By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, NewAgeIslam.com
6 Nov 2008
Dear Aamir Mughal Sahab,
Knowing how to Interpret Quran correctly doesn't solve our problems regarding the Holy Quran's war-like verses. These verses were situational. They are instructions given in a certain context. Some of them certainly are of a universal nature. But that context does not and cannot obtain today or in future. Time machine or not, we are not going to live in the 7th century Arabia and fight those wars again. Enemies of Islam both within and without are using these surahs to propagate that Islam breeds or justifies terrorism.
A virtually new religion has come into existence that I have been calling Jihadism, but it claims to be Islam and derives sustenance from these verses. Its practitioners too are outwardly Muslim and claim to be true Muslims, indeed the only Muslims who deserve to go to Heaven. Jihadism has indeed distorted the very beautiful concept of Jihad fi sabilillah.
Mainstream Islam is not contradicting these claims loudly and widely enough. This inevitably creates suspicions in the minds of our neighbours, people belonging to other religions who do not understand the situational nature of Quranic verses, particularly as they are told that every word, comma and full stop in the Holy Quran is immutable and of universal significance. This also makes the task of Jihadists easier; they are able to easily brainwash our youth, even those who are highly educated and intelligent.
Living in Pakistan, the very hub of terrorism, you have probably become inured to Qital in a way that Muslims in more peaceful societies are not. The article 'Muslims should abrogate verses of war in Islamic Law' was a cry of despair from an Indonesian Muslim who is watching his peaceful Islamic country gradually turning into an inferno of Jihadism.
I made a similar plea in Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete for the same reason. Indian Prime Minister took pride not long ago in the fact that not a single Muslim from this country was found to be a part of the international Al-Qaeda network. We can no longer do so and Jihadism is gaining ground here too. Mainstream Islam must respond to the challenge of Jihadism that is based on verses from Quran that no longer apply. Let us come out and say so.
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
The fear of an Islamic threat has been the driving force behind most Western countries’ foreign policies toward Pakistan in recent years. The possibility that violent Islamists will kill President Pervez Musharraf, throw Pakistan into turmoil, take over the country and its nuclear weapons, and escalate regional terrorism has dominated the psychological and political landscape. Such fears have usually led to support of the Pakistani military as the only institution able to contain the danger. But the Islamist threat is neither as great nor as autonomous as many assume. True, Pakistan has experienced more than its share of religious violence, both sectarian and jihadi. But serious law-and-order problems do not mean the fate of the state is at stake.
No Islamic organization has ever been in a position to politically or militarily challenge the role of the one and only center of power in Pakistan: the army. On the contrary, the Pakistani Army has used Islamic organizations for its purposes, both at home and abroad. Islamist organizations bal-ance the power of rival mainstream political parties, preserving the army’s role as national arbiter. The army has nurtured and sometimes deployed violent Islamists in Afghanistan (with U.S. support at first), Kashmir, and other hot spots on the subcontinent.
Pakistan: The Myth of an Islamist Peril By Frederic Grare Publisher: Carnegie Endowment Policy Brief #45, February 2006
Click on link for the full text of this Carnegie Paper
From Ashok Chowgule
cc ARSeshadri Chari
date 7 November 2008 09:43
subject Re: Some comments on your New Age Islam website
09:43 (35 minutes ago)
This is regarding the verses in the Koran and its applicability in today's world. In this respect the following words of Mahatma Gandhi are appropriate: "My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired....I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense." (Young India, October 6, 1921, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol XXI, p 246.)
And even more shocking is this story:
It wouldn't make any sense at all, for example, to the Carlyle Group-described by the Industry Standard as 'the world's largest private equity firm', with $12 billion under management. Carlyle invests in the defense sector and makes its money from military conflicts and weapons spending.
Carlyle is run by men with impeccable credentials. Former US defense secretary Frank Carlucci is Carlyle's chairman and managing director (he was a college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's). Carlyle's other partners include former US secretary of state James A. Baker III, George Soros, Fred Malek (George Bush Sr's campaign manager). An American paper-the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel-says that former President George Bush Sr is reported to be seeking investments for the Carlyle Group from Asian markets. He is reportedly paid not inconsiderable sums of money to make 'presentations' to potential government-clients.
Ho Hum. As the tired saying goes, it's all in the family.
Then there's that other branch of traditional family business-oil. Remember, President George Bush (Jr) and Vice-President Dick Cheney both made their fortunes working in the US oil industry.
Turkmenistan, which borders the northwest of Afghanistan, holds the world's third largest gas reserves and an estimated six billion barrels of oil reserves. Enough, experts say, to meet American energy needs for the next 30 years (or a developing country's energy requirements for a couple of centuries.) America has always viewed oil as a security consideration, and protected it by any means it deems necessary. Few of us doubt that its military presence in the Gulf has little to do with its concern for human rights and almost entirely to do with its strategic interest in oil.
Oil and gas from the Caspian region currently moves northward to European markets. Geographically and politically, Iran and Russia are major impediments to American interests. In 1998, Dick Cheney-then CEO of Halliburton, a major player in the oil industry-said: "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight." True enough.
For some years now, an American oil giant called Unocal has been negotiating with the Taliban for permission to construct an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and out to the Arabian Sea. From here, Unocal hopes to access the lucrative 'emerging markets' in South and Southeast Asia. In December 1997, a delegation of Taliban mullahs traveled to America and even met US State Department officials and Unocal executives in Houston. At that time the Taliban's taste for public executions and its treatment of Afghan women were not made out to be the crimes against humanity that they are now. Over the next six months, pressure from hundreds of outraged American feminist groups was brought to bear on the Clinton administration. Fortunately, they managed to scuttle the deal. And now comes the US oil industry's big chance.
War Is Peace by Arundhati Roy, October 18, 2001
Originally Published on OutlookIndia. com via Znet.com
Glimpses of US Support to Taliban.
Robin Raphel and Karl Inderfurth Supported Terrorists Mullah Omar and Bin Laden's friends at State Department Documents confirm Pak aid to Taliban MANOJ JOSHI
The September 11th Sourcebooks Volume VII: The Taliban File
A glimpse of Afghan Civil War.
AFGHANISTAN [HRW REPORT 1989]
AFGHANISTAN [HRW REPORT 1990]
AFGHANISTAN [HRW REPORT 1991]
THE MASSACRE IN MAZAR-I SHARIF
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2004 06:05:04 AM ]
NEW DELHI : US documents declassified on Friday have confirmed what the world long suspected - Pakistan provided millions of dollars, arms and "buses full of adolescent mujahid" to the Taliban in the 1990s. But they throw little light on the encouragement given to the outfit by US officials like assistant secretary for South Asia , Robin Raphel, and her successor, Karl Inderfurth.
The documents obtained by the Washington-based National Security Archive, a NGO located in George Washington University , also reveal that Pakistan stepped up its aid to the Taliban in the wake of its May 1998 test in order to pressure the West to ease the sanctions.
But it was not the volume of the aid that was of concern. As US ambassador to Islamabad Thomas Simons noted in an August 1997 cable to Washington, "the trucks and buses full of adolescent mujahid crossed the frontier shouting ‘Allahu Akbar'... with a day or two of weapons training." A cable from the US embassy in Islamabad dated July 1, 1998, indicates that the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had okayed a Pakistani Rs 300-million (approx $6.5 million) payment to Taliban officials and military commanders in a bid to solidify ties with the Taliban. Analysing the impact of the nuclear tests, Ambassador Simons noted, "GOP (Government of Pakistan) appears to have regressed to a point where it is as hardline as ever in favour of the Taliban."
The documents also reveal that the first time Pakistan officially admitted to providing arms aid to the Taliban was on March 9, 1998 , during a meeting between US no 2 in Islamabad Alan Eastham and a source who is pinpointed as Pakistan foreign ministry official Iftikhar Murshed. A July 2 cable shows how the US tried to keep the Taliban engaged, even while the latter misled them about the status of Osama bin Laden. A Taliban official, probably Abdul Mujahid, told US embassy political officials had placed "tough new controls" on Osama.
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No.
97 Edited by Sajit Gandhi September 11, 2003
Dear Sultan Sahab,
This Jihad [as interpreted by JI, Ikhwanis and Jihadists] Syndrome prevalent in the Muslim world nowadays is the direct or indirect result of this tinkering before the so-called Afghan Jihad [CIA Funded, Mossad Backed and MI6 trained] there was no such movement in the nake of Jihad rather these Ikhwanis and Jamat-e-Islami Goons were the Buffers between USSR and USA in the Muslim World rather they were on the payroll of the West against USSR in the garb of Jihad.
"Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001", by Steve Coll, New York: Penguin, 2004,
Funding the Fundamentalists
The motives of the White House and the CIA were shaped by the Cold War: a determination to kill as many Soviet soldiers as possible and the desire to restore some aura of rugged machismo as well as credibility that U.S. leaders feared they had lost when the Shah of Iran was overthrown. The CIA had no intricate strategy for the war it was unleashing in Afghanistan. Howard Hart, the agency's representative in the Pakistani capital, told Coll that he understood his orders as: "You're a young man; here's your bag of money, go raise hell. Don't fuck it up, just go out there and kill Soviets." These orders came from a most peculiar American. William Casey, the CIA's director from January 1981 to January 1987, was a Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits. Statues of the Virgin Mary filled his mansion, called "Maryknoll," on Long Island. He attended mass daily and urged Christianity on anyone who asked his advice. Once settled as CIA director under Reagan, he began to funnel covert action funds through the Catholic Church to anti-Communists in Poland and Central America, sometimes in violation of American law. He believed fervently that by increasing the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it. From Casey's convictions grew the most important U.S. foreign policies of the 1980s – support for an international anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan and sponsorship of state terrorism in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Casey knew next to nothing about Islamic fundamentalism or the grievances of Middle Eastern nations against Western imperialism. He saw political Islam and the Catholic Church as natural allies in the counter-strategy of covert action to thwart Soviet imperialism. He believed that the USSR was trying to strike at the U.S. in Central America and in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. He supported Islam as a counter to the Soviet Union's atheism, and Coll suggests that he sometimes conflated lay Catholic organizations such as Opus Dei with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian extremist organization, of which Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, was a passionate member. The Muslim Brotherhood' s branch in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, was strongly backed by the Pakistani army, and Coll writes that Casey, more than any other American, was responsible for welding the alliance of the CIA, Saudi intelligence, and the army of General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's military dictator from 1977 to 1988. On the suggestion of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, Casey went so far as to print thousands of copies of the Koran, which he shipped to the Afghan frontier for distribution in Afghanistan and Soviet Uzbekistan. He also fomented, without presidential authority, Muslim attacks inside the USSR and always held that the CIA's clandestine officers were too timid. He preferred the type represented by his friend Oliver North.
Over time, Casey's position hardened into CIA dogma, which its agents, protected by secrecy from ever having their ignorance exposed, enforced in every way they could. The agency resolutely refused to help choose winners and losers among the Afghan jihad's guerrilla leaders. The result, according to Coll, was that "Zia-ul-Haq's political and religious agenda in Afghanistan gradually became the CIA's own." In the era after Casey, some scholars, journalists, and members of Congress questioned the agency's lavish support of the Pakistan-backed Islamist general Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, especially after he refused to shake hands with Ronald Reagan because he was an infidel. But Milton Bearden, the Islamabad station chief from 1986 to 1989, and Frank Anderson, chief of the Afghan task force at Langley, vehemently defended Hekmatyar on the grounds that "he fielded the most effective anti-Soviet fighters."