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Interview

Well, speaking of Punjabi music particularly, this has its own special beat and mood. Its beat has been popular across centuries - and it's no different in Pakistan today. The popularity of this form of music stems from its roots embedded within folk culture. Also, anyone who is a follower of Punjabi music usually has a Sufi temperament, which is part of the craft and adds to the experience of appreciating this music. ...

 

Sima Samar: Let Women Choose If They Want Burqa, Jobs
Sima Samar

It is not easy for women to work in any country, and particularly for those who are pushing for equality. Naturally, it is more difficult in countries in conflict. But so far, we are much better in terms of women's participation in the government and politics than most countries in Asia. As to making an impact, we have a strong independent human rights commission in Afghanistan, where using the word 'human rights' was counted as a crime few years ago. ....

‘There Is No Right Not To Be Offended’: Salman Rushdie
Mukund Padmanabhan

Religion and secularism, truth and falsity, friendship and enmity, hope and despair, bravery and cowardice, love and betrayal, collide in the pages to form a highly-charged battleground of ideas about a world poised for an uncertain future. In this phone interview, Salman Rushdie talks about the novel that robbed him of a decade and the lessons it has taught him about free speech, religious fundamentalism and the importance of standing up for what you believe in....

Freedom To Criticize Religion Is A Touchstone Of Free Expression
Gilbert Achcar

In Europe, when you feel you have been a victim of hate speech, you can resort to legal action. The question of Western double standard is usually raised with regard to Jews there, as it is much more difficult in Europe to articulate an anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic speech than an Islamophobic one. But this state of affairs owes to two factors. The first is Europe’s sense of guilt with regard to the Jewish genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany during the Second World War with much European complicity....

The idea of a world government that may assure peace in the world is empty of meaning. It makes no sense because, first of all, a world government should express the will of all countries in the world by a universal parliament, hierarchical and unipolar, in which the great powers should live side by side with the poorest countries. It has no meaning because the so-called five BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are....

 

‘It Is Very Lonely To Fight For Justice’
Shoma Chaudhury

Why was the critical evidence produced by senior Gujarat policemen like Rahul Sharma and RB Sreekumar not produced in court in time? If the Rahul Sharma CD (with call records of those fatal days) had been investigated by the CBI in 2006, and authenticated, it would have produced so much material. But the analysis was left to NGOs. First Jan Sangharsh Manch did some of the analysis; then we filled the gaps when we found the phone records of Modi and others have not been examined.

How Akbar Bugti Visualized 30 Years Ago Baluchistan Today
Akbar Khan Bugti

Today being Akbar Bugti’s death anniversary, am sharing an autobiographical interview of him published in HERALD about 30 years ago. (Have misplaced the only copy I have, so can’t give the exact month and year or include the photos.)

 One may or may not have liked Bugti, and although I heard various negative stories about him, I could understand what it is like not to have control over one’s own life, to be persecuted in one’s own land, and the pain and humiliation of endless subjugation. In fact, I got to like him. And I share this as a matter of history. - Najma Sadeque (spelling wrong in the printed version)

Excerpts: “In the last few years, foreign money has been pouring into Baluchistan. The Western and Arab World have suddenly discovered a place called Baluchistan and its importance ever since the Russian presence in Afghanistan. But most projects are ‘pocket’ schemes – they go into the pockets of officials and blue-eyed notables. The sizes of the ‘pockets’ have increased, they’ve become gunny bags. Little trickles into ‘development’, but no government consultations are held with tribal elders on projects. It doesn’t win the loyalty of the locals or gratefulness to foreigners, whatever their intentions are. You can pour in millions, but you can’t buy Baluchistan and the Baluchis.”

 

French Muslims Seek Equal Rights, Respect For Islam: Analyst
Nabila Ramdani

Now they are saying there is no question of security, we can go ahead with it and France is saying, yes, there is a question of security and there is something we have to distinguish to separate between religion and sports; now it is not only between state and religion; it is between religion and sport.

 

A Spy’s Life: An Interview With A Senior Yemeni Spy
Ahmed Bin Mo’aili

He had different duties in different countries, which required him to travel in several Arab countries. Because of this, Bin Mo’aili acquired tens of wives over the years. Bin Mo’aili worked for 23 years in Saudi intelligence and then for ten years in Yemeni-Iraqi cooperative intelligence. But now, things have changed. Currently, he is facing problems with Yemeni intelligence operations, known as the Political Security Organization (PSO), because they separated him from his 31 children who live all around the Arab countries he has worked in and who are awaiting his return.

 
Socialists and Writers
By A.G. Noorani

Socialists and Writers
A.G. Noorani

Now there is a Persian saying: “Ai Roshnu-Tuba to Burman Bala Shudi” – Perhaps it is an illumination of my mind which became a disaster for me. That is to say, it was because we worked hard and enrolled new members, organised socialist forums and, of course, we had a policy, which was not opposed to the socialists, [that we became suspects in the eyes of the socialists]. In our view [this] should [have been] the policy which all socialists and communists in India should [have followed]....

 

Taking Tea with Afghanistan’s Most Fearsome Warlord
General Abdul Rashid Dostum

At six feet tall, he towers a good seven inches above me. I feel my legs wobble – his reputation is nearly as fearsome as his bushy moustache. He is General Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s most powerful warlord, head of the Uzbek tribe, unofficial ruler of the north, and, as the government’s chief of staff, commander of an army of over 25,000 men....

 

Irshad Manji: Love Is the Biggest Threat to Those Who Operate On Fear
Irshad Manji

When Manji is asked to elaborate on what she means by being free-thinking and Muslim, she gives the Quran as an example saying it contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to thank, analyze, reflect and re-think, than verses that tell them only what is right or only what is wrong. Manji clarifies that this means that there are three times as many passages encouraging Ijtihad than blind submission. In that sense, she adds, progressive Muslims are at least as authentic as the mainstream – and quite possibly more constructive….

Home and the World
M A Farooqui in an interview with A M Hashmi

Home and the World
Musharraf Ali Farooqui

This is more of a challenge with rhymed poetry. If rhymes are involved, much of the poem is lost in translation, only an impression is conveyed. But I have translated the prose poems of Afzal Ahmed Syed, whose work I really admire and whom I consider Urdu's greatest contemporary poet, and they have been very well received. In translations of classical prose such as Dastan-e Amir Hamza I think that about 90% of the original can be communicated effectively if one has control over one's medium....

 
9/11 Was a Turning Point for the American Muslim Community
Zahra Billoo in an interview with Angelo Lopez

9/11 Was a Turning Point for the American Muslim Community
Zahra Billoo

9/11 was a turning point for the American Muslim community, one that really shook many into civic engagement. People started to realize that they needed to do education around who they were and what they believed, very quickly. Many began to host open house events both in their own homes and mosques, to open their doors and answer any questions their fellow Americans may have. Additionally, American Muslims are looking inward to ensure there are no violent elements within the community and that people are not misinterpreting the faith....

New Khaki Tactic: Ousting PM Instead of Parliament
Ayesha Siddiqa in an interview with Adnan Farooq

New Khaki Tactic: Ousting PM Instead of Parliament
Ayesha Siddiqa

This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court's comparative behaviour. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government's ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated....

There is a central role for imams in countering extremism. Hopes are pinned on these scholars to enlighten society, by embodying the teachings of tolerant Islamic Sharia and disseminating the Prophet's guidance in its bright image, not that of extremist groups. As far as jihad is concerned, it is the peak of Islam and the harshest test to win paradise. Its worth was proven by the Prophet (PBUH). God Almighty has called for it... jihad is a form of worship. ...

Do Islamic Business Ethics Exist?
Dr. Tariq Ramadan

With a host of chief executives and CEOs paying themselves record amounts, does Islam have anything to say about how much people should be paid? … we hear Muslim scholars, intellectuals and businessmen being involved in the world of business, training, management, finance and economy. They are talking about Islamic economy, Islamic finance, Islamic business and ethical business as well. So what is really what we call Islamic ethics in business or in finance, or Islamic finance or Islamic business? ...

Shahin Najafi: ''We Will Continue With Our Work''
Shahin Najafi

I criticise Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word "imam". One of my earlier songs was about the twelfth Shia imam who is supposed to come back and redeem the world. So my new song is, in a way, a continuation of the other one; the narrator is disappointed in the twelfth imam so he asks the tenth imam to save society.

Faith Travels, Cultures Don't In The Weekly TV Program Islam and Life
Dr. Tariq Ramadan: An Interview With Sister Sarah

Faith Travels, Cultures Don't In The Weekly TV Program Islam and Life
Sarah Joseph

Sarah Joseph: Faith travels, cultures don’t! There has to be in Islam as a principle of'Urf (local custom). I mean we see in the travel of the famous jurist Al-Shafei from Baghdad to Cairo how he changed his fiqh, about 80% of his fiqh, because he took on board local customs...

 

 

William S. Burroughs vs. The Quran By Michael Muhammad Knight
Richard Marcus

In William S Burroughs Vs The Qur'an Knight details how his search for his place in Islam inevitably led him to an earlier generation of white Western converts to Islam. In particular he tells of his attempt at writing the definitive biography of his Anarcho-Sufi hero and mentor Peter Lamborn Wilson, also known as Hakim Bey…

 

 
Tariq Ali is Still Searching for Socialism with a Human Face
Tariq Ali in an interview with Bharat Bhushan

Tariq Ali is Still Searching for Socialism with a Human Face
Tariq Ali is a Marxist, writer, journalist, filmmaker and political campaigner

"The army isn’t done with politics. It sees itself as the only force organised and disciplined enough to run the country. But every time it has, it has left a big mess." "The country has gone from bad to worse. It’s staggering how shameless Zardari is. You can’t read regret on his face. He’ll keep going for as long as the US allows him."   ….

Tunisian Ruling Islamist Leader: We Fought for Freedom, not Sharia Law
Rached Ghannouchi in an interview with Al-Asaad Be

Tunisian Ruling Islamist Leader: We Fought for Freedom, not Sharia Law
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of center-right Islamist party (Ennahda)

The Salafis are part of this scene of confusion in the country. But at the end of the day, the turbulent areas in Tunisia are few. The most vocal elements on the political scene are the Salafi youths and their opposite numbers in the secularist camp. Our programme did not call for the implementation of Sharia law. We did this on purpose -- not because we don't believe in Sharia, since, like all Islamists, we believe in the whole of Islam…

I Do Not Think We Need More Human Beings on this Planet: Peter Singer

No, there is no contradiction.  I think we should give equal consideration to the similar interests of all beings, whether they are human or nonhuman animals.  So yes, the life of a normal healthy human being is at least as valuable as that of a nonhuman animal.  In fact I think it is normally more valuable, because of the particular interest that a normal human has in the future – humans make plans for the future and hope to achieve things in the future, in ways that nonhuman animals cannot. …

 
Michael Muhammad Knight : Religious Laws Can Change
Michael Muhammad Knight in an interview with Richa

Michael Muhammad Knight : Religious Laws Can Change
Michael Muhammad Knight is cultural provocateur among American Muslims

What is it that makes Islam more true than any other religion? Knight: That's like asking what makes English more true than any other language. The only thing that's more true about English for me is that I understand it. English is the language in which I think. That's how I feel about religion. I don't speak the language of Hinduism, but that doesn't mean I see it as less legitimate for those who speak it. …

Saudi Arabia, The Hidden Uprising
Syed Ali Wasif in an interview with Press T V

Saudi sheikhs, self-appointed defenders of God and guardians of the prophet, convened and discussed the burning issue. After a “profound discussion” they decided that the journalist’s tweets were words of “heresy” and that he must be tried according to the laws of Islam practiced in the kingdom. In such cases, as we know, the accused can expect the death penalty. …

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