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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

There are two power poles in Iran: One comprises the popularly elected president and the Majlis (legislature); the other is represented by the clergy-dominated establishment presided over by the supreme leader or Rahbar. The one stands for the popular will; the other believes in ‘controlled’ democracy. The Rahbar holds a unique position in Iranian political system. He is the guardian of the revolution, the custodian of the constitution and the overall supervisor of the system....

 

“My personal analysis is that in the following days, more Reformist personalities will come forward in defence of the administration and will clarify their position regarding the protests, the right of the people to peaceful assembly and the necessity of avoiding violence. Reformist conduct is always in opposition to any violent movement.”...

 

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence,” the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci apparently liked to say, “but an optimist because of will.” Two-thousand-five-hundred years of Persian civilization and a century-long quest for democracy offer hope about the irrepressible Iranian will for change. But the Islamic Republic’s four-decade history of brutality suggests that change will not come easily, or peacefully, or soon....

 

Even as the hardliners retreated, the protests spread to more than 20 cities, where Iranians of all stripes voiced pent-up anger over a lack of economic and political progress. The protests have also spread to Tehran, the capital, where hundreds of people have been arrested. After six days the tone of the rallies is changing. Many now call for the downfall of the ruling clerics and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps...

 
Palestinians Slam Israeli Expansionism
Daoud Kuttab
Palestinians Slam Israeli Expansionism
Daoud Kuttab

“Unfortunately, Israel has taken advantage of the unacceptable decision regarding Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, and has used it to further extend its action by declaring war on the Palestinian people, Palestinian lands and Palestinian holy places,” Fatah said....

 

Wine is a taboo in the Islamic tradition, but it was one of the first things Shah Hussain acquired after his mystical awakening. By taking up a forbidden act, he wanted to challenge the traditionally held concepts of the pure and sacred. Purity lies within the heart and not within earthly objects, he conveyed. Bulleh Shah did the same, by visiting the house of a courtesan to learn how to dance. Music and dance are frowned upon in puritanical Islam, both are professions reserved for the so-called lower castes, the Kanjars and Mirasis....

 
Rouhani Acknowledges Iranian Discontent As Protests Continue
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Rouhani Acknowledges Iranian Discontent As Protests Continue
Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Rouhani, urging the nation to be vigilant, acknowledged that people were unhappy about the state of economy, corruption and a lack of transparency. “People are allowed under the constitution to criticise or even protest but […] in a way that at the end they lead to a better situation in the country for the people,”...

How Abadi Violates Iraq’s Constitution
Rachel Avraham
How Abadi Violates Iraq’s Constitution
Rachel Avraham

Indeed, had the Iraqi government followed the federal constitution like they were supposed to, it is less likely that the Kurds would have pushed forward with an Independence Referendum and thus these recent wave of protests would have been avoided. Therefore, it is of pivotal importance that America tells the Central Iraqi government to stop oppressing the Kurds and to follow the Iraqi Constitution to the last letter....   

 

What is especially disconcerting about the phenomenon is that Netanyahu is not the only one guilty of this. Even his rivals in the opposing camp align themselves with his efforts to delegitimize the left, i.e., themselves....

 

Driven by competing agendas, the Gulf powers are empowering different tribal and/or political groups in Al Mahra: Hadi’s loyalists (Saudi Arabia), secessionists (the UAE), current leading tribes and the former sultanate’s sympathisers (Oman). While preventing Iranian interferences is a shared objective among all three actors, this rivalry could shake consolidated local balances, in a region still relatively quiet despite the civil war raging elsewhere in Yemen....

 

Very little progress has been made in the case since then. Mashal’s sisters are unable to attend their educational institutions because of the threat the entire family faces and neither the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government nor the ANP, after whose leader the university is named, have taken any real action in the matter. In other instances, persons accused of blasphemy had been killed in jails...

 

Psychologist Shafiq Massalha, who studied the dreams of Palestinian children, wrote that his findings raise troubling questions regarding their mental health, their view of the world in which they live and the manner in which they perceive Israelis. The hardships experienced by the current generation of Palestinians, Massalha adds, as reflected in the dreams he studied, raise the question of whether there will be any room left for reconciliation and the creation of normative relations between the two people....

 

In 1936, Reza Shah, an autocrat whose vision for Iran bore some resemblance to Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 for Saudi Arabia, banned the Hijab. Watching the women in his family go out without their heads covered, his relatives recounted in memoirs, had been painful for the shah, but he believed it an essential step toward modernity....

 

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....

 


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