The War Within Islam
Rami G. Khouri
The importance of the Tunisian constitutional and democratic transition succeeding cannot be overemphasized, because Tunisia offers the first home-grown Arab alternative to the kind of shameful state conduct that we witnessed this week in Egypt and Bahrain. The modern legacy of brutal, military-based governance sanctioned by dubious laws and no credible legal systems remains the scourge of the modern Arab world. Tunisia, Bahrain and Egypt show us the options we face. I honour and choose Tunisia, as I suspect do most of the 360 million Arabs who can speak freely, if they are not in jail and have not had their citizenship revoked.....
Extremism and terrorism cannot be fought with guns alone. A social reformation, things being turned upside down, something radical – something like Hezbollah in Lebanon, something like the Cuban revolution in its early days of glory – to my flip-flop mind this is necessary if we are to turn Pakistan around and get rid of the shadows of hypocrisy which have turned this into a paranoid land…..
The imagined gatekeepers of the Ummah and the country in possession of an ‘Islamic bomb’ must protest against the ‘degradation’ and ‘defamation’ of the ‘faith’. Nowhere in that discourse is mentioned how brutal murders by gunmen could be justified, let alone explained. European societies must not be bailed out for their growing Islamophobia and the uneven integration of the ‘Muslim’ into secular societies. Nor can the double standards on free speech be condoned….
Once firmly established, a norm becomes a part of operational power structures and hence, becomes difficult to change. Our society is rife with absurd norms, such as these, that halt intellectual and collective progress. While all groups within Pakistan do not endorse these norms, the conversation to challenge them has to start from us…
Sharia is open to multiple interpretations. The emergence of numerous sects in Islam is a product of such interpretations at particular times and as responses to changing social and political dynamics. At the same time, the multiplicity of possible interpretations of Sharia has also served political and religious elites well in their effort to consolidate power….
The Mullah’s Utility
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Junaid Jamshed, the poster boy of religious fundamentalism whose quest for women’s enchainment took him into the unchartered territory of being at the wrong end of blasphemy accusations, can redeem himself by becoming the face of a potential revamp of the blasphemy law. JJ has been selling religion in a fundamentalist package for a decade and a half. The establishment just needs to hand him, and his brethren, a new wrapping paper…
The situation now is this. Saudis will leave no stone unturned to keep the Brothers from gaining influence anywhere. Erdogan has hitched his doubtful regional future to the Brotherhood. This he imagines gives him traction in Egypt, Gaza, Qatar and Jordan – both, in the street as well as in the basement. This also brings him into Saudi Arabia’s firing line. Just as this Saudi-Turkish rivalry is boiling over, the Riyadh Summit of the GCC has approved a list of 83 terrorist organizations including some in the US which are allegedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudi are clearly trying to excavate along some….
Doubts are also expressed over the Jamaat’s ability to influence and woo back more radicalised segments who now have multiple options to work with to bring about an Islamic revolution through jihad. Indeed, we’ve seen the JI cadre leave the ‘vanguard of Islamic revolution’ for extremist groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda in recent years, giving ‘ideological’ opponents like the MQM the opportunity to label it a ‘terrorist’ party.....
I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan — often accused of working for the rascally West — wrote this month: “Congratulations to the Muslim majority of the Islamic republic that their flock has been increased after the abduction of a 12-year-old Meghwar (an underprivileged Hindu caste) girl, her conversion to Islam and her marriage to a Muslim. Greetings may be addressed to the Dargah at Dharki, Sindh, where the girl saw the light, and the court in Sadiqabad, Punjab, where her statement was recorded.”…
Yameen’s comments came in the same month that hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Malé carrying black ISIS flags, calling for the implementation of the Islamic Shari’ah and rejecting the laws of the 2008 Constitution. ‘We want the laws of the Quran, not the green book [Maldivian constitution]‘, ‘Islam will eradicate secularism’, ‘No democracy, we want just Islam’, ‘To hell with democracy’, ‘Democracy is a failed system’, read some of the placards, which were all written in English…..
Afiya Shehrbano Zia
Ironically, international recognition seems to bring suspicion and dishonour rather than respect and pride for Pakistani achievers, regardless of their contribution to the fields of scientific progress or peaceful resistance. Meanwhile, the only ones seemingly commanding sympathy, recognition and respect for their cause and who are considered worthy of trust, are the ones who are anti-science and armed militants…..
It is too useful. The political elite thrive on the battles of generations past to divert the people from focusing on present problems. The question is: How long can one string along this agenda? One by one, political parties are imploding as biology catches up with once-evergreen leaders. A generational change is unfolding and uncertainty and instability loom…..
How many more beheadings have to take place in Benghazi and Derna before U.N. representatives or Western statesmen stop talking about the need for all parties in the Libyan civil war to sit down and negotiate away their differences? Those same statesmen and representatives should instead put their own heads together to work out a plan to rescue the Libyans from a terrorist take-over…..
One of the ongoing controversies in Turkey is the new “Presidential Palace” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had built for himself in the outskirts of Ankara. The complex is simply huge, with some 1,000 rooms and a size six times bigger than that of the White House in Washington D.C….
It was vintage Erdogan. There is no Islamic terror. ISIS is not an Islamic organization and its name is not even ISIS; it is "Daesh." And foreign journalists are plotting treason against Turkey.....
The demise of progressive ideology was a gradual phenomenon in Pakistan with successive military governments. The final nails in the coffin were the fall of Soviet Union and shift in China’s economic policy to rule the world. The dark years of Gen Zia’s Martial Law and rise of reactionary forces after 9/11 left no room for ideological freedom…
Dr Mohammad Taqi
General Hamid Gul, who is practically a fixture at religio-jihadist parties’ gatherings, was on television pointing a finger at India and its intelligence agency, RAW. The former general obviously did not produce a shred of evidence supporting his assertion but was successful in dividing public opinion at a critical juncture when unity in opposing and condemning jihadist terrorism was badly needed….
When convenience replaces conviction, rulers stay silent on lynching of minorities. They betray an utter lack of a moral centre. They betray the absolute and sheer absence of a political spine. And their silence and inaction expose their inability to visualise a future where Pakistan would be a multiethnic, multicultural, pluralistic, progressive and dynamic nation at ease with itself and the world at large.....
Pakistan’s descent into darkness furthered as it typically does: when TV channels aired self-congratulatory messages for reporting the tragedy first; when multiple militant outfits clamoured to take responsibility; when our leaders made empty condemnations, just like all the other attacks.....
In 2002, Sisters in Islam wrote a letter to the editor in The Star, asking why the rights of those who publicly preach hate, injustice, discrimination, intolerance, and extremism are protected while the rights of other citizens who speak out for justice, equality, tolerance, respect, and moderation in Islam are denied? The question remains as valid today....
It was not a secret that Egypt and the Turks' "Muslim brothers, Saudi Arabia" aggressively lobbied against Turkey's failed bid in September to win the seat of the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The EU ambassador said: "There may be further Egyptian moves to retaliate against Turkish hostilities. After Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Israel, Turkey has completely lost Egypt."....
Caliph Omar, who is renowned for his attention to justice, paid a visit to sacred sites after taking over control of Jerusalem from Governor Sophronius. He visited Masjid al Aqsa and later also wanted to see the Church of Resurrection where, according to Christian belief, Jesus was crucified and prepared for burial. Sophronius, who was walking with Omar, recalled that he performed prayers everywhere he visited and asked him to do the same at the church. Omar rejected the request saying, “If I perform prayer here, Muslims will build a mosque on this very spot.”…
instability and uncertainty in the region urge regional countries to be
flexible and form new alliances. These conditions also make Turkey’s need for
regional allies projecting security and stability more important than ever. The
longer and deeper the war, the stronger this need will become. The fact that
Ankara is keeping its door open to Israel and Egypt implies such flexibility….
incitement to violence becomes a staunch media campaign, managed from abroad
and being persistent on people's minds night and day. When, this incitement is
backed up by aberrant Fatwas that confer religious legitimacy on burning,
sabotaging and violating the sanctity of money and honour and portray the
inter-fighting between sons of the same country as Jihad in the name of Allah.
When arbitrariness increases in order to arrest innocent people,
unsubstantiated accusations are leveled randomly on those who have nothing to
do with anything and the most basic human rights of those detained are
violated. When the blood of dozens is spilled recklessly, what will prevent a
teenager or even a youth in his twenties from dipping himself into the quagmire
of declaring Muslims as unbelievers (Takfir)? It isn't a prerequisite that the
victim of a Takfiri thought be brought up in an intellectually distorted
environment or a socially poor milieu…..
some of the militant Islamic groups are targeting Western interests. And Iran’s
government has long been hostile to the United States, the “Great Satan.” But a
great deal of the strife in the Muslim world today is among religious groups,
sects and governments, mixed into a toxic brew by power politics, religious
ideology and historical enmities…..