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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

However, with everyone on edge, it may not take much to start a conflict. A rocket from Gaza, an air strike by Israel, a bullet from Hizbullah—any of these could ignite the next one. Bismarck famously predicted that “some damned foolish thing in the Balkans” would start a European war (he was eventually proved right in 1914). In the Levant it may be some damned foolish thing on the border....

 

Some Iraqis amuse themselves by imitating the reply of an elderly woman who was approached on the street by a television reporter a few years ago. The reporter had asked her, “In your opinion, what is the difference between the current regime (under the control of Islamist parties) and the former regime (that of Saddam Hussein)?” In a very distinctive and outspoken manner she answered: “May God punish the current regime which makes Saddam Hussein’s era look like a blessing.”...

 
Living under Assad’s Siege
Yassin Al-Haj Saleh
Living under Assad’s Siege
Yassin Al-Haj Saleh

Eastern Ghouta has been turned into a concentration camp by the Assad regime. Mr. Assad has perfected a system of political nihilism, which wipes out people who oppose it and enslaves those who acquiesce and submit. Even after five years of siege and bombardment, the residents are holding on to human dignity, mourning each death, not turning callous in the face of its familiarity....

 

Iraqi Kurds have given reassurances to Tehran that they will not allow Kurdish opposition groups to launch cross-border attacks from Iraqi Kurdistan, a major development in the warming up of relations between Erbil and Tehran. This comes as ties reached a breaking point following the controversial Sept. 25 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan...

 

Tehran’s quest for regional hegemony has sparked a wave of social protest that arose from the gap between the Islamic leadership’s ambitions and the ordinary person’s desire for a more affordable and improved standard of living. These expectations stemmed from promises made by President Rouhani that were reinforced after the July 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA), and the attendant release of Iranian assets worldwide. ....

 
Tackling Pakistani Madrasas an Uphill Struggle
James M. Dorsey
Tackling Pakistani Madrasas an Uphill Struggle
James M. Dorsey

In many ways, the question whether madrasas or religious seminaries contribute to instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan goes far beyond an evaluation of the content of what students are taught and how they are being taught. In fact, it could be argued that the train has left the station and that there are no magic wands or simple administrative and regulatory fixes to address problems associated with madrasas....

 

At the outset of the Afrin operation, the Turkish president issued an unequivocal threat to the opposition not to protest the offensive. “Know that wherever you go out on the streets our security forces are on your necks,” Erdogan said. The Turkish police proved that these were not empty threats by arresting protestors in Istanbul and charging them with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”...

 

Arabic is sometimes considered a language family, rather than a single language. Education and writing is in “modern standard” Arabic, but each region has its own distinct spoken variety, and those dialects separated by enough distance are not mutually comprehensible. They differ at every level from grammar to vocabulary to pronunciation....

 

But back across the border in Turkey, one underreported aspect of the Afrin offensive is yet another domestic crackdown. In the past week more than 150 people, including at least four journalists, have been detained in various locations in Turkey on the grounds that they had criticised the Afrin operation in social media posts. They’re being investigated for “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organisation”....

 
Sindh: Lingering Troubles
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Sindh: Lingering Troubles
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

After the June 13, 2017, prison-break incident in which two high-profile terrorists of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) – Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz aka Firaun aka Sher Khan aka Shahzad aka Bhai and Muhammad Ahmed Khan aka Munna – managed to escape, the CTD submitted an inquiry report which pointed out that banned outfits were virtually running the affairs of the Central Prison Karachi, imposing their will on prison staff who follow their instructions due to fear or incompetence….

 

Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul, which was attacked by gunmen last Saturday, used to fit like a glove, like a grandmother’s couch. Outside, the war has been raging. Millions of Afghan lives were aimlessly broken, hundreds of thousands lost. The price of more than 16 years of NATO occupation has exceeded $1 trillion, but instead of bringing peace and prosperity, it has reduced Afghanistan to rubble....

 
The Crown Prince and the New Saudi Economy
Nicolas Pelham
The Crown Prince and the New Saudi Economy
Nicolas Pelham

He also needs to be more transparent. Many of his investigations may be well founded. After all, over the three decades his father, King Salman, headed the family council, collecting copious evidence of his relatives’ misdemeanours. As the great medieval Arab historian Ibn Khaldun warned, if dynasties do not reform after three generations of rule, they risk going to pot....

 

Tunisia is still a cauldron of resistance to neoliberalism and neo-colonial attacks on its sovereignty. Despite the state crackdown, Fesh Nestannew and others are determined to keep fighting until the budget is defeated. The streets are simmering once again, and yearning for radical change....

 

The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on one side and the Gulf state of Qatar on the other is spilling poison into the Horn of Africa, embittering animosities between half a dozen countries in the region. Several of them have seized an opportunity to benefit from instability in the Arabian Peninsula by offering bases. But if Arab conflicts spread, countries in the Horn could be dragged into the fray....

 

In psychology, the seven-year itch refers to declining happiness seven years into a romantic relationship. Dissatisfaction and resentment build up; seven years is the median breaking point. It might just be coincidence that Tunisians are becoming disenchanted and frustrated with their revolution that saw the successful overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. But the revolution, which initially broke out over economic frustrations, seems to have come full circle...

 

The murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud should be understood as part of a larger pattern of state brutality. The use of extrajudicial killing and other ruthless tactics has been a pervasive practice among Pakistani police and security forces, particularly when confronted with movements of marginalized ethnic groups...

 

The future for Tunisia looks promising, for all they have accomplished politically and socially they are at the forefront of breaking boundaries in the Arab world and modernizing their way of life. In the years to come there will be several economic difficulties to overcome. However, with a reasonable and liberal government, I believe Tunisia will thrive....

 

Other hard-line and conservative clerics have joined the attacks on Rouhani. Mohsen Araki, a hard-line cleric, said Jan. 14, “Apparently, you have forgotten what you studied [at the seminary] when you were young. It is better now for you to focus on politics. When you don’t have the necessary knowledge, it is better to leave people’s beliefs alone.” Following the ruckus over his remarks, the president’s office issued a statement Jan. 15 saying he never said the Shiite imams must be criticized. ...

 

The country was never as modern as Iran had been in the 1960s and the 1970s. Riyadh only took refuge in more orthodox ideology when Tehran was ‘revolutionised’ by Ayatollah Khomeini and a race to export their ideologies began. The new crown prince wants to restore Islam to what it was during its origins....

 

It is instructive that neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt was actively hostile to the address change for the American Embassy in Jerusalem. They voted to repudiate the decision in the U.N. vote on the matter, but that was the end of it. The tide of alliance building is moving in a new and unpredictable direction in the Middle East. An Israel with its advanced technology has become an ally of necessity, not necessarily an ally of long-term common interests, albeit history has a way of uniting unlikely bedfellows....

 
The ‘Impossible State’ and Challenges of Modernity
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
The ‘Impossible State’ and Challenges of Modernity
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

With the wave of changes taking place in Iran, the decline of the ISIS, and the prospects of al-Qaeda’s return, questions about the religious state and its relations to ethics and modernity have returned the fore. The state cannot survive under the theocratic system unless it has effective modern institutions. Therefore, it is claimed that Iran is a modern state and not an Islamic state because of the existence of constitutional arbitration councils that safeguard the interests of the regime....

 

If Saudi Arabia, backed by the UAE and Bahrain and Israel as an officially unacknowledged partner constitutes one block, Turkey forms another that could either include or cooperate with the region’s third pole, Iran. Egypt, conscious of its past as the Arab world’s undisputed leader, may not be able to yet carve out a distinct leadership role for itself, but has worked hard to keep the door open....

 
Iranian and Saudi Youth Try to Bury 1979
Thomas L. Friedman
Iranian and Saudi Youth Try to Bury 1979
Thomas L. Friedman

But today Iran and Saudi Arabia have something new in common: A majority of their populations are under age 30, young people connected through social networks and Smartphones. And a growing number of them are fed up with being told how to live their lives by old, corrupt or suffocating clerics — and they want to bury 1979 and everything it brought....

 

Efforts to foster culture are coming as artists are feeling increased pressure because of tensions in the wider Persian Gulf. A feud has divided the gulf monarchies, pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt. In addition, surging hostilities between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Gulf States have fuelled an increasingly vicious sectarian enmity....

 

Even more than the Green Movement of 2009, the recent protests — and the reaction to them — recalled those of the early 2000s. Both then and now, moderate political forces controlled Iran’s presidency and its Parliament. And in both cases, the country’s conservatives deployed intimidation, violence and deceit to undermine the moderates....

 


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  • Saudis never really cared for Muslim causes. They have...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Appeasing Islamists and terrorists is sheer idiocy. If the government....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • GRD sb., you have a point. Thanks.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • 4we should accept Quranic mode of talaq.
    ( By Arshad )
  • Madarsas are getting modernized, though it is too late.'
    ( By Talha )
  • arshad bhai, it was not about kinds of talaq--- it was something else Hurmate...
    ( By Huzaifa )
  • Faraz doesn't have courage to accept ur challenge. He doesn't know that there r 18 kinds of taalaq.'
    ( By Arshad )
  • Ghulam Mohiyuddin saheb, I think PLURALISM is a much better word than 'secularism'/...
    ( By GHULAM RASOOL DEHLVI )
  • Cheap Gulam Mohiyuddin has habit to Balme Hindus all the time, Hindutav may be response ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • बिना लाग लपेट का पहला शाही के क़रीब Article'
    ( By Aayina )
  • Can you debate with me Faraz on this topic?'
    ( By Huzaifa )
  • i have not yet seen the real and critical discussion on triple talaq despite its having ever been ...
    ( By Huzaifa )
  • 'jihad al-difa'a' and 'jihad al-talab' and such foppish words like 'Islamic conquests' are all pseudo ....
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • Arshad, you have handled this complex subject very well....
    ( By RoyalJ )
  • This is sad. Islamists are setting Bangladesh as well as Malaysia and Indonesia....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Good article! Liberalism and secularism can pave the path to unity and harmony. They....
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  • Why it is that your following Islam is not acceptable for them? Your burqa, your kurta, your pyjama...
    ( By Suhail )
  • It's true that islam enhances and emphasises peace and peacefull acts. Then why still islam is considered....
    ( By Faiiz Bin Shareef )
  • GRD sb you have nicely put your words.'
    ( By GGS )
  • Forced Conversion of Hindu Pakistani is really a violation of the basic teaching of Islam which...
    ( By Anjum )
  • Dear Ghulam Mohiyuddin sb, please let Mr. Hats off accuse me of Munafiqat, as his accusation gives me a chance...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • There should be no objection to revisting the Islamic conquests. There needs a balance between the advocates ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • GM saheb, Both 'jihad al-difa'a' and 'jihad al-talab' were relegated to the historical context which is irrelevant....
    ( By GRD )
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    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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    ( By hats off! )
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    ( By Abdullah )
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  • Two questions are important for us to understand much about where we are today: Is it necessary to establish Islamic ...
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  • Hats off Ji, Aap ise joke of the day maan sakte hain, “agar kawwa khana halala hai ke masle me Baghdad...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
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    ( By Zain )
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    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • GGS, why do not you consider Hinduism when you name monotheistic religions of the world? You have become...
    ( By Ravi Kumar )