Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

The US definitely should do something to stem the rot and save Pakistan from its impending take-over by the savage and barbaric forces that are out to ruin the humanity. The hurt is so deep that the world would probably not sympathise with the Pakistanis if they were to be annihilated from the face of the earth. In any event the world cannot afford to just watch the mayhem that is being unleashed by these barbaric forces from time to time. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team was not a one off event but a recurring one happening so nonchalantly in the region. This region has therefore become completely unsafe. It is now up to all peace loving people of the world to unite and bring Pak authorities to senses. -- Jamsheed Basha Abumohammed

Doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results, goes an old saying, is a form of insanity. It is a maxim the new Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, might do well to consider. -- Praveen Swami


These atrocities are shocking and you wonder why people are silent. And then one voice is raised on the Internet. It is Shaheen Sardar Ali’s, a native of that region who teaches law at the Warwick University. In a poignant piece,  Will the Gulai-Nargis Bloom this Spring in the Swat Valley? Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali condemns Talibani Islam  http://newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=1133

she asks: “How long before we will say: enough is enough and rise, speak and act? How much more suffering before we declare emphatically that we refuse to be harassed and silenced any longer and demand answers for the wrongdoings meted out to us? How many more humans will have to be slaughtered, before we stand up and say NO.” -- Zubeida Mustafa

Mr PM, go to Swat and FATA not Davos By Shireen M Mazari

Saving Swat – Editorial in The News, Islamabad

President Zardari’s government, many had hoped, would dismantle the Pakistan that Zia-ul-Haq built — a Pakistan based on the dual primacy of the military and the mullah, resting on the pillars of religious chauvinism and hatred for India. If President Zardari’s handling of the fallout of the Mumbai carnage is any indication, the forces he represents have neither the will nor the resources to reverse history. --- Praveen Swami

Pakistani neocons and UN sanctions

At a meeting with a group of journalists among whom I was present, my dear and much lamented friend Tahir Mirza, then the Dawn correspondent, asked Musharraf why he was not acting against Lashkar-e Tayba and Jaish-e Muhammad. Musharraf went red in the face and shot back, “They are not doing anything in Pakistan. They are doing jihad outside.” -- Khalid Hasan

Pakistan surrenders to Taliban in Swat

The Afghan Taliban banned girls' education and many among them now regret the decision. The Pakistani Taliban in Swat have done the same thing and one day they too would realize that this was something wrong. But it would be late by then and neither regrets nor remorse would absolve them of the responsibility of keeping thousands of girls illiterate and rendering jobless a large number of female teachers and other employees. -- Rahimullah Yusufzai

Israeli terrorism: A boost for Islamism

As feared by many scholars Israel has succeeded brilliantly in resurrecting a rather quiescent Osama bin laden-led Al-Qaeda and revitalizing Hamas. Indeed all radical Islamic movements around the world have benefited from Israel’s evil bombings of the Palestinian population. Islamic extremism was badly in need of this shot in its arm. The silent majority of moderate Muslims were beginning to understand the need for them to not remain silent in the ongoing Long War on Terror. They had started speaking up. The number of mainstream Muslims coming out in open defiance of not only terrorism but also other forms of bigotry was growing.  Indeed New Age Islam itself was an expression of this realisation. Sunanda K Datta-Ray explains the ramifications of this sudden boost for radical Islamism.

Taliban rule in Swat: Will Pakistan learn any lessons?

On January 15, girls’ schools in the district closed down on an edict from the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, the Swat chapter of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. … An estimated 80,000 girls have had their education cut off. The government has promised to reopen the schools by March 1. But with 183 schools blown up — including five on Monday — the promise seems unbelievable. Even if the schools reopen, there will be no teachers because under the de facto Taliban rule in Swat, women cannot work.

The few who have offered resistance to the TNSM have been eliminated. Pir Samiullah, a local landlord and spiritual leader, issued a fatwa against Fazlullah’s jihad. Fazlullah mounted an armed attack on the Pir. Some 150 farmers who worked on Samiullah’s lands put up a battle but could not save their leader. The Army did not show up. The Pir’s followers buried his body but the Taliban, afraid it would turn into a shrine, exhumed the body and strung it up as an example of what would happen to those who did not fall in line.

The big lesson from Swat is: setting up religious groups and sponsoring their jihad is one thing, and hoping to bring these groups back under control is quite another. -- Nirupama Subramanian

Sri Lanka is the latest addition to the list of countries where Muslims are being persecuted and chased from their homes where they have been living for generations peacefully with members of other communities. The reason is that they did not submit to the evil designs of the ethnic group LTTE and were also neglected by majority Sinhalese community. In the bargain Muslim community suffered humiliation, torture, murder, killing, rape and looting. They are now a displaced people with no hope of return to their land mostly in North and Eastern provinces where they had been living for generations. --  A.M. Jamsheed Basha, Chennai-based columnist

Backgrounder: Is Sri Lanka's spurned Muslim minority ripe for fundamentalism?The island nation's Muslim minority was driven into camps 17 years ago. Rising frustration over their plight raises concerns they'll turn to radical forms of Islam. -- By Mian Ridge | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Mumbai in the U.S.? Fort Dix suspects were training for ‘jihad’
Father of Mumbai terrorist, Azam Amir Kasab, 'paid by terrorists'
Al-Qaida's Zawahri praises executed Bali bombers


Salafism, Islamic fundamentalism, militancy: Theory and Practice

Today the democratic countries have launched a new world war. They are attacking the Muslims in order to impose on them the laws of democracy, to impose the ways and customs they themselves have devised. We say: "We don’t want that, leave us alone!" But they don’t leave us, and they don’t leave us alone. The question is put this way: "Some people don’t want to." Well, if they don’t, so what? We – who are a part of the people, a part of the population, a part of the nations of the Caucasus – have taken up arms to establish those laws which are natural for this territory, says Movladi Udugov, head of the Informational-Analytical Service of the Caucasus Emirate in an interview with Prague Watchdog.

Also: in Salafism: Theory and Practice Alexander Vasilyev writes: “The doctrine (akida) of the Wahhabi school of thought (its second name – Salafism – is derived from the concept of as-Salaf-as-Salih, and refers to a group of righteous associates of the Prophet Muhammad whom the Wahhabis claim to follow) was established in the Muslim world by Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab on the basis of the writings of the fourteenth century theologian ibn Taymiya, who throughout his entire life was accused by his "professional colleagues" of anthropomorphism (tashbih) and, at the same time, of insisting on the absolute transcendence of the divine person. In the conception of ibn Taymiya and ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, God appears in relation to the world and his own creations as an indifferent being, an outside observer who lacks any personal presence not only in man (the “spark of God”, or fitra, emphasized by the followers of Muslim mysticism), but also in the world of creatures.”

Indian Muslims endorse fatwa against terrorism: Media welcomes Jamiat Ulema ‘Seizing the initiative in these troubled times’

Seizing the initiative in these troubled times, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind expressed a consensus condemning terrorism as un-Islamic. More than 6000 clerics signed the declaration, and reminded the nation that jihad and terrorism were “poles apart” and that “terrorism is the biggest crime as per the Quran”. What’s more, they displayed a grown-up refusal to play politics over revelations about Hindu militants arrested in connection with the recent bomb blasts, saying that terrorism should not be linked to any religion, says the Indian Express.

Also: Follow Prophet to become leader even as minority: MJ Akbar

A compilation of reports and comments on the Hyderabad anti-terrorism meet from the Indian media.

On the morning of Oct. 20, as humanitarian aid worker Gayle Williams walked to work in Kabul, Afghanistan, two men on a motorcycle approached and shot her multiple times before speeding off. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the assassination of the 34-year-old British citizen from South Africa. Taliban spokesman Zaibullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that his group killed Williams because she “came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan.” Williams’ organization, Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises (SERVE), denied the charge.


In counterterrorism circles there is significant buzz about “Al-Qaeda 2.0”, warning of highly decentralized jihadist networks operating independently and driven by a highly toxic internet-inspired Islamic ideology. The sad reality is, however, that an increasing number of jihadist websites, especially those in the English language, are finding safe haven in the US – and the US government seems powerless, or unwilling, to stop them. Analysis by Patrick Poole


When Mr. Zardari says he wants to “suck out the oxygen” from the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, no one doubts his sincerity. But the question being asked from New York to New Delhi, and also in Pakistan, is whether he has what it takes to rally the nation, his party and the entire state apparatus for the task ahead.

Angry Young Muslims: Perspectives on Radical Islamism

It is up to us Europeans to decide whether we make life harder for our actual and potential partners in the region by making them the object of our policy, or whether we support them through credible action on the political, social and economic front, says Volker Perthes.


Leaders of the banned Islamist outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJI) in Bangladesh have floated the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) ahead of the December elections with permission from the caretaker government, which said it had found the group had no terror links.


In the midst of the political circus of Pakistan, the war in our backyard continues to be ignored.  Violence has been raging in the tribal areas and Swat valley. Violence that is not just related to the war on terror and the Taliban, but adding to the delectable mix is renewed sectarian strife in Kurram Agency. And when the state and the militants battle it out, the ultimate sufferers are ordinary people - whether they are victims of fateful suicide bombs or refugees in their own country. The recent military offensive in Bajur created over 400,000 IDPs. The state moved in to provide relief and support to the dispossessed only as an afterthought. It is from amongst theses IDPs that the Taliban find their potential recruits, says Pakistani scholar By Ayesha Saeed.


PEHSAWAR, Sept 22: Militants have gradually started moving from backward hilly areas to urban parts of different districts in the Frontier province. It is learnt that groups of militants in the garb of religious preachers have been visiting different mosques and trying to convince people to support ‘mujahideen’ against non-Muslim forces.


PESHAWAR: The Taliban are pursuing an ‘anti-state struggle’ and Pakistan must take this threat seriously before it causes an irreparable damage to the country, NWFP government’s Peace Envoy Afrasiab Khattak said on Tuesday. “They (Taliban) want to defeat the state and their success starts where the state fails,” Khattak told Daily Times, Lahore.


Tehreek-i-Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has emerged as the principal secessionist voice in Jammu and Kashmir. What does it portend?, asks Praveen Swami of The Hindu, New Delhi.


The misguided show of solidarity with SIMI raises some very disturbing questions. Are Muslim leaders and the Urdu media wilfully blind to the malevolence sheltering in their own backyard? Or, is it that in the interests of “communal balance”, anything goes, asks journalist and human rights activist Javed Anand.

Also: earlier related articles The rethinking of Islam by Javed Anand and Who’s responsible for the stereotypes of Islam? by Sudheendra Kulkarni


“Of all the “suggestively-shaped” veggies, apparently cucumber tops the don’t-buy list of Al Qaeda. I am impressed. If nothing else, this does show Al Qaeda to be progressive. How else would they know that an imaginative woman can do more with a cucumber than just chop it up and serve it to a good-for-nothing hubby? “

Ejaz Haider in his column in The Daily Times, Lahore.


Confession: I'm a total sucker for the Olympic opening ceremonies. Not the pyrotechnics and razzle-dazzle but the athletes' procession. When the Egyptian team arrives, I choke up and wave at the screen as if they could hear my cheers.

 As an Egyptian, Muslim woman, I was proud last week to see 26 women on my country's Olympic team. I was delighted to see a woman carrying the flag for Bahrain's team and another doing so for the team from the United Arab Emirates -- the first woman to represent her country at the Olympics.

 But then the Saudi delegation marched into the "bird's nest" stadium. And I wanted to yell: "Yo, Saudi Arabia, how come there ain't no sisters on the team?"


In my initial days of interaction with the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), I ignored the clear indications of extremism, indulgently attributing them to the over-enthusiasm of youth, writes Jyoti Punwani.


THERE are, presently, a plethora of Islamist organisations and mass movements who have taken the notion of the global Caliphate as their goal, says FARISH A. NOOR (Asian Edge).

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