The War Within Islam
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.....
The Jamaat’s consistent sympathy with the Taliban under former Ameer,
Qazi Hussain was categorically confirmed by their later Ameer, Munawwar Hasan,
who declared them more authentic Muslims than the Pakistan military. Defensive
commentators and researchers have buried the vocal and tacit support by the
mainstream ‘moderate’ Islamic parties for the militants. They subsume this in
the conspiracy theories....
Wong Chun Wai
“If there are some of you who wish to be an Arab and practise Arab
culture, and do not wish to follow our Malay customs and traditions, that is up
to you. “I also welcome you to live in Saudi Arabia. “That is your right but I
believe there are Malays who are proud of the Malay culture. At least I am real
and not a hypocrite and the people of Johor know who their ruler is,”....
The Pakistani “debacle” I'm referring to is state-sponsorship of Wahhabism, pre-modern Sharia code, and the infringement of human rights, especially of minorities and women. Thanks to its unabated growth, political Islam has already destabilised the country, and has spilled over beyond its borders. It's no exaggeration that the country's criminal justice system – to a large extent – has broken down, and its leftover is comparable to what prevails in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the age-old tribal honour system, “blood money”, and the so-called Blasphemy Law reign supreme.
Karachi is the heart of Sindh, once populated by communities with a highly developed social consciousness from Gujarat. Like Mumbai, Karachi too was developed into a modern metropolis by Hindu, Parsi, Memon and Ismaili traders who lived in harmony. The Sindhi was still in the process of slow gravitation to the big city when Partition happened and Muslim refugees from India’s Uttar Pradesh flocked to Karachi. As the non-Muslim Gujaratis fled to India, Urdu-speaking Muslims filled the gap meant for internal Sindhi migrants. ...
The blasphemy law and Qadri’s sentence are both highly divisive issues. Ordinary people ask how a person whose funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands could be a sinner. Or how it is that the Asia Bibi case which started earlier has not been decided as yet. People see a foreign, particularly western and Israeli, conspiracy behind the quick decision and hanging.
Andrew Scott Cooper
The I.M.F. has warned that if government spending is not reined in, the Saudis will be bankrupt by 2020. Suddenly, the world’s reserve bank of black gold is looking to borrow billions of dollars from foreign lenders. King Salman’s response has been to promise austerity, higher taxes and subsidy cuts to a people who have grown used to state largess and handouts. ...
These radical views of Islam have metastasised into extremist groups such as al Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS) and the Taliban on both sides of the Durand Line dividing Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has perhaps 20,000 madrassas. In some, radical views of Islam are taught. And as long as radical clerics are allowed to preach and extremism persists, Pakistan will never be safe from violence and even potential civil war or revolution.
If you drive
from Sunni Muslim Sidon to Shia Muslim southern Lebanon, you can travel from
Saudi Arabia to Iran in 10 minutes. Sidon - like Lebanon's other great Sunni
majority city, Tripoli - has always basked in the favour of the Saudi monarchy.
The south, with its mass of Hezbollah fighters - armed and paid for by Tehran,
its "martyr" photographs plastered across the walls of every village
- has long been a lung through which Saudi Arabia's Iranian enemies breathe....
Iran has had it
all: Hadith-driven feminism, vibrant civil society, a culture of engagement
with politics and a patience for slow, internal reform. If these were the key
ingredients required for political change, Iran would have had it by now. The
hard truth is that those things are not enough. A country is both its people
and its leaders.....
Yasser Latif Hamdani
It was not
meant to be a theocracy to be run by priests with a divine mission. If there
must be a CII, it must be populated by modernists, progressive Muslim scholars,
enlightened jurists and renaissance men and women, not reactionary Mullahs who
want to turn back the clock....
James M. Dorsey
will be determined by how the kingdom’s rulers restructure their Faustian
bargain with Wahhabism, the puritan interpretation of Islam in which the Al
Saud cloak themselves but which increasingly looms as a prime obstacle to
resolving their problems. Founded on an alliance between the Al Saud family and
descendants of 18th century preacher Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, modern Saudi
Arabia adopted an interpretation of Islam that is in many respects not
dissimilar from that of the self-styled Islamic State.....