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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

Some contemporary Saudi Ulema would regard such reforms as constituting almost a provocation against Wahhabist doctrines, or at the very least, another example of westernization. ISIS, for example, regards any who seek jurisdiction other than that offered by the Islamic State itself to be guilty of disbelief — since all such “other” jurisdictions embody innovation or “borrowings” from other cultures in its view....

The Al Saud — in this 20th century renaissance — were led by the laconic and politically astute Abd-al Aziz, who, on uniting the fractious Bedouin tribes, launched the Saudi “Ikhwan” in the spirit of Abd-al Wahhab’s and Ibn Saud’s earlier fighting proselytisers. The Ikhwan was a reincarnation of the early, fierce, semi-independent vanguard movement of committed armed Wahhabist “moralists” who almost had succeeded in seizing Arabia by the early 1800s. In the same manner as earlier, the Ikhwan again succeeded in capturing Mecca, Medina and Jeddah between 1914 and 1926....

 

Qatar’s self-identity as a centre of refuge dates to the 19th century, when it’s desolate and semi lawless territory offered sanctuary to outlaws, pirates and people fleeing persecution across the Arabian Peninsula. “It’s always been this place where waifs and strays and unwanted people ended up,”...

 

The pamphlets presented the lives of popular saints in the light of ‘modernity’, explaining them as wise and sophisticated men who emphasised the importance of worldly and spiritual knowledge (as opposed to superstition). The pamphlets explained the clerics as ‘backward’ but ‘genuine Ulema’ as those who encourage modern learning and the sciences. Most of the texts produced by the Auqaf during this period were derived from the writings of Islamic Modernists such as Dr Javed Iqbal...

 

It’s possible that the world has, indeed, forgotten the Baloch people, but has anyone forgotten Balochistan? Let’s take a look. Obama needs it for his oil pipeline, TAPI, Iran and India need it for the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India), and so does Qatar. China’s constructing a gateway to the Persian Gulf at the port of Gwadar. Meanwhile Australia, Canada and Chile are extracting tons of gold and copper from Baluchistan’s enormous reserves, the second largest in Asia. The greedy scramble for Baluchistan’s treasures will probably heat up even more when the vast stores of petroleum and uranium hidden beneath its deserts are opened up....

 
Biharis and Their Sacrifices for Pakistan
Ali Al-Ghamdi
Biharis and Their Sacrifices for Pakistan
Ali Al-Ghamdi

Bangladeshis considered them traitors because of their decision to stand by the Pakistani army during the period of secession. As a consequence of this, they were subjected to killing and rape and were driven out of their homes. Bihari Muslims have been languishing in squalid camps for more than four decades without having the basic amenities of life....

 
Letter from Saudi Arabia
Thomas L. Friedman
Letter from Saudi Arabia
Thomas L. Friedman

Saudi Arabia is a country that is easier to write about from afar, where you can just tee off on the place as a source of the most austere, ant pluralistic version of Islam — the most extreme versions of which have been embraced by the Islamic State, or ISIS. What messes me up is when I go there and meet people I really like and I see intriguing countertrends....

Arms to Saudi: Yemen Needs Peace
The Guardian Editorial

The civil war in Yemen in which these weapons are used is peculiarly futile and destructive. Both sides are guilty of atrocity and attacks on civilians. Neither is capable of victory. But British arms and British servicemen providing technical support are helping to prolong the war and so to increase civilian suffering. On the other hand, they are making British companies lots of money....

 
Balochistan: Forces under Fire
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Balochistan: Forces under Fire
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

A North-South breakup of SF fatalities over the last seven years indicates that SF fatalities in North Balochistan are consistently higher than South Balochistan, while extra-judicial killings of civilians account for a large proportion of the killings in South Balochistan....

 

The IS has made its presence felt in the country. It has even attracted young people from well-to-do Muslim families to join their ranks. The insecurity violent cow vigilantes have produced among Muslims in some parts of the country may be a factor in this. Everywhere there is uncertainty in the air. The world is tense. The darkness deepens....

 
A Method in Madness
Aijaz Zaka Syed
A Method in Madness
Aijaz Zaka Syed

As long as terror is defeated and our ‘boys’ win, it matters little how one of the region’s oldest cities has been reduced to dust. Mosul’s fabled Grand al-Nuri Mosque – built by the great Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi, who mentored Salah ad-Din Ayyubi (Saladin), the legendary Arab-Islamic hero and victor of the Crusades – has been reduced to rubble. Apparently, it was because of its historic import that al-Baghdadi of the IS – the pretender to the so-called caliphate – chose the great mosque to make his dramatic appearance before the faithful in 2014....

 

The evolving relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is set to become a key feature of regional politics in the forthcoming phase. This goes beyond the creeping normalization of relations between the two sides and the holding of discreet contacts, to the formation of an undeclared but far-reaching alliance....

 

And here, six years after Ben Ali fled Tunisia, is a third Assad effect: the idea that if democracy leads not to liberty but to Islamism, one might as well hold on to the stability of a repressive regime. But is any of this true? Of course not. It is dictators who, through repression, produce Islamists and jihadists....

 

“Within this framework, in the 1980s, within the scope of the ‘Green Belt’ theory, the U.S. tried to surround the socialist bloc with an Islamic belt from the south; the Greater Middle East Project that has emerged today is also based on the same theory but is covering certain African and Asian countries. When this is taken into consideration, it is evaluated that Gülen would be supported and regarded as an example of moderate Islam in line with the aims of this project.” ....

 
How Zia Redefined Pakistan
I.A. Rehman
How Zia Redefined Pakistan
I.A. Rehman

The most important feature of the resolution was a declaration that sovereignty belonged to Allah. The Ulema were jubilant. The slogan-walas had defeated the Jinnah lobby. The Jamaat-i-Islami now declared Pakistan an Islamic state. The most telling observation on the Objectives Resolution came from a Congress member of the assembly who warned the house that the resolution had cleared the way for the emergence of an adventurer who could claim to be God’s appointee. And General Zia behaved exactly like that....

 

The Indo-Islamic civilisation has shown great resilience but may follow one of the most aggressive routes of Pakistani Islam today, not only because of the Hindutva push, but also because of factors drawing inspiration and finances from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Sufism is already under attack in Pakistan, where sectarian and Jihadi repertoires are gaining momentum....

 

In another veiled call for terrorism, the statement also urged citizens to "treat all Saudi companies and institutions, as occupying forces." Not only does this destabilize Egypt's security, more dangerously it can inspire a coup d'état in Egypt. A coup could be launched with the excuse of defending Egyptian land, which may work given President el-Sisi's plummeting popularity.....

 

Since the July 15 failed coup, Turkey has been going through one of its darkest eras in which “justice” has become desperately lacking. The coup attempt, for sure, was a bloody episode that required a rigorous prosecution and a state of emergency. But after a few weeks of “national unity,” the government began to use the state of emergency as a tool to crack down on all opposition voices in every walk of life, from politics to journalism to academia. More than 50,000 people found themselves in jail, and another 140,000 people have been fired from their jobs....

 

Nevertheless, in deeply polarized Turkey, language is not just language. It has been part of Erdoğan’s campaign to make Turkey more Islamic and more Turkish. Remarkably, in 2014, Erdoğan lectured on a language he does not understand, speak, read, or write. “We once had a language [Ottoman] perfectly suitable for science,” he lamented, “Then it disappeared overnight ...

 

Either tacitly or explicitly, Saudi Arabia and Israel have cooperated enough times to make any guise of hostility pointlessly transparent. The only surprise is how Saudi Arabia has been able to feign its concern for Palestinians in the midst of the partnership with their oppressors, while also earning the respect of staunchly anti-Israeli states like Pakistan....

 

Another weird and unfounded opinion is “while Sufism is rooted in Revelation, mysticism is not.” This betrays a dozen of confusions that serious scholars of mysticism, Sufism and Islam can’t be imagined to commit including ignorance of the definition of intellection that undergirds Revelation. Suffice to say, Sufism is best classified as Islamic mysticism or esoteric dimension of Islam and esotericism is linked with intellection that also grounds revelation and it is a category mistake to impose exoteric understanding of God and Revelation on what transcends and ground the same....

The Squeeze Is On Against Hamas
Grant Rumley
The Squeeze Is On Against Hamas
Grant Rumley

Israel, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and several Arab countries are dialling up the financial and diplomatic pressure on Hamas — but they may also be setting the region on a path for war...

 

Some activists have launched a petition campaign under the banner Why We Stand Against the Referendum, whose signatories include writers and others who think the referendum will be exploited for partisan and clan agendas. “The referendum should derive its legitimacy from a legitimate institution, such as Kurdistan’s parliament, or a legitimate institution within the Iraqi state,”....

 

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, a state-run Islamic institution assigned to issue religious edicts, issued a statement on Monday declaring that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque’s practice of men and women praying side by side was incompatible with Islam, while the legal department of Egypt’s al-Azhar university reacted to news from Berlin with a fatwa on the foundation of liberal mosques per se....

 
House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story
Pepe Escobar
House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story
Pepe Escobar

A top Middle East source close to the House of Saud, and a de facto dissident of the Beltway consensus, minces no words; “The CIA is very displeased with the firing of [former Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Nayef. Mohammad bin Salman is regarded as sponsoring terrorism. In April 2014 the entire royal families of the UAE and Saudi Arabia were to be ousted by the US over terrorism.  A compromise was worked out that Nayef would take over running the Kingdom to stop it.”...



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