Books and Documents
The War Within Islam

Yemeni security forces claimed that more than 40 AQAP and Ansar al-Shari’a militants were killed in the fighting, which ceased two days after the tribal leaders mediated a ceasefire between the Army and the militants to allow the resumption of negotiations .....


In Pakistan, the ‘Establishment’ Is the Thierry Tilly and the People the Védrines Family
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Pakistan came into being to suit the exigencies of the British rulers and their manufactured elite, which thought it could serve Britain better if they had the status of a country attached to their picket or garrison outpost. When demands for India’s independence gained strength, the British realised that with independent-minded politicians holding sway, their interests in the Gulf, especially their oil interests, which were of primary importance to the industrialised world, would irreparably suffer....


Sheikhs, Imams and Maulanas Sail To Infidel Lands to Serve Islam
Farooq Sulehria

Tahirul Qadri’s Canadian nationality has recently been a subject of intense debate. While our firebrand Sheikh-ul-Islam was stating that he was ready to sacrifice his life for his cause, curiously he did not really commit to renunciating his Canadian nationality. Ironically, Sheikhs, Imams and Maulanas always seem to set sail to infidel lands every time they have to serve Islam....

Pakistan: No Wrong Turn Now
I.A Rehman

Such ideas have been spewed every now and then by armchair cynics whose antipathy to democratic governance is incurable. Of late, however, they have been gaining currency in quarters that enjoy a certain credit for seriousness. And, of course, there are quite a few jaded actors who are always keen to assume the role of counsel to the luckless people of this country.....


Pakistan Bans Films, TV Shows and Websites at the Drop of a Hat
Nadeem F. Paracha

Pakistanis have always found ingenious and enterprising ways of getting the banned material into the comforts of their homes. Mainly because there is something not very right about parliamentarians, military hunks and animated preachers with questionable ethics, and closets packed with all kinds of skeletons, behaving as the moral compasses of the nation....

Is Music Un-Islamic?
Sruthi Gottipati and Malavika Vyawahare

India Ink interviewed Akhtarul Wasey, a professor and director of the Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia University, in New Delhi, about the topic on Tuesday.

Q. What is your reaction to the fatwa issued against the all-girl Kashmiri rock band Praagaash?

A. We should look at things in a proper perspective. If the girls are engaged in learning and getting and training in a musical instrument, there is no harm….

We Kill Hazaras, Ahmadis, Shias, Christians; We Blow Up Schools, Shoot Girls, and Kill Women In The Name Of Honour
Shabnam Baloch

Universally, societies are embarked upon a journey towards enlightenment, social advancement and embracing liberal values. Gender roles are redefined and accepted worldwide, and societies strengthen their foundations laid on liberal-democratic principles for peaceful coexistence. On the contrary, our society is on the notion of reverse development and continues to uphold conservative values regarding the role and status of women...

Why Condemn An All-Girl Music Band?
"Pragash" Kashmir's All Girls Rock Band

So is a true Muslim only someone who goes on pilgrimage? Or the one who condemns singing by a group of women as is happening now?  No, a true Muslim is one of Momin, faith, and every person of faith is a Muslim. Furthermore, a Muslim who believes in all the principles of Islam may not necessarily be a righteous person, a doer of good (Muhsin), but a truly good and righteous person is both a Muslim and a true person of faith....

Hey, Preacher, Leave Those Girls Alone: Views on all-girls Kashmir band that has quit after a fatwa by Kashmir’s grand Mufti that music is un-Islamic
Kashmir's All Girl Band

The mullahs have struck again and this time with the support of online Ayatollahs. A rock band of teenage girls in the strife-torn valley of Kashmir has been forced to lie low because a grand mufti and some self-proclaimed caretakers of Islam see their music as "un-Islamic." 
 The grand mufti has paraded a blatant lie in the name of religion. Music is not un-Islamic.  Plain and simple. Let's see where music is placed in the Islamic scheme of things. Allah sent one lakh twenty four thousand prophets, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last one. Of these, Allah bestowed his divine word on only four in the form of Books - Muhammad, Moses, Jesus and Dawood (PBUT). So it's clear, the grand mufti would agree with me here, that these four were dearer and closer to Allah than the rest. And Allah bestowed miraculous powers on all of them. What did Allah give Prophet Dawood? The answer, grand mufti, is music. 

Qatar’s Challenge to Saudi Arabia: An Alternative View of Wahhabism
James M. Dorsey

Qatar’s strategy effectively puts it at loggerheads with Saudi Arabia. Whether the Saudi-Qatari rivalry will precipitate change in the kingdom or reinforce monarchical autocracy in the region is likely to be decided in Qatar itself rather than elsewhere in the region. Qatar has already a foretaste of potential battles to come with Saudi-backed conservatives who also enjoy support of some Qatari royals....


Fatwa on Kashmir Girls’ Band Stuns Iran Musical Group
Iran's All Girl Musical Group

And the six girls rub it in when they tell people in democratic India that not only are musical concerts by women in Iran a regular feature, often there are bigger crowds attending them. "The music culture in Iran has always been vibrant and there are private music schools, though separate for girls," says said Sahar Lotfi, lead vocalist. And while little help has come in for the girls of Kashmir's Pragash rock band....


The Black Bloc Must Provide Egyptians with a Positive Vision If They Want Their Struggle to Succeed
Mark LeVine

The last time kids in black caused this much trouble in Egypt, it was Satan's fault. Well, at least that's what the Muslim Brotherhood and the Mubarak government claimed during the infamous "Satanic metal affair" of 1997, when over 100 metal heads - musicians and fans - were arrested and threatened with prosecution and even death simply because they dressed in black and liked extreme music....

Towards A Global Network of Liberal Muslims: The Petrodollar-Funded Tidal Wave Of Wahhabism And Salafism Is Transforming Islam And Making Muslims Close-Minded And Fanatical
Abdelwahab Meddeb

In the most notable passages of these texts, one finds the beginnings, the foreshadowing, the harbingers of the lessons of Enlightenment that answer in an efficient fashion the problems that are ours today. For instance, one can find a way to tackle the question of The Other or of the relation of Self to The Other....

Demolishing the Green Dome may spell doom for the Saud Daynasty
Saudi King Abdullah

Protests against the planned and apprehensively impending demolition and destruction of holy sites in Madina have gained momentum in India of late. Disturbing news have been pouring in about the expansion plans in the Mosque of the Prophet (pbuh) in Madina that have been chalked out by the Saudi government. According to unconfirmed news, the Saudi government plans to demolish the Green Dome (Gumbad-e-Khizra) of Masjid Nabawi as part of their expansion plans to accommodate more visitors and pilgrims.

The Green Dome and the Mausoleum of the holy Prophet (pbuh) is the most revered sacred place in Islam after the Kaaba in Makkah. But the news about its impending demolition by the Saudi government has sent shock waves across the Muslim ummah all over the world and they have burst out in protest. In India, all the sects of the Muslim community have expressed their anger and anxiety over the news as demolishing the Green Dome and three mosques of holy companions will mean the demolition of sacred symbols of Islam and its rich cultural heritage..

One Man's Qadri Is Another Man's Kafir:  Whose Definition Of Muslim Will Be Accepted? Dr Qadri’s?  Mumtaz Qadri’s? Or That of the Taliban?
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Who amongst us will decide who is a good Muslim and who is not a good Muslim? Whose definition of Muslim will be accepted? Dr Qadri’s? Or Mumtaz Qadri’s? Or that of the Taliban? So it must be pointed out that the definition of Muslim in our constitution does not exist. Instead, it is the definition of who is not a Muslim that has been incorporated in the constitution. ...

The firing at the Shia mourners at the Imambargah Wazirganj has resulted in the death of two men, one Muslim named Shanu and the other a Hindu named Ved Prakash Yadav. The firing was allegedly carried out by the members of an unidentified extremist Sunni group of Lucknow and is seen as the first fruit of the efforts made by Saud cleric and Imam-e-Kaaba and Jamiatul Ulema’s Deobandi leader Arshad Madani to foment Sia-Sunni clashes in India.

Lucknow has the largest population of Shias in the country. Although there have been tensions between Shias and Sunnis in the distant past and even some minor clashes, for many years in the recent past there has been complete peace. This was the result of a conscious decision by leaders of both Shia and Sunni communities that none of them should allow members of their respective communities to provoke one another.   But even in days when some tension prevailed nothing like the incident of last Wednesday ever took place. The clash between the two communities in the past remained limited to stone pelting. The modus operandi of these operation point towards a larger and more organised conspiracy to foment serious Shia-Sunni clashes in the city. This points to the violent turn the sectarian divide is going to take.

Pakistan Today: Sheikhul Islam, Protest Demonstrations, Sectarian Perceptions And The Current Situation
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

Despite inhospitable weather and fast receding participation of people in the sit-in in Islamabad, Sheikhul Islam finally appears to be successful in creating a situation in Pakistan that will help the parliamentary politics of Pakistan to take its direction.  Though there are many guesses and no clear picture has emerged till now, one thing can be said with conviction that Tahirul Qadri has indeed created trouble for the armed Deobandi and Ahl-e-hadith factions.

The Deobandi and Ahle-hadith factions of Pakistan have their reach from the highest echelons of power to the common Pakistanis with reference to financial assistance and where on one side the jihad for Afghanistan and Kashmir goes on and on the other communal war is also fought on the local level.

Till now, Sheikhul Islam’s organisation Minhajul Quran has had to face only written and verbal onslaughts of the extremist Ahle Hadith and Deobandi sects with reference to sectarian beliefs but the issue had not reached the level of violence.  But now there is a clear possibility that an armed war is going to begin on a new front. Sheikhul Islam also possesses numerical and financial strength and has the full capacity to attract the attention of those countries and organisations that are worried about the ever growing power of ahl-e-hadith and Deobandi forces in Pakistan.

In Mali, Imams and Rebels Clash Over Islamic Doctrine
Aman Sethi

They desecrated Mali’s rich Sufi Islamic heritage by demolishing several historic and sacred shrines. The puritanism of the Islamists in the North has taken many Malians by surprise. While 90 per cent of Malians describe themselves as Muslim, the constitution is secular, and clerics stress the powers of prayer and persuasion over the path of violence...


Pakistan is the most ideal place to witness murders and massacres for reasons ranging from ethnic, sectarian, tribal, clannish, honor to land grabbing or just for show off in streets. The poor raped young girls have to produce four eyewitnesses to prove that they were raped. Is it possible? Law and order has become razor thin and no one cares who is killing and who is being killed.


Religious education of their kids can be the biggest challenge facing middle class Egyptian women, specifically their boys because they are weekly exposed to sheikhs in mosques. Egyptian society is probably the only one where millions of boys and men flock to mosques for Friday noon prayers regardless of how religious they are, or whether they in fact perform the rest of the week’s prayers. Egyptian men might be partying Thursday night, drinking and dancing, but they wake up on Friday to join the prayers.

A Candle In The Wind: Commemorating The Second Death Anniversary Of An Icon Of Tolerance In Pakistan - Salmaan Taseer
Ayesha Sarwari
Pakistan is also at war with itself, what with judiciary-versus-executive fights and the army's unceasing manipulation of politics. Among these unforgivable things is the state's systematic campaign to isolate Pakistani citizens. I mean internationally and locally: whether it's the smoke-and-mirrors chicanery that leads to drone attacks and OBL-style raids, or the blocking of 181 million cell phone connections, the banning of YouTube for months on end and the gratuitous restriction of citizens' civil liberties.

The Mechanism of Religious Reform
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The Mechanism of Religious Reform
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Simply put, a particular religion is what its many adherents claim it is and make it out to be, with each offering his or her own interpretation of it. In other words, our commonsensical notion of religion being beyond and above our limited, humanly-constructed understandings of it needs to be revised. So, too, the belief that we can somehow access and possess an understanding of our religion that is beyond the polluting touch of human interpretation.

How To Lie And Remain Pure In Islamic Egypt
Alaa Al-Aswany

The odd thing is that the minister is a religious man, who no doubt makes sure to say his daily prayers, in preparation for which Muslims must enter a state of ritual purity — and yet he lied. The question is: does a lie not sully one’s purity? Does this religious minister not know that lying is forbidden by Islam, and that God does not accept prayers uttered by liars?

Salmaan Taseer’s Fight Against Blasphemy Laws Is Slowly Fading
Abdul Majeed

After the assassination of Mr Salmaan Taseer, the space for debate on the law has narrowed down exponentially. Today, no one is talking about the brutalities committed in the name of that law (dozens of extra judicial killings) anymore. I find it tragic that his mission has not been carried forth by his supporters.

Saudis Should Not Hide Behind Hadhrat Umar Cutting the Hudibiyah Tree; He Did Not Demolish Sacred Heritage Buildings of Makkah and Medina
Sohail Arshad, New Age Islam
The national secretary of All India Mashaikh Board, Syed Babar Ashraf has protested the destruction of the holy sites and Islamic cultural heritage in Medina and Makkah by the ‘custodian of the two mosques’ and its expansion plans on the mosque of the holy Prophet (PBUH) by destroying three mosques in Medina. He has rightly termed the Saudi government’s actions as the ‘cultural genocide of the Islamic heritage’ in Medina to promote a five star culture in the holy city. The demolition and destruction of the holy places relating to the holy Prophet, his companions, his family members and other relatives in Makkah and Medina started in the 20 century with the establishment of the Saud kingdom. As they were affiliated to a Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, they destroyed all the sacred places, mausoleums, mosques and other buildings and relics that had any kind of association with the holy Prophet (PBUH)

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