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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

Yet there is no data on how many Turks have abandoned Islam to jump on the “deism” bandwagon, though plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that this is no imaginary matter. The most interesting question is why so many Turks are losing their faith, especially at a time when Islam seems more ascendant than ever. Answers vary, especially according to political stance. For the staunch supporters of the government, deism seems to be just one of the many conspiracies that Western powers have cooked up against the glorious Turkish nation....

Many Palestinians hope that this strong Arab support for Jerusalem will close off any chance that the United States will try to take the holy city “off the table,” a reference to what Trump had boasted about. But having seen this charade before, few if any are confident that this Arab position will not erode and compromises on this essential Arab demand will not be made....

 

The truth is that Bashar al-Assad is not an anti-imperialist of any kind, nor is he a secular bulwark against Jihadism; he is a mass murderer, plain and simple. In fact, the Syrian dictator long ago booked his place in the blood-stained pantheon of modern mass murderers, alongside the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Henry Kissinger, and George W. Bush. I can think of few human beings alive today who have more blood on their hands than he has....

 
Iran Lives on This App
Hossein Derakhshan
Iran Lives on This App
Hossein Derakhshan

In 1997, reformists saw how the word-of-mouth, low-tech campaigning techniques brought about a surprising victory for Mohammad Khatami. But the hard-liners don’t want to reconcile with these hard truths — they want to quash what they see as a dangerous tool. In late December, a wave of protests swept across Iran. The demonstrations, which were largely leaderless and sometimes violent, targeted the reformist president and the hard-line supreme leader alike....

 

In Pakistan there has been one single organ of Taliban that is the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. The TTP has been composed of groups from different areas led by disparate groups of clerics having their respective central figure dictating the group and followers. Though these leaders formed the TTP, they have been unable to evolve a unified set of objectives or a political philosophy....

 

Saudi Arabia is the heartland of different types of Salafism. Simply stated, these types are all those approaches that find their impetus within the mission of the 18th-century preacher Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, who lived in the Najd region of what is today Saudi Arabia It’s important to raise his name, because all too often the impression is that Saudi Arabia needs to only return to whatever the status quo was before the Iranian Revolution of 1979, an event that inspired certain repercussions in Saudi Arabia as well....

 

Why did Israel kill many unarmed Gaza protesters and wound over 2,000 on Friday, March 30 and on the following days, when they clearly posed no threat to Israeli soldiers? Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, many of them snipers, were deployed to the deadly buffer zone that the Israeli army has created between besieged Gaza and Israel, as tens of thousands of Palestinian families held mass rallies at the border....

 
Pakistan Bound by History’s Shackles
Irfan Husain
Pakistan Bound by History’s Shackles
Irfan Husain

But while we can’t change our neighbourhood, we can at least try and make it less dangerous. Located in an area that has witnessed invasions and massacres without end, Pakistan is at one of the world’s deadliest focal points of conflict and human ambition. However, if we allow ourselves to become prisoners of history, we can never get out of the hole we have dug for ourselves....

 

Insiders say the intensification of attacks on the press is part of an organised campaign by the army of Pakistan to ensure that efforts to engineer and manipulate the 2018 elections are not openly discussed in the media. But did you not just recently say that you are the biggest supporter of democracy? If that statement was true, then you must stop your men from pulling the plug on freedom of speech, which is an essential characteristic of democracy.....

 
Reforming Saudi Arabia
Zahid Hussain
Reforming Saudi Arabia
Zahid Hussain

Financed by Saudi money, thousands of madrasas were established along the border areas. Wahhabism became the most effective ideology in motivating radical Muslims for waging jihad against the ‘godless communists’. Saudi Arabia and the US agreed to contribute equal amounts to finance the Afghan war against the Soviets....

 
Pakhtun Renaissance
Ghulam Qadir Khan
Pakhtun Renaissance
Ghulam Qadir Khan

Many believe this is the dawn of a Pakhtun renaissance, as the youth seek to redefine their political status and create a new social contract with the state. Fata’s people in particular have stopped looking up to the recognised leaders, the Maliks and Mullahs, and have come up with an alternate leadership among the youth. For the first time, someone other than a mullah has been able to gather the Pakhtun under one banner....

 

Ankara has set as a strategic goal to destroy the Kurdish gains that resulted from the fragmentation of Syria and Iraq over the last half decade. Turkey also wishes to present itself as the natural leader and patron of Sunni Arab communities in both countries. In asserting these goals, Ankara will partner with or oppose other local powers (Iran, the government of Iraq, the Assad regime), according to immediate tactical needs. ....

 
Hamas Is an Abysmal Failure
Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar

These commentators predicted Hamas would soon prefer governing to jihad, exchange terror for state-running, develop political tools instead of tools of war, and adopt a political stance instead of one of armed conflict. They could not have been more wrong, because no Islamic terror organization abandons terror without being seen as abandoning Islam as well....

 
Abbas' Parting Shots
Daoud Kuttab
Abbas' Parting Shots
Daoud Kuttab

Abbas’ attack on Friedman, in which he used the colloquial insult “Ibn Kalb” (son of a dog), kept the media and pundits debating whether it amounted to a major vulgarity or a simple insult common in Palestinian exchanges. Abbas’ remark was suggested by Friedman to be an anti-Semitic attack. Abbas' insulting description was removed from the text of his speech published by the official Wafa news agency. No Palestinian officially has publicly denounced the statement....

 
No Sign of Spring in Egypt
Dr Murad Ali
No Sign of Spring in Egypt
Dr Murad Ali

While there was a wave of optimism with the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after the Arab Spring, it was little more than false hope that heralded another long and dark night ahead. A recent report by Amnesty International observed that “a generation of young Egyptian activists who came to the fore around the ousting of repressive ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011 is today languishing behind bars”....

 

The prince's social and economic reform program, much of which is included in his "Vision 2030" agenda, seeks to modernize Saudi Arabia in a generation. Shifting from an oil-based economy to a diverse one is one of his most ambitious projects, and it involves vastly increasing his country's infrastructure, technological and, especially, human capacity (including Saudi women). The partnership with U.S. is central to all three pillars, which is why MBS will spend so much time in so many cities in the coming days....

 
Turkey’s Syrian Battleground
Burak Bekdil
Turkey’s Syrian Battleground
Burak Bekdil

In a rather theatrical show, the fall of the city of Afrin – a Kurdish enclave in north-western Syria – after two months of battle between Turkish and Turkey-backed troops and Kurdish militia coincided with the 103rd anniversary of the Turkish victory in Gallipoli. Victory speeches were delivered one after another. Turks cheered in collective euphoria. Front pages were splashed with nationalistic headlines and stories of “our heroic soldiers.”...

 

Ours is a state that was carved out for the protection of a religious minority. To show our devotion to religious plurality we created a symbol: a dab of white on a green flag. Somewhere along the way a culture of hatred for religious minorities was bred in this new state....

 
A Thirst for Barbarity
I.A. Rehman
A Thirst for Barbarity
I.A. Rehman

Brutalisation of the mind is as deadly an affliction as any known to humankind. The hunger for barbarity will affect people in their private and public lives, as it obliterates the fine line that separates sanity from lunacy. Until the drift towards cruelty is arrested there will be no fair trial for the blasphemy accused, and demands for inhuman and degrading punishments will continue to be voiced....

 

“Raising pious generations” has become the landmark of this new political project. Religious actors and religious teachings play an important role in the execution of this project towards re-engineering perceptions and understandings of the population based on religious values and dogma. In this respect, the state continues to govern through religion. Yet, this governance has subsumed and expanded beyond categorizing people, mobilizing constituencies, and containing ethnic conflict. It touches upon the very core of social life and interactions....

The Sufis’ unwavering support for Sisi for a second term in office is a replay of previous scenarios, as former presidents such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat showed full support to Sufi orders in return for their political support and to curtail the role of political Islam groups, namely the Muslim Brotherhood....

 

The Shi’ites of Bahrain started their protest movement at the same time as the wave of Islamic awakening in the Arab countries began. On February 14, 2011, Bahrain was the scene of the peaceful protests of the people against the ruling dynasty and claims for self-determination....

 

There should be multiple elements to such an effort, but some immediate tasks come to mind. First, school textbooks. The Saudis promised to eliminate the hate-filled passages a decade ago. Progress has slowly been made, but the job’s still not done. Mohammed bin Salman should order it finished — this year. Behind the scenes, U.S. experts should provide verification....

 

Addressing the post-Daesh challenges in Iraq requires a regional effort, with neighbouring states working together in a genuine spirit of camaraderie for the greater interest of the region. Only such a spirit will give substance and credibility to a regionally supported “Marshall Plan” for Iraq. An integrated Iraq will be a bastion of economic opportunity and political stability for the entire region....

 

This means that, regardless of Netanyahu’s political future, Israeli policies toward Palestinians will remain unchanged, leaving Palestinians with the urgent responsibility of developing their own unified political strategy to counter the Israeli occupation, human rights violations and illegal Jewish settlements....

 
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