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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

While inter-Arab and Arab-Muslim differences have surfaced in the form of attendance at the Istanbul summit, it might be hard to assess the results of these meetings and whether they will have a long-term impact or if they are nothing more than a storm in a tea cup that will quickly evaporate.....

 

Kurdish government officials point to their society’s stronger democratic credentials and argue that this is why their government pursues higher levels of gender equality. They emphasise that the KRI’s economic dependence on the central government limits their ability to allocate and train staff for policy implementation, support and protect vulnerable women and undertake a wide-range of awareness raising activities. ...

 

A father who tortures his eight-year-old son by tying his hands and feet, a mother who bashes up her three-year-old daughter, a mother who batters her stepson for taking one Turkish Lira from home to buy a gift for Mother’s Day, the owner of a kindergarten who locks a two-and-a-half-year-old child and beats them, a hairdresser who beats his nine-year-old apprentice until he bruises, a mother who drags his six-year-old son by tying him with a rope to a car… The list goes on like this.....

 
What Are The Saudis Afraid Of?
Hamid Dabashi
What Are The Saudis Afraid Of?
Hamid Dabashi

Our fates are not in the hands of the ruling families or cliques or ideologies of any state that is under the illusion of ruling over us - particularly the two belligerent states of Iran and Saudi Arabia. We, the people, Arabs and Muslims, configure our own destinies.  The ruling states do their own things and we do ours....

 
Partition, Triple Talaq, Babri Mosque and Lisan-e-Qaum: Grave Mistakes Made By Our Ulema
Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadvi
Partition, Triple Talaq, Babri Mosque and Lisan-e-Qaum: Grave Mistakes Made By Our Ulema
Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadvi, Tr. New Age Islam

We should do introspection. We have committed a number of grave mistakes in our national and communal history and have suffered humiliation. If the idea of cause and effect is right then we can say that the miserable state of Muslims is a result of the mistakes made by us in the past. Though a reminder of the mistakes is not heartening but it indeed causes a change in the way of thinking.  As long as the way of thinking is not corrected the direction of our efforts will also not be right....

The Islamabad fiasco brought to the surface another deep concern: the growing sectarianism among the Islamist groups. For two decades, Sunni extremists have been killing Shia Muslims in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. These Sunni militants usually belong to the Wahhabi or Deobandi sects, or offshoots of them, and these include al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State. Their interpretations of Islam are severe, and they reject Shi’ism and Sufism....

 

However, the Kingdom could be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. These plans alienate the hard-line Wahhabi clerics who wield significant power and influence in the country. On top of this, Saudi Arabia has already been alienating their oppressed Shiite minority. The sectarian tensions have escalated with the recent siege of the predominantly Shiite city of Awamiyah, where 20,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes.....

 

This is no way to run a country. This is not even mob rule: it is the rule of whichever small mob thought to occupy some road intersections this month. Not to mention that random mobs can now demand the sacking and hiring of ministers, on the fly changes to electoral law, amnesty for political insurgents and so on. In the best-case scenario, this will leave only one authority with the capacity to impose some semblance of order over the country: the Army....

 

Hizb-e-Islami’s Hekmatyar had rapport with the Islamic world. Hekmatyar’s association with other nations was based on their mutual belief of internationalism of Islamic Ideology. In the Civil War, Ahmad Shah Masood, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and other important Jihadi figures established a new ethnic joint group known as the Northern Alliance. The purpose behind the creation of this group was to oppose Hekmatyar and other powerful Pashtuns for ethnic and political aims....

 

A change has occurred in the attitude of Syria’s Sunni Arabs towards Israel, but it is limited rather than comprehensive and largely incomplete. A change is required in a mentality that has prevailed for decades and perhaps centuries. Eradicating anti-Semitic culture will be a long and complex process, one that will require Israeli patience – and a strategy that should not be limited to sending diapers or even a few bullets. ....

 
The Mullah-Military Takeover of Pakistan
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
The Mullah-Military Takeover of Pakistan
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Saeed’s release, coupled with the civil-military leadership kowtowing to a radical Islamist group that has already contested two by-elections in the country, is the formal completion of the political mainstreaming of jihadists in Pakistan. This mainstreaming has not only been planned by the military leadership, it has also been pushed by them, resulting in the Dawn Leaks episode last year, from which the civilian government never managed to recover.....

 
What’s Behind the Islamist Protests in Pakistan?
Niloufer Siddiqui
What’s Behind the Islamist Protests in Pakistan?
Niloufer Siddiqui

The party adheres to a sub-sect of Sunni Islam which emphasizes personal devotion to the prophet Muhammad, engages in such practices as the veneration of saints, and has typically been considered moderate and tolerant. As a result of some of these practices, the sub-sect has been a victim of extremist outfits in Pakistan, such as the Pakistan Taliban. But the TLP itself has violent origins. It was formed in large part to express support of Mumtaz Qadri, who killed the governor of Punjab for defending the rights of a woman accused of blasphemy in 2011....

 

Pakistan’s inability to restrain Islamist groups raises serious questions: Is the creeping confluence of religion and state complete? Will governments need the support of religious extremists to acquire power and keep it? Can religious radicals meet their long-desired goal of establishing a theocracy? Has the military joined politicians in the race to pander to extremists? Will the military agree to share power with extremists? Can extremists eventually replace the military as the arbiters of the country’s destiny? Will semi-literate clerics and Madaris students one day rule a country of two hundred million people armed with nuclear weapons?...

 
Return of a Spectre Called Blasphemy
Farzana Shaikh
Return of a Spectre Called Blasphemy
Farzana Shaikh

But they also brought to fruition a state-sponsored policy, active since 9/11, of quietly empowering Barelvi groups to counterbalance so-called “hardliners” among Pakistan’s proliferating Deobandi and Salafi groups. They were seen to have grown increasingly independent of their handlers within Pakistan’s military and security establishment, whose authority it was said they were now prone to question. It is no wonder that eyebrows were raised when Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, declined to act in support of the government claiming the protestors were ‘our people’....

 

The seeds Maududi sowed became the plants that sapped this noble religion of all progressive ideas and pushed people into a rigid conformity with his brand of 'Islamic ideology'. The introduction of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan was a natural result of the process of Islamisation that Maududi and other right-wing religious parties had set in motion. They had found fertile ground for their agenda in the social conditions of Pakistan.....

Saudis Fail at Their Own Conspiracy
Bruce Riedel
Saudis Fail at Their Own Conspiracy
Bruce Riedel

The war in Yemen is costing Riyadh about $5 billion a month. It is a humanitarian catastrophe for the Yemeni people. The Saleh fiasco demonstrates that the Saudi coalition is flailing without a way out. The only winner is Iran. Washington needs to help Riyadh find a way out of the quagmire....

 

A traditional Gulf state and a Wahhabi state to boot, Qatari conservatism was everything but a mirror image of Saudi Arabia’s long-standing puritan way of life. Qatar did not have a powerful religious establishment that could enforce ultra-conservative social norms, nor did it implement absolute gender segregation. Non-Muslims could practice their faith in their own houses of worship and were exempted from bans on alcohol and pork....

 
Islam Marches On, In and On Islamabad
Ayesha Siddiqa
Islam Marches On, In and On Islamabad
Ayesha Siddiqa

‘Mullah-military alliance’ is of course short-hand for describing the changes unfolding in Pakistan that have sapped its already weakened democracy and rickety institutional infrastructure. What we are witnessing is the metamorphosis of the country’s socio-polity from a post-colonial form to a more organic religious one.....

 

In June, Saudi Arabia — along with two other Persian Gulf states and Egypt — picked a fight with Qatar, on the grounds that the country is funding Islamic terrorism. The move was almost satirical, given that Saudi Arabia itself has long funded the spread of fundamentalist Salafi Islam, which is often associated with extremism. However, this diplomatic spat seems to be more than just an example of Saudi Arabia’s pot calling Qatar’s kettle black...

 

Sadat violated the Arab taboo against good neighbourly relations with the Jewish state and opened the way for additional peace agreements. The defection of Egypt from the Arab military coalition eliminated the option of a two-front conventional war against Israel and saved the Israeli taxpayer billions of dollars. The heavy price paid by Israel to Egypt was total withdrawal from the Sinai and removal of settlements. ...

 

The Barelvi movement, the most popular one within the Islamic tradition in South Asia, was seen as the perfect response, an interpretation of Islam rooted in South Asian culture, a depiction of Sufi Islam. However, such assumptions are based on a quite simplistic understanding of Sufism. There is no one uniform interpretation of the term. Sufism means different things to different people. Even within the Sufi tradition, there is a range of ideas, some of which sometimes directly contradict each other....

For decades, the Deobandi-Salafist groups championed the cause of violent jihad in Pakistan, while the Barelvi groups mostly remained apolitical and non-violent. However, unlike the common belief that only Deobandi-Salafist groups apostatise other sects, Barelvi literature is also rich with Fatwas against the followers of other Islamic sects. One reason why Barelvi groups weren’t radicalized during the Afghan jihad is because the Saudi funding to fight the Soviet Union was directed towards Deobandi and Salafist groups due to their ideological affinity....

Religious Fascism Wins in Pakistan
Karamatullah K Ghori
Religious Fascism Wins in Pakistan
Karamatullah K Ghori

“Who is the army to adopt a mediator’s role; where does the law assign this role to a major general?” the judge asked. Pakistan is a long way from answering this thorny question. But in a tiny span of just three days, the country has slid many a miles on the road to a precipice. Earlier, on November 24, the notorious Hafiz Saeed, head honcho of the UN-sanctioned Jamaat-ud Dawaa (JuD) was set free, prompting an irate White House to call it “a step in the wrong direction”....

Politics of Hate from the Labbaik Crowd
Khurram Husain
Politics of Hate from the Labbaik Crowd
Khurram Husain

A cut-throat power struggle at the top of the political pyramid, coupled with the disproportionate power that has just been handed to individual preachers with small and medium-sized congregations, and the fragility of our food and fuel logistics and choke points in our external trade mean the potential to hold the country to ransom with ease has been thoroughly exposed…

 

The Axis of Moderation comprises Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Arab Gulf countries, except for Qatar. The great mistake that the Axis of Moderation has made in confronting the Iranian regime -- to try to curb its export of the its "Revolution" -- has been to fall into the trap of propagating sectarianism. While Iran portrayed itself as the defender of all the Shiites in the world...

 


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