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Islam and Sectarianism

“Daesh didn’t come from the moon,” said Sheikh Faisal Essawi, the mayor of Amiriyat Falluja, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It did not grow from the earth. Part of our people became Daesh. Because of corruption. Because of injustice. Because of the culture of hate.”....

 

When Shiite mosques issue their five calls to prayer every day, they're amplified through loudspeakers and echo down every street. But the Sunni man who sings the call to prayer for this mosque does it indoors, so few people hear. This worship space is so obscure that some foreign news articles have stated as fact that there is no Sunni mosque in Tehran at all.....

 

Culture develops in amalgams; we are products of all the layers that Islam went through over the years in South Asia. Islam itself has no room for casteism and does not recognise one race as being superior to the other. Hazrat Bilal was a former slave who was the first one to give the Azaan (call for prayer) yet people assume those with darker skin are inferior to them in Zaat (caste)....

But there is one big difference between intra-Muslim and intra-Christian divisions. The former are tending to grow wider, as tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia exacerbates the sectarian chasm in every other place where different forms of Islam coincide, from the civil-war zones of Syria and Yemen to the streets of Beirut and Islamabad. Among Christian leaders, meanwhile, it is generally agreed that everything should be done to overcome division.....

 

... The rub is that it was Sunni Arab tribesmen who eventually came to power in the evolving Muslim community and established the great empires of the Umayyads (661-750) and Abbasids (750-1258). In other words, military prowess trumped divine patrimony.....

 
Saudi Kingdom and the Shia Islamic Republic
Yasser Latif Hamdani
Saudi Kingdom and the Shia Islamic Republic
Yasser Latif Hamdani

It is a great tragedy of the Muslim world that its leadership at this crucial juncture in world history is in the hands of two myopic sectarian states like Saudi Arabia and Iran, more interested in undermining each other than helping their own people secure a better life....

“The Hazaras feel themselves defenceless against the threat facing them,” Mr. Royesh said, pointing to the recent beheadings in the southern province of Zabul of seven Shiite Hazaras, including a 9-year-old girl, by militants linked to the Islamic State. In many other places, the Taliban, the Hazaras’ old nemesis, are resurgent, gaining territory by the week.....

 
Religious Division
Ayesha Fakhar
Religious Division
Ayesha Fakhar

The state of Pakistan must also take strong measures for its perpetual prosperity. The state must ensure that each of its inhabitants is out and out Pakistani with equal rights and responsibilities, belonging to whatever sect and race. The people of our country should remain calm, peaceful and keep a neutral stance because this religious divide can surely fracture the geography of our country as it has fractured Syria.

 
Saudi Arabia vs. Iran: The Long War Continues
Daniel Williams
Saudi Arabia vs. Iran: The Long War Continues
Daniel Williams

In both countries, rule is maintained by strict enforcement of ultra-conservative Islamic social norms. Iranian clerics directly oversee politics and brook no dissent outside their ultra-puritanical version of Shiite Islam. The Saudi monarchy declares itself carriers of a true, purist Islam. Politics are confined to intra-family intrigue;…

 
Saudi Arabia’s Dangerous Sectarian Game
Toby Craig Jones
Saudi Arabia’s Dangerous Sectarian Game
Toby Craig Jones

The real problem is not just that Saudis are willing to live with violent sectarianism. They are now beholden to it, too. That the kingdom’s leaders have embraced sectarianism so recklessly suggests that they have little other choice. This should be frightening, considering more is likely to be in store. But it should also be clarifying for those who believe that Saudi Arabia is a force for stability in the Middle East. It is not.

 

The blasphemy law, Islam and the state

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Salmaan Taseer’s murder — the death of reason

By Raza Rumi

The IS threat

By Huma Yusuf

Implausible denial

By Express Trubune Editorial

The business of war

By Dr Asad Zaman

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 
The Ahmadi Conundrum in Pakistan
Saima Baig
The Ahmadi Conundrum in Pakistan
Saima Baig

Blasphemy is a crime in Pakistan, the punishment for which can be death. The law is a leftover of the Indian Penal Code that the British had introduced, and which was later expanded upon by the military dictator Zia ul Haq. More often than not, it is used to target minority communities, especially the Ahmadiyya, who were declared non-Muslims in 1974,...

To all my persecuted and marginalized Christian friends in Pakistan -- and in other insular and provincial parts of the world -- please know that you grace us with your resilience despite the immense potential to succumb. One day, not far from now, your numerous sacrifices will spur to fruition; one day, your blood will make the oppressors' knees go perpetually weak; one day, our Pakistan will be a Christian Pakistan, a Jewish Pakistan, a Hindu Pakistan, and, most importantly, Jinnah's Pakistan.

 

The state must curb sectarian outfits and radical religious seminaries which incite violence against the believers of minority faiths. It must create a free and safe environment where one faith does not take primacy over another. And where differences of faith are respected and resolved through dialogue, not violence. ...

 
The Ahmadi question
Hussain Nadim
The Ahmadi question
Hussain Nadim

The Ahmadi community, being small, tight-knit, highly educated and prosperous, naturally commanded influence in pre-Partition India, and also after the independence of Pakistan, with many of its members enjoying prominence in the bureaucracy, military and politics. The presence of Zafarullah Khan, MM Ahmad and numerous others who had an over-arching influence made right wing groups wary that in the new Pakistan, ...

For Egyptians who reject such subordination or exist outside the religious mainstream, Sisi’s Egypt offers no salvation. Shia Muslims have been persecuted; followers of the Baha’i faith continue to faceinstitutionalised discrimination; atheists have been handcuffed and assaulted. All this occurs against the backdrop of a state-prosecuted “war on terror” – a crackdown ostensibly aimed at neutralising a genuine jihadist insurgency playing out in some parts of the country, but one that has included widespread police torture, mass death sentences and the jailing of large numbers of innocent civilians. ...

 
Pakistan's Insistence on Denial
Aparna Pande
Pakistan's Insistence on Denial
Aparna Pande

The policy of encouraging Pakistani citizens to join jihadi militias after being trained by the army dates back to the 1971 civil war. The 'war criminals' currently on trial in Bangladesh were religious fanatics trained to augment Pakistan's military capability against its disaffected Bengali population. Now, Jihadis are expected to help the Pakistan army maintain control on Karachi and Balochistan while helping Pakistan extend its influence in Afghanistan and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A matter of shame

By Ikram Sehgal

War on terror: more of the same — I

By Dr Saulat Nagi

Thoughts at a productive Muslim workshop

By M Bilal Lakhani

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 

The fact is Bangladesh today is fighting to save the semblance of secularism it is left with. For decades after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s assassination in 1975, Islamists in Bangladesh put that country on a firm path to Islamism. First they mauled the Bangladeshi Constitution, expunging secularism from the foundational document, introducing the Bismillah invocation in the Preamble to the Constitution and finally making Islam the state religion.

 

Minority rights: from Quaid to Nawaz

By Salman Ali

Terrorism: domestic and global dimensions

By Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

The US’s perspective on Turkey-Russia

By Sabria Chowdhury Balland

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 

In a Muslim majority country such as Bangladesh, terrorism can only flourish when sincere Muslims fail to take Islam's message of peace and tolerance to their wider communities. This failure to communicate with those who are less privileged and who are exposed to various intolerant interpretations under the banner of Islam sustains the spiritual vacuum and a sense of disenfranchisement that terrorist ideologies exploit to further their own agendas.

The pariahs of Pakistan

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

This endless war

By Salman Tarik Kureshi

A new politics?

By A.G. Noorani

Culture wars

By Yaqoob Khan Bangash

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 

However, given the increase in the persecution of religious minority communities in recent years — as illustrated by the torching of a chipboard factory owned by Ahmadis followed by attacks on an Ahmadi ‘place of worship’ in Jhelum on Saturday, reportedly in response to ‘blasphemy’ allegations - what is needed now is a lot more than heartfelt sentiment.

 
A Murderer — and Also a Victim of Place
Aatish Taseer
A Murderer — and Also a Victim of Place
Aatish Taseer

Perhaps; but for the rest of us the real question of life and death is how to defend the liberal state against culture wars that find their sanction in faith. It is no accident that it is among the least educated, most backward sections of our society that God finds his most committed soldiers. And if there is anything to be learned from that flirtation with jihad in the 1980s, it is that the only thing scarier than Marx is God fertilized with Marx.

 

Will there be a change of guard in Balochistan?

By Shezad Baloch

Half the truth

By Babar Ayaz

Here come the crazies

By Syed Rashid Munir

Minority matters

By Reema Omer

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 
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