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Interview

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

 

Wiping things from the face of the earth is not the prerogative of any nation, state, group of persons or person. It is the prerogative of the Almighty. He disposes of the destinies of nations and decides whom to destroy, and whom to leave. That problem does not cause us concern. Another point along the way is to reflect on the prospects of coexistence with the enemy. There are many factors involved. But if we are to talk in terms of one side being bound to lose or, conversely, achieving victory, one often recalls the saying: "All wars end in negotiations." Yes, indeed, sooner or later negotiations are inevitable, but of the two contracting parties one is certain to be the loser. Or military action may cease because both sides run out of strength and resources and find it unprofitable to continue the conflict. There are many such moments in the history of Islam. In the places where the authority of the Muslims was established there was no coercion in religion, as the Koran states. There are fixed conditions for the spreading of Islam and relations with the countries of the kufr. -- Movladi Udugov, head of the Informational-Analytical Service of the Caucasus Emirate in an interview with Prague Watchdog

…… the main motive for enslaving Muslim states and blocs is to prevent Islamic states developing technologically. The West is satisfied with the role the Middle Eastern countries have acquired. These are raw commodity exporters. But the fact that Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt may eye the benefits of technological progress does not meet the interests of those who are now concerned with instability on world markets. The controllers don't need any more trouble. Realizing the impossibility of slowing down development in some Islamic countries, the West is doing everything to cause a clash between Muslims. Religious differences can be exploited to cause a quarrel among brethren. A Muslim has no right to kill a fellow Muslim even if they refuse to practice Islam. -- Tofiq Abbasov, Azerbaijani political scientist in an interview with News.Az

It goes without saying that freedom, independence, political independence and sovereignty are a very important moral boost for a nation, a people, and those who feel themselves to be part of it. The self-esteem of an ethnic group is based on this. But the situation has begun to change rapidly, both in Chechnya and in the world at large. In the place of those who with absolute sincerity went to fight under the slogan of national liberation there has come a new generation of young people who believe in the promise of Allah and the saving force of jihad. It’s not just the ideology that has changed – the people who were willing to sacrifice their lives have begun to interpret the world quite differently. The new generation of mojahedin has moved away from the perception of ethnicity as an absolute value, and has turned to God. In the first place, the leaders of the jihad, the mojahedin, have identified themselves by their goal and their flag. These are not merely symbols we have chosen – they are the driving belts of our struggle. -- Movladi Udugov in an interview with Prague Watchdog

 

They are more indigenous than anyone else there, except for a few people whose great-great-great-great grandparents were also there. They have more rights, in a certain way of understanding rights, than anybody else, and they certainly have the right to be citizens of the state they live in, an Israeli state, and that has to be squared with the idea of Jewish nationhood, of Jewish people, of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people and those things could probably be solved – but it’s not an external thing, that’s not “we’ve solved the borders now shut up and let us deal with our Arabs”. The Israelis are free to do it. They have the power to do it. But it won’t work. In fact, one of the things that Palestinians resent is that the PLO leadership ignored this issue in the 1990’s. That won’t be possible in the future. Israel is a huge prosperous economy, Israelis can deal with that themselves, that’s something for Israeli protestors to deal with, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Dizengoff, whatever. That’s their issue. People who are living off the fat of the land in Gaza and off the much more fat in Ramallah – that’s their issue. New York without spending seventy five per cent of their time talking to Congress, talking to the media. No Palestinian delegation that has come to New York has ever spent serious time doing public diplomacy. -- Prof. Rashid Khalidi in an interview with Chemi Shalev (Photo: Prof. Rashid Khalidi)

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