Books and Documents

Islam and Sectarianism

Sunni Resentment Muddles Prospect of Reunifying Iraq after ISIS
Tim Arango

“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.”....


The Precarious Existence of Iran's Sunni Muslims
Steve Inskeep

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.....


Caste Away: No Matter What One Accomplishes One Will Always Be Considered As Part of a ‘Dirty’ Clan or Low Caste
Maria Sartaj

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)....

Shias, Catholics and Protestants: Sectarian Splits Are Widening In Islam and Lessening In Christianity

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

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

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

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: New Age Islam’s Selection From Pakistan Press, 4 January 2016

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

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,...

Of Christmas Lights and Hapless Cries
Talal Almas

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.


Pakistan’s Responsibility To Protect Shia Muslims
Aslam Kakar

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, ...

Egypt’s New Masters Are Wrecking Its Long Tradition of Religious Freedom
Jack Shenker

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

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: New Age Islam’s Selection From Pakistan Press, 3 December 2015

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


Fight for Bangladeshi Secularism: Recognising Historical Mistakes Is The First Step
Rudroneel Ghosh

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: New Age Islam’s Selection From Pakistan Press, 1 December 2015

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: New Age Islam’s Selection From Pakistan Press, 28 November 2015

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

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?: New Age Islam’s Selection From Pakistan Press, 24  November 2015

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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  • there is no country in the world where asia bibi is safe.there is no dearth of muslims everywhere in the world who sincerely believe ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • what a sense of entitlement and hubris! unbelievable. astounding egotism and egoism.she talks as if she has a god given right to us visa ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • we now have a present day example of how islam treated its minority populations so much so that most islamic countries are surprisingly free ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Naseer sb. keeps asking the same questions again and again and will probably continue to do so ad infinitum. I shall end my participation ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I have wasted enough of my time trying to deal with Naseer sb.'s refractoriness and abusiveness. He keeps asserting his points without producing any ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I shall let Naseer sb., wallow in his abusive and undignified verbal assaults but I shall end my participation in this thread with the ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A good article but it becomes an occasion for Hats Off to vent his venom!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A knowledgeable and astute analysis.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Authentic Hadith are the words of the Prophet, not the words of God. Only the words of God are holy for us. Even when ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • As usual, Hats Off brings in human misguidedness in a debate on religion. Any sensible discourse on Islam get his knickers in a twist!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • lousy islamophobes.the kalash are flourishing under an islamic rule in pakistan. just like the yazidis in syria and the bahais in iran and the ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • how do we empathize with the pain and suffering of idolators and polytheists under an islamic rule?like for instance in the hejaz. like in medina.
    ( By hats off! )
  • some epimenides stuff going on here.only an hadith can tell us if the prophet forbade it. because if prophet said it, it is again ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • some epimenides stuff going on here.only an hadith can tell us if the prophet forbade it. because if prophet said it, it is again ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Oh, I am extremely perplexed by the author!He says the Prophet instructed not to write down Hadith. Truly the Prophet did so in the ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • The author quotes Ms Hazelton for the prophetic story but fails to realize that Ms Hazelton herself has based her story on the sources ...
    ( By Usman Sakhi )
  • How have you come to know that the Prophet did not allow Hadith reporting?Any proof? 
    ( By Ghulam Hussain )
  • ایمان جب انسان کے اندراپنی جڑیں مضبوط کر لیتاهے تو گناہ مشکل اور نیکی آسان هو جاتی هے_دل نرم اور آنکھیں نم رهنے لگتی ہیں.
    ( By خالد حسن )
  • "Pain and suffering not only restore our relationship with God, they are also helpful in restoring our relations with others who are living in ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Muslim world is already facing calamities of the time. It may lead to bloody event. If there is possibility of overthrowing Saudi powers and ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • غورکیجئے کلمہ کا نام کلمہ توحید ہے نہ کلمہ وجود ، تو اللہ کے علاوہ کوئی معبود ہے ہی نہیں تو عبادت کرنے والے ...
    ( By Nisar )
  • کہتے ہیں جب گناہ گار کی میت اٹھائی جاتی ہے تو وہ بھاری محسوس ہوتی ہے ، جب کہ  نیک آدمی کی میت ہلکی ...
    ( By خالد حسن )
  • Salman is a murderous ruler who must be tried for his crimes and punished. The clerics must be flogged for their fatwa.
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Barelvis believe that the prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam is noori bashar (human and light. Deobandis say he is not light. Barelvis visit the shrines and ask Allah for ...
    ( By Ali Murtuza )
  • Neither Ghulam Uncle Sam nor Uncle Sam can give honest answers to the following questions without incriminating Uncle Sam. Their lies are exposed. GUS is a ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Salman must have done some good work and some bad work but it does not mean he is mujaddid. I am sure sure Imam ...
    ( By Muhammad Siddiq )
  • “...exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.” There is nothing new in ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • @Faruq Adil, In the first centuries of Islam, three major sects, Sunnis, Shias and Kharijites appeared. All of them developed their respective jurisprudential schools [madhhab], adopting different metholdogies ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Can this moron show any answer that is unclear and confusing? The fact is that he is left speechless and without anything to say ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The old fool does not realize how stupid it is to consider something as adultery, that has neither criminal nor legal consequences but considered ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The collapse of the three buildings was not assisted by controlled demolition. Anyone who claims they were is either a liar or an idiot.Anyone ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I have to again explain to the thick-skulled moron that  even if the wife of a man with the husband’s consent has sex with another ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • What are the various sub sects of Kashmiri Sunni Muslims?
    ( By Faruq Adil )
  • Naseer, a self-deluded moron, again proves that he is just a village mullah who knows how to curse and who thinks he is the ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off probably thinks he made a clever comment! I do not think anyone else would want to make such a dumb comment.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • If one wants to insult the Prophet what better place to do it than the columns of the New Age Islam? Hats Off knows ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • What an inappropriate and snide comment from Hats Off!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The truth denier Ghulam Uncle Sam pretended that "Uncle Sam wore fine clothes" and defended as long as he could. Uncle Sam stands fully ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What I said was very clear but beyond the understanding of the old fool. The difference between the meaning of adultery in Islam and in Pagan ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • How would Satan or his follower behave when frustrated in his attack on the Quran to prove that not all its verses are the word of ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )