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Books and Documents
Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Fahrenheit 451
Irfan Husain

Fahrenheit 451
Irfan Husain

However, I doubt if the story inspired this generation of Jihadis to go on their book-burning spree as nobody has accused these semi-literate barbarians of being fans of modern fiction. Quite the contrary: to show their devotion to culture, the warriors of the Islamic State recently blew up the Mosul Public Library that contained, among other volumes, 8,000 old manuscripts. And lest anybody should think this act was an aberration, they also torched Mosul University’s main library, destroying thousands of books and precious manuscripts and documents. No wonder Unesco condemned these acts as “cultural cleansing”, and “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history”....

 

Most Indonesian fighters in Syria were facilitated by existing groups including Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Ring Banten faction of Darul Islam, and Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT). Those who go through the JI channel join Al Nusra Front and other Jihadi groups that are affiliated with Al Qaeda. Fighters linked to MIT, Ring Banten, and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) generally fight for the Islamic State as their leaders have pledged allegiance to the militant group’s leader, Mr Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi....

 

Jihadi John: Activist Who Praised Mohammed Emwazi as 'Beautiful' Caught On Video Backing Jihad
Robert Mendick

In an emotive speech caught on video, Mr Qureshi told a crowd gathered at rally organised by Hizb-ut Tahrir, an Islamist group: “When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel, we know where the solution is and where the victory lies....

 

IS in London: The unmasking of “Jihadi John”

The images last year of James Foley, an American hostage, apparently being beheaded by a masked fighter for Islamic State (IS) who spoke with a British accent, horrified the world. Since then the same man, dubbed “Jihadi John”, is thought to have appeared in a number of videos, committing similar atrocities. On February 26th the BBC, the Washington Post and others identified him as Muhammad Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s....

 

Islam and extremism: Looking within

The doctrines of Jihad and Takfir are central to the debate. Extremists interpret jihad as mandating offensive holy war, though they may disagree about when and against whom it should be waged. The evidence from the Hadith (the Prophet’s sayings) and renowned scholars that Islam is a religion of the sword is “so profuse that only a heretic would argue otherwise”, claims the most recent issue of Dabiq, the magazine of Islamic State (IS). Extremists differ, too, about Takfir, the process whereby Muslims declare other Muslims to be apostates or unbelievers, for which the penalty is death. Al-Qaeda applies the doctrine with some limits to avoid alienating Muslims from its cause; IS invokes takfir wholesale, especially against Shias, perhaps in the belief that cinematic gore is the stronger lure....

 

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. 

Jordan, Egypt, and the Response to ISIS: Beyond Air Strikes
Sultan Barakat

Even radical voices critical of the coalition have been forced to moderate their tone, likely fearful of public wrath or a spell in Jordanian prisons. Former al-Qaeda ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi was released from prison to condemn Kasasbeh’s burning as un-Islamic, while prominent Jihadi Salafi leader Abu Sayyaf said that the execution “had no connection to Islam,” blaming the burning on ex-Baathist officers among ISIS ranks....

 

China's Fertile Ground for Islamic State
Adam Minter

In July, during Ramadan, the state not only prohibited the religiously prescribed fast, but coerced many Muslims to eat. For example, some university students were forced to eat lunch with their professors. Beards and Mustaches have been banned. Women are barred from wearing veils and head coverings in public in much of Xinjiang -- including, as of Feb. 1, in the provincial capital, Urumqi....

 

Hizb Ut-Tahrir: Is It Now An Offence To Oppose Government Policy? If So, Let It Be Said Plainly
Uthman Badar

Hizb ut-Tahrir nurtures extremism, justifies terrorism and inspires young people to join Isis. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in many countries and Australia should follow suit. Hizb ut-Tahrir spreads “discord and division” with impunity. As for Hizb ut-Tahrir being banned in “many countries” – that media favourite line, attached as an essential descriptor to evoke fear and suspicion – it is half a story....

 

What ISIS Really Wants
Graeme Wood

Maqdisi taught Zarqawi, who went to war in Iraq with the older man’s advice in mind. In time, though, Zarqawi surpassed his mentor in fanaticism, and eventually earned his rebuke. At issue was Zarqawi’s penchant for bloody spectacle—and, as a matter of doctrine, his hatred of other Muslims, to the point of excommunicating and killing them. In Islam, the practice of Takfir, or excommunication, is theologically perilous. “If a man says to his brother, ‘You are an infidel,’ ” the Prophet said, “then one of them is right.” If the accuser is wrong, he himself has committed apostasy by making a false accusation. The punishment for apostasy is death. And yet Zarqawi heedlessly expanded the range of behavior that could make Muslims infidels....

The recent Islamist terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo cartoon journalists in Paris and army children in Peshawar school perhaps prompted Sultan Shahin, Indian Editor of New Age Islam to write an advisory paper entitled “Muslim must confront Islamist terror ideologically –An Islamic reformation required”. While it is conceded that reforms within Islam will have to come from within, this paper examines whether at all it is possible when indications are to the contrary....

Our Religion Problem
Babar Sattar

We know that in 2004 Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid had issued a fatwa declaring haram the namaz-i-janaza of Pakistani soldiers killed while fighting in Waziristan. We also know that his disciples have professed allegiance to IS. We now know that terrorists who attacked APS were provided board and lodging facilities by a Masjid imam. We know that mosques and their bully pulpits are abused to preach hate. We know that seminaries and mosques around Islamabad parade ground have had to be vacated to ensure safety for Pakistan Day....

 

Jordan, Egypt and ISIS: A Tale of Vengeance
Raed Omari

Only a few hours following ISIS’ release of a video showing its masked militants’ beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers, Egypt, in retaliation, sent its F-16 warplanes to Libya to hit the group’s hideouts there typically echoing Jordan’s vengeance following the burning alive of its pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Exactly as Jordan did, Egypt accompanied its military action on ISIS with diplomatic efforts seeking to build a world consensus on the importance of eradicating the radical organization which is undoubtedly now the embodiment of all terror. Like Jordan, Egypt seems to be determined to hurt ISIS and “healing the chests” of its citizens, yet complications persist….

 

Islamic State’s use of technology has become ubiquitous: there are tens of thousands of supportive Twitter accounts, while Facebook and video sharing sites are used to disseminate propaganda, recruit fighters and organise. A policing and military response to Islamic State is already well under way, but this won’t address the obvious reality that technology is being used to facilitate extremism and an enduring, networked threat across our region....

 

The Lebanonisation Of Libya: Is Partition Next?
Joyce Karam

The Lebanonisation of Libya is also evident in the outside meddling in the country. Today, many Arab countries are trading accusations of instilling chaos in Africa’s leading oil producer nation. The accusations include arming, funding militias and allowing foreign fighters into Libya. While this picture parallels with 1975 Lebanon, in the age of ISIS and proliferating terrorism, Libya cannot afford a repeat of Beirut’s long agony....

 

Non-Muslim commentators have said these historical events are ancient history and therefore not applicable to the conversation. Christianity isn’t considered a violent religion because those events occurred in a more barbaric time. One day the terrorist acts of ISIS will be ancient history. If history doesn’t matter when one is talking about Christianity, then it technically shouldn’t matter when one is talking about Islam....

 

Even before the rise of ISIS, analysts say, some Arab states in the region were beginning to -- quietly -- work with Israel on various challenges including Iran. Now with ISIS the singular force uniting a region notoriously riven by tribal, religious and territorial differences, Israel is on the sidelines....

What Makes These 17-Year-Old Kids Pick Up An AK-47 Instead Of Trying To Start A Business?
Eli Lake

One recent study found that family money and education could be social indicators of inclinations toward terrorism. Released last year by Queen Mary University in London, it found that "youth, wealth, and being in full-time education were risk factors associated with radicalization." Maher said in his four years inside Hizb ut-Tahrir, he found many of the most active members were students or college graduates....

 

Madrasas and Militancy: The Tragedy of Peshawar Has Once Again Brought the Issue of Madrasa Reforms into Sharp Focus
Mumtaz Ahmad

The core curriculum taught in Madrasas of the South Asian subcontinent, known as Dars-e-Nizami, consists of about 80 books in 20 subject areas, broadly divided into: 1) “received” or revealed knowledge (the Quranic exegesis, Hadith, and Fiqh); and 2) rational sciences (Arabic language and literature, grammar, prosody, rhetoric logic, philosophy, dialectical theology, mathematics and medicine). It is important to note that out of the 20 subject areas of the Dars-e-Nizami curriculum, only eight can be considered as solely ‘religious’. The remaining subjects are otherwise ‘secular’ subjects intended as aids to the understanding of religious texts….

 
Daughters of Jihad: The German Women of Islamic State
Jörg Diehl, Hubert Gude, Barbara Schmid and Fideli

Often enough, female jihadists have little idea what they are getting themselves into in Syria. In the northern city of Bremen, sociologist Berna Kurnaz provides counselling to the relatives of female Islamists who have returned to Germany. She's familiar with their family problems and their sometimes precarious circumstances. "The girls are often revolting against a home in which they are misunderstood or a society in which they don't feel appreciated." She says that Salafist preachers offer simple solutions to myriad problems, basically sending out the message that all that matters is being a "good Muslim woman." But once they arrive in the war zone, the girls are sealed off from what's going on around them. "They don't even understand just how dangerous the situation they have placed themselves in really is," Kurnaz says....

 

During the recent past and this week there has been a notable rise in the number of explosive devices planted across Egypt, most of which were home made and had limited impact, if real at all. Many of these bombs, reported on a daily basis, were apparently aimed at civilians, and not security personnel who have borne the brunt of bombings that have grown rife since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013....

 

ISIS’s Dark Theatre
Praveen Swami

The world has become familiar, these past three months, with this aesthetic, which has flowered in the Islamic State’s execution videos, culminating with the macabre immolation of the Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh. But the slaughter recorded in the seven-minute video took place in Mexico, half a world away from the IS.....

From the 1970s, as France pedal-pushed capitalism, Wolinski's left-wing commentaries took flight to publications like Le Journal du Dimanche, L'umanite, Paris Match and Charlie Hebdo among others."I could draw anything I wanted. Before this thin-skinned age, you could joke about religion and paedophilia," he said. With freedom came threats, but mild ones….

Saudis Struggle To Reconcile IS Fight, Wahhabism
Madawi Al-Rasheed

Instrumentalising Islam, and especially sponsoring and propagating radical interpretations of its sacred texts, in an international conflict with wealthy powers, like the United States, proved to be disastrous. Both the United States and its Saudi partner have paid a high price for the unintended consequences of this misguided foreign policy. ...

 

How to Reverse Surge in Religious Hate Crime?
Dominic Casciani

Decades ago, the British extreme far right and fascism were the forces behind anti-Semitism. But on the face of it, the figures are now pointing to widespread anti-Jewish feelings among some Muslims in Britain. This analysis is shared by many leading progressive Muslim thinkers….

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • Sufi scholars keep silence wherever their traditional approach is questioned.  On sectarian issues they never miss the oppertunity.
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • My last comment on Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, addressed to Sultan Shahin Saheb has been repeated due to captcha problem. Therefore, the last one, ending with the ...
    ( By Khalid Suhail )
  • Observerif billions of people can misunderstood the God's message in 1400 years, why not Wahiduddin khan saheb. what if he is among those who ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • Good to know that some Hindus in Pakistan are doing well, but this should not make us agonize less on the predicaments of religious ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Sultan Shahiin  says, “Khalid Suhail Sb, Rather than calling it Taqiyya, why don't we take it as an evolution in thinking for the better.”  Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has ...
    ( By Khalid Suhail )
  • Dear Sir, I dont think Muslims believe in co-e3xistence with other religions. You can proof of that all over the world. You can see ...
    ( By Tim )
  • Is there a contradiction in what the Maulana said?Reverend R. Bosworth-Smith wrote in "Mohammed & Mohammedanism" in 1946:   "Head of the state as well as the ...
    ( By Observer )
  • Debate and discussion on a subject as important as this should be certainly held. I will be travelling and busy with my work at ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Yes, that is how we have to bring revolution in youth mind and this is the time we have to work against this extreme ...
    ( By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi )
  • Sufi scholars of NAI may post their scholarly comments on "Imamat of Women".Will they perform their Namaz behind a Woman Imam?
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • Sufi scholars of NAI may post their scholarly comments on "Imamat of Women".Will they perform their Namaz behind a Woman Imam?
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • Dear Sultan ShahinIt is true only if the Maulana has replaced his early standing with evolved learning. If he continues to believe that only ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • Dear Sultan ShahinIt is true only if the Maulana has replaced his early standing with evolved learning. If he continues to believe that only ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • This may make you angry but I suggest that instead of calling Ahmadis non-Muslims, let all Muslims become Ahmadis.  Then Islam will be really ...
    ( By Satbir Singh Bedi )
  • Khalid Suhail Sb, Rather than calling it Taqiyya, why don't we take it as an evolution in thinking for the better. All aware people ...
    ( By Sultan Shahiin )
  • Dear Sultan ShahinWhy don't you start from Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi? there your team hold some meetings/seminars.I think you must have some Aalims ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • Why in a country full of mainstream peaceful, inclusive and moderate Brailvis, Mumtaz Qadri can't be hanged?who are his supporters?
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • The position of Brailvis/SUfis is not different than those of Devbandis with a difference that Devbandis didn't like calling Hindus kafir.in my childhood there ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • To: All Respected Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam Forum   Read a published write-up re: biggest fraud in the name of "Islamic Mortgage" by a Mortgage mafia ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • A comment on this article by one of my learned friends:Dear Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi saheb,It should be so. But this is not perceived as that ...
    ( By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi )
  • MR GRDWhat is Islamic Banking? Why do you need a parallel Islamic banking? Is it not like having parelle Islamic Law(Shariat)? why you are ...
    ( By rational mohammed yunus )
  • If the PDP-BJP government in J&K is successful, it would be good for all of India.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "The conflict inside the Muslim world might ultimately be characterized as one between tyranny and freedom, even if that tyranny is packaged in God's ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A MOSQUE AND A TEMPLE EXIST IN HARMONY   Perhaps serious revision of text books that portray minorities as the other could be the first step in this direction. ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • It seems Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is expert in practising Taqayyah (deception) which is now evident in his different books and articles. For example here he says ...
    ( By Khalid Suhail )
  • Shahin Sb, Part 1 and 2 of the article were written quite some time ago. What Pickthall said about the sense in which the Quran uses the ...
    ( By Observer )
  • Observer Saheb, I was trying this morning to look into possibilities of our ulema accepting your definition of kufr and kafir which is of great interest ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • A WITCH-HUNT ON CAMPUSES   Hardliners have long been waiting for an excuse to pounce. In November members of the Chinese Red Culture Institute, a group of scholars ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • OPEN MINDS WILL MAKE A LASTING CHANGE   There are those in Afghanistan who do not want women and girls to be educated. If we are to make ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • A SETTING FOR A MORALLY INSTRUCTIVE YARN   The American conversation about Islam may be noisy and confusing, but it isn’t new. And these forgotten images remind us to ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • Mr Yunus,Dont you think your services are more required in Iraq where Quran is being implemented  in the literal sense by ISIS
    ( By tim )
  • Majid Nawaz I have seen you many times on show you always talk rational, but one point you miss always that Muslim always present ...
    ( By Aaiyna )
  • Very good article debunking some of the things that Graeme Wood's article in The Atlantic had averred.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The more women we have as imams and ulemas, the better. They will bring moderation. common sense and compassion to our discourse.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is a very sensible summation of what a reformed madrasa curriculum should be. A graduating student must be fully knowledgeable about Quran's abhorrence ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "Essential Message of Islam" has been a very valuable companion as well as a resource book for me for the past several years. It is ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "I created......they have been promised". this first paragraph raise question that our parents on the earth never demand anything on the other hand they ...
    ( By Aaiyna )
  • stop calling non-muslim, call them other faiths people, either call yourself non-christian, non-hindus, non-buddist. stop adressing other faith people with negativity, as if muslims ...
    ( By Aaiyna )
  • Carry on Observer Sb, this seems doable, although I don't see ulema responding. But I am willing to try. Please prepare the paper, I ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • "The starting point for convincing should be the Aalims on your staff. "You are right. It's a very depressing scenario. Ulema are mostly Juhala. ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )