Islam and Politics
....the reality is that now in France there are people who exhibit not one French identity, but at least two or three competing ones. Not only has this fed into the rise of the right wing led by Le Pen, but it has placed stress on secular culture. The French government banned headscarves in public schools in 2004, and in 2014 it became mandatory to reveal one’s face at a place of work. Charlie Hebdo’s work falls within this context of stresses on national identity and secular culture. Of course, it targeted one religion, Islam, more than others in recent years. However, we need to understand Charlie Hebdo not as an anti-Islamic publication, but as an anti-religion, anti-institutional, anti-extremist publication......
The constant depiction of Muslims as the “problematic other” plays a major role in dehumanising the entire community. The act of systematic dehumanisation of a community has historically been used to justify mass violence as retaliation, and shifts the burden of responsibility for the violence on the marginalised communities. The radicalisation discourse not only defines itself in opposition to the “other,” but often engages in violence against this “other.” In India, the discourse has overwhelmingly contributed to the normalisation of prejudice, dehumanisation of an entire community, legitimated violence and enabled a steady erosion of rights….
Today Islam has been left to be cannibalised by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries supporting and funding the spread of Wahhabism that had earlier identified Kemal Ataturk, King Faruq and Presidents Nasser and Sadat of Egypt, Hafiz al-Asad in Syria as enemies from within. “If these fanatics and fundamentalists had twisted the word of God for their own political ends”, a prominent British-Pakistani writer Hanif Kureishi once asked, “why shouldn't the Qur’an be reclaimed and reinterpreted by the better intentioned?”…
Riyadh's regional strategy has traditionally been to support primarily Sunni Arab groups with a conservative, Salafist religious ideology. Salafist groups traditionally kept out of politics, and their conservative Sunni ideology was useful in Saudi Arabia's competition against Iran and its own Shiite proxies. Promoting Salafism also served as a tool to limit the reach of more ideologically moderate Sunni political Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, groups Riyadh sees as a threat because of their success in organizing grassroots support and fighting for democratic reforms.....
Ajit Kumar Singh
Secretary General's statement remains far from reality. Afghanistan today is unsecure and volatile, and is home to a multiplicity of Islamist extremist and terrorist formations that constitute a tremendous and potentially global threat. Moreover, the grave risks located in the wider Af-Pak region, and the neglect of the principal source of Islamist terrorism in the South Asian region - Pakistan - was studiously ignored through the period of ISAF's engagement in Afghanistan, despite the continuous losses inflicted on ISAF personnel and infrastructure by terrorist formations located on Pakistani soil. Afghanistan is now utterly exposed to the dangers of a proxy war by the Pakistani state backing the Taliban.....
Like all other radical ideologies, Islamism is the product of sociological conditions. Historically, Kurds and Arabs used to organize in hierarchic clan structures. Today, they have reproduced these traditional structures within the political organizations of modern times. In an atmosphere of permanent conflict, if you don't have a clan you take refuge in a clan-like organization. A similar organization is being created based on ideology…..
Bad times have visited the Arabs before, but 2014 was a year from hell. The region stretching from Beirut to Basra continued to slowly disintegrate, with people clinging more than ever to their primordial identities as if the colonial constructs of the Nation-States that emerged after the First World War were only a passing moment. Most Arabs in that part of the ephemeral Arab World are now seeing themselves and are being seen as Sunnis and Shiites, while others are stressing their Christian, Druze, Kurdish, and Turkoman identities….
The fact of the matter is: Pakistan is guilty of genocides, of unrest and terrorism not only in its own land but in neighbouring India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. And it is high time we owned up to it, recognised the terribleness of ourselves, and made it criminal to deny our state’s shortcomings and brutalities. We must start making it criminal to deny our own genocides. Make it criminal to be a Taliban apologist, ostracise and hold accountable anyone who does not outright call their entire cause terrorism and differentiates between “good” and bad Taliban…….
The Muslim world is in the grip of the “foreign hand”, which usually means America. The current myth is that the Islamic State (IS), by killing Shia Muslims in Iraq and Syria, is actually working for the Americans because “it is a creation of America”. In Pakistan, add India. Or better still, tag Israel too. At times, it is amazing how inspectors general of police will insist on the “foreign hand”, even after the Taliban has owned up to a big hit. The message behind their insistence is that the Taliban is actually an agent of America, India and Israel. Hafiz Saeed has recently used this device; only this time, no one in Pakistan is prepared to listen….
The term "Takfiri" refers merely to a notion — there is no evidence of Islamist groups misjudging others. For anyone who acknowledges God and the prophet is not an infidel. We cannot know what is inside people's hearts. Death sentences like these must be supported by evidence and witnesses. They must be issued with confidence, not by suspicion….
Successive governments have spent billions of rupees on madrasa reform projects, since a number of notorious militants were associated with various seminaries before they went on killing sprees “in the name of Islam.” The top management of the Wafaq has always rejected allegations of spreading extremism and preaching violence….
There is an Arab saying about depriving people of options. It says: “Don’t break a full loaf of bread and don’t eat from a broken loaf -- but feel free to eat as much as you want.” This is the international community’s response to Palestinian efforts to end the unjust 47-year-old Israeli occupation. When Palestinians use armed resistance, which is legal by international law, they are called terrorists and asked to refrain from acts that endanger the lives of Israelis whose offensive actions against the people of Gaza are “legitimate” self-defence….
Some 23 defendants in 20 cases have been indicted to date, most from Jamaat-e-Islami, which had opposed independence. The tribunal has so far handed down verdicts on 14 defendants – all found guilty of offences including crimes against humanity, murder and rape. Eleven were sentenced to death, two to life in prison and another to 90 years in jail. Two of them have died in prison. The trials of the remaining eight are in progress….
Eyad Abu Shakra
Amid this mood of goodwill Tunisia is taking its first steps on a long path, however we must also keep some interesting facts in mind. Foremost among which is that Tunisia, the pioneer of change in the “Arab Spring”, entered its latest elections in a state of relative stability and broad national consensus. Some may belittle the role of the forces of civil society in achieving this by pointing to the fact that Tunisia has learnt a lot from the tragedies that other countries suffered during this period of momentous…
Even with four Arab states in the throes of chaos – Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen; with Israel hammering Gaza and colonizing the West Bank; with Jordan and Lebanon engulfed by the fallout; there has not been one coherent Arab peace plan. Israel, Turkey and Iran still look the players most able to define the agenda even though they too like their Arab counterparts, declining influence and status internationally. Inter-Arab rivalries are, if anything, worse and often bitter and personal….
Thirty-four years ago, the people of Konya had to take to the streets to shout "Death to the Jew," wave Palestinian flags and chant all possible Quranic slogans -- and clash with the military for doing it. Today, they enjoy the Islamist ritual at the regional congress of the country's ruling party, with "a son of their city" running the show from the seat of the prime minister. Thirty-four years ago, their hearts and minds were united with their Palestinian brothers, but a public "Jerusalem meeting" could earn them a jail sentence.....
Across Indonesia, religious minorities, including Christians and Shia Muslims, have increasingly been harassed, threatened and attacked by Sunni Islamist militant groups like the Islamic Defenders Front. Indonesia’s Setara Institute, which monitors religious freedom in the country, recorded 220 cases of violent attacks on religious minorities in 2013, an increase from 91 such cases in 2007……
Driven by Cold War goals, the Western countries, along with Pakistan, supported and glorified non-state violent groups fighting in Afghanistan against the former USSR. They called their fight a “jihad,” in stark contrast to the real meaning of the word. Thus, the perverse political strategies of these countries, rather than religion, have contributed to making terrorism so common over there. Dumped subsequently by their state supporters, many of these rebels and their followers still scout the subcontinent and beyond, searching for new causes….
This year, the Islamic State (IS) movement emerged as the main jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. Unlike al-Qaeda’s slow-paced approach to jihad, the group employs “total war” and “mass casualty” approaches, giving it credibility within the jihadist community. The brutal reputation of IS fighters on the battlefield have further inspired radical-minded individuals seeking instant outcomes and combat experience to join the notorious terrorist group. In Indonesia, the operational dynamics of IS have had a profound impact, radicalizing local Muslim youths and drawing many to the theater of conflict…..
Khaled Abu Toameh
These groups are opposed to the resolution not only because of the purported concessions it offers on the issues of refugees, prisoners, Jerusalem and borders, but also because it calls for a resumption of peace talks with Israel under the auspices of the US….
Erdogan appeared on TV, reading -- in an unusually soft voice -- a letter by the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed al-Beltagy. The letter was written to Beltagy's daughter Asmaa, a 17-year-old girl, who had been killed in Cairo when security forces stormed two protest camps occupied by supporters of the deposed president. Poor Asmaa had been shot in the chest and back. "I believe you have been loyal to your commitment to God, and He has been to you," her father wrote in the letter. "Otherwise, He would not have called you to His presence before me." Erdogan's tears were visible.....
Muslims cannot even begin to deal with the malignancy in their midst until they disown the inherently capable-of-mutating legacy of Wahhab, al-Banna, Qutb and Maududi, purge themselves of the idea that while a secular state is a compulsion where Muslims are in a minority, an Islamic state is the ideal. Perhaps they should get better acquainted with Hassan al-Banna’s younger brother, Gamal, who died last year. According to Gamal, Middle Age interpretations of the Quran “should be thrown into the sea”. In 2008, he wrote a book arguing that all sayings attributed to the Prophet that are misogynistic, against freedom of religion or promote violence, must be rejected since they are not consonant either with Quranic teachings or the life of Mohammed.......
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
For the Muslims, the present age is, in essence, one of struggle. This period commenced in 1799, when Sultan Tipu of India (then undivided) was killed by the British army in Mysore. From that point onwards the Muslims launched themselves on a course of violent and unceasing struggle. Yet, after more than 200 years of such strenuous endeavour, there has been no positive outcome. In this long, hard and violent struggle, the whole Ummah has been involved, some passively and others actively. But after a monumental sacrifice of life and resources, this struggle has failed to produce the desired result. At the present juncture, there is no justification for continuing with this pattern of conflict. Now, ultimately, the time has come for Muslims to re-plan their strategy.....
Abdullah's decision to keep spending at all-time highs reflects the House of Saud's conviction that the greatest danger to its survival is at home from disaffected citizens. The Saudis are much more worried about internal unrest than most outside observers — of course the royals know more about internal stresses than most outsiders. With the king and Crown Prince Salman in poor health, this is not the time for social disorder or risky experiments in political reform. Not opening the door for women to drive is one reflection of the conservative mind set…..
The struggle between good and evil never ends. We should stand against evil, not the people. We should raise our voices against evil practices, not against a single person or a party. If we want to live in harmony we should condemn evil in a chorus. The evil today is autocracy, one-man rule, the undermining of rule of law and the use of hate as a political strategy….