The War Within Islam
The principle of Nahi an-al Munkir (punishing the prohibited) has
been accepted by the modern state; but Amr bil Maruf (commanding the
permitted) has been wisely ignored. Terrorist leader Mangal Bagh forced people
to say Namaz in the mosque under strict roll-call and burned down the houses of
those who didn’t attend the five-times-a-day prayer. In Swat, warlord Fazlullah
tyrannised the population under Amr bil Maruf, just like the Taliban did
One wonders that if science academics — who are opinion-multipliers —
in Islamabad are hostage to a mindset
that qualifies as radical, anti-human rights, obscurantist, can we really then
condemn Madaris — seminary — teachers, say in Peshawar, Kohat, Bahawalpur or
Khaled Al Maeena
The creation of Israel by a unilateral decision, displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees, coups d’etat and bloody revolutions in the newly formed Arab states whose border demarcations were mostly deformed — all were the ingredients that led to the present day regional predicament....
Nadeem F. Paracha
The ‘Islamic Socialism’ bit, however, was only nominally touched upon.
It was simply a rhetorical gesture, to counter accusations by the religious
parties. Although there were some ideologues within the PPP at the time who
defined ‘Islamic Socialism’ as a localised fusion of social democracy,
socialist economics, the ‘Quranic concept of egalitarianism’ and Muslim
nationalism (of the likes of Jinnah and Iqbal), there was hardly any talk of
just how this fusion would be converted into a holistic economic programme....
All Saudis are expected to attend mosque every Friday, and Wahhabism is
taught from an early age. Saudi Arabia uses religion to control the population
and teaches to hate those who do not share their Islamic values. The clergy
exercises extraordinary power and are free to issue edicts (Fatwas) at their
pleasure. The religious system is often run contrary to the social, political,
and economic aspirations of the young, and is leading to a growing resentment which
is becoming increasingly troublesome for the government....
In Pakistan’s northwest — the main Taliban sanctuary in the country —
where psychiatrists estimate millions are suffering post-traumatic stress
disorder and other psychological illnesses after years of militant attacks,
army offensives and US drone strikes....
Bill Humphrey and Stephan Richter
The best explanation for the bull-in-a-china-shop approach the Saudis
have taken in Yemen to date is this: Saudi Arabia would rather demolish and
break up Yemen into its former two halves again than have it remain united.
After all, the latter scenario might entail dealing with a potentially hostile
state. Split into two parts, Yemen might be much less of a problem. Consider
the historic dimension in support of this hypothesis:....
An Islamist may be a lost Muslim or a Muslim gone astray, but he or she
is a Muslim all the same. We must stop repeating ad nauseam that these aberrant
Muslims have “nothing to do with Islam.” In other words, we must acknowledge
that two Islams are locked in a fight to the death, and that because the
battlefield is the planet and the war threatens values that the West embraces,
the fight is not solely the Muslims’ affair....
When Islam was incorporated as the state religion in 1988, all major
Opposition parties, including the Sheikh Hasina Wajed-led Awami League and
Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party, had denounced the move in no
uncertain words. But Islam plays a much bigger role in Bangladesh politics now
than it did during the 1971 Liberation war or the heady days of the
anti-dictator, pro-democracy movement of the 1980s. Political parties have
responded by variously pandering to majoritarianism....
Mired in war, threatened by jihadists and short of cash—it is a wonder
that anyone wants to rule Libya. Yet until recently the country had four
competing governments. Rival administrations based in Tripoli, the capital in
the west, and Beida, in the east, have spent the past two years fighting over a
disputed election, among other things. That has allowed Islamic State (IS), the
third contender, to grab roughly 180 miles of coastline around Sirte, in
Nadeem F. Paracha
First, to get re-elected as president in 1965, Ayub allowed his
information ministry to co-opt certain Ulema who asked to negatively highlight
the gender of his opponent, Fatima Jinnah. Secondly, after the 1965 war with
India ended in a stalemate, it negatively impacted the country’s economy. Ayub
began to lose popularity and increasingly began to use religious rhetoric.
Muslim modernists began to abandon him.....
It stands at the frontline, facing Islamic State (IS, formerly known as
ISIS/ISIL) in the east and north, hostile Israel in the south and the deep blue
sea in the west. One and a half million (mostly Syrian) refugees are dispersed
all over its tiny territory. Its economy is collapsing and the infrastructure
crumbling. ISIS is right on the border with Syria, literally next door, or even
with one foot inside Lebanon, periodically invading, and setting up countless
“dormant cells” in all the Lebanese cities and all over the countryside.
Hezbollah is fighting ISIS, but the West and Saudi Arabia apparently consider
Hezbollah, not ISIS, to be the major menace to their geopolitical interests.
There is, of course, the assumption that one party — the US — has the
capacity to punish; and the other — Pakistan — has, instead, the capacity to
endure pain. Clearly, in this unequal relationship, America has more options
than Pakistan, although it’s the weaker party that should ideally work with
Some say that many donors, including Turkey, are not charities.
Political interests may motivate Turkey’s financial and humanitarian aid, no
matter how hard both sides try to deny it. Increasing Turkish projects in Gaza
would allow Turkey to become a key player in the Palestinian issue, as is
evident in its stances and moves regarding Israel's blockade...
America, Italy, France and Britain have a shared interest in helping
Libya rid itself of IS and improving general security. To that end, they have
drawn up plans for a 6,000-strong international stabilisation force and for a
much more vigorous campaign against IS than today’s largely covert one. But
they cannot proceed without the invitation of a credible Libyan government. As
soon as Mr Serraj asks, they should step in...
There is no question that there were many atrocities, including rape,
deportation and massacres of civilians, carried out by the Pakistani Army,
aided at times by pro-Pakistani militias. Some of these included members of the
student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that remains a powerful
force in Bangladesh today. There is an academic consensus that this campaign of
The U.S.-declared terrorist group Lashkar e-Taiba also operates in the
province, under the name Jamaat-ud Dawah. It was banned in Pakistan in 2015,
but its leader Hafiz Saeed travels freely around the country and gives speeches
inciting people to attack western and Indian interests. Punjab is also the
headquarters of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), whose military arm is responsible for
scores of attacks on Pakistan’s minority Shiite Muslims.......
The most significant development coming from Syria in the last few days
is not the killing of Al-Qaeda spokesperson in Idlib or the US-Russian chatter
denying a plan to oust Bashar Al-Assad. It was a document leaked to the Western
media and dubbed as the "declaration of identity reform" signalling
signs of discontent from elders in the Alawite community towards the Syrian
Often I come across someone from the ‘Aam’ Pakistan who doesn’t even
know the full words of the Namaz, and no one damns them to hell for that.
Someone very close to me is an atheist, and although we often argue, he respects
my religious practices, and I leave his Dawkins alone. And me…I exist amidst
all these real Pakistanis with my shades of grey, and when I sleep, my dreams
are multi-hued, not black and white.....
Dr Saulat Nagi
“God” says Luther “cannot and will not suffer that good works begin by
relying upon one’s own power and reason.” Work here was a euphemism for an
intense objectified labour. Protest was prohibited. Human being converted into
private property emerged as a mere tool for production of surplus value.
Coercion was justified yet people were required to embrace the hegemony through
consent as the latter was imposed through religious force. “Force” Marx says
“is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new.....
That’s a start. Obama and Erdoğan are supposed to meet today in
Washington. Let’s hope President Obama skips the diplomatic language and goes
straight to the point: that any leader who jails journalists—and arms Al Qaeda
and bombs the Kurds and jails his opponents—is no friend of the United
The MMA, the ANP and now the PTI (in coalition with the Jamaat-i-Islami)
have wreaked havoc on the minds of KP’s children. Tahira points out that the
different ideological complexion of these three rulers has not made much of a difference....
The Lal Masjid siege was arguably the inflexion point for the Pakistani
establishment to take on its own creations of destruction. Unfortunately, the
powers that be were still selective and coined creative expressions like
“non-state actors” to justify non-action against elements whom they thought
were not inimical to their own interests. However, religious extremists
recognise no border, creator or limit...
On one hand is the Deobandi-Ahl-e-Hadith-ideology-inspired outright
terrorism, on the other is violent extremism based on Barelvi school of
thought. There is yet another challenge of non-violent extremism, mainly
propagated by the likes of Tableeghi Jamaat, which has strong potential of
turning into violence any time.....
A prominent editor in Bangladesh is facing the wrath of the ruling
party. In less than a month, 79 lawsuits have been filed against him throughout
the country, of which 17 are petitions to sue him for sedition. This plight has
befallen Mahfuz Anam of The Daily Star, after he made an introspective comment
on a TV talk show on February 4.....