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Interview

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. …

Muslims need a theology of pluralism and inclusion, not a theology of exclusion and confrontation

Muslims in the United States need to develop an American Muslim sensibility, but mosques have been a hindrance in the process, says Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). The organisation works with American Muslims and represents their interests to decision-makers in government agencies, media outlets, interfaith circles and Hollywood studios. In an interview with Saif Shahin of NewAgeIslam.com, Al-Marayati says Muslims in the country and worldwide need “a theology of pluralism and inclusion, not a theology of exclusion and confrontation”. Edited excerpts:

Photo: Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

This split is the project of the West, the American project which was already probed in Iraq and other places. As a closest ally and satellite of the United States, Saudi Arabia is actively investing in the second civil war in the Islamic world. The consolidation of all countries of the Arabian peninsula from Saudi Arabia to Qatar proceeds actively. But today, they failed to set them all under the Saudi banner. Salaphites do not constitute the majority in the Islamic world but there are other political forces which view the Saudi Arabia as a refuge of the dark forces. Israel and the United States also show cautiousness, because from time to time, they get signs of Iranian unpredictability. -- Heydar Jemal, Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia in an interview with News.Az

 

Talking about the Salafis, even the word is difficult because the term Salafi has meant so many different things. The most basic meaning has to do with the early followers or companions of the Prophet. Then, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you had the great Islamic reformer Mohamed Abdu, whose movement was also called Salafi. Recently, the term has tended to be applied to people who are what I would call ultra-conservative, and it gets used at times interchangeably with Wahhabi. What surprised people in Egypt and outside was to see the kind of "quiet Salafis" turn into political players who have done well in the elections. In some areas they are not that different from the ikhwan, but in other areas they are quite different from them. -- John L. Esposito in an interview with Ezzat Ibrahim (Photo: John L. Esposito)

 

The German poet-philosopher Goethe believe that the central message of every great religion was of a universal nature. Applying his doctrine to Islam, I found that Islam fully answers the description. The Quran puts emphasis on man's relationship with God, and men's personal and social conduct, rather than on religious belongingness. To make explicit that there is no essential difference between various religions, the Quran declares the founders of all religions to be the messenger of God, “to every people we sent messenger” (10:47). -- Ziya Us Salam

 

In the ‘social contract’ philosophy of people like Locke and Rousseau the idea was that people are living in a constant fight of what Thomas Hobbs refers to as ‘everybody against everybody’, and the justification behind the formation of a state is to create law and order and security for the people. Locke went even beyond that; he said that the main aim, which you’ll find it in the Declaration of Independence, of a constitutional government is to protect the natural human rights of its citizens. The concept of sovereignty was developed in a very state-centred manner. It says that you are sovereign as long as you can effectively control your own territory and your people. If torture is systematically practiced by the police, by the military or by the intelligence, it is similar to the death penalty, in that it contributes towards the brutalisation of society and vice versa, of course. If society is very violent, I give you examples from my fact-finding missions, Nigeria for example, has very, very high levels of violent crime like robbery or Jamaica as another example, and Papua New Guinea where you have a lot of violence and organised crime in Jamaica with the trafficking of arms and drugs.-- Manfred Nowak, United Nations Former Special Rapporteur  in an interview with Wajahat Masood

 

Pakistan has recently experienced the enormous growth of anti-Americanism in public opinion. It was always present but it was submerged much of the time. The real problem is that the Pakistani military officers and political leaders are all driven by this anti-American public opinion, which is fanned by the media. One example of how anti-Americanism can appeal to public opinion is the emergence of Imran Khan as a politician of consequence. -- William Bryant Milam, a former US ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh in an interview with Malik Siraj Akbar (Photo: William Bryant)

 

Almighty God has created us all with unique qualities. By expressing this creativity, we pay respect to the creative power of God. If that is being provocative, then I am provocative! Yet I truly believe that there is something deeply religious in this. By encouraging young people to accept themselves with all their individual traits, we intensify our relationship with our Creator. I believe in my fellow Muslims and know we are capable of being better than our mullahs and imams – and even the media – think we can be. -- Irshad Manji in an interview with Christoph Dreyer (Photo: Irshad Manji)

Art is always going to go beyond boundaries. Primarily, all a good film needs to do is entertain. Enjoyable cinema will always transcend boundaries and we are so similar as a people that we laugh at the same things and cry at the same things. But why restrict the question to India and Pakistan? I’m glad people liked Khan (My Name is Khan) all over the world for a very simple reason. I’m not claiming to know everything but I do know that as a Muslim it’s important for me to tell the world who we really are. It’s important for us to explain Islam to the world and it’s important for the world to know Islam and what it truly stands for. -- Shah Rukh Khan in an interview with Aamna Haider Isani (Photo: Shah Rukh Khan )

 

I had seen the Jamshedpur riots of 1979, and was here during the Babri Masjid period. Then Gujarat 2002 happened. I felt helpless in the US. I joined online discussions but realised that Muslims have no hard facts to go by. So I started gathering data in 2005 and set up IndianMuslims.info. I was asking a Hindi newspaper editor in UP about how they cover Muslim issues, and he said they are cautious, these are sensitive issues. Thanks to us, mainstream media can learn how to cover Muslims without offending sensibilities.—Kashif-ul-Huda in an interview with Jyoti Punwani

 

One problem is that, today everyone uses a human rights discourses, both defenders and violators. So what do they mean now? SCAF uses it, even Mubarak's regime used it. The people using it the least are in fact the revolutionaries, because they are living it. What we do is to remind the government of its obligations under international human rights conventions it has signed, which it is obligated to follow. Yes, the human rights violations continue in the post-Mubarak era, most notably deadly violence against protesters, arbitrary detention and military tribunals, restriction of media freedom whether online or on TV and press, and incidents of sectarian violence continued without the state taking any real action to circumvent them or to absorb the tension. -- Representatives of human rights organisations in an interview with Mark LeVine

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • never mind taxila. or konark. The holy cow of monumentality - taj mahal.
    ( By hats off! )
  • Excellent article. Changed my ignorant mindset. May this idea spread to all the muslims of the world.
    ( By Sahil Raza )
  • Dear sister Teresa, Thanks for this meaningful review. I hope this review will encourage both serious readers and peace....
    ( By SAJID ANWAR )
  • The Crown Prince is only strengthening the monarchy and consolidating the anti-Iran front. He....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Taj Mahal's deterioration is symbolic of a paradigmatic shift in our values.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is so dumb really Turks, Arabs and Persians are not...
    ( By What? )
  • Dear Sister Teresa, You have wonderfully given the gist of the book and created curiosity among the readers ....
    ( By Rajat Malhotra )
  • An anti-reform AIMPLB gives Islam a bad name and is like a curse on the Muslim community. We need new leadership.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ully agree with this press bulletin. Indian Muslims must reject the leadership of such regressive clerics.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghaus Sb says: “The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim.” From what I say, he can....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Ghaus Sb says: Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write this, G-d is known ...
    ( By Lenny SB )
  • Please read my article on subject of "there is no compulsion in Religion...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Related article...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Please read my comment again and again. You did not get my comment. I did not say both...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Arbitration is of two kinds - binding and non-binding. When the parties choose binding arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • All right thinking Muslims must welcome such a course. Academic independence of the Universities must be protected and respected. There ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Referring to your comment: 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM, to you both views are valid and fitna could mean “shirk or polytheism” also. The Quran clearly commands ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What do I mean by acceptance? Read the Quran carefully. There isn’t any verse that calls for tolerance of the peaceful rejecter of Islam. There ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The title question sums up the matter of the article. The answer is the course will discuss in detail how Muslim clerics and fundamentalists misinterpret ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Site Web Israel and Myanmar give more rights to muslims, than muslims give rights to Kafirs,...
    ( By Shan Barani )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write,..
    ( By Lenny SB (Shivarsi) )
  • I fully agree with Faizur Rahman sahib. Such "courts" should be called "Arbitration centers.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A course on "Uses of religions to gain political power" would be entirely appropriate. By the way, Obama refused to use the label "Islamic....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • بہت بہت شکریہ جناب! اللہ عز و جل آپ کے مبارک کلمات کو مستجاب کرے۔ آمین بجاہ سید المرسلین صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم
    ( By misbahul Huda quadri )
  • fve questions
    ( By hats off! )
  • بہت عمدہ ۔ اللہ تعالی ہم مسلمانوں کو صوفیائے کرام کے نہج پر شریعت و طریقت کو سمجھنے اور اس پر عمل کرنے ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Mushrik and muwahhid, Muslims and non-Muslims all equally need to adopt the path of tolerance. One sided tolerance is not helpful. This point should also ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • An excellent read that contextualises many pertinent issues connected to Muslims and Islam! Your angle ....
    ( By Meera )
  • Naseer sb, Can you suggest me how many books have you read on theology? From your comments it appears you have been inspired by orientalist ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sahib, What is theology? Why do you use theology in general term? In your comment you meant that those who follow theology are following ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Before I say anything further, could you please explain your questions? What do you mean by acceptance?....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Tolerance in Muslim society earlier was because of low level of outward piety. Intolerance grows as the level of outward piety grows. Outward piety is ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Muslim nation (with the exception of one or two Muslim countries) as a whole has been blind and deaf to the above advice and ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • I fully agree with Rashid sahib.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • At this rate Hats Off may soon get some insight into his unquenchable hatred of Muslims.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is the time when the anti-Muslim hate propaganda of the BJP/RSS is at full blast to cover up for the absence of any acchhe ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent book review! As the reviewer says, "secularism cannot be used as a pretext to ignore discrimination on grounds....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Very true.
    ( By Sahab Ali Khan )