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Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

Finding Bravado, and Worry, at an Iranian Shrine Where ISIS Struck
Thomas Erdbrink

Many in Iran are trying to grasp the new reality, completely opposite the image of a strong and invincible country long presented to them by their leaders. The attack hit the Islamic republic in its political heart. Iran’s Parliament is home to 290 directly elected representatives. The Khomeini shrine is the resting place of the man who introduced political Islam to the world....

 

 From a strategic standpoint, the struggle against extremism and terrorism relies upon both soft power and hard power, the proverbial carrot or the stick. Soft power is non-coercive. It attempts to change and influence social and political opinion. It seeks diplomatic solutions. Its currency is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Hard power refers to modes of coercion, including economic sanctions and direct military confrontation. If hard power seeks to coerce, soft power seeks to co-opt.....

This was the month when the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). It is astounding that the Jihadis have twisted the true meaning of this month and misquoted the Quran out of context to suit their needs of recruiting new activists and to breed hatred in order to carry out more attacks on innocents. This year, just before the beginning of Ramadan, ISIS beseeched its followers to cause collateral damage and “maximise the benefits” they can get in the hereafter....

The Muslim bloc ~ or Europe for that matter ~ is no stranger to outrages perpetrated by ISIS. Yet last week’s s bedlam and butchery in Shi'ite Iran has caused far greater consternation primarily because of its grave implications....

 

Toxic Masculinity Must Be Included In the Conversation If Mass Terrorism Is To Be Eradicated
Rafia Zakaria

“Hateful ideology is a vehicle for a toxic masculinity that seeks solace in extreme violence,” the women wrote, and the only solution to truly fight terror is to “include women in the debate who may be able to help counter how young men are raised or being indoctrinated to hate”....

Terrorism and Extremitis: To Halt Terrorism, We Must Avoid Stepping Into the Polarisation Trap Set by It
Chetan Bhagat

The (mis)use of Islam in recruiting terrorists means the Muslim community at large, and Islamic countries in particular, have to play an active part in solving the problem. Radical Islamic organisations are able to generate funds for their activities. To counter them, strong moderate Islamic organisations need to be created and funded by governments around the world as well. ....

 

It is not unusual for Muslims to speak this way. Our neighbouring family is Muslim. After the weekend attack in London the mother came to our door with cakes to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan — a time of fasting and prayer — and apologised to us personally for what had happened in the name of her religion....

 

Muslim Nations Are Not the Main Sponsors of Global Terrorism; They Are Its Principal Victims
Munir Akram

The sectarian divide is not the sole ideological rift within the Muslim world today. The Muslim Brotherhood and its populist ideology have become abhorrent to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE. Hamas, the Palestinian affiliate of the Brotherhood, has suffered collateral damage. On the other hand, Qatar and Turkey have espoused the Brotherhood and Hamas. This was evidently the main reason for the Saudi-UAE break with Doha. Last, but not least, today’s weak Islamic world is wide open to domination by external powers....

 

Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA: What Pakistan Wants
Ajit Kumar Singh

Our problem, our challenge, is that we cannot figure out what is it that Pakistan wants. What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region? We continue to make an unconstrained offer for a state-to-state peace dialogue. But we cannot - nor can any signatory to the UN Counter-Terrorism Convention - accept that the global consensus against terrorism is not acted upon. So we again call on the Government of Pakistan to propose its agenda and a mechanism for that dialogue which can lead to peace and prosperity...

 

The Islamic State as an Excuse: It Is Time for Religious Muslims to Face Up To the Cracks in Their Own Homes

The ISIS is not some Hollywood super villain, an Islamic Dr. No, with highly trained agents present everywhere. It does not have that sort of clout outside the regions it controls and some neighbouring spaces. But it is actually more dangerous because it can capitalise on the flaws in our thinking, those cracks in the floor of ordinary family homes, Muslim and non-Muslim....

 

Murder and Suicide— All Terrorism In The Name Of God
Fawad Kaiser

The Old Testament describes how Samson in a single act of vengeance caused the death of about 3000 Philistines, knowing that he himself would die with his victims. Samson used his extraordinary power to bring down the two pillars that supported the temple, crushing his enemies, in the name of God....

 

Many British Muslims, who unashamedly possess a sense of pride and belonging, will share the sentiment of Britain being home. Extremists - whether religious, far right or otherwise - neither like, nor want this. They would rather we have no sense of belonging or affinity to our place of birth, upbringing and citizenship....

 

Zakir Naik Seeks Malaysian Citizenship, but Moderate Malay Muslims Confront His Retrogressive Religious Rhetoric
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

One wonders as to why the controversial Islamist preacher, who is also reported to have the Saudi citizenship along with the Permanent Residence status in Malaysia, is now seeking its citizenship. Is Naik planning to radicalize the Malaysian youths after he has reportedly inspired a misguided section of the South Asian Muslim youths including the Dhaka attackers?   The reason why Naik has now set his eyes on the Malaysian Muslims’ multi-cultural, syncretic and secular society of the democratic ethos is not difficult to see. The Salafist ideologues castigate the multi-culturalism, secularism and religious syncretism, in their books, as “inauthentic” and “contaminated”....

It sets out three beliefs that must be combated: that it is “sinful” to participate in the democratic process; that people “must work to establish an Islamic state or support a so-called Islamic State”; and that it is a form of “betrayal” to assist the British authorities. “We will robustly and precisely show that these and other such divisive narratives are wrong so no other Muslims fall into the trap of this evil ideology of hate.”.....

 

These were the Taliban's Special Forces; the Red Unit. They sat quietly as they listened to their commander Mullah Taqi telling war stories, gently cradling their M4 machine guns. The M4s, with their night-vision scopes, were one of the main reasons they had captured nearly 85% of Helmand province from less-well-armed Afghan forces....

 

ISIS Recruiter Who Radicalised London Bridge Attackers Was Protected By MI5: From Collusion to Blowback
Nafeez Ahmed

Anonymous British counter-terrorism sources, however, told CNN that Butt was the subject of a “full package” of investigatory measures, as he was believed to be “one of the most dangerous extremists in the UK”. After September 2014, when ISIS began calling for attacks on the West, British security services grew “increasingly concerned that al-Muhajiroun members who had remained in the UK would carry out terrorist attacks.” The sources said that “One of those they were most concerned about was Butt.”...

 

Terrorism in Tehran: Reality Confounds Rhetoric
Paul R. Pillar

The United States, ever since 9/11, has claimed a right for itself to be ruthlessly aggressive in the name of responding to terrorism, lashing out with force while sometimes being little restrained by collateral damage or international law (not to mention its own constitutional requirements).  Iran may see a need to be more aggressive in places such as Iraq or Syria in the interest of fighting back against ISIS.  Will the United States grant Iran the same kind of slack it grants itself...?

 

The Jihadists of Islamic State Hit Iran

Iran controls and finances militias in Iraq, where it supports the Shia-led government, and in Syria, where it backs Bashar al-Assad its support and direct action have been critical in the war against IS. But it is also accused of destabilising countries. In Yemen it has supported the Houthis, a rebel group fighting the government and its Saudi allies. In Sunni-led Bahrain it has backed the repressed Shia majority...

 

Radical Islam Is Gaining Ground in Indonesia
Elena Valdameri

The rise of radical Islam is not a new phenomenon in the Southeast Asian country. Spread peacefully by Sufi preachers coming from India and Persia since the early 1980s Indonesia’s Islam has been under Saudi Arabia’s conservative influence. The Middle Eastern country began to fund the creation of religious schools and circulate booklets and pamphlets promoting Wahhabism. The most immediate consequence of this was that radical versions of Islam, new in the archipelagic country, started competing with more tolerant versions of the same religion....

 

London Attacks: From Extremism to Terrorism
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

The teenagers involved in Dhaka attacks had named Zakir Naik as their inspiration. Now it can be very well argued that for every militant there are millions others who do not derive the same message from preachers like Zakir Naik or Omar Bakri. But this argument misses the small point that one doesn’t need an army to launch a terror attack. One or two convinced individual is enough to create mayhem. There is therefore a greater need to put on surveillance these imams who preach hate in the name of Islam or any other religion....

Is there a link between the tragic happenings of last few years and the spread of intolerance that we are seeing now? Is there any commonality between the people who have been killing innocent people in the name of Islam and those who think that secular ideas have no place in a Muslim country? Probably no, as the former requires a type of mentality and brainwashing that a garden variety religious person will not have. However, both kinds are intolerant — a basic tenet Islam asks its followers to have.....

 

How Not to Talk About Terrorism
Waleed Aly

In both Australia and the United States we have politicians and commentators whose political posturing rests on their unwavering focus on terrorism but who pay little attention to, and even attack, those who know the most about it. They support policies that have no sound security justification and then excoriate those who point that out. They cheer on every advance of the security state but then suddenly scorch those who run it, simply because the agencies reject the latest populist orthodoxy....

 

Why the London Terror Attack Happened Now
Jonathan Cook

The solution, complex as it will need to be, certainly cannot include the use by us of similarly indiscriminate violence, more “intervention” in the Middle East, or more scapegoating of Muslims. It will require taking a step back and considering how and why we too are addicted to this dance of death....

How the Muslim Community Can Tackle the Scourge of Extremism
Sheema Khan

There should be “safe” spaces available for Muslim youth to discuss their concerns and passion for justice, in the company of those with sound knowledge of Islamic teachings. Rather than the traditional one-way lecture, there should be round tables in which topics are discussed frankly in context with normative Islamic principles. Currently, most Muslim institutions shy away from such discussions, for fear of being accused of fomenting extremism….

 

Hath Not A Statue Eyes?
SN Rasul

Within the myopic vision of my world, I remember a time when religion, in Bangladesh, was not the haven of extremism. Derived from an existence of ignorance, perhaps, I saw religion in this country as a nationalistic trait, of course, but also as an apolitical and abstract characteristic of my family’s grander purpose. That is, after all, where religion flourishes from the mouths of guardians, in the loud voices of family gatherings and traditions....

 
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