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Books and Documents

Debating Islam

Uzbekistan remains opposed to the interpretation of Islam perpetuated by fundamentalists. They remain committed to their legacy of Islamic faith as a cultural and local institution devoid of the trappings of the politicization that can be witnessed in different corners of the world....

 
Misunderstanding ISIL, Again
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

Misunderstanding ISIL, Again
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

If perceiving ISIL as a religious actor is therefore partially warranted, it is necessary to explain why this is a moment of increased visibility of religion-driven and religion-dominated conflicts, and also to connect the evolution of the “caliphate” as a specific political project to larger post-colonial dynamics....

 

Hirsi Ali and Her Errors
Harun Yahya

Islam champions true democracy, freedom of thought and secularism. Muslims are ordered to invite people to the right path in the kindest manner, but leave the choice to them....

Related Article:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali – The Literary Queen Of Reformist Islam Is Not Infallible: A Critique Of Her Essay, “The Future Of Islam In The Hands Of Reformers”

Language of war: How the Houthis compare to ISIS
Dr. Halla Diyab

The graphic images of violence that have been unleashed upon the world by Middle Eastern insurgencies that promote religious and ideological extremism— namely by Houthi rebels in Yemen and ISIS in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya – accompany the rising use of violent rhetoric in the regions directly affected....

 

What most Americans are blissfully unaware of is the fact that they carry in their pockets what have been described as near-perfect spy devices: their cell phones. ..."cell phone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations."...

 

The Coming of the Emancipation Proclamation
Paul Finkelman

Lincoln’s strategy was to argue that the loyal slave states would help the war effort by showing the rebels “that, in no event, will the states you represent ever join their proposed Confederacy.” While Lincoln did not expect the Border States to secede and join the Confederacy, he argued that voluntary emancipation in those states would be a blow to Confederate hopes and morale....

These days, the issue of awarding the Bharat Ratna on Republic Day is in the news. When I appealed for the Bharat Ratna to Mirza Ghalib and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya, some people objected, saying that such awards should not be given to people who are no more. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in giving awards posthumously, provided they are given to the right persons. The Bharat Ratna has been conferred posthumously in the past. Two examples are Sardar Patel and Dr. Ambedkar. Mirza Ghalib is a modern figure, not a legendary one like Lord Rama, or an ancient one like Gautam Buddha. Sarat Chandra in his stories launched a full-blooded attack on the caste system, against women's oppression, and superstitions (see Shrikant, Shesh Prashna, Charitraheen, Devdas, Brahman ki beti, Gramin Samaj, etc.), evils that plague India even today. -- Markandey Katju 

… as soon as it was announced that a census was to be conducted, there was a wave of comment, particularly in Sindh. The Sindhi media, nationalist forces and other stakeholders started questioning the transparency and eligibility of the process. Such mobilisation is based on the fear that Sindhi people may be converted into a minority on their own soil through tampering with the head count and manipulating data. … there are some allegedly ‘no-go’ areas: certain parts of Karachi and portions of interior Sindh that were gifted as fiefdoms to tribal chiefs and feudal lords by the Musharraf government, and later on legitimised by President Zardari under the ‘reconciliation’ formula. -- Zulfiqar Halepoto

A close look at the results reveals that 19 Muslim candidates, including one from the BJP (Saba Zafar - Amour), got elected this time, four more than in 2005. More refreshing was the fact that 37 Muslims ended up in second position. Nine of them were defeated by less than 5,000 votes and three by less than 300. We have to acknowledge the “Nitish magic” when we see that of the 37 Muslim runners-up, 15 were defeated by BJP, 14 by JD(U), 4 by Independents, and only two each by Congress and RJD ticket-holders. Only four of the Muslim runners-up were defeated by Muslim candidates. This is another pointer to the “suspended untouchability” of the BJP in Bihar. -- Shahroz Tarique Raza

Despite the public willingness to open a ‘new chapter’ in ties, are the talks at the SAARC Summit once again mere lip service? Will they, like previous efforts, fail in resuming a proper dialogue? More importantly, is the crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa the only obstacle in Pak-India ties? -- DAWN.COM 

 

“India needs azadi from Kashmir and Kashmir needs azadi from India,” she told an appreciative crowd of secessionists and their supporters, carted in from Aligarh Muslim University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi University and other such taxpayer-funded institutions of learning that double up as fast-breeders of Muslim separatists and Left extremists for whom nationalism is as offensive as their nationality. But this is not the first time Arundhati Roy has outraged sensitivities. Two years ago, on August 19, 2008, after attending a rally organised by separatists in Srinagar, she had excitedly told mediapersons eager to record her pearls of wisdom: “India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India.” She had then added with a flourish, as is by now her established style of exaggerating a point to sheer banality, “If no one is listening then it is because they don’t want to hear. Because this is a referendum… People don’t need anyone to represent them, they are representing themselves.” -- Kanchan Gupta

In a country with a bleak future, the black coat’s ‘revolution’ — or should we call it ‘coup’? — might throw away President Zardari’s immunity and push the government to write to the Swiss courts.

The impatient establishment of Pakistan is once again pushing the country towards a change of government. Various configurations and plans are being debated in power circles. A broad consensus among the political parties, that no change should be brought in through extra-constitutional means, makes the job of removing the government by the establishment more difficult and complicated. The basic questions from the people’s point of view that need to be asked are: for what will there be a change of government? How will it solve the problems of the country? And how will this change help the poor people of Pakistan? -- Babar Ayaz

 

The much maligned security forces have had to bear the brunt not only of protests and stone pelting but daily abuse for more than two months. The CRPF, more out of place in Kashmir than Dantewada, is not suited to patrol the streets of downtown Srinagar; they would not only not understand the Kashmiri psyche, but the language as well.

Policing in Srinagar city and the other towns needs to be undertaken by J& K Police, with the CRPF only in assistance...

Fatigue and depression inevitably sets in in such situations and the forces on the ground must be wondering how much longer they have to be at the receiving end, now that everyone is gradually acknowledging that Kashmir is not a law and order but a political problem. -- A S Dulat

 

There is a subtler, deeper satisfaction to be drawn from the knowledge that there is no easy escape for certain perpetrators of mass murder and war crimes, no quick way out via a plane crash or by being hung from a lamp- post. It’s in exactly this way that I want Narendra Modi to have a very long and, at least from now on, very painful life.

It’s beautiful watching the beehive of evidence suddenly start to buzz and release its successive, stinging swarms of revelations. It’s totally happy- making to see the villains cowering and running, selling each other down the river, stabbing each other in the back, pulling each other back down into the cockroach- pit as one after the other of them tries to climb out. As an Indian I’ve been waiting for this to happen for eight years, but as a Gujarati it’s felt more like eighteen.

All through this time we’ve known that Modi and his gang of ministers were responsible for mass slaughter in 2002. -- Ruchir Joshi

If this is the case, Modi and his natural constituency do not believe in such ‘ trivial’ institutions as the Indian Constitution.

Democracy only means mobilising the masses in order to come to power.

Neither is the idea of a formal and impersonal rule of law of any consequence.

Everything is personalised; everything can be twisted to suit political expediency of one kind or the other.

Therefore, when Modi imputes that the demand to take cases against his government and ministers out of Gujarat is an assault on the judicial system, it is just another rhetorical point coming from a rabble- rouser.

The truth is that Modi has politicised the police and the criminal investigation system to an extent where the judiciary cannot function and hope to deliver justice. The suggestion by Modi that the Centre and the CBI were acting as if Gujarat was not a part of India is ironically true. While large sections of the Indian middle class admire Modi, the rest of India has not gone the way of Gujarat. -- Jyotirmaya Sharma

A human rights lawyer in Tehran, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "What they have in common is that they impose sentences that do not correspond with the crime committed; they ignore the defence case put by defendants and their lawyers; they approve indictments that have no legal basis; they are unfamiliar with the law and legal matters; and they undeniably come out with erroneous rulings."

Salavati is somewhat better known than his two colleagues. Millions of people remember his face from televised trials where he sat in judgement over hundreds of defendants.

At least 12 death sentences are believed to have been passed against alleged participants in the protests that followed the June 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, and Salavati was responsible for half of these, winning him the grim nickname "Judge of Death". -- Omid Memarian

 

The credibility of the ‘renowned terror expert’ of The Hindu, Praveen Swami, has now come down to near-zero, risking the credibility of the paper itself. Trusting the fake stories Swami files, both the editorial section of the news paper and the readers are getting misled. One example is the Mecca Masjid bombing at Hyderabad. It pays to read The Hindu editorial of October 15, 2007. Titled “Challenge of Islamic terror”, the editorial begins as follows: -- Dr Yaseen Ashraf

New Age Islam Editor’s note: The real issue here is not so much journalists like Praveen Swami but what information they are fed by the authorities. There is a reason for that too. Hindutva terror was completely unheard of and understandably unimaginable for authorities too for quite some time. Muslims do keep attacking mosques and shrines in different parts of the world, particularly in our neighbourhood and there has been a radicalisation of a section of our Indian Muslim society too that we are doing nothing to counter, so it was not difficult for authorities to suspect Muslims first. It is this that we should be explaining to our people rather than spreading more disaffection towards authorities and media. We should also be taking note of the fact that after all Hindutva terrorists are being caught from everywhere, though clearly reluctantly and not with as much alacrity as they should be. But they are, and as the arrests after recent Delhi Jama Masjid episodes have shown, are being arrested quite readily now. But if we merely keep pointing fingers at authorities and media and not at all looking within, as we are prone to do, we will merely create more difficulties for ourselves as Muslims are doing around the world. If Muslims can attack Daata Darbar and myriad other Sufi shrines and Shia and Sunni mosques, that too during prayer, why they can't be suspected of attacking Ajmer Sharif or Jama Masjid or Mecca Masjid? This inevitably leads to unnecessary suffering on the part of innocent Muslims and disaffection among the victims that the police authorities too should learn to avoid. In any case, the police ham-handedness is not exclusively directed against Muslims. But we cannot absolve ourselves of the blame for creating an atmosphere where for Muslims in India too all these terrorists attacks in Pakistan on mosques, shrines, temples, churches, and religious and sectarian minorities in general appear to be acceptable.

I would rather say that instead of protesting at Praveen Swami's reports or the authorities suspecting Muslim hand in every blast, we were protesting Islamist terror directed at not only non-Muslims, but also at Muslims and our mosques and shrines in Pakistan. If, for instance, we Muslims in India vociferously protested the beheading of two Sikhs in Pakistan recently on their refusal to convert to Islam under pressure, and similar such horrible incidents, we would have gradually created an atmosphere in which it would become difficult for the police authorities to suspect a Muslim terrorist hand in every terrorist episode.

Let us try and create an atmosphere in which Indian Islam is considered different from the militant Islam that is destroying lives in rest of the world. We should at least distinguish ourselves from the militant practices of Muslims in Pakistan. Instead of being a constant grievance-monger and finger-pointer, we should help the community understand what is happening and why so that it develops a positive attitude and is able to integrate better in the society at large. Let us be clear in our own minds: what is our goal? Do we want us Muslims to be constantly pitted against the authorities and the media, etc. completely oblivious of our own faults, living in denial, or do we want us to be a well-integrated part of the Indian mainstream which does protest injustices in a democratic manner but also looks within, accepts its own shortcomings and tries to appreciate other points of view?  Islam has taught us balance and moderation. Let us follow that.

The article below is completely one-sided, doesn’t try to appreciate the problems of the authorities or the media at all. We are posting it as an illustration of the dangerous direction in which our intelligentsia and leaders are seeking to take us, the road we should totally avoid. – Sultan Shahin

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