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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

Salman’s Coups
Salman’s Coups
Madawi Al-Rasheed

On 21 June 2017, King Salman issued an expected royal decree, sacking Crown Prince Muhammad ibn Nayef and promoting his young son Muhammad as the designated heir. During the lifespan of the third Saudi state (1932–), such a move has happened only once before, in 1933, when Abdul Aziz ibn Saud appointed his own son Saud as crown prince and excluded all his brothers. Salman’s bold decision may not be the last episode in these royal shuffles....

 

Pakistani passports hold no value, at least not to those in power. “Look at the date of issuance, look at it!” exclaims Mohammad. “July 31, 1954.” “And they are still asking us to prove our nationality.” All of us tut-tut in unison. We are seated outside the Arakan Muslim Primary and Secondary School, about nine of us huddled in a circle as life around us moves ahead as normal. This is Burmi Colony, home to about 55,000 Rohingya Muslims in Karachi. ...

 
Rohingya Muslims
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Rohingya Muslims
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

From the ninth century, onwards, Arab and other traders have visited the Rakhine state, formerly Arakan, on the western coast of Burma (Myanmar), and in the early days, a group of them settled there. As a result of interaction with the local population, Islam gradually spread, until a large part of the Rakhine state became Muslim. For centuries, the Muslims of Arakan lived peacefully with the rest of Burma and had no separatist tendencies....

 
Why the Mindless Ritual of Male Circumcision Should be Done Away With
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
Why the Mindless Ritual of Male Circumcision Should be Done Away With
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

It is considered a Sunna but then there is no evidence to suggest that the Prophet himself was circumcised. There is a fantastic Hadis which says that he was born circumcised but then again it is not the same thing as saying that he underwent circumcision. In short, there is no religious justification also for this practice to continue amongst the Muslims. If God says that he has made man perfect and that bodily integrity should not be harmed even after one’s death, then why are Muslim hell bent to make modifications in God’s plan? Isn’t it playing with the divinity to cut a part of human body which is part of the original design of God?...

Pakistan in Challenging Times
James Dorsey
Pakistan in Challenging Times
James Dorsey

Nonetheless, Pakistani policy in dealing with the potential threat of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry playing out in part in a crucial but already troubled province raises similar doubts. For much of the past year, Pakistan has turned a blind eye to the flow of Saudi funds to militants, some of whom are associated with outlawed groups such as the successors of Sipah-e-Sahaba and madrasas in Baluchistan that nurture violent, anti-Iranian, anti-Shia groups. The funds are often channelled through Saudis of Baluchi descent....

 
Karachi: Campus Terror
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Karachi: Campus Terror
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

When I was told that I was to be used as a suicide bomber, I objected and told them I was only interested in migration [to Syria]. But I was told. You must do it. Just chant 'Allah o Akbar' (God is Great) and explode your suicide vest. When the army raided our house, I was rescued....

 

Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt in Turkey, could soon be stripped of his Turkish citizenship while he remains on trial in absentia on myriad charges carrying gigantic sentences. The government has already laid the legal ground for the move, but why it plans to revoke Gulen’s citizenship remains a controversial question...

 
Syria’s Survival Is Blow to Jihadists
Alastair Crooke
Syria’s Survival Is Blow to Jihadists
Alastair Crooke

In the aftermath of the Syria war and the aftermath of ISIS murderous brutality in Mosul, many Sunnis have had more than enough of this Wahabbi orientation of Islam. There is likely to be a revival of the notion of secular, non-sectarian nationalism in consequence. But also, the traditional Levantine model of a tolerant, more inwardly orientated, quasi-secular, Islam will enjoy a revival.

 

Last month, the UN Human Rights Committee, in its concluding remarks after hearings on Pakistan’s initial report under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, made a pointed reference to disappearances and called upon Pakistan to criminalise the act of causing a person’s disappearance, ensure protection to the victims’ families....

 

The relationship has always been an uncomfortable one, though. In part, this was because of differences between the two countries: Syria, a Sunni Arab majority state, has been led by the secular Baath Party since the early 1960s. Iran, on the other hand, is majority Persian and Shiite, and since 1979 it has been an Islamic republic....

 

In Pakistan where history is regularly distorted and changed, and the names of places, roads, localities, institutions are replaced with ‘Islamic’ versions, a vacuum is created. This vacuum is filled with misinformation such as the controversy surrounding Muhammad bin Qasim, who invaded Sindh in the seventh century AD who was referred to by speakers at a function organised by the Jamat e Islami (JI) as ‘the First Pakistani’.....

 

Nobody can leave their street because of the mines and IED explosives that have been placed around the edges of neighbourhoods – and because of the Isis snipers who target anyone moving from one district to another. Residents relay information by yelling across the street to each other, sharing news of airstrikes and families who have been killed. Even walking the streets is difficult because of the constant shelling. Civilians have opened passages in the walls to move from house to house....

 

Growing Islamist influence put additional pressure on the Arab states. The quick rise of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq was the most dramatic expression of this phenomenon that spread beyond the borders of the Middle East. Despite its expected military defeat, the ideology behind the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and variants of radical Islam remain resonant in many Muslim quarters. ..

 

In this process Pakistan has regressed from being a leading country in South Asia to being at the bottom of the table sliding below Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. The present government has increased debt in record amounts with huge trade and budget deficits. The scale of regression is evident from the fact that the ’70s slogan of Roti, Kapra Aur Makan has degenerated to Bijli, Pani Aur Gas. ....

 

In a recent debate on Times Now (Rohingya Debate, 9/9/17), New Age Islam founder-editor, Mr. Sultan Shahin posed a pertinent question to the Muslim panellists: why do Indian Muslim leaders and ulema remain silent onlookers when human rights of religious minorities are violated egregiously in so-called Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other parts of the Muslim world? Thousands of Hindu girls are, for instance, he pointed out, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and raped in the name of nikah with their abductors every year. Why no outrage among Indian Muslims who keep, rightly, protesting vigilante killings and other persecutions of Muslims in India and elsewhere. He reminded the Muslim leaders on the panel, that Huqooqul ibad (rights of the creations of God, and just humans, but even animals and plants) is a sacred value in Islam. Have we forgotten this, he asked forcefully.

Karachi: New Hazards
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Karachi: New Hazards
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Although terrorist groups such as TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) have long targeted SF personnel all over Pakistan, the emergence of ASP in Karachi, specifically targeting security personnel, has created a new headache for the enforcement agencies. ...

 

One potentially major obstacle, among many others on her way, is how Erdogan could react to her moves. Also, how will Aksener enlist Kurdish support given that her team includes nationalists and anti-Kurdish figures? If she can find the formula to gaining the Kurds' support, she could be the figure most likely to unseat Erdogan. There are many questions....

 

Perhaps even more than the political arena, Zia's influence permeates Pakistani society. He passed broad-ranging legislation as part of Pakistan's 'Islamisation,' effectively promoting a holier than thou culture that has eventually crystallised into religious intolerance, taking the country down the path of extremism.....

 

In the last two years, three Saudi princes living in Europe have disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government - and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia… where nothing further has been heard from them....

 
Afghanistan: Darkening Horizons
S. Binodkumar Singh
Afghanistan: Darkening Horizons
S. Binodkumar Singh

Rising insurgency and a fraught political transition are exacerbating an already pervasive sense of insecurity about Afghanistan's future. Meanwhile, the initiation of a new social movement in the country may be more vulnerable to various forms of manipulation from the old and resourceful mujahedeen parties, as well as the experienced opportunism of the political class...

 
Egypt: An Obsession with the State
Maged Mandour
Egypt: An Obsession with the State
Maged Mandour

Finally, comes the stranglehold of Nasserism, which still plays a significant role in the intellectual development of the urban middle class and its views on the role of the state. The Nasserists view social and class struggle as an alien Marxist invention and the natural state of society is one of harmony with the military playing a leading role. The view of the military and state hovering above, and not a part of society, still holds....

 

Resolving the current Gulf crisis is important, but doing so without ensuring that Qatar turns over a new leaf on these various fronts could be counterproductive, consolidating a major counterterrorism problem for years to come....

 
Iran Outflanking Saudi Arabia in Yemen
Bruce Riedel
Iran Outflanking Saudi Arabia in Yemen
Bruce Riedel

Yemen is a useful battlefield to weigh down the Saudis indefinitely. If the Americans can be dragged into the quagmire more deeply, even better. A war designed to weaken Iran is actually helping it against its regional rival....

 
Reverses amid Gains in Punjab, Pakistan
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Reverses amid Gains in Punjab, Pakistan
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

The decline in terrorism-related incidents can be attributed to the launch of a Province-wide crackdown on terrorist groups following the February 14-suicide attack on Mall Road, Lahore. The Provincial Intelligence Centre of the Punjab Home Department had issued a letter directing the Police leadership to beef up security in different cities of the Province....

 
Is Israel Losing the Syrian War?
Ramzy Baroud
Is Israel Losing the Syrian War?
Ramzy Baroud

With ISIS largely vanquished in Iraq – at an extremely high death toll of 40,000 people in Mosel alone – – warring parties there are moving west. Shia militias, emboldened by the Iraq victory, have been pushing westward as far as the Iraq-Syria border, converging with forces loyal to the Syrian government on the other side.....

 


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