Books and Documents
The War Within Islam

The rising radicalisation of Maldivians has been a cause for concern in India for several years, and it is well-known that a Maldivian was involved in the Mumbai attacks of 2008, as is the fact that the terrorist organisation Lashkar e Taiba has been operating and recruiting in the Maldives. Young disaffected Maldivians are many, and most are highly vulnerable to ideological indoctrination by individuals who propagate extremist ideologies....


Islamists Shriek a False Siren of Islam in Danger
Mariam Goraya

Owing to the imaginary threat of secularism, Islamists shriek a false siren of "Islam in danger", whereas the fact remains that within Pakistan secular voices are only limited to online activism. Of all the accusations and tags, the lethal one is being a secularist. A good one for hurling offenses, more of a swear word. Don’t call me one; I just like to liberate myself on selective occasions....

Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi national and belonged to an extremely rich and powerful Saudi family. In addition, he had close ties with the Saudi intelligence establishment since the beginning of his involvement in the war against the Soviet Army. Consequently, he must be entitled to the needed support for avoiding capture or killing by the Americans As a result of ongoing enormous Saudi influence as the “ custodians of Islam’s two holiest places”....

Pakistan: Caught In a Vortex
Ayesha Siddiqa

... When I heard two weeks ago that there was a plan to rename the square after Bhagat Singh, I wondered if it would happen at all. Perhaps some fledgling liberal might put a name plate on the square that no one will notice, and life would move on. But I don’t feel disappointed now because at least, I know that society is comfortably on the path of a single religion-laced identity. The JuD has sufficient influence to block such moves that may remind the ordinary people that they are also part of the rich heritage of South Asian...

Egypt in Real Trouble: Muslim Brotherhood Turning Into Leninists in Islamist Dress
Alan Johnson

When I praised Berman’s insights to a group of normally super-astute democracy promotion analysts in DC, to my surprise most took the view that Berman’s thesis was "crazy" and that the Muslim Brotherhood were really like the Christian Democracy in Europe; they had confessional roots, for sure, but were pragmatic folk and could be a force for "moderation"...


Pakistan Today:  A Regime of Heightened Lawlessness and Anarchy
Ambreen Agha

Pakistan's business community has been plagued by an acute menace of extortion backed by terrorist groups, in Sindh, Punjab and, more recently, the tribal areas, though the scale differs in each Province. Pakistan is, today, awash with Islamist extremist militancy and organised crime groups backed by the state and political establishment, creating a regime of heightened lawlessness and anarchy....


Manipulating History: The Different Faces of ‘Popular Resistance’ In Palestine
Ramzy Baroud

“In this coming period, we want mass action, organized and coordinated in every place  ... This is a chance to raise our voices in front of the world and say that we want our rights.” He called on Palestinians to wage “popular resistance”, insisting that it must be “unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us,” (Reuters). He made a similar call at the UN General Assembly in September....


Syria:  Discord Grows Between Islamist and Secular Rebels
Lina Sinjab

Liwaa al-Islam is a conservative group applying Islamic Sharia. And this is what many in Syria - including many in the opposition - do not want to see. "They have set up a Sharia court and they prosecute whoever they suspect as an agent of the regime or amongst the security themselves. In most cases they are killed," Um Ahmad said. Liwaa al-Islam is getting most of its funding from Saudi Arabia, mostly from Syrians living in the kingdom....


One cleric is a wanted terrorist who preaches that the United States is Pakistan’s worst enemy, determined to “wipe out every Muslim” with the help of his other nemesis, the Jews. His name is Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, according to The Washington Post.  The other cleric fondly recalls his years in the United States, where he drove a Chevy Suburban and allied himself with a prominent rabbi to promote religious tolerance. His name is Hafiz Muhammad Masood....

Why No One Conspires Against The British?
Afzal Ahmad, Tr. New Age Islam

No British has ever talked of any conspiracy against them, ever in history. When nobody answered my query, I tried to know the answer by using it, just, as a passing reference. But to no avail. Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular, are always in a state of depression over once upon a time having been the undisputed rulers of the world,  from the deserts of Arabia to the forests of Africa and from the fields of India to Spain in Europe. They rue their fate that anti Islam groups conspired and snatched their Empire from them....

The Conflict between Pakistan’s Lived and Imagined Culture
Mohammad A. Qadeer

Most Pakistanis would say that they, as well as other Muslims, are morally superior, unlike those Indians, Christian, Jews and Godless westerners. From these moral roots spring the daily crop of brutality, mayhem, corruption, and violence against minorities. Consider the sorry state of our morals where even the day designated to express our love for the Prophet turns into an occasion for looting, burning and killing....

Malala Yousafzai:  Turning Point for Pakistan
Aijaz Zaka Syed

In an interesting piece, Vir Sanghvi recalls how a prosperous and confident Pakistan in the 1970s and 1980s gave a complex to us Indians. “What devoured glamorous Pakistan?” asks the former Hindustan Times editor before offering an explanation. “A nation created on the basis of Islam was destroyed by too much Islam. And a nation dedicated to democracy flourished because of too much democracy.”...


Pakistan: Time To Reclaim Our Mosques From The Mullahs, Military And Militants
Murtaza Haider

The mullahs, military and militants today control the streets and mosques of Pakistan. Their anger could very well be an outcome of the failed education system that does not value improving retention rates and hence made little, if any, attempt to have them last in the regular school systems. No wonder, a favourite pastime of the Pakistani Taliban involve blowing up schools. Had they attended schools, they’d have shown more compassion....

Pakistan: No Turning Point
Najam Sethi

Consequently Pakistan’s ruling elites are bereft of any consensual political strategy to combat the most serious existential threat to their nation- state since independence. It is important, therefore, to restate the facts about the Taliban in general and Pakistani Taliban in particular and explain cause and effect. It is wrong to say that the Taliban are a product of US intervention in Afghanistan....

By The Book:  Monolithic Image of Pakistan as a Theocratic State
Nadeem F. Paracha

Hindus have always been enemies of Islam; they worship idols in temples which are very narrow and dark places; they declared the Congress rule as Hindu rule, and started to unleash terror on Muslims. The Hindus always desired to crush the Muslims as a nation and Gandhi was as an extremist. Though still not part of the mainstream text books, another ‘enemy’ has recently been added in the shape of the ‘modern American (read Christian) crusaders....

The Twin Growing Menace: Petrifaction And Radicalization In Islam And Islamophobia – Are They Interconnected? How Best They Can Be Diffused? An SOS to the Muslim Intelligentsia, Leadership and Ulama!
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

Syed al-Afghani (1838-1897) compared the Ulama of his time with the dwindling flame at the fag end of a narrow wick, “that neither lights its surroundings nor gives light to others”[1]. Shaykh Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), one time Mufti of Egypt and a disciple of al-Afghani was more vocal and incisive. He said: “Most of what goes today under the name of Islam is not Islam at all. It may only have preserved the outer shell of the Islamic ritual of prayer, fasting and pilgrimage, as well as some sayings, which have been however perverted by allegorical interpretations….

Fatwas in the 21st Century: No Denunciation Of Taliban, Suicide Bombing Of Sufi Shrines Or Sectarian Conflict
Waseem Altaf

However, one would hardly find any fatwa against the Tehrik-e-Talban or suicide bombers. Fatwas are also significant in fuelling sectarian conflict among Deobandis and Barelvis. Some Deobandis like Mufti Taqi Usmani, who carries a huge clout among Deobandis, has not openly condemned suicide bombings on Sufi shrines....

Double Standards!
Farooq Sulehria

Double Standards!
Farooq Sulehria

Tableeghi Jamaat members can knock at any door anywhere in the West. But Christian missionaries cannot proselytize the Muslim world. Any justification? Our politicians including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, media commentators, experts, Ulema, all and sundry are busy these days pointing out West’s double standards. Yes, there are certain double standards. No doubt....

Fascism in Our New Constitution
Sherif Younis

The most critical culprit in the current draft constitution being finalized by the Constituent Assembly is the definition of citizenship — who is a citizen?The draft constitution defines citizens as those whose identity is primarily Islamic, and, secondly, nationals of the country. In this conception of citizenship, the state aims to control and hegemonize citizens’ visions, stances and beliefs, working to entrench them and produce standardized citizens....

Muslim Outrages Are Self-Destructive
Dr M Husain Sadar

On the contrary, in numerous Arab/Islamic countries, especially Pakistan, the rate of public illiteracy remains very high. On top of that, the investment in primary education is extremely low. As a result, a significant number of young children are being driven to enter religious schools just to learn reading or memorising the Holy Quran. On top of that, there is bottomless corruption, dishonesty and injustice at all levels of society....


Pakistan Needs a New Constitution
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Despite its unique history, the ANP’s politics is just another example in a long list of betrayals by Pakistan’s ‘left leaning and secular’ parties, playing their role in an uneven and unbalanced political system that caters to right wing rhetoric and political symbolism. These coalitions of feudal, tribal and capital interests are secular only in their rent-seeking policies that they use to establish themselves in Pakistan….

Education Leading into Darkness
Ambreen Agha

The deteriorating quality of education in Pakistan is a result of four principal factors: the increase of hate content in school textbooks; the rise of religious schools (madrasas); the increasing militancy targeting Government primary schools in the north western region: and, the perpetual political impasse leading to irregularity in the allocation of resources to education....

Pakistan: How a Nation Has Programmed Itself into a Self-Destruct Mode; We Have No Enemies but Ourselves
Khurshid Akhtar Khan

The other day, I read a brilliant article about the glass of water being half empty or half full. The same day, I came across a cartoon that read: “Dear optimist, pessimist and realist - while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank I - The opportunist.” The quote reminded me of former President Pervez Musharraf, who always looked at the glass being half full and eventually left the glass half empty....

Palestinian Statehood Bid One Year Later: No State, No Bid, No Freedom
Noura Erakat

By initiating the statehood bid, the Palestinian leadership was able to extend its shelf life by another year. It does not have another life preserver available to it today. Moving beyond this impasse is the responsibility first and foremost of the Palestinians themselves, who have the agency both to deny the Palestinian leadership’s legitimacy as well as to insist upon alternative paths forward....

Political Anatomy of a Religious Protest
Mehreen Zahra-Malik

The reason for this is that many Shia groups, including the MWM, increasingly believe that rabidly anti-Shia terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are aided by the shadowy Jundullah, which they believe gets arms-length support, money and weapons from the CIA to conduct raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan. As the theory goes, Jundullah is also rumoured to be the main proxy group used by the US and other countries to destabilise Balochistan….

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