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Books and Documents

Islam and Sectarianism

The Daring Plan to Save a Religious Minority from ISIS – Concluding Part
Jenna Krajeski

Pir couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone in Sinjar was going to die. One night, he had watched an Isis video in which Yazidi men were forced to convert; later, he heard that they were killed anyway. Pir, Elias, and Ismael felt guilty that they were safe in America. More than once, they offered to go to Iraq. “We the former interpreters present in DC today are ready to conduct these operations with the US Special Forces, or to go to Sinjar on our own to rescue what can be rescued from our people,”...

 

Forced Confessions in Iran’s House of the Dead
Ervand Abrahamian

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote in “The House of the Dead,” his semi-autobiographical novel about inmates in a Siberian prison camp. Iran continues to fail the Dostoyevsky test.

Irrespective of the findings of Mr. Rouhani’s committee, what Iran needs is a radical reform of its legal procedures to ensure that its courts will stop the use of “confessions” and instead rely on verifiable independent and collaborative evidence....

 

The Daring Plan to Save a Religious Minority from ISIS – Part One
Jenna Krajeski

A system developed. The Yazidis e-mailed and texted Cannon and Padgett reports that they received by phone from Mt. Sinjar. Cannon forwarded the reports to an e-mail chain that quickly grew to include some two hundred officials, including people far her senior, such as the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad. She included officials who disapproved, at least initially, of using the Yazidis as sources, among them career diplomats who preferred their own sources and were sceptical that members of the Office of International Religious Freedom, who are not Iraq experts, understood the consequences of focussing on Yazidis. “Isis had already killed two thousand Shia,”...

 

Verdict in the Mashal Khan Case: Half-Justice Is Injustice
Rafia Zakaria

Mobs do many things in Pakistan: they harass women, they burn down buildings, they torch cars; they are guilty of devastating Gojra, of tearing the bodies of Muneeb and Mughees Butt to pieces, cheering the killer of a governor, mourning the death of a dictator. They are guilty also of the murder of a man named Mashal Khan. ...

 

Iran’s Worsening Treatment of Religious Minorities

The Iranian regime boasts about respecting religious freedom and being tolerant towards religious minorities, and President Hassan Rouhani has frequently promised them equal rights. Nevertheless, reports from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International reveal a different story. The rights of the Iranian people to enjoy religious freedom continue to be violated and many are facing systematic persecution and discrimination on a daily basis....

 

There is no official declaration or consensus – and there is hardly a warrant or possibility for having it – of mutual excommunication of Shias and Sunnis from either the fold of Islam or Heaven. Opinions, speculations, guesses, Fatwas quoting this or that source that can’t be independently and unproblematically validated in the Quran  and contradict basic tenor of Tradition don’t constitute decisive knowledge that should bother us too much. Theology and politics often mix up and create a mess that sages and artists can clear.....

Neighbours in al-Salhi’s home district in the southern city of Basra decorate cars and homes with posters of him in military gear, rifle in hand, standing next to Shiite saints. His face appears on wristwatches for sale in the markets and on cakes in a bakery. One of Iraq’s top sculptors, Ahmed al-Bahraini, has started work on a 6-meter (20-foot) bronze statue of al-Salhi for a main square in Basra....

 

Shunned by Pakistan’s Muslims, Ahmadis Find Refuge in a City of Their Own
Mehreen Zahra-Malik

Yet hard-liner Muslims come to Rabwah, too. When the annual processions to mark Eid Milad-un Nabi, birthday celebrations for the Prophet Muhammad, roll through the city, the authorities warn Ahmadis to shut their businesses and lock themselves inside their homes, as procession leaders hurl “unrepeatable” expletives against Ahmadi leaders and declare them “worthy of being murdered.”....

 

Pakistanis Celebrate the Other in Sindh, But for How Long?
Ayesha Tanzeem

The performer danced with reckless abandon, her head bent forward, moving rhythmically left to right with the drum beat, her long, black, untied hair creating an arc in the air as it flew back and forth. Another woman, probably a relative or a friend, tried to throw a scarf over her head, but gave up after it kept falling off. The scene could have caused an uproar in another part of Pakistan, a conservative country where women in public are expected to be subdued and not draw attention to themselves, but not here.....

 

The Barelvi Bandwagon: Pakistan Establishment’s Misuse of Religion Has Paved the Way for Sectarianism
Khaled Ahmed

When and if the law took its normal course, the courts were made to realise that the clerics could not be challenged. The government was scared of prosecuting them and the judges soon got the message. This immunity led to the criminalisation of religion in Pakistan. Madrasas, funded lavishly from outside the country, became more assertive and enslaved poor disciple-students through free lodging and boarding.....

Blame Islamic Fundamentalists, Not Ahmadis for Ruining Pakistan
Mehr Tarar

Take Allah’s name and no one will question you. Use the prophet’s name, and people will rally with your cause. Chant slogans to uphold the sanctity of the finality of Prophethood, and whatever chaos you unleash will be pardoned. Faith is personal. Faith is the human connection to the divine. Faith, or lack thereof, is to be judged only by God. What is forgotten here is that in an almost 97 percent Muslim Pakistan, everything starts and ends with Allah’s name. For us, no name is more sacred than that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)....

Balochistan: Ethnic Carnage
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Balochistan: Ethnic Carnage
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

A series of attacks on Punjabi and other non-Baloch settlers in Balochistan, as well as the destruction of national infrastructure have followed the killing of Akbar Bugti. These killings have been orchestrated by Baloch militant organizations such as the BLA, BLF and the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), among others, who began to voice anti-Punjabi sentiments in their slogans in the wake of the military action against Bugti....

 

Political Engineering of Religious Extremists
Munir Ahmed

The religiously motivated political engineering has delivered nothing but political chaos and instability, an ultimate social segregation and unbearable economic losses to the country. The ridiculous sit-ins cannot be a remedy to any political situations — a tradition developed by the Jamat-e-Islami (JI), a religious political party,...

 

What Would Motivate Pakistan To Tackle The Escalating Persecution Of Religious Minorities?
Huma Yusuf

In Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen argued that economic and social development is facilitated by freedom, and that any form of ‘unfreedom’ hampers progress and prosperity. By this argument, states should promote religious freedom to facilitate an overall environment in which freedom is respected and protected — in other words, rights beget rights, which in turn beget growth. But Sen’s premise will have few takers in Pakistan...

 

Drain the Swamp Of Sectarian Hatred

There are groups in Pakistan that act like this as well. This despite the fact that Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, dreamed of a modern and moderate country where citizens - Muslims, Hindus and Christians - were free to worship whoever they liked, as he went to great lengths to emphasize in his address to the Constituent Assembly, three days before Pakistan’s creation.

 

After Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrein, is North Africa the next realm of a more assertive Iranian foreign policy? These fears come from Iran’s attempt to expand its influence in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia – and its “backyard:” Senegal, Niger, Guinea and Mali....

 

Pakistan: Shrinking Political Space for Minorities
Sarwar Bari

No wonder for centuries human beings have been trying to be humane. Yet, it seems an unfinished agenda. Sadly, often the protagonists of religions happen to be in the forefront of violations of the teachings of the founders of the religions they follow. Let’s remind them what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said in his last sermon “… An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white.”...

 
Letter from Deathbed
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Letter from Deathbed
Yasser Latif Hamdani

When Captain Safdar’s antecedents in Majlis-e-Ahrar, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind were trying to destroy the foundations of this country and abusing Jinnah as Kafir-e-Azam and Pakistan as Kafiristan, it was the Aga Khanis, Ahmadis, Christians, Dalits and scheduled caste Hindus who stood with Jinnah against Majlis-e-Ahrar and other traitors like Khaksars, Khudai Khidmatgars and Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind — all of whom had sold themselves to the Indian National Congress....

Where Should Hazaras Go?
Mohammed Hanif

If you were a Hazara in Pakistan, you were a marked person. If death didn’t catch you in a bomb blast, it would come in the shape of a bullet in the back of your head. It didn’t matter if you worked for the police or any security agencies, it didn’t matter if you were an Olympian boxer or a famous TV actor or a much loved school teacher; all were on an arbitrary death row....

 

Pakistan, Land of the Intolerant
Mohammed Hanif

As I grew up, Ahmadis went from being treated as zealous reformist Muslims to non-Muslims to Kafir, or heretics — worse even than Hindus or Jews. In the mid-1980s, a decade after Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims, another set of laws forbade them to act like Muslims. This is the tricky bit, because Ahmadis insist on calling themselves Muslim and behave like Muslims.....

Thinking Critically?  In Pakistan, Space, Even For Conversations amongst Friends, Has Shrunk Drastically
Faisal Bari

We cannot talk critically about religion in this society. Every society, howsoever religious its population might be, will have a few people who do not believe in God or religion. Do we have such people in Pakistan? There must be some. Do they dare come out and declare their existence? Could they come forward and have discussions about their point of views and/or beliefs with all the theists who are around...

 

Our Pet Obsession: Declaring Ahmadis Non-Muslims, It Appears
Ayesha Ijaz Khan

What happens then to our sense of fair play when it comes to the rights of those who may not adhere to the majority faith in our own countries? The recent tirade against Ahmadis by the dubious Captain Safdar springs to mind. The very fact that the floor of the National Assembly could be used for such invective is mind-boggling. Nor is he alone in attempting to demonise this community....

 

This Silence That Can Kill
Kamila Hyat

The incident also raised questions over Captain Safdar’s alleged support for certain right-wing segments. We also have the newly formed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan in Lahore, which had received over 7,000 votes in the NA-120 by-poll last month. The TLP had taken voters away from the party to which Safdar himself belongs, the PML-N, and of which his father-in-law Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is chief. The TLP campaigned carrying posters of convicted killer Mumtaz Qadri; the posters are still pasted across areas of that constituency....

 

The Politics of Religious Exclusion in Pakistan
Umair Jamal

The persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, including minority Muslims, traces back to how the agenda of Pakistan’s movement was formulated and how Pakistan as a country grew after it became an independent state. The question of why Pakistan’s founding fathers needed Islam to build an agenda for an independent state is still hotly debated both inside and outside the country.....

 

'Ahmadi Muslim': The Two Words That Still Can't Be Said, Written, Or Broadcast In Pakistan
Mehr Tarar

Ahmadi Muslim. The two words I am not allowed to put together if I write for a publication in Pakistan, or speak on national television. Once, it was simply the details of the punishment meted out to Ahmadis for practising Allah's name that I had listed — an ordinance of the Pakistan Penal Code and not my personal opinion — which were edited out from an op-ed I wrote for a national daily. Another time, during a talk show on a leading news channel, my comments on the persecution of Ahmadis were not bleeped out — the whole portion, in fact, was edited....

 
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  • Dear sister Teresa, Thanks for this meaningful review. I hope this review will encourage both serious readers and peace....
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  • 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 )
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  • 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.
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  • 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 )
  • Read Ghulam Mohiyuddin Sb's comment. He is saying the same thing. So, can you speak of acceptance rather than tolerance? Will the Muslims accept ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Naseer sb, You always express your wrath by the word ‘bigoted’. It is your style and I should ignore it with the faith in this ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )