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Showing posts from February, 2011

Why Extremism in US & Pakistan لماذا التطرف في الولايات المتحدة وباكستان

لماذا التطرف في الولايات المتحدة وباكستان COMRADE Stalin must be laughing in his grave. The two states, the US and Pakistan, that collaborated to bring down the empire he had assembled, are now being threatened by the monster they had created together — religious radicalism — to dismantle the `evil empire`. Two recent events bring home the truth more poignantly than any number of books and speeches. The cold-blooded murder of Governor Salman Taseer by a religious fanatic in Pakistan, and the near-fatal shooting of liberal Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and the killing of six others in the US by a right-wing fanatic, Jared Loughner, happened at about the same time. This is not the only similarity. Let`s see how these events were seen in the two countries. The religious conservatives in Pakistan haven`t even condemned this act of unmitigated murder, nor have they expressed any regret for the constant drumbeat of hateful rhetoric against the voices of moderation. The reaction of the righ

The next horizon for kings and Dictators in Arab World and beyond

" الأفق المقبل لملوك والطغاة في العالم العربي وخارجه" By M.J. Akbar  IF I had to shortlist the best journals of the English-speaking universe, the Economist would certainly be at the top of a short and thin pyramid. Insight, interpretation, information and the quality of writing make it a perfect companion; even the British tendency to surrender before the pun [‘The buys from Brazil’, ‘The Middle Blingdom’...] is more endearing than irritating. But even the most thoughtful commentators of the present can find the future beyond their vision. The February 19 issue of the magazine has a cover story on the Arab awakening . On page 71 is a house ad for the Democracy Index prepared by its Economist Intelligence Unit for 2010. It concludes that democracy is in worldwide retreat. Even the most perceptive observers can miss a tsunami. After all, the great wave travels under the surface. It is not entirely foolish to suggest that 2010 is separated from 2011 by a decade or more. Ti

The Egyptian revolution and Moderate Muslims الثورة المصرية ومعتدلة مسلم

الثورة المصرية ومعتدلة مسلم Hawks and neocons in America need to acknowledge that much-needed political reform in this part of the world does not depend on outside pressure, but on the internal demands within each country and the will of its people. By Anthony Galli I RECALL a study a few years ago that reported that while it is true that the vast of majority of Muslims in the world are moderate, which validates my own experience, the majority of this moderate populace is not liberal, which unfortunately also validates my own experience. ‘ Moderate’ here simply means not believing that violence should be used to advance political or religious goals (i.e. not violently spreading Islamic rule and Sharia around the world), believing that non-Muslims should only embrace Islam through their own free will. This does not mean that all moderates are against authoritarian government per se. Nor that they necessarily support equal rights for women and religious minorities, universal access t

Writing, philosophy and compassion الكتابة والفلسفة والرحمة

الكتابة والفلسفة والرحمة Writer and thinker  Karen Armstrong  engaged in a conversation with scholar and teacher  Abbas Husain  at the recent Karachi Literature Festival. They discussed Armstrong’s role as a writer, the lack of genuine dialogue in the modern world and the need to cultivate compassion Do you see yourself as a writer? Or is writing merely a medium to get your message across? I see myself as a writer. I only get the message from my long, long hours of study. And the process of writing actually clarifies things and as you are writing a book, things change all the time. It’s all part of the process where I get the message. Without it, I wouldn’t have this message at all. What you are saying is in sync with what a good many creative writers have said, that the book got itself written. Yes, but I would probably put it less mystically, though. I would say that in a sense, it seems as though the books talk back to you. Hans Kung has said in his book, Islam: Past, present a

Muslims Today: Changes within, challenges "المسلمون اليوم : التغييرات داخل والتحديات"

"المسلمون اليوم : التغييرات داخل والتحديات" "Muslim Hari Ini: Perubahan dalam, cabaran" The discourse of double-critique, which is an attempt to carve out a critical space for dissenting against religious authoritarianism as well as American imperialism, is becoming widespread in contemporary Muslim thinking.   Tariq Ramadan and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf are two prominent examples. Chandra Muzaffar’ s work, Muslims Today: Changes within, challenges without, is part of the reformist tradition of Islamic thinking with a staunch emphasis on human rights, democracy, gender equality, tolerance and freedom. What is also remarkable is Muzaffar’s [   Malaysian Muslim political scientist, and an Islamic reformist and activist. He has written on civilisational dialog, human rights, Malaysian politics and international relations. ] analytical and stinging critique of American-led globalisation and its eco-nomic and political hegemony over certain regions of the Muslim World. Muza