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  • Your Favourite Author's Page

      

    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    A regular NewAgeIslam.com columnist, Arshad Alam is a Delhi-based academic, political commentator and writer.


    Please read below the articles written by him for NewAgeIslam.com

     
    Islam and Politics

    Nusrat Jahan Reminds Muslims that Religion and Culture Must be Dissociated

    Just for a minute imagine a Muslim man marrying a Hindu actress according to Muslim traditions. All hell would have broken loose and accusations of love jihad would be levelled against the man. Like the Islamists, the Hindu right wing also works overtime to weaken Indian pluralism. In their intense hatred of Muslims, these Hindu right wingers do not realise that they are like carbon-copies of the very same Islamists that they claim to oppose.... 

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Why Zaira Wasim Quitting her Career Cannot be A Matter of Choice

    One Hindu actor deciding to quit does not affect the prospects of that community. Hindus are a developed community as compared to Muslims. The ideas of social and religious reform run deep into this community. Muslims entered the modern age by opposing modern education while Hindus embraced it. Muslims are not at par with Hindus in any of the developmental parameters. And that’s why one Muslim Zaira quitting a promising career calls for a deeper introspection from within the community….

    Islam and Politics

    Dialogue with Hindutva Parivar is a Must but Those Initiating it Are the Ones Responsible for Muslim Misery in India

    There is certainly a need to bridge the chasm which has been created between the Muslim community and the ruling dispensation. Owing to a number of factors, Muslims have thought that the BJP is their enemy number one. This perception needs to change for the very simple and pragmatic reason that no minority can prosper without cooperating closely with the state. But for this there has to be genuine rethinking amongst the Muslims on a number of issues....

    Islam and Politics
    Spotlight on Madrasas, Again
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Spotlight on Madrasas, Again

    Madrasa are in spotlight again. Not because there are wild allegations of these institutions harbouring terrorists but through a PIL filed in Delhi High Court to regulate the contents of madrasas and Maktabs. One must also add that the same PIL also asks for similar regulation in Gurukuls but given the fact that there are very few of them, the potential impact of the outcome of this PIL is to be felt by madrasas. The important point for us therefore is how Muslims should respond to such a PIL....

    Islam and Pluralism

    Some Questions to Muslims Who Believe Islam Promotes Pluralism

    Islam fought against polytheism practiced in Arabia and wiped it out very rapidly. The very reasonable conclusion that one derives from Islamic history is that monotheism is far superior to polytheism. ... the Prophet himself removed idols from the Ka’aba signalling the final triumph of Islam over polytheism?...

    Islam and Politics

    Amidst a Majoritarian Turn, Indian Muslims Need to Rethink Their Political Strategy

    Eventually, they will realise that only a share in power can save them from political oblivion. These regional Muslim parties must be open to all kind of political alliances, including the BJP. The only thing that should matter is who is giving them a better deal...

    Islam and Politics

    Bengal is on a Cusp of Change, Muslims Must Act Wisely

    The top leadership of the CPIM, who were basically from the other side of border, never gave any thought to the Muslim question in West Bengal. They had to tolerate the Muslims and even maintain a veneer of secularism because Muslims were their most loyal vote-bank. But beyond that, their historical antipathy towards Muslims blinded them to think in terms of any ameliorative action for this destitute community. ....

    Islam and the West

    New Zealand Terror Must be Condemned but Don’t Overlook How the Left is Helping the Muslim Right

    Notwithstanding what is meant by such a nebulous term like Islamophobia, one thing is clear that it will have a negative bearing on the voices of dissent and reform within Muslim societies. In the name of protecting Muslims, the left will end up advocating the causes and concerns of those Muslims who actually have been responsible for the mess that Muslim societies find themselves into....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Jihad and the Allure of Balakot
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Jihad and the Allure of Balakot

    Indeed Balakot is not just the name of a place; rather it is fundamentally an idea, the dissection of which remains central to decoding the narrative of Islamists of much of South Asia. The selection of Balakot by the JeM is not just for strategic consideration, but is also a symbolic continuation of the first jihad that saw so called martyrdom in action at this place. The characters were different but the cause and the underlying motivation was the same. And this motivation was to reclaim the land of al-Hind for Islam as it was supposedly under ‘Islamic rule’ back in the historical past....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Pulwama, Before and After
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Pulwama, Before and After

    There is certainly some truth in the arguments that militant groups active in Pakistan are majorly responsible for turning this young person into a suicide bomber. However, there is a need to underscore that certain theological precepts may also be responsible for what ultimately became of him. And that’s why there is an urgent need to question such theological discourses which makes someone prone to violence. Without putting an end to such pernicious reading of Islamic theology, it will be difficult to stop another Pulwama....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Iranian Women are Throwing off the Veil for Good

    The particular verse is interpreted as signifying the separation of spaces where the normative behaviour expected of Muslims should be different. Rather than being a separation between male and female, it is more of an exhortation to respect the private sphere such as the domestic household. Such interpretations never become the normative understanding because the conservative Ulama have institutional control of Islamic societies....

    Islamic Society

    Rahaf Mohammed’s Case Brings the Issue of Apostasy in Islam to Spotlight

    However, we need to be wary of the long arm of the Saudi state. The state has been known to kidnap its ‘problematic’ citizens residing in other countries and bring them back to Saudi Arabia. Worse still, there have been reports that its hit squads have targeted dissidents even on foreign territory....

    Islam and Politics

    Muslims Must Avoid Namaaz in Public Spaces but Such Laws should be equally Applicable to All Communities

    There is no disagreement about the fact that other religious communities also do the same things: of course they do. Therefore there is a need to debate this practice within different religious communities. Likewise, it is up to Muslims themselves to have an internal debate over the issue and chalk out a strategy which puts an end to this problem once and for all....

    Current Affairs
    You will be Missed Mushirul Hasan Sb.
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    You will be Missed Mushirul Hasan Sb.

    Muslims, non-Muslims and atheists, all participated in his funeral prayer, something which is a rarity in these troubled times. Throughout his life, Mushirul Hasan Sb. laboriously wrote about the composite religious heritage of this country. In his death, he was perhaps giving us the same message....

    Islam and Politics

    Bulandshahr Reminds us that Mob Violence Scars Everyone
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Muslim became the perpetual and potential other, always suspected of being beef eaters and therefore potential outsiders. Nothing much has changed between then and now: cow has been made as the symbol of creating difference between Hindus and Muslims. Cow has become the weapon to target Muslims. No one asks any question from those involved in lynching; rather the onus is on the Muslim to prove that they do not eat beef.....

    Islamic Society

    Why Does a Play Rile Islamists in Kerala?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The play is about women’s right, dignity and gender justice. It is also certainly humanist in the sense that the father eventually relents and redeems his own humanity. Also, the play would have lent itself to the current Muslim women’s movement in Kerala which is demanding entry of women in mosques. But then, all good things must come to an end. And in Muslim context, many a times it ends before it even starts....

    Also Read:

    Gender Equality in Islam

    Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?

    The War Within Islam

    How the Brutal Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Exposes the Naked Interest of Many
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The criminal act of the Saudi state should have led to a larger debate about the absence of an atmosphere of liberal critique in much of the Arab and Muslim world. But then the tragedy is that most Muslim leaders themselves are so knee deep in this malice that they can only use the incident to earn some political points for themselves....

    Current Affairs

    Why the Left Needs to Be Called out for Its Role in Najeeb’s Disappearance
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    But then Najeeb became the precursor of what was to come later: the system of instant justice; where mobs lynch Muslims merely on the basis of suspicion, without any regret or remorse. In most cases, the police are more than willing to dilute cases against the accused and are reluctant to bring the culprits to book. Something similar happened in Najeeb’s case. The only time they started having some semblance of seriousness was when the courts told them to double their efforts to find the missing student. Random searches were made here and there just for appearance sake....

    Islamic Ideology

    Aasia Bibi: Why Pakistan Needs to Confront Its Ideological Origins
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The roots of intolerance towards other religious traditions go very deep in its history and we must start at the time when this ‘nation of the pure’ was supposedly constructed as the new Medina. It was Jinnah and Muslim League’s articulation that they could no longer live with the Hindus which started a seemingly new narrative for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Jinnah’s obstinacy flew in the face of history: India being one of the few places where religious pluralism was a fact of everyday life rather than just a mere academic construct. In making Islam as an exclusivist religion, Jinnah wrenched the Muslims of this country of centuries pluralism and coexistence....

    Islam and Politics

    Ayodhya Can’t Be Solved By the Judiciary; Muslims Must Take the First Step to Resolve It
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    This would only mean one thing: that Namaz is the name of the process and any place at which Namaz is offered temporarily becomes a mosque. Mosque is not essential but Namaz certainly is. However, this logic certainly applies for all religious traditions: that what is essential to a religious tradition is the ritual of prayer and not the place where it is offered. However, in singling out Islam for this special treatment, the Supreme Court has certainly not applied its own principle equally to all religious traditions. Some might say that the Court in this case was operating with pre-conceived notions....

    Islam and Sectarianism

    Naya Pakistan or the Same Old Bigoted Pakistan?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Today, it is an Ahmadi; tomorrow it could a Shia. Yet another day it can be the Sufis. There is a problem at the ideological foundation of Pakistan itself. The country will continue to create enemies out of its own people, till the time it actively confronts its past. Pakistan today needs to dialogue with the ghosts of Jinnah and Iqbal and perhaps tell them unequivocally that they were wrong in ways in which they conceptualised Islam as the ideological bedrock of the state of Pakistan....

    The War Within Islam

    Why Imran Khan’s Invocation of Medina is Deeply Regressive
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The prime minister of Pakistan has to believe in the ‘unity and oneness of Allah, the books of Allah, the Quran being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah’. Now if this is the oath that the prime minister takes, then it is understandable why Medina would continue to appeal. After all, the first experiment to establish Islam took place in Medina and the first country which got created specifically in the name of Islam was Pakistan....

    Islamic Ideology
    What Are We Commemorating on Baqr Eid?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    What Are We Commemorating on Baqr Eid?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    More importantly perhaps, the Muslim story about Bakr Eid is a continuation of the earlier Jewish and Christian covenant with God where blood plays a very significant role. Within the Semitic tradition, it is only through blood that redemption becomes possible. The Torah is filled with passages where blood becomes important to save oneself from God’s wrath and where animal sacrifice was an important aspect of pleasing the God. And certainly, the same God would sacrifice his own son called Jesus to ‘save the humanity’. It is through the blood of Christ that humanity had to be redeemed.....

    Related Articles:

    Don’t Let Baqr Eid Qurbani Descend Into Blood Orgy

    Hajj -- Some Afterthoughts

    Contribution of Islamic Media in Educating the Public on Animal Rights

    Animal Sacrifice vs. Compassionate Eid: An Open Letter To Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

    Eid-ul-Adha at Bhopal 2014: A Reflection

    Islamic Society

    Where is the Muslim Rage on Chinese Internment of Muslims and Saudi Killing of Innocent Children in Yemen?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    So under the pretext of fighting Iranian militias, the Saudis have not just armed the opposition but have actual military presence in that country. Its air force is free to bomb the country at will and yet there is no international outcry. More recently, the Saudis bombed a school bus carrying children which led to scores being dead. Any civilised nation would have expressed remorse for this wanton killing of children or at least constituted an inquiry committee to look into such allegations. Not the Saudis. Not only did they not express remorse, they in fact justified the killings saying that these children were enemy combatants. Compare this with the statement of Taliban militants who killed children at school in Pakistan and one finds that there is no difference between the two. And yet, we are being increasingly led to believe that Saudis want to be in the forefront of fighting terror and extremism....

    Muslims and Islamophobia
    The Bogey of Islamophobia
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Bogey of Islamophobia
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    From Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh, reformist Muslim voices have been jailed or simply eliminated. Essentially reformism seeks to challenge the stranglehold of the conservatives or radical Islamists over the community and therefore critique is nothing but fundamentally a political struggle. The bogey of Islamophobia comes handy for the orthodoxy to silence its critics, both externally but more so internally. It is time perhaps that the liberal left does rethinking about this whole issue of Islamophobia. In their defence of orthodox Islam, they are abandoning the progressives within the community and in the process ending up upholding some of the most pernicious manifestations of this religion....  

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    TOP ARTICLE

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Do Not Repeat the Mistakes of 1989 in Allowing the Return of Taliban, New Age Islam Editor Sultan Shahin Asks International Community at UNHRC in Geneva

    Mr. President,

    The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan as well as from Iraq and Syria. Inspired by the Taliban declaration of victory, a radicalised terrorist in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, backed by a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organisation, attacked an Indian military convoy, killing 40 soldiers. Similar suicide attack killed 27 elite revolutionary guards in Sistan, Iran. Emboldened Jihadists will surely carry out more such attacks in future. The gloating in Islamist circles for having “defeated” both the superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, has reached its peak.

    Mr. President,

    Still fresh in our minds is what happened when the international community abandoned Afghanistan in 1989. Taliban ruled and Al-Qaeda got a safe haven. A series of atrocities including 9/11 and horrors of Islamic State followed.

     In this backdrop, the complacency of the world community in allowing Taliban to govern Afghanistan is inexplicable. Jihadist strength does not come from their soldiers and territories. It comes from an ideology and ideologies cannot be defeated militarily.

    Mr. President,

    The Jihadist ideology is based on very solid foundations in Islamic history, scriptures and theology. Moderate Muslims have not yet succeeded in evolving a satisfactory alternative theology of peace and pluralism to challenge the current theology of violence and exclusion. Even when such a theology evolves, it will take time and effort for it to be established. Mainstream Muslims should be allowed the time and space to work out and propagate a counternarrative. I would, therefore, urge the international community not to repeat the mistakes of 1989 and invite further disasters....

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