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Islam and Politics

Arab World Drowning in Machiavellianism

To top it off, nations witnessed countries making peace with Israel and others protecting their borders with the Jewish state contrary to the official anti-Israel party line. In fact, Israeli presence has even become customary in some Arab states. As a result, the need for a new political plot emerged, and sectarianism seemed to be the answer. Sectarianism seemed an even better tool than anti-Israeli rhetoric since it plays on sensitive religious chords….


Fiction of the Failed State, Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria
In simple terms, the idea of state failure itself was premised on the assumption that weak or new states should allow and welcome intermeddling from Western overlords whose ‘guardianship’ was really something to be grateful for. Unsurprisingly, in the years hence, the term has become a mainstay of justifying interventions and intermeddling via the ‘guardian’ countries themselves or international institutions whose hold over global economics permits them similar licence…..


A climate of fear and silence has seized the leadership of the Muslims such that not so much as a whimper could be uttered by, or heard from, the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs or the Jama'atu Nasril Islam, even though it is Muslims who are unjustly gunned down in broad daylight and in cold blood…..


As conflicts rage around the world and innocents suffer in the Gaza crisis, Ukraine-Russia tension continues, and sectarianism boils over in Iraq and Syria, one wonders if history is repeating itself. Just as in 1914, now a hundred years after World War I, small conflicts have the potential to boil over into something bigger. Slogans of national interest, democracy or religious utopia are being raised by different sides to mask the age old desire for domination of resources.….


The $1.2m contract secured by Washington's Levick Strategic Communications from the Jonathan's government is a freebie that can only happen in Nigeria. It's like someone walking in the door of a good salesman offering hard, cold cash to sell a product. After some briefing, the salesman and the one offering cash both know that the product is patently bad. But it matters not. The salesman or anyone for that matter would be stupid to walk away from that humongous amount of free money…..


Israel's Creation, Communist Revolution and the Arab Oil
Nauman Sadiq, New Age Islam

No informed person can deny the importance of oil for the industrial economies, but it is generally believed in the foreign policy circles that oil took the centre stage in the international politics only after the collective Arab oil embargo of 1973 when the price of oil quadrupled in a short span. It is a fact that the US got so paranoid after the Embargo that it started keeping 60 days stock of reserved fuel, just in case the Arabs do it again.....

Pakistani democracy has done things to itself which it now finds impossible to get rid of. We can take it as an axiom of ‘modern’ civilisation that the state has no business to legislate about religion. It is not for the state to say who is an infidel, who a pagan or who a righteous Muslim. And please let us not take Saudi Arabia as a model. The Saudi kingdom is unique unto itself. We can take its money and say thanks but it is not a model that any other country, while remaining sane, should care to emulate.

Concerns about the escalation of violence were reflected in the rapid decisions of Western and Asian countries to withdraw their diplomatic staff and nationals from Libya, thus prompting local observers to rule out any foreign intervention or brokerage between the conflicting parties….


It is also worrying that India’s Shia Muslim leadership, under Iran-backed cleric Maulana Kalb-e-Jawwad, is unable to grasp the threat to Indian Muslims from global Jihadism originating from Iraq and Syria. Until now, terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in India could be traced to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and other terror groups backed by it, but an era of global Jihad has stamped its footprint in India…..

The war, and our pro-Israeli stance, has cut the ground from beneath those Arabs who were our advocates. If they are to take a public position favourable to us again, we must give them something to rally around. It is equally true that the Arabs will have to respond positively. Our commitment to Israel’s existence is not negotiable. From our own point of view, the beginning of wisdom is to understand that we are in serious trouble in the Arab lands, and that we cannot just wait patiently for them to get over their anger....l


Reviving the Arab World’s Anemic Political Systems
Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi

Many Arab countries have sickly, anemic political systems that are sorely in need of rehabilitation if not outright regeneration. The lackluster and often non-existent development on this front has resulted in revolutions in some countries and stifling crises in others. Leaders in these countries are simply too deluded to recognize the realities on the ground…

The Arab World Has Lost Its Soul
Khaled Almaeena

But let us not blame others for our plight. What were we doing for the past 40 years? Dictators held sway. They would use the security element as an excuse to increase their hold on a population that just wanted to live. The Arab people witnessed instability, suffering and oppression not only from external sources like the 2003 invasion and dismantling of Iraq but chaos and disorder was caused even from within. Added to this was a loss of dignity and morals of the Arab people. There were no role models and the absence of spiritual guidance hardened those that were once good people……

Iraq: How Did We Get Here?
Sarah Childress, Evan Wexler and Michelle Mizner

Disenfranchised Sunnis found an outlet in a militant group that had recently coalesced in the fight against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. ISIS, which had a reputation for ruthlessness, gained a rapid foothold in Iraq, capturing the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi in January, and Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, in June. The world was surprised by how quickly the Iraqi army fell to a small force of fighters. Shia militias have stepped in to fill the void, and sectarian killings are on the rise again.....


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….

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