Islam and Politics
Between 1918 and 1920, Syria attempted to set up a constitutional monarchy; and McHugo considers that effort to be the closest Syria has come to self-determination. Of course, that was ended by the San Remo Conference at which a bunch of foreigners sat in a villa in Italy and decided that France must save Syria from the Syrians…..
Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi
It has been abundantly clear for a considerable time now that the region needs a new vision to tackle chronic political conflicts and socio-economic problems. The intense flurry of talks taking place here is a considered attempt to deal with these inadequacies....
One of the many other cyclical conundrums for societies in the West is that, while many Muslims have condemned the murders in Paris and Copenhagen, they are not about to condone cartoons which they feel defame their faith. Tolerating satire is not the same as believing that satire forms a vital and moral part of a free society….
The reality is, it is not just Libya's house that's on fire, but the whole neighbourhood, while everyone idly looks on.....
Since mainstream journalism is essentially negative, such barbaric acts create an impression that Muslims are silent about ISIS and other jihadist outfits. This view is incorrect, as Muslims have been speaking out against the ISIS loudly and at risk to their lives. This is testified from articles and TV interviews of liberal Muslim writers and reformist clerics....
The report describes Arab governments relying on what for all practical purposes are rental clerics, whose Friday sermons become paid mechanisms of political control rather than explorations of religious scholarship, to reinforce their own rule....
I am still trying to figure out how her scarf was a hindrance to justice and how it would have stopped the Judge from doing her job. How could a scarf distract the judge so much that she would be unable to reach the correct verdict? I would understand how it would be distracting, and also be a security issue amongst other things if Rania’s face had been covered with a full or even half a Niqab/veil.....
"Al Qaeda and ISIL [Islamic State] and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy," Obama said. "They try to portray themselves as religious leaders - holy warriors in defense of Islam. [They] do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts. They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith....
With the cabinet decision by the Libyan government this week, all contracts with Turkish firms that have historically maintained a strong presence in the oil-rich Arab nation have been abruptly severed. Prime Minister al-Thinni placed the blame squarely on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the chief political Islamist who calls Iran his second home. Al-Thinni said in a recent interview with the Asharq al-Awsat daily, “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's stance is clear....
Islamism is -- from the perspective of someone born and raised within the mainstream majority Sunni Islam -- an ideology fascistic and totalitarian in impulse and action, masquerading as religion. The proponents, advocates, activists and apologists of Islamism, irrespective of whatever guise these Islamists assume in public, are engaged in the sort of radical politics the West became acquainted with in the early decades of the twentieth century with the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism…..
Romila Thapar’s assertion that there could be no democracy without secularism could not be challenged nor could one disagree with Ayesha Jalal’s plea for a critical appraisal of the concepts of democracy, tolerance and the dominant Muslim mindset. Asma Jahangir applied a democratic test to Pakistan’s Constitution and its political structure. Perhaps a discussion on politics in South Asia can be more fruitful if the interdependence of democracy and secularism is accepted as a historically established fact and political systems are tested from the democratic and rights perspectives and not necessarily from the minorities’ point of view....
India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons, its prime ministers as susceptible to a violent end as Henry VIII’s wives, struggling to define its identity almost 68 years after it came into being. The fog of war is rivaled only by the fog of Pakistan, in which Osama bin Laden lived and paced for several years....
After the brutal killing of the founding father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman, ISI and its wing tried almost possible everything to create an Islamic B'desh to destabilize this secular democratic state and its moral values based on 1971 freedom struggle upon which B'desh was created. So there is nothing to hide about conspiracy of ISI & Pakistan Gov't against Bangladesh & its people. But this Sheikh Hasina government closed all the doors for ISI and its alliance for provoking any act of terrorism. Though about 90% people are Muslims & very pious here but aren’t religion blind. Others mainly Hindus, Christians & Buddhists are also traditionally religious here but aren’t religion-blind. ...
Rami G. Khouri
The most important is that the resort to military force across the Arab countries in recent decades has been a recurring catastrophe. Arab countries are falling apart one by one under the destructive impact of runaway militarism, in the absence of legitimate democratic governance systems. We need less militarism, and more civilian control of armed forces and police, not a new collective military adventure that would take the incompetence and national corrosion of officers’ rule from the national to the regional level....
There is another problem. Autocratic regimes have taken advantage of the war on terror by settling scores with their internal opponents in the guise of fighting the war. The obvious example is the Egyptian military regime cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood. The reverberations of such a crackdown will be felt wherever there is a sizeable presence of the Brothers — Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, Gaza. Recruiting agents of the ISIS then go into action....
We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally. Too many people do not feel free to practice their religion, or express their opinion, or love who they choose. It is a world in which that can make a difference between life and death. If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right to privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money. We risk our way of life....
Four years after the Arab Spring, the hopes that a wave of democratization would wash over the Arab world have largely been disappointed. In that time, dialogues within the Islamic world - debates on the ways and concepts needed to solve pressing problems - have rarely taken place, if at all. The "Islamic world" itself does not exist as a unified political entity and never has. It remains fragmented, with the majority of Islamic states busy with internal conflicts and numerous proxy wars - and not with discussions about reform....
Rami G. Khouri
Why would some young men born and raised in France, Denmark, Canada, Germany Belgium, the United Kingdom or other impressive societies travel to ISIS lands to fight for what they see as their existential cause, or turn against their own societies? Why do new pockets of extremist criminals spring up regularly in new countries, such as those in Libya who slaughtered Egyptian Christians this week? Why, above all, do some of these killers who brandish the holy book of Muslims mostly kill fellow Muslims in the Arab and Asian regions?....
The kingdom’s mufti, who is also the head of the council of senior scholars, is known for being humble, highly educated, and for his tendency to keep away from political controversy. He represents the old generation of Salafist scholars, the purest ones before some tried to politically exploit Salafism and “renew” it with their own ideas and plans. Although most criticism and blame today is directed towards traditional Salafism, the truth is actually otherwise - this branch of Islamic thought has reigned over the modern Islamic school....
On one hand, we have more Milaads, Darses, Tableeghi Jamaats (religious gatherings) and other religious functions. On the other hand, we now often see upper middle-class families flaunting Saudian appurtenances with religious associations. These and several other signs around us are indicative of the influence of increased international Muslim consciousness and activity over the world and, also, huge sums are being poured in from outside sources to promote religion....
Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three mightiest religions on the globe… and then there is oil. The American interest in the region is obvious; the American clout in the region is obvious; the American biases in the region are obvious and the Frankenstein monsters it supports in the region are very obvious too. For that matter, the Frankenstein monsters America creates obviously, or by default, are the bane of the world right now; Taliban, al Qaeda and the father of them all, ISIS....
up to the East Pakistan debacle, the army was secular. Mr Bhutto was a case of
someone outside the mainstream gaining control of the power structure; thus he
faced a lot of criticism and was executed for his temerity. Then came Ziaul Haq
with his Islamisation of the country and army. Zia’s policies had numerous
long-term detrimental effects like supporting the mujahideen that promoted the
Kalashnikov culture and drug trafficking, which later evolved into the Taliban,
the start of terrorism, sectarianism and violent student unions, and the ISI
manipulating politics. All of this resulted in sham democracy, political
injustices and declining professionalism in the army. Islamisation gave a
further evangelist mission to the Islamic discourse....
are not sacks of potatoes. As the regime’s intent becomes clearer, the refugees
will understandably resist it and many will refuse to leave Lebanon.
Ultimately, the thinking may be that if a Sunni ministate emerges in Iraq, a
broader Sunni state between Iraq and Syria may attract rural Syrian Sunnis.
However, such a view smacks of wishful thinking and hubris, and may well
perpetuate sectarian conflict in Syria indefinitely. Worse, from Lebanon’s
perspective it may heighten domestic sectarian hostility, damaging communal
Mohajirs continued to propagate the Islamic national discourse to maintain
their privileged position. The institutions were very secular. However, they
too used the Islamic national discourse to suppress and discourage dissension
in the provinces of East Pakistan, Sindh and Balochistan. However, in those
days there was no assertive proselytising of any manner and the minorities were
treated with respect and felt secure….
violent and terrorist acts by those who claim to act on behalf of and for Islam
intensify the already established suspicions of Muslims and, more importantly,
make it even more challenging to argue against such an understanding of Islam.
The fact that the perpetrators somehow justify their actions according to Islam
does not necessarily make the political aspects -- whether domestic or
international -- of the corresponding matters in question any less important or
valid as in many cases what appear as “religious” are in fact mostly political
in nature. However, this does not change the fact that religion, which is, in
this case, Islam, is being utilized and perhaps instrumentalized as a driving
force for a certain ideological construction with a particular understanding of
Islam that justify violent actions....