Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

Today, few places on earth are as important to US national security as the tribal belt along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The region serves as a safe haven for a core group of nationally and internationally networked terrorists, a training and recruiting ground for Afghan Taliban, and, increasingly, a hotbed of indigenous militancy that threatens the stability of Pakistan’s own state and society, writes Daniel Markey a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, US in the fortnightly Covert magazine.


The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group appears to be benefiting the most from the tensions blighting the region. The organization has taken on the role of ‘savior’ and has proven to be extremely flexible about changing positions whilst alternating between smiley and stony faces without incurring the slightest accusation of being contradictory, writes Mshari Al-Zaydi, a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi affairs.


The Turkish drama series Nour, which has been dubbed into the Syrian Arabic dialect, has rapidly captured the attention of many Arab and Muslim viewers in Asia and the Middle East. The series reminds me a bit of the US soap Dynasty, that was a great hit back in the Eighties. Today, everyone in the region seems to be watching "Nour", reports NADWA ARAR, author and an Alumni of SOAS, London University.


BERLIN, August 4: Osama bin Laden is no longer personally planning attacks, but remains significant as a “Che Guevara of al-Qaeda” who helps hold together the terror network, Germany’s intelligence chief said in an interview published on Monday.


Indian security policymakers have for decades been apathetic to the notion that Islamic terrorism can spring from the ideological radicalisation happening in our own cities and towns. Groups preaching this variant were left to operate freely. That has to stop. Fighting the war against ISI alone won't help. The local crucibles where minds are being reshaped have to be crushed as well, says Ranjan Roy in The Times of India.


CAIRO — A monastery was ransacked in January. In May, monks there were kidnapped, whipped and beaten and ordered to spit on the cross. Christian-owned jewelry stores were robbed over the summer. The rash of violence was so bad that one prominent Egyptian writer worried it had become “open season” on the nation’s Christians.

 Does Egypt face a sectarian problem? A report in The New York Times by MICHAEL SLACKMAN.


ISLAMABAD: Lal Masjid deputy chief cleric on Friday threatened that they would take up the task of reconstruction of Jamia Hafsa if the government did not do it.


PESHAWAR: Ittehad Ulema-e-Afghanistan, an organisation of Afghan refugee religious scholars, has urged the US to declare its failure in Afghanistan and immediately withdraw NATO forces from the country, saying that the people of Afghanistan are able to reconstruct their homeland.

Unlike Indonesia and Brunei, Malaysia seems to be making tentative steps towards raising the stakes in the Islamisation race further, writes Malaysian academic FARISH A. NOOR .


Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan (BKA) yesterday called upon the interim government to make women ineligible for becoming head of the government or the state.

 "We have told the government to take measures so that men hold the top executive positions and no woman assumes the responsibility of head of state or government," said BKA Secretary General Muhammad Zafrullah Khan in a joint press briefing following the party's dialogue with the panel of advisers led by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed.


Northern Waziristan, where Islamic militants recently signed a peace deal with the government, has virtually become a “Taliban mini-state”, a 2,500-word report in the New York Times said on Monday. The newspaper quoted a recently arrested suicide bomber in Afghanistan as saying that the former head of Pakistani intelligence, Gen Hamid Gul, “was financing and supporting the project (of producing suicide bombers)”. Though, it said, the claim is impossible to verify. Pakistan intelligence agencies have long nurtured militants in the tribal areas to pressure the rival government in Afghanistan, though the government claims to have ceased its support, reported New York Times on December 12, 2006. It should serve as an essential backgrounder today.


“Until some weeks back, the Taliban used to enter Peshawar through Hayatabad and tried to impose their ideology on the people of the city,” said the Landi Kotal local. Referring to the reports some weeks earlier about the growing threat to Peshawar, he added: “They abducted some people, blew up a few CD shops and also entered the homes of some locals and destroyed their TV sets. Since then, security on Peshawar’s border area has been beefed up and no more incidents of this nature have been reported in recent days,” he claimed. M Waqar Bhatti reports.


Like a bad dream, the gory images have come back to haunt the land of famished fields and parched valleys veiled in dense layers of dust. Just about when the picture of a woman — covered from head to toe in a blue burqa with a narrow screen in front of her stony eyes — shot in the back of her head was turning grainy, the nightmare revisited Ghazni city last week. Two women, wrapped in blue, were asked to kneel on the ground. And then a few fierce-looking men, with hate dripping from their eyes, nudged the women's bowed heads with the tip of their AKs, and pressed the trigger. As blood flowed into a sandy gulch, a few hapless Afghans watched the lifeless corpses — 'punished' for allegedly running a sex racket, wondering if the spectre of terror would ever leave their nation alone. Shobhan Saxena of TNN reports.


A postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman's hat advertising a Scottish police force's new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims. Tayside Police's new non-emergency phone number has prompted complaints from members of the Islamic community. The choice of image on the Tayside Police cards - a black dog sitting in a police officer's hat - has now been raised with Chief Constable John Vine. Tayside Police caused uproar in the Muslim community after they released this advertisement featuring police puppy Rebel sitting in a hat. The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.


Most ordinary folks ask the question: from where have the Sufi Mohammads, Nek Mohammads, Baitullah Mehsuds, Fazlullahs, Mangal Baghs, Namdaars and their ilk suddenly appeared and fortified their positions, taking the public hostage and challenging the state? Why do these things not happen in Punjab where they have Raiwind, Mansoora and the renowned 'bazaar' alongside the famous Badshahi mosque? And here in our land known for centuries for its peaceful civilisations and syncretism of cultures there has suddenly emerged the most violent interpretation of religion threatening to take the country into the dark ages, writes Adil Zareef.

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