Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

'Brother, Brother, Do You Believe That There Is Hope For The Muslim Ummah?' Asked a Young Man Dressed In Traditional Afghani Pashtun Attire
Ramzy Baroud

“Brother, do you believe that there is hope for the Muslim Ummah?” He inquired about the future of a nation, which he believed we both indisputably belonged to, and anxiously awaited as if my answer carried any weight at all and would put his evident worries at ease. Perhaps more startling than his question is that I was not surprised…..


Monsters of Our Own Making
Aijaz Zaka Syed

Watching the latest fun and games in Iraq and the fine mess that the empire has made of the fabled Mesopotamia is both edifying and sobering. This is where it all began: civilisation, society, culture, art and perhaps life itself. The home of Euphrates and Tigris, the cradle of civilisation. This is the land of Dar Al Hikma, the house of wisdom from where the light of knowledge shone across the world and saw the Muslim civilisation touch the pinnacle of its glory......

About a decade ago, George Bush had destroyed Iraq on the pretext of WMD and its relations with Al Qaeda. But today a branch of the same Al Qaeda has attacked Iraq ironically with the US help. This has made the hypocrisy of the US on terrorism flagrantly evident. Today, soldiers and common people have come out in the support of the rebels due to the hypocritical policies of the US. The dirty politics played by the US in the region and the destruction of the region socially, politically and economically by the US has turned the people against the US and they want a government which is free from the influence of the US so that they can rewrite their own destiny. For this purpose, they are willing to support any force that could challenge the American hegemony. This is the reason they have extended their support to a Takfiri militant organisation....

The Myth of Sykes-Picot and Its Shortcomings
Nuray Mert

ISIL may believe in its own fantasies about the history of the Middle East and claim that it is “smashing the Sykes-Picot borders,” but we need to be more literate about the past and more sober about the present. Enough is enough about the myth of Sykes-Picot. It is true that the infamous secret agreement was more or less reflected in the drawing of the borders of a number of modern Arab states after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire….

A glance at the state of Egyptian women today, in contrast to their role in Egypt's national struggle across eras, if not epochs, reveals how far Egypt has regressed in the last 40 years...


Turkey's Best Ally: The Kurds
Mustafa Akyol

Yet the masters of the New Turkey seem to have their own ideological constraint — Sunni Islamism. They should be able to outgrow that, and instead of taking a side in the region’s growing Sunni-Shiite divide, they should champion reconciliation, be more wary of Sunni extremists, and reach out to non-Sunni Muslims…..


The Old Partition of the Middle East Is Dead
Robert Fisk

The Islamic Caliphate of Iraq and Syria has been fought into existence — however temporarily — by Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters who pay no attention to the artificial borders of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Jordan, or even mandate Palestine, created by the British and French.  Their capture of the city of Mosul only emphasises the collapse of the secret partition plan which the Allies drew up in the First World War — for Mosul was sought after for its oil wealth by both Britain and France…..


Momentous Week: Coupled With Full Civilian Backing for Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the Military May Be Sufficiently Assuaged To Rein In the Troika
Najam Sethi

It has been a momentous week. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan launched one of its most audacious attacks to date on Karachi airport and exposed the state’s brittle security framework. This compelled the civil-military leadership to stop prevaricating and finally launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan. This persuaded Imran Khan to patriotically line up behind the military and cancel his “disruptionist” rally in Bahawalpur. This nudged Maulana Tahirul Qadri to postpone his “revolutionary long march” to Islamabad to overthrow the Sharif regime. This emboldened Shahbaz Sharif to signal a show of force against Tahirul Qadri’s base in Model Town Lahore. This ignited Tahir ul Qadri’s supporters against the police. This provoked the police to charge into them. This outraged Tahirul Qadri to exhort his supporters to embrace martyrdom.....


The Rise Of ISIS: Do The Answers Lie In Islam?
R Jagannathan

Islam is not just a religion; it is also a system of accumulating and consolidating political power. Its ideology is perfectly suited for these goals. This is what explains how a rag-tag bunch of thugs and extortionists morphed into an all-conquering army and now holds several towns and large territories in Iraq and Syria. Soon ISIS could be creating a caliphate - a dream aborted in Afghanistan after the American invasion pushed Mullah Omar out. If ISIS succeeds, it will become a new power centre for political Islam…..

Abdication Has a Price
Charles Krauthammer

By 2009, al-Qaeda in Iraq had not just been decimated but humiliated by the U.S. surge and the Anbar Awakening. Here were aggrieved Sunnis, having ferociously fought the Americans who had overthrown 80 years of Sunni hegemony, now reversing allegiance and joining the infidel invader in crushing, indeed extirpating from Iraq, their fellow Sunnis of al-Qaeda….


A Twisted Version of Democracy Poses Real Danger to Afghanistan
Nushin Arbabzadah

Democracy can be a dilemma if you happen to be Afghan but not exactly a member of the nation’s kleptocratic elite. Take the example of the rural men from Herat, who ended up hospitalised after the Taliban chopped off their index fingers to punish them for voting. There was something absurd about the fact that these men had voted as citizens of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan only to be punished for voting by the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban……


A Time for Arab, Asian Statesmanship
Talmiz Ahmad

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners are in a painful dilemma. There is deep mutual animosity between them and ISIS, and ISIS’ successes in Iraq threaten their security. But, the countries are also wary about the Shia upsurge in Iraq, the improving U.S.-Iran engagement, and the likelihood of an Iranian intervention to maintain Shia primacy in the country. ....


Model Town tragedy and Qadri vs Sharif brothers: Will Dr. Tahirul Qadri succeed in toppling the government following the Minhajul Quran firing case?
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

Going by the effects of the campaign against them under the leadership of social media and rumours, Mian brothers are going to face a serious predicament very soon. Imran Khan is inclined to use this tragedy to his own political ends. The Muslim League leadership is as usual confused and paralysed. The abilities of Chief Minister of Punjab, who is considered more dynamic and politically sagacious than Nawaz Sharif seem to be faltering.

Saudi Arabia’s Duplicitous Legalism
Eman al Nafjan

The revolutions sweeping the region have struck terror in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy, which for most of its existence was the only law of the land. The kingdom’s Basic Law was only issued in 1992, during the reign of its fifth head of state, King Fahd. His successor and half-brother, King Abdullah, is today hailed as a modernizer, a leader who has pushed the country further away from tribalism toward civil law......

Stopgap Arrangements Will Not Help Mideast
Harun Yahya

There is no arguing that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s policies polarized the Iraqis and prepared the ground for the formation of the ISIL, which now reportedly enjoys support of some Sunni groups, tribes, Al-Maliki’s opponents, some Turkmens, Kurds and former personnel of the Baathist army. Situation in neighboring countries, which are astounded by ISIL’s gains in Iraq and consider this group as a genuine existential threat…


Saudis Debate Salafism and Democracy
Abdulmajeed al-Buluwi

Salafist movements share with ISIS the ideological references found in the books of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qaim and Mohammad ibn Abdel Wahhab. Despite this, Salafist movements have divergent political stances. Some completely refuse all forms of rule that exist in the Islamic world and describe them as apostasy, rendering state employees and soldiers legitimate targets of bombings.…..


Arabs Search for Legitimate Statehood
Rami G. Khouri

Syria, Libya and Iraq are only the most dramatic examples of countries suffering from serious sectarian and other forms of warfare that could easily lead to the fracturing of those states into smaller ethnic units. Similar but less intense tensions define most Arab states. With the exception of Tunisia, the citizens of every Arab country have always been denied any say in defining the structure, values or policies of their state……


The Mongols Are Coming, the Mongols Are Coming
Hisham Melhem

The fall of a city the size of Mosul in the hands of a Jihadi/ Takfiri organization driven by dark visions like ISIS, that crucifies and slit the throats of those who oppose it, and still dream of the establishment of a Muslim Caliphate is as stunning as it is historical. The brutal way ISIS treats Muslims who disagree with its words and deeds have become an integral part of its modus operandi…..


Muslims Incapable Of Handling Their Own Affairs: Begin by De-Recognising Madrasa Degrees for This Simple Reason; This Country and Muslims Deserve Better
Tufail Ahmad

Narendra Modi assured Muslims to promote their economic development and preserve their culture, stating: “I want to see you, laptop in one hand, Quran in the other.” Typically, Muslims too look up to the government to fix their life. Every other day, newspapers carry stories in which Muslim leaders and well-intentioned Hindu politicians accuse the government of failing to address Muslim backwardness. For all problems confronting Muslims, the government alone is blamed……

Globalization and Radicalization
Dogu Ergil

As Islamic movements and political organizations created under their influence proved to be ineffective in delivering basic assurances like dignity, prosperity, justice and political stability, these movements and organizations became more radical. It was believed that moving closer to the putative original principles and way of life of the times of the Prophet Mohammed, would make Islamic society become purer, more inclusive and powerful……


'Ownership', as defined by Oxford English Dictionary is ‘the act, state or right of possessing something’. In Urdu, it translates into Milkiyyat, while in Sindhi the alternative is Maaliki. When someone, something or some place is considered abandoned or ownerless, the Sindhi people often say: Adaa! Hinjee Maaliki Keeran Waaro Keer Kon’hay. What Karachi is going through right now is quite an image of that Sindhi phrase.....


The Dangerous Game that Saudi Arab is Playing by Funding Radical Extremism An enraged Saudi Arab, anger by USA's refusal to either bomb or send soldiers to Syria, went ahead on its own and has over the last two years pumped in billions of dollars to fund the foreign Jihadi elements in Syria that also saw in reciprocation, both Iran, the most powerful Shia dominated country of Middle East as well as Hezbollah.…..


If Saddam Was Bad, Then Rate the ISIS
Gwynne Dyer

There were no terrorists in Iraq in 2003. There were people with radical Islamist ideas, but they kept quiet for fear of Hussein's torturers, and there weren't very many of them. And there were no weapons of mass destruction either. It was an exceptionally dumb war, to borrow Mr Barack Obama's famous phrase, and it began the destruction of Iraq. It was the fight against foreign occupation after 2003 that radicalised people in Iraq and drove so many of them back into narrow sectarian identities. ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’, the original name for what now calls itself ISIS, was born in that struggle, and Mr Blair and Mr George W Bush were its midwives......

Beware the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East
Michael Curtis

American refusal or hesitation in helping to control the Islamic threat in Iraq is even more unacceptable because the objective of ISIS is clear.  It is fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Persian Gulf area, and to become the leader of global jihad.  ISIS has declared that “we are soldiers of Islam and took on our responsibility to bring back the glory of the Islamic Caliphate."….


‘Liberal’ Democracy Is the Way for Muslim-Majority Indonesia - Part 2
Endy Bayuni

The aspirations for an Islamic state and Sharia clearly exist in Indonesia. They are legitimate voices that should be accommodated in the country’s political processes. Barring them would only send them underground and possibly make them more dangerous and difficult to monitor as we have learned from the Sukarno and Soeharto dictatorships. But while these Islamist aspirations exist, the four democratic elections held, in 1999, 2004, 2009 and in April this year showed that they don’t enjoy widespread support, not even among the majority of Muslim voters…..

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