure in the former Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). He has assumed other pseudonyms as well, now including "Caliph Ibrahim." By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he seeks to affirm descent from Muhammad. In its Ramadan declaration, the "Islamic State" claimed to revive governance based on religion, with authority over all Sunnis in the world......

The Arabs’ Long Journey into the Heart of Darkness
Hisham Melhem

Though the question of political legitimacy has haunted the Arabs ever since the dawn of Islam, and it is still one of the most fundamental problems vexing modern governance, the early generations of Muslims built magnificent centres of learning, creativity, trade, diversity and openness to other cultures in Damascus, Aleppo, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. They were so secure, that they realized immediately their limitations and that they have to learn and borrow a lot from the advanced cultures that preceded them; the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Persians….

 

In recognition of these holy tasks, the TIB organized a meeting in Istanbul from July 17 to July 19, which was attended by representatives of religious organizations from conflict zones. Many Muslim scholars and the Ummah’s most prestigious intellectuals attended as well, in order to assert the values and morals of mutual coexistence….

 
Why We Cannot Abandon Afghanistan
Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury

Why We Cannot Abandon Afghanistan
Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury

For the first time, Afghanistan had a written democratic constitution that ensured peaceful and orderly transfer of power, recognised ethnic diversity, and ensured the rights of women, children and the disadvantaged. The country had three presidential and two parliamentary elections that saw good turnout despite threats from Taliban forces of attacking and disrupting the polling process…..

 
The Crisis in Palestine
Yasser Latif Hamdani

The Crisis in Palestine
Yasser Latif Hamdani

The fratricidal Shia-Sunni war that is going on in Iraq and Syria is likely to expand to the greater Arab world with Lebanon being next on the list. Saudi Arabia and Iran will continue to fight their wars in other lands by proxy. The Arab Spring continues to destabilise the Arab world. Turkey’s short-sighted leader is more interested in re-establishing a Caliphate of his own and is not likely to step up to the plate. Afghanistan’s leaders are preoccupied with the implications of the US withdrawal.  In Pakistan, we continue to kill Shias and Ahmedis.....

 

Burma’s Forgotten Muslims – Even More Forgotten
Bakir Oweida

Is it necessary to remind us of what some Algerians did to Algeria or to other fellow Algerians; or to remind us of what some Egyptians did to Egypt or other Egyptians; or what some Sudanese did to Sudan, from Darfur to Juba; or what some Lebanese did to Lebanon, from Sidon to Beirut to Tripoli? I don't know but I remember how during my early years of political and academic work, I kept silent and never defied sayings like: "Noble resentment triggers revolutions." How can "resentment" be described as "noble?" No. Resentment is resentment and it can only produce the darkest of injustice…..

Re-Imagining Pakistan: The Situation as It Exists Today, Doom and Gloom Reign Supreme
Tahir Kamran

Like many post-colonial states, Pakistan was created first and imagined afterwards. In fact, the process of ‘imagining’ Pakistan continues to this day — particularly on Pakistani TV channels. History as a discipline has been instrumental in tracing the evolutionary process of Pakistan as a political imaginary. If the texts produced by the likes of Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi and Shaikh Muhammad Ikram are read dispassionately, one senses the past has been reconstructed just to suit the historical inevitability of a Muslim state in the North-West of India……

 

Obama’s Unconvincing Aid to Syria’s Rebels
Joyce Karam

The $500 million in proposed U.S. aid would be almost what ISIS ran off with in its Mosul bank heist last month…..

 

Noam Chomsky on Israel-Palestine and BDS: Those Dedicated To the Palestinian Cause Should Think Carefully About the Tactics They Choose
Noam Chomsky

The distinguished Israeli scholar Zeev Sternhell, reviewing the reactionary nationalist tide in his country, writes that “the occupation will continue, land will be confiscated from its owners to expand the settlements, the Jordan Valley will be cleansed of Arabs, Arab Jerusalem will be strangled by Jewish neighbourhoods, and any act of robbery and foolishness that serves Jewish expansion in the city will be welcomed by the High Court of Justice. The road to South Africa has been paved and will not be blocked until the Western world presents Israel with an unequivocal choice: Stop the annexation and dismantle most of the colonies and the settler state, or be an outcast.”....

Libya is neither a stable country nor a democratic one, largely due to the short-sighted meddling of Cameron and his allies who thought that democracy would rapidly emerge once the dictatorship was overturned. Mirroring the situation in Somalia, Libya now stands to become Africa’s latest failed state…..

 

History Cruelly Repeats Itself in the Middle East
Robert Fisk

Oddly, however, no one reminds us that today’s carnage is an obscene replay — by both sides — of what has happened before, and indeed before that. The leftist Israeli historian Illan Pappe has recorded how on Dec 28, 2006, the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem reported that 660 Palestinians had been killed in that year alone, most in Gaza, including 141 children; and that since 2000, Israeli forces had killed almost 4,000 Palestinians with 20,000 wounded. But scarcely has there been a single mention of all of this in a single report on the latest slaughter in the Gaza war….

 

'Our Everlasting Shame'
Noam Chomsky

When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency.....

 

What's happening in Iraq and Syria is not a conventional Shia-Sunni conflict. It is a case of motivated groups of wrongly indoctrinated fighters going out of control and playing havoc. They are killing Sunnis, Sufis, Shias and Christians. Their call for Caliphate is just a camouflage to spread Wahhabism in areas traditionally dominated by spiritually-oriented liberal Muslim sects…..

Bombers from the Maldives
Tufail Ahmad

Societies provide oxygen for Islamists to grow in their midst. The liberal atmosphere of Britain, notably in institutions like the London School of Economics, over past decades offered sanctuaries for Islamists, considering their arguments as legitimate politics against imperialism. Saudi Arabia is bankrolling Wahhabism across the world. Pakistani society has been transformed into a 24x7 seminary for nurturing arguments favourable to jihadists and fatal to Muslim reformists. Under Saudi-Pakistani influence, now the Maldivian society is being transformed on a jihadist path….

 

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have denounced the murders. But with Jewish teenagers marching through Jerusalem and calling for revenge, and Palestinian teenagers rioting in West Bank villages, the condemnations have so far felt impotent. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is now 79 years old. Netanyahu is 64. Each has spent almost a decade in power (Netanyahu’s terms haven’t been consecutive). There is a limit to how long they can retain control over their young and increasingly restless populations. The median age in Israel is 29.9. In the West Bank, it’s 22.4. In Gaza, 18.2.....

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