Books and Documents
Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

More Muslim Non-Literalists and Moderates Need To Increase in Number and Reclaim Islam from the Fundamentalists
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Every time someone in the West ‘misuses’ their freedom of speech to promote ‘blasphemous’ writings, caricatures or amateur videos, the West’s ostensible double standards are highlighted by the incandescent Muslim world. That the ‘West’ criminalises Holocaust denial and does not consider an individual’s right to be anti-Semitic a part of freedom of speech, seemingly showcases that the torchbearers of free speech are endeavouring to promote ‘Islamophobia’ in the garb of freedom of expression……


The selection and presentation of news is all when it comes to determining the visibility or invisibility of the victims. An almost-never mentioned chapter in the history of France is the Paris Massacre of 1961. Up to two hundred Algerians were murdered by the Paris police on 17th October 1961, many of them thrown into the Seine and drowned after being tortured. Decades of official denial followed this atrocity; the French government finally owned up to it in 1998, but admitted to the murder of only 40 Algerians on that terrible day. The 37 year hushing-up and denial of this massacre had no legal consequences and the 1915 Armenian massacre by the Turks may be denied with impunity anywhere you like in modern France. That’s freedom of expression; (just don’t mention the holocaust.)….

Muslims Must Confront Islamist Terror Ideologically: An Islamic Reformation Required
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

We seem to be living in an era of Islamist terror. Massacre of journalists in Paris has followed the massacre of children in Peshawar. Thirteen years after 9/11, the world is facing a more complex, more diverse and more dangerous threat.  While the world has focused on fighting the terrorists militarily, the challenge of their ideological narrative has gone essentially unchallenged. ...

The malaise of Islam is clearly far deeper. The problems are basic, fundamental to Islam. But ulema, the supposed custodians of faith, continue to be in denial.

What does the larger society do? I think the world needs to first inform itself of what is going on within the Muslim community. We should have credible surveys to find out the extent of radicalisation, monitor Friday sermons, study text books of different madrasas, and  confront the ulema with the fundamental questions raised here. If the ulema really want to save Islam from being considered synonymous with terrorism, they should at least make the following commonsensical declarations, which are also consistent with the faith:

 1. Quran is a created book of God, not divine as God Himself;

2. contextual, particularly militant verses, in Quran are no longer applicable to Muslims;

3. Hadees is not an Islamic scripture a la Quran.

4. Shariah cannot be considered divine.

 What the ulema, intellectuals and politicians have done so far amounts to nothing more than a cosmetic endeavour; they have been hoping and perhaps praying that the issues will go away. But radicalism is deepening and intensifying. It is attracting more and more converts. 

So clearly Muslim theologians will need to go beyond superficial statements, walk further in the direction of rationality, prepare a coherent theology of peace and moderation and propagate it among masses, if they want Islam to survive as a moderate religion, a moral standard, and a spiritual path to salvation rather than allow Islamic scriptures to degenerate into terrorist manuals.

If the ulema do not agree to walk their peaceful talk, the larger society should encourage and support those few moderate, progressive Muslims who are willing to go out on a limb, perhaps  putting their heads on the chopping block in this process. This section should be able to go to the community directly, bypassing the ulema and campaign for sanity. 

The typical trajectory of most French Islamist terrorists follows four steps: alienation from the dominant culture, thanks partly to joblessness and discrimination in blighted neighbourhoods; a turn to petty crime, which leads to prison, and then more crime and more prison; religious awakening and radicalization; and an initiatory journey to a Muslim country like Syria, Afghanistan or Yemen to train for jihad. Stints in prison were seminal for Chérif Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly and other major figures of French Jihadism in recent years — Mohammed Merah, Mehdi Nemmouche, Khaled Kelkal — as both a rite of passage and a gateway to radicalism…..


Isis Hostage Crisis: The Prisoner Swap Has Only One Purpose for the Militants - Recognition Its Islamic State Exists and That Foreign Nations Acknowledge Its Power
Robert Fisk

You only had to listen to the reporters talking in the last few hours about “the Islamic State” – without the usual “so-called” in front of it – to realise that we are already, with scarcely a thought for the consequences, accepting the caliphate as a viable, if illegitimate, nation. Forget the original demand for cash, because a Jordanian king and a Japanese deputy foreign minister are more valuable than $1bn. By agreeing to negotiate over hostages, they have given the Islamic State its own imprimatur…..


Radicalism Is More Dangerous Than Even Terrorism
Ayesha Siddiqa

We have to be very clear on one thing: radicalism is more dangerous than even terrorism because it can survive longer and remain undetected due to the fact that it does not necessarily result in any immediate act of violence. Similarly, it is also a fallacy that these groups can ever get mainstreamed. Allowing groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and others to expand their welfare infrastructure does not help. Such activities assist the groups to hide their real intent and not change….

ISIS the other day killed 125 women who said they would not marry radicalized Islamists. The list goes on, one atrocity piled on another by Moslems, in the name of Islam, against other people indiscriminately. I would expect all decent people to condemn unreservedly these atrocities. It has nothing to do with what I understand in Islam. It has everything to do with denying common humanity and human rights. Wherever these are trammeled, everyone should be outraged. Islam or Christianity can never provide a cover for such bestiality…..

A Saudi Beheading, an IS Beheading
Rafia Zakaria

Normally, a beheading such as this one, despite its barbarity, would be shrugged and ignored. Saudi Arabia is after all littered with the blood of executed immigrants, men and women who came for jobs, to escape the hardscrabble and thankless penury of their own lives. Their heads and bodies are likely gathered up and, before the sun has set, committed via the labour of others just like them to nameless unmarked graves, becoming one with the sand of the Holy Kingdom….


How to Combat Global Islamism
Tufail Ahmad

The continuing series of jihadist attacks by “lone wolves” – some call them stray dogs but both the terms are insults to animals – in London, Boston, Sydney and Paris illustrates the fact that modern democracies cannot take their freedom for granted. After the Second World War, democracies faced threats from armed communism……

Charlie Hebdo, Syria’s War and Jihadist Exhibitionism
Dr. Halla Diyab

The Arab Spring exposed the world to several scenes of extreme exhibitionist violence varying from witnessing the violent killing of Muammar Qaddafi to the obscene scenes of Syrian rebels allegedly eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier.....


The Holy Book of Quran has plenty to attract people of all faiths. What has gone wrong is that people, radicalized, by commentaries on the Quran, in the name of Islam, are killing themselves and children.  Islamic states are refusing to allow Moslem women marry non-Muslims; sometimes the parents of such women have killed the women rather than allow such marriage. If my detractor’s argument is that you cannot judge Islam by the action of the “extremists”– I have no argument against that…..

One way of safeguarding our youth from extremism is by teaching them about the fine line between moderation and extremism. Extremism is going to either extreme: one side makes the lawful unlawful and the other end makes the unlawful lawful. We need to note here that Islam is not about black and white. Indeed, there are very clear matters that don’t require questioning, while other issues are more ambiguous. These uncertainties are causing division among some Muslims while creating confusion for others….


Only Muslims Can Defeat the Terrorists
Fareed Zakaria

Over the last few decades, this radical Islamist ideology has been globalized. Initially fueled by Gulf money and Arab dissenters, imams and intellectuals, it has taken on a life of its own. Today it is the default ideology of anger, discontent and violent opposition for a small number of alienated young Muslim men around the world. Only Muslims, and particularly Arabs, can cure this cancer…..


War-On-Terror Policies Partly Fuel Islamic Radicalism
Saritha Prabhu

Is some of their anger justified? You could say so. But no amount of anger, of course, justifies terrorism, and most Muslims in the West understand that. Again, to be clear: My argument (as a non-Muslim) is not to justify Islamic Jihadism in the West, but to try and understand some roots of it. The world’s media also often mourns in selective, often racially biased ways. It mourns, as it absolutely should, the victims of terrorist attacks in the West, but shrugs off as collateral damage the thousands of innocent drone victims…..

Ignoring the ‘Other Osama’
Suhasini Haidar

While the Indo-U.S. joint statement listed several groups that they would work to “disrupt,” including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the Haqqani network, and called for Pakistan to bring the “perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice,” it didn’t contain any new language from the statement issued in 2014. It also made no mention of the group that most openly threatens both India and the U.S., despite a number of events that have occurred since then…..


The Curious Case of Banned Outfits
Dr Mohammad Taqi

It is not just that wild conspiracy theories are being spun about the elusive ‘foreign’ hand but an active image-building campaign is underway to cushion the JuD and its leadership against the action that the US, India and the UN have been demanding…..


Pakistan Punjab: Nucleus of Terror
Ambreen Agha

You remember when thousands of Pakistani youth fought your proxy war in Afghanistan and in Indian Kashmir.... And then you went into the dollar game and you earned millions from the proxy war in Afghanistan and you deceived the nation in the name of jihad. The Muslims have not forgotten the blood game you played in Indian Kashmir exploiting youth in the name of so called freedom......


Once Every Single Muslim in the World Apologises For Charlie Hebdo, Then We Can Move On To Making Every Single Christian in the World Apologise For Hitler
Shehzad Ghias

I am sure the world would reciprocate in kind. We can start an apology trend. Once every single Muslim in the world apologises for Charlie Hebdo, then we can move on to making every single Christian in the world apologise for Hitler. Hitler’s moustache is for the Christians what an unkempt beard is for the Muslims. I have no idea why mass murderers are so keen on making fashion statements too. The British can fly all Brits to all their previous colonies and make them all apologise to every single member of those countries. It might be much harder for the Americans to do the same considering the amount of things they have to apologise for. They can make a world tour out of it; Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, England. At this stage, it is easier to just name the countries America does not need to apologise for…..

And before partition, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan called for a new interpretation of Islam on rational basis, maintaining that superstition and blind adherence to tradition had kept Muslims backward. Little attention is paid to this aspect of Sir Syed’s thought in Pakistan. Our age of reason could begin in our schools— by encouraging rational thought, purging curriculum of hate teaching material, and instilling in young minds the importance of questioning received wisdom. Education reforms must become the central pillar of a policy that would eliminate religious extremism and promote the use of reason…..


Freedom of Speech: The Sound Of Silence

The reason lies in French history. Blasphemy laws carried the death penalty before the 1789 revolution, but were scrapped in 1881 as part of a bloody struggle against the Catholic Church. Such latitude is not granted to incitement to racial or religious hatred, which was made a crime in 1972, partly as a response to a rise in attacks on Algerians. Holocaust denial was outlawed in 1990, and “apology for terrorism” last year. ….


The Left Has Failed To Confront Islamism
Tarek Fatah

“It is particularly important to bear in mind: The need for a struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements in backward countries; … the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends, which strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc.” I detest what communism ended up doing, but Lenin’s wisdom on this point left an imprint on this Muslim’s mind forever…..


People willing to murder thousands of innocents while killing themselves are not cowards. Nor are their acts senseless given they have a very specific aim: to avenge historical wrongs and to bring the West — the architect of the wrongful, weak position of Islamic civilisation as perceived by the terrorists — to its knees….


Paris, Peshawar and Boko Haram- Religion, Politics and Violence
Ram Puniyani

Not too long ago we did witness acts of terror from the like of Andres Behring Breivik (Norway); the people like Ashin Wirathu (Buddhist Myanmar) were in the news for related actions. Swami Aseemanand is in jail and had confessed to the acts of terrorist violence not too long ago. Does one want to underplay the association of Islam-Muslims and acts of terror? Is one wanting to be in denial mode as for as violence by some Muslims is concerned? The teachings of Koran notwithstanding; there are some Muslims who take to the senseless killings in the most insane and cruel manner; is definitely true. The question is; are such acts due to Islam or Muslims as such? How does one understand the association of label of religion with acts of violence and terror?……


Looming Shadows of Islamic State
Vijay Prashad

One of the essential elements of the I.S. is that it operates like a pendulum. When it was hit hard in Kobane, its fighters moved towards the Lebanon-Syria border and back into Iraq’s Anbar Province. They do not stand fast in the face of defeat. Retreat and regroup is the methodology of their battle groups. In the Qalamoun Mountains that divide Syria from Lebanon, the I.S. sent some of its most battle-ready fighters and its most respected clerics to try and absorb Al Qaeda’s fighting group, Jabhat al-Nusra. ….


Stil ISIS’ lack of strategic coherence hasn’t detracted from its success thanks to its media operatives’ good sense. As its hostage videos prove, images are just as important as reality in our world. Even a global jihadist organization doesn’t need a solid strategy if it has skilled copywriters….

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