New Age Islam Edit Bureau
12 May 2017
It Is an Ideological War Indeed
Malala Prescribes Education As Panacea For An
Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan
Is America Dying Or Is It Being Born Again?
Is Trump Palestine’s New Hope?
Security, Intelligence Services Should Reveal
Who Is Behind Abductions In Iraq
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
By Turki Aldakhil
11 May 2017
Ideological War Center is part of an intellectual battle Saudi Arabia is
launching against extremism. The Center’s board of trustees is headed by none
other than Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman
Center’s main aim is to expose the anomalies, allegations, suspicions and
tricks that people propagating extremism use and to highlight the legitimate
approaches related to extremism.
This is in
addition to other ideological initiatives being taken in and outside the
kingdom and the Islamic military alliance that has been formed to combat
Understanding the Problem
Some of the
core of the Center’s work are “establishing deep understanding of the problem
of extremism through its different trends, specify the categories targeted by
extremist groups, understand the tools and doctrines which extremist groups
resort to, efficiently cooperate with several media and intellectual centers
and institutions, devise effective approaches to enhance the values of
moderation, tolerance, dialogue and understanding within the context of faith
in the inevitability of diversity and plurality away from abstract theories and
overcome stereotypes in this regard.”
Center’s name itself clarifies its objective. It is after all the “ideological
war.” Sustained battles at the security and political levels have succeeded in
deterring terrorist and extremist organizations but what is more dangerous is
the continuous breeding of ideas that continues to thrive. The ideological war
is thus as important as the battle on the security front. It is an ideological
By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan
active in the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Organization of American
States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It gets distinguished
visitors and treats them with respect. But when a teenage schoolgirl visited
Canada recently she received honors that most visiting heads of states do not
get. She acted not as a schoolgirl but as a sage telling Canada and world
leaders how to make the world safer and better.
was Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai. She praised Canada, especially for welcoming
refugees and supporting the cause of girls’ education worldwide. But she also
said Canada must do much more to help women around the world and within Canada.
addressed a joint session of the House of Commons and the Senate – a rare
honor. Moreover, at 19 she is the youngest person to do so. She received standing
ovations. Her parents Ziauddin and Toor Pekai Yousafzai beamed with pride.
also granted honorary Canadian citizenship that so far has been bestowed only
on five people – Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama, African icon Nelson Mandela,
Karim Aga Khan, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi who championed human rights
(except for the Rohingyas) and the late Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who
tried to save Jews during the Second World War.
received the Nobel Peace Prize and is the youngest person to do so. She is
feted by world leaders, has received honorary degrees, established a Malala
Fund to promote 12 years of education for poor girls and has denounced
terrorism as contrary to Islamic teachings. Just before she became an honorary
citizen of Canada the United Nations appointed her the youngest ever Messenger
of Peace, – the world body’s highest honor. The UN has also designated July 16
as Malala Day.
needs leadership based on serving humanity – not based on how many weapons you
have. Canada can take that lead,” she told Canadian parliamentarians. She urged
Canada to not only lead in welcoming refugees and providing education to girls,
but also to prod other nations to do the same. She had a particular message for
young Canadians – speak up, participate and show leadership on major issues
challenging the world.
She told the Canadian Parliament:
travelled the world and met people in many countries. I’ve seen firsthand many
of the problems we are facing today — war, economic instability, climate change
and health crises. And I can tell you that the answer is girls.
education for girls can transform communities, countries and our world. Here’s
what the statistics say:
• If all girls went to school for 12 years, low
and middle income countries could add $92 billion per year to their economies.
• Educated girls are less likely to marry young
or contract HIV – and more likely to have healthy, educated children.
• The Brookings Institution calls secondary
schooling for girls the most cost-effective and best investment against climate
• When a country gives all its children
secondary education, they cut their risk of war in half.
is vital for security around the world because extremism grows alongside inequality
— in places where people feel they have no opportunity, no voice, no hope.
are educated, there are more jobs for everyone. When mothers can keep their
children alive and send them to school, there is hope.
the world, 130 million girls are out of school today. They may not have read
the studies and they may not know the statistics — but they understand that
education is their only path to a brighter future. And they are fighting to go
committed $377 million in 2015-2016 to international assistance in education.
Malala asked Canada to push for girls’ education among the developed countries
when it assumes the G7 presidency next year. Prime Minister Trudeau has agreed
to put it on the G7 agenda.
transformed Malala from being an average high school girl to a respected world
figure was her courage and her unwavering commitment to education for girls. In
her book I am Malala that she authored with Charlotte Lamb, she wrote that for
girls going to school it was “like a magical entrance to our own special
was just 11, in 2009, she began writing a blog for BBC. That infuriated the
Taliban and they tried to kill her in 2012, injuring her seriously. Rushed to
the United Kingdom for treatment she survived, but it was a close call.
She goes to
a high school in the UK and pleads ceaselessly for girls’ education. Her
courage and championing of girls’ education has made her a household name and
has won her respect internationally.
me was that she dresses simply, wears only minimal make-up, if that, and
remains unassuming. She is neither boastful nor coy. She remains unfazed when
speaking to world leaders and also jokes, as she did in Canada, when speaking
spontaneously. Her jokes brought her applause in Canada, as did her implied
statement that women lag far behind men in positions of power even in Canada.
She is a champion of girls’ education and an ambassador of Islam.
By Hamid Dabashi
characteristically timely and insightful essay for The New York Times, Pankaj
Mishra has recently mapped out the tortuous passage of the United States from
exceptionalism to what he now sees as a turn towards nihilism. He rightly
identifies that "extravagant promises by ruling elites, and their
unexamined assumptions, are at least partly to blame for this moral breakdown
in the world's most powerful country".
shrewdly narrows in on the moment when the eminent American public intellectual
"Walter Lippmann worried that the promise of private wealth creation was a
weak moral basis for a national community. For many mid-century thinkers,
nihilism, a catastrophic breakdown of faith in national ideology and
institutions that had occurred in Europe, was also a possibility in
conclusion is disarmingly assertive, compelling, and almost clinically precise:
"The world's oldest modern democracy leads the free world in its
helplessness before the dissolution of its most cherished beliefs and values.
Rejoining the tormented history of modernity under an obsessive liar [Donald
Trump] America has accelerated its most insidious tendency: nihilism."
Delusions of Exceptionalism
years, as a widely admired public intellectual, Mishra has mastered the prose
of quiet, piercing, certitude as to how he maps out the global conditions of
our despair. What he says is not the
run-of-the-mill, fly-by-night liberal exasperation as to why Trump won and
Hillary Clinton lost.
The New York Times and The Washington Post, which enthusiastically devoted all
their wherewithal for the victory of Hillary Clinton and sorely lost, are these
days replete with jeremiads of lamentations against Trump. They are as useless
as they are insipid and self-pitying. What Mishra diagnoses is of an entirely
different, far more historically grounded character.
America, as an idea, an ideal, an aspiration, and yet as a harsh unforgiving
reality, and thus a paradox, really turning towards nihilism, away from its
delusion of exceptionalism? Or put more precisely: Is nihilism the only way out
of the dead end of that dangerous delusion of exceptionalism? - the white
settler colonialists in the US and now their Zionist extension in Palestine
have been telling themselves this for a very long time.
conception of "America" is very much limited to such white settler
colonial fantasies that may indeed twist away from exceptionalism to nihilism.
The story of the rest of America, the America now fighting to rise, is entirely
different from either of these two tormented fantasies.
we are witnessing in the US is neither the extended lease on its fiction of
exceptionalism nor indeed the collapse into a new nihilism - unless we take
that nihilism to mean a cruel and wanton disregard for human decency and a
decadent indulgence in self-interest, which of course has never been alien to this
between exceptionalism and nihilism the more compelling question is whether the
vulgarity of the Trump spectacle of white supremacist racism is the deadly sign
of the end of "America" as we have known it or the birth of a new
vision of its future from ground up.
happens Mishra's essay was published just a few days before Donald Trump led
the Republican-dominated US Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care
Act, a measure of astonishing cruelty and sadistic disregard for human decency
targeting the poor and most vulnerable segments of the US society. Is a society
under such a concerted attack by its white supremacist leaders really on the
verge of nihilism?
Americans (children of an older or a younger generation of immigrants) from one
end of this country to another are out on the street reconfiguring the moral
foregrounding of their homeland. America has always and consistently been a
white supremacist country. It was born that way and a xenophobic banality is congenital
delusion of a melting pot is now finally catching up with it, and that is the
psychotic reason behind the Muslim ban and the Mexican wall that Trump and his
basest base are determined to accomplish. The fact that they will miserably
fail in these and all other such racist measures is the clearest indication
that something other than "nihilism" is in the offing.
The New Immigrants and the Old White Settlers
the US, and smack in the middle of that delusional oscillation between
exceptionalism and nihilism that Mishra diagnoses, there is another movement
brewing that is deeply rooted in the history of unfathomable cruelty and
suffering in this country. Rooted in the Civil Rights and Antiwar movements of
the earlier generations, from Black Lives Matter to Women's March on Washington
to Dakota Access Pipeline Protests to People's Climate Movement, etc, the
texture and timbre of this country is once and for all liberated from the
whites-only delusions of exceptionalism and nihilism. Remember the spontaneous
rush of thousands of people to airports from New York to Los Angeles to oppose
the Muslim ban and welcome new arrivals. That was not any sign of
the mirage of that exceptionalism, Trump and his family and friends can have
their one or even two terms of power. The Obamas can join the Clintons to
deliver their gibberish speeches and nonsensical books for the highest bidder.
The Zionists might be giddy with this corrupt lunatic in power helping them
steal more of Palestine. The rest of the Americans, however, the immigrants old
and new, know only too well on whose stolen land they have mercifully landed
and have gratefully joined forces with them to advance forward their struggle
to new horizons. Trump has not weakened or divided us. He has united and
immigrants, we the Muslims, Jews, working class, women, the LGBQT communities,
we the parents negotiating between two to three jobs to make ends meet, we
students burdened with backbreaking loans, we conscientious public school
teachers, committed environmentalists, responsible scientists ... We the
liberation theologians, philosophers, theorists, critical thinkers ... We
cannot afford nihilism. The very idea of it is ridiculously alien. Those
anorexic models parading with those ridiculous dresses wrapped around their
plastic surgery wounds on the red carpet at Met Gala might have pangs of
nihilism if they are off their Prozac. Not us.
We will not
bend backward to accommodate power and play dead. We will fight back, the
defiant future of this country is already born and buoyant in the beautiful
birth of the children we have mothered and fathered in this country, on this
blessed land of Native Americans where generations of African slaves have
suffered to call it their and now our homeland.
exceptionalism and nihilism of white supremacists is rooted and rising the
defiant determination of an entirely different vision of what it means to be an
"American". We are, as I write, commandeering the metaphor for a
whole new vintage: the Native Americans, the African Americans, the new and old
immigrant Americans, Muslims and Mexicans, the nightmare of Trump and his ilk is
our precious, beautiful dream.
By Daoud Kuttab
recent visit to Washington, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas surprised many by
heaping praise on US President Donald Trump. Speaking through a translator,
Abbas called Trump, who had promised to “get done” a peace agreement between
Israel and Palestine, “courageous” and wise, and lauded Trump’s “great
negotiating ability.” “Now, Mr. President,” Abbas concluded in English, “with
you we have hope.”
question, of course, is whether that hope is warranted. After all, in his own
public statement, Trump made no reference to the two-state solution, and his
vague declarations about peace (mentioned 11 times) included not so much as a
hint about the need for Israel (also mentioned 11 times) to end its illegal
settlement construction. And, in fact, Trump fell back in his statements on
that asymmetrical phrasing he has so often used in the past: Israel and the
is that Trump has long been giving Palestinians reason to worry. During his
election campaign, Trump spoke about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and
condemned the outgoing Obama administration’s decision to abstain from voting
on a UN Security Council resolution denouncing Israeli settlements (rather than
vetoing it). Once elected, Trump appointed as US ambassador to Israel his
bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, who has a long history of supporting right-wing
Israeli causes (even donating to a West Bank settlement).
was silent about these issues. The mere fact that Trump had invited him to the
White House so early in the administration seemed to provide reason for
optimism. And Trump had already directed some attention to resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tasking his son-in-law and trusted (though wholly
inexperienced) adviser Jared Kushner with brokering a peace agreement.
promises to broker peace are nothing new for a US president. But Trump is no
ordinary US president. Many Palestinians are encouraged by the fact that he
does not seem bound by the usual lobby-influenced ideologies and commitments of
US political parties. In their view, a US president who puts “America First” surely
will see the absurdity of spending so much political and financial capital on
Israel, which provides little strategic benefit to the US, at the cost of
greater instability in the Middle East.
image as a deal maker reinforces this hopeful narrative. While his promises to
strike “the ultimate deal” are not backed by much detail, they remain appealing
to Palestinians, who have grown frustrated with a peace process that has had
little impact beyond allowing Israel to expand and consolidate its occupation
of Palestinian land.
This is not
to say that Palestinians blindly trust the Trump administration to determine
their fate. On the contrary, Abbas has worked diligently to strengthen his own
position, meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordanian
King Abdallah five times between Trump’s inauguration and the visit to the
White House. When El-Sisi and King Abdallah visited Trump, each reiterated the
position included in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative: Israel should withdraw
fully from the occupied territories, in exchange for normalization of relations
with Arab League countries. At the March 29 Arab League summit in Jordan, they
and other Arab leaders underscored the need for an independent Palestinian
state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
efforts, Abbas hoped to underscore the real goals that must be pursued,
countering Israeli attempts at diversion. For example, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has been calling on the Palestinian Authority to halt social
benefits to the families of prisoners who killed Israelis, attempting to
portray those allocations as some kind of payoff. Abbas’ praise of Trump at the
White House may be another tactic for keeping Trump on track.
It is too
early to tell if Abbas’ approach to the Trump administration will succeed. Some
might argue that Trump’s decision to make Saudi Arabia, rather than Israel, the
destination of his first trip abroad as US president reflects a new view of the
region (though he will head to Israel immediately after).
interviewed by Reuters on his first 100 days in office, Trump said that the US
presidency had turned out to be a much harder job than he had anticipated. But
the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians need not be. After all, we
know what a deal must entail: An independent Palestinian state, secured through
land swaps, and a creative solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
obstacle to an agreement has been insufficient political will on the part of
the US to push for the needed compromise. Palestinian leaders hope that Trump,
a businessman obsessed with his legacy, will finally display the needed
resolve, using the full clout of the US presidency to secure the “ultimate
By Adnan Hussein
society activists were kidnapped in Baghdad earlier this week. The strong
reaction by national politicians, the media and social media was not expressing
any surprise at these abductions, rather they voiced their anger that these
incidents have become worse than before. According to them, the frequency of
these kidnappings signified increasing incapability of the state to do anything
to confront this phenomenon.
activists were kidnapped without any trace from their homes in the heart of
Baghdad. Before this incident, dozens or rather hundreds were abducted. Some
were kidnapped for years before they were released or before we know anything
about their fate or about who abducted them.
gangs usually kidnap businessmen and prominent employees to demand ransoms or
settle accounts. However, no one asks for a ransom in exchange for releasing
kidnapped civilians who are usually activists who became prominent during the
popular activism which has been ongoing for two years now.
Shahmani and Waai al-Jabouri have been kidnapped from Baghdad and Babel for
more than a year and a half now and no one has learnt anything about their fate
difficult to put these kidnappings outside the context of some influential
parties’ efforts to abort popular activism and undermine it after its slogans
and work received the growing support of many people, especially from students
the Islamist movement’s reputation is on the wane due to its failure in
managing the state and society. Not only that but these Islamic movement
parties have also never quit struggling over power, influence and money.
Propaganda Against Secularism
now, and as the countdown for the local elections has begun –scheduled for next
September but likely to be postponed till next year – and the parliamentary
elections – to be held within one year – the propaganda against secularism and
the civil society has increased.
propaganda first began on social media then found its way to radio stations and
television channels affiliated with Islamic parties.
Islamist parties’ leaders are shameless in attacking civil society activists
and secularists while delivering public speeches, and one of them even went as
far as blaming them for what’s happening in the country! As part of this
propaganda, they began to target universities to market Islamist parties and
criticize secular and civil society groups. Many civil society students were
thus detained or expelled from some universities.
prelude to this, many media figures were arrested or abducted for some time.
Journalist Afrah Shawki is only one example of these kidnappings.
have been imposed on youths and the death of a young boy in a police station in
the town of Tuwairij a few days ago falls within this context.
it’s difficult not to put all these incidents within the context of organized
work by one or several parties.
Who is this
party or these parties? The national security apparatus and the national
intelligence services know. They’re supposed to and they should. What good are
they for if are not among those who know?