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Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

The British government overhauled its counter-extremism programs and cut off dozens of Islamist groups from taxpayer funding. Politicians and journalists learned a very important lesson about Western Islam: It is a diverse mix of dozens of different political and religious sects, which includes both violent and non-violent extremists. No single group could represent all Western Muslims, and it was only by delineating British Islam into its diverse, competing constituents that extremism could be effectively tackled and suitable Muslim allies identified....

 

Efforts to combat the flow of young Muslims to overseas battlefields have been complicated by the ambivalence toward, and sometimes support for, the Jihadi cause among some imams and the recruits’ parents. In an interview that began and ended with a prayer, Mr. Sabur said he had welcomed his son’s death as a martyr: “I felt elated. Speaking about it now, I am over elated.”....

 

Tackling the Islamic State
R.K.Raghavan

Where is the IS heading? Few observers would bet on its annihilation. It would perhaps do better than al-Qaeda, which lost its punch following the killing of Osama bin Laden. The ISIS is expected to be more enduring than its rivals because it is not personality-oriented. It has shown itself to be more pragmatic in opting for expansion in terms of geography, instead of sticking to mere ideology.....

 

Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalander: A Hub of Folk-Lore and Sufism
Suroor Siddiqi

As we walked inside, what struck me most was not the tranquillity, or even the spirituality, but the feeling of being in a sanctuary. I remember less about the altar of the shrine, and more of the haven it provided for the downtrodden. There were beggars and madmen; the aged and the sick; women with their children; Hindus and Muslims. The people I saw there fascinated me because they were people society had forsaken....

 

Why It Was Right to Release Jamal Al-Harith In 2004
David Blunkett

Jamal al-Harith joined Isis and became a suicide bomber, but what did the future hold for the other UK citizens and residents? When we fall short of those standards, we not only risk miscarriages of justice. We undermine the foundation of our democracy, and give licence to regimes across the world to behave just as they wish. I think this is exactly what those who violently attack us want. Detention without proper cause or due legal process, in conditions criticised by many, is unacceptable.....

 

Time to Tackle ISIL's Millions of Sympathisers
Rami G Khouri

Significant international concern that thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters and their leaders will soon disperse to many countries - once Raqqa and Mosul are liberated - has focused on possible terror threats from a renewed global underground army of frustrated radicals.....

 

Sindh: The Sufi’s Cry
S Akbar Zaidi

The ethos of a land known, over the centuries, for its Sufi values and shrines, is undergoing a fundamental change – but its liberal intelligentsia is not willing to admit this, or perhaps even acknowledge it to themselves. Walk into Shikarpur and see the remains of the numerous NATO tankers that were burnt there by extremist elements, possibly in collusion with the oil mafia from the area. Go to the province’s border districts and you will find Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) graffiti everywhere invoking people against India….

 

The Sufi Must Sing: Let the Music Not Fade
William Dalrymple

If only the Pakistani governments could finance schools which taught Pakistanis to respect their own indigenous and syncretic religious traditions, rather than buying fleets of American F-16 fighters, and handing over education to the Saudis, Pakistani might now yet be an important trading partner for a future Indian superpower — a place where Sufis can still sing safely and in peace....

Importance of Saifullah Akhtar, the ISI’s Pet Jihadist for 30 Years
Praveen Swami

These blood sacrifices bought influence: Maulana Nizamuddin Shamzai, the head of the Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia, worked through Akhtar to bring together Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. The effort paved the way for the al-Qaeda chief to shift base to Afghanistan at the end of 1996. The Harkat itself wielded significant influence in Afghanistan, reportedly holding three ministerial positions in the Taliban government, along with 22 Sharia court judges....

 

Daesh at the Doorstep: Why India Must Promote Sufism to Check the Stealthy Salafis
Syed Ata Hasnain

The shrine of Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah evokes the finest emotions of faith, especially because one rubs shoulders with as many Hindu and Sikh pilgrims as Muslim. In fact, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was also commonly referred as Jhulelal (the river deity) by local Sindhi Hindus, as the shrine stands close to the river Indus. It is also famous for the Dhamal, a dance by hundreds of men and women to the sound of drum beats, an action which supposedly places the individual in direct contact with his maker,,,.

 

Why ISIS Feels So Threatened By Sindh's Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Shrine
Haroon Khalid

While the ultimate culmination of Dhamal aligns with the cosmic patterns, its individual steps follow no pattern at all. It could begin as a gentle dance, a flirtatious duel with the beat of the drum. It teases, consents to a union and then shyly backs away. The Dholwala plays along. The contest is for everyone to see and partake. The lovers finally merge, initially softly, tenderly, and then passionately, wildly. It has uncontrollable energy, a force which through its movements can halt the movement of the cosmos. Like the Tandava of Shiva and the ecstatic dance of Kali, if uninterrupted it can lead to destruction. Yet on the other hand, like Vishnu, the preserver, through its alignment with the cosmos it holds the world in its place....


Suspected Jihadists Are Being Killed in Droves on Kenya’s Coast

Many recruits are disappointed—Somalia is not the Islamic paradise they were told it was, and foreigners are used as cannon fodder. So they come back to Kenya, where they face an awful choice. They can join an amnesty programme and turn informer—thereby risking being killed by their erstwhile chums. Or they can refuse, and risk being “disappeared” by the police. Any young man who has been away from his village for a while, or who has been seen with suspected al-Shabab sympathisers, is in danger....

 

But when it comes to Islam, ignoring important economic, historical and political factors has become perfectly acceptable. Politicians, pundits and ordinary Americans see Islam -- not political groups using Islamic rhetoric -- as an existential threat to Western secular norms. So, they believe, restraining it justifies extraordinary measures, even those that violate American values and the Constitution -- such as trying to ban mosques....

 

In Afghanistan, Families from Kerala Try To Build Islamic State
Praveen Swami

From interviews with family members, and messages they have sent their friends, The Indian Express has pieced together a portrait of the bizarre life the group has built for itself in the eight months since they disappeared. The members of the group have set up stores, teach religion, have married, and had children. None appears to be engaged in military activity....

 

Does Muslim Translate To Terrorist?
Rafia Zakaria

Still, the overly broad nature of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation is unlikely to accomplish any security objectives for the US. In the near term, it is likely to enable all sorts of wrongful prosecutions of Arab Americans; in the long term, it will likely make the American-Muslim community even more insular, increasing the possibility of alienation and ultimately radicalisation.....

 

The Desperate Battle to Destroy ISIS – Part Three
Luke Mogelson

One of the questions hovering over the Mosul campaign is what will become of places like Hassan Sham, which ISIS took from the Iraqi Army, and the Peshmerga took from ISIS. Will the Arab population be allowed to return? Will the Iraqi Army attempt to remove the Peshmerga from the disputed territories by force? The Kurds, who in the past two years have vastly expanded the amount of land that they control, seem uneager to relinquish any of it....

 

The Illusion of the Islamic State in Afghanistan
Ahmad Murid Partaw

According to Afghan officials, if there is fear of ISIL-K footprint in Afghanistan, it has to be directly shared and discussed with Afghan authorities, instead of colluding with forces that are hostile to its people and government. It’s also important that the illusion of the Islamic State in the region should not serve as a pretext for the neighbouring states to establish relationships with terrorist groups such as the Afghan Taliban and other groups....

 

The Barelvi Pushback: In Pakistan, State Empowered the Seminary by Hiring Proxy Warriors from It
Khaled Ahmed

Always preaching tough Islam, Deobandis received funds from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, occupying “soft” Barelvi mosques through sheer muscle. Deoband, of course, is another city in India that gave rise to hardline Islam in the subcontinent reaching out to their hardline brethren, the Wahhabis, of Saudi Arabia. ....

Bangladesh Is Committing Suicide by Shifting From Secularism to Islamisation

According to the trend, therefore, Bangladesh is being transformed towards Islamisation. Sadly again, Hefazat-e-Islam is largely composed of teachers and academics who are meant to shape the youth, instilling education on liberalism and tolerance but their blueprint is just the opposite. Their level of intolerance has Sufis and Ahmediyas on target.....

Several factions within the Taliban are vying for power. The Mansoor network, which claims to be backed by Iran and Russia, has risen to become the most dynamic group within the Taliban. The levels of morale within the Taliban vary. The boost to morale from 2016 battlefield successes was dampened by the high cost at which they were gained, as well as the alienation of many Taliban from their leadership and the sense that many had no stake in those battlefield gains....

 

Bangladesh’s Creeping Islamism
K. Anis Ahmed

The Bengali letter “o” used to stand for “ol,” a yam; now it stands for “orna,” a scarf worn by women for modesty. Texts by non-Muslim writers — including some revered as part of Bengali heritage, like the classical poet Gyandas or the contemporary novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay — have been removed. Also gone are a small excerpt from the Ramayana, a Hindu classic that Islamists reject as foreign to the Muslim canon, and songs of the Sufi icon Lalon Shah, whose syncretic faith is anathema to Muslim conservatives....

 

The Desperate Battle to Destroy ISIS – Part Two
Luke Mogelson

“I’m going to explain something to you,” Bashar said, with chilling composure. He was the only man I had not seen touch either Ahmed or Mohammad. It occurred to me that Bashar possessed the same uncanny self-command that Salem had shown in his execution video. “If Adnan had joined ISIS, I would have, too,” he said softly, as if to a child. “When Adnan joined the swat, I joined the swat. How many times did you and Alawi go to jail together? You were never apart! And now he’s ISIS and you’re a prophet?”....

 

The Desperate Battle to Destroy ISIS - Part One
Luke Mogelson

More than a hundred thousand soldiers, policemen, and government-sanctioned-militia members were expected to participate in the fight to liberate Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. It had been occupied since June, 2014, and was now home to about six thousand militants from the Islamic State, or ISIS. The swat-team members were desperate to join the battle. They called relatives in Mosul, chain-smoked cigarettes, and excoriated the war planners, from Baghdad, who seemed to have forgotten them....

 

The Bigotry That Armed the Quebec Mosque Attacker
Haroon Siddiqui

In Quebec, Islamophobia manifested itself in a series of sensational cases, in 2007 and 2008, over the “reasonable accommodation” of religious minorities, Muslims in particular. The provincial soccer federation barred Hijab-wearing girls on the pretext of safety. It took an official commission to calm public nerves. Its 2008 report, which had the eminent philosopher Charles Taylor as an author, found there was no crisis: Sensationalist media coverage had distorted perceptions, but Muslims were not making unreasonable demands....

Scientists Are Easy Prey for Jihadism: The Insight Could Have Important Implications
Paul Vallely

What Rose has done is to highlight three specific traits that characterise the “engineering mindset”: first, it asks “why argue when there is one best solution?”; second, it asserts “if only people were rational, remedies would be simple”; and third, it appeals to those with an underlying craving for a lost order, which lies at the heart of both Salafi and Jihadi ideology. But they will need something that cannot come from western cultural experts. What the report omits to point out is that students will require input from others within their faith – to open up to them the richness of the Islamic traditions that constituted the religion before the arrival of oil-rich Salafi fundamentalism....



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NEW COMMENTS

  • can polytheists living as dhimmis preach and convert the muslims? a deafening silence is the only answer.
    ( By hats off! )
  • The principle of 'abrogation' (Arabic: nasakh) claims that some verses of the Quran are in effect abrogated, superseded and replaced by other verses....
    ( By Mubashir )
  • habbir Ahmed (Quran As It Explains Itself) 2:106 Any message that We revoke or cause to be lost to history...
    ( By Mubashir )
  • I would urge Shahin sahib and Yunus sahib to not respond to Naseer sahib's ignoble and moronic attempts to prolong this...
    ( By Ghulammohiyuddin )
  • When shall we have our Erasmus?
    ( By Ghulammohiyuddin )
  • Good article! In the holy Book of the Religion of Peace there is no place for war-related verses...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The personal is the political" carol hanish - i hope i got the spelling of her name right. or it could be hanisch.
    ( By hats off! )
  • To Sultan Shahin & Gulam Rasool Dhlavi. Why Quran is empty with Muslim aggressors and treaty broker punishments Why Quran is empty for the right ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Shahin sb, Since you have understood correctly that I have said “a Muslim girl marrying a polytheist is Quranically a valid marriage”, why don’t you respond ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Understanding the Quran correctly, is very simple, and yet most people are engaged in making it difficult for themselves by interpreting unnecessarily, ignoring the simple ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Sultan Shahin. Let me clear first" I am not ashamed" at all for whatever I have said about you. Very Basic reason, you...
    ( By Aayina )
  • US will learn lesson for harbouring Muslims, good on thug countries alliance.
    ( By Aayina )
  • Naseer sab has brought this forum to it lowest level of discourse with his personal attacks and....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Condemning things seems to have become the essence of mullahdom. Shirk and bidat have provided them with their bread and butter.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Naseer Saheb, Yunus Saheb has asked me to post the following response to your latest comment: Once again Naseer sahib reads my comment according to his ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • The writer deserves congratulations for his fine piece of work.'
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Cite any verse of any poet that does justice to the Quran if you can." You are talking rubbish Naseer Sb as Mohiyuddin sb said. Why...
    ( By arshad )
  • pointing out that no benign meaning can be derived from murderous texts is an hostile act?...
    ( By hats off! )
  • I have cited two very famous and popular verses of Iqbal and shown that these do injustice to what the Quran teaches us....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The two faces of Muhammad Yunus If the Qur’an is interpreted by applying his methodology of logical derivation...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Shahin Sb, Keeping in mind Yunus sb’s definition of ‘Kafir’ in the Qur’an as “Wilful rejection ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Shahin sb, There is no cure for a person who is deaf, dumb and blind like Yunus sb who persists in misunderstanding what should be clear ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Religions are not written in stone. They are evolving entities. Trying to prevent people from getting the best and the most updated meaning from their ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • So, this is a curious thought and I have spoken of this. In the Christian plane which I am not of anymore and I ...
    ( By Amy Evans )
  • Abrogation verse is there in Koran - read : 2:106 : Whatever of Our revelations We repeal or cause to be forgotten, We will replace ...
    ( By Raman )
  • There is no scope of mis-interpretation of Koran - for the reason it is mentioned 13 times that this book is a clear message revealed ...
    ( By Raman )
  • Naseer Saheb, Yunus Saheb has also asked me to post the following response to your latest comment: "In his latest comment Naseer Saheb says: he ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Naseer Saheb, Yunus Saheb has asked me to post the following response to your latest comment: As usual Naseer Saheb has ducked the crux of the ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Thank you for all your hard work and for this wonderful essay. I will share widely, aw ...
    ( By Dr. amina wadud )
  • some kitab, some mubeen and some allah. the text is so clear that two IIT trained ulemas cannot stand the sight of each other's....
    ( By hats off! )
  • being honest and truthful will destroy the basis of most religions including islam...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Naseer sab's relentless and abusive assaults on Yunus sab are an example of mullahish arrogance. Such brazen....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • “The most prominent thing which distinguishes the religious mind, which infuses sanctity and...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The confusion about the concept of shahadah is just one of many that have left non-Muslims....
    ( By GRD )
  • Naseer sb, you again misunderstood what I wrote. I said poetry and something written in poetic style are two different things. One may not be ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Arshad sb, I agree with what you say about the Quran. It has its own charm, style, diction and power to awe, amaze and convince. ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Different folks show their intolerance in different ways. People can have good inter-community relations in spite of these petty scruples. Making ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Yunus Sb can neither explain his flip-flops nor has the honesty to admit that he has revised his earlier categorical opinion that all the Mushrikin ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Yunus sb says :"Flaw in Argument: A Muslim girl can fall in love with and marry a polytheist in breach of Qur’anic decree (2:221) retaining ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Naseer sb, poetry is the art of use of language for conveying one's thought in an effective style. Quran is not vain poetry but it ...
    ( By arshad )