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Showing posts from July, 2015

Neo-Orientalist Islamophobia Is Maligning the Reputation of the Prophet Muhammad Like Never Before

Beyond the legacy of colonialism, the often frosty relations between Islam and the West have come to be defined largely by post-Sept. 11 ideas and events. Several narratives such as "the clash of civilizations," the "war of ideas," the "war on terror," the Crusades and Islamofascism have thus been used in vogue in reference to this relationship. In the West's cultural delirium, the military, economic and political mindsets involving the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and covert and not-so-covert intrusions into Pakistan, the most prominent target is the life, personality and character of the Prophet Muhammad. The Islamophobic literature of the current decade, for which the Internet is a fertile breeding ground, has the omnipresence of former "Muslims" (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali , Wafa Sultan and Walid Shoebat) and others with pseudonyms (such as Ibn Warraq or Ali Sina) who have attempted to present neo-Orientalism in a theological garb

Less religion, more religion

STATES and societies are struggling to find ways to deal with religion — or religious thought, to be precise. While most states see religion as a challenge, for the common man the attraction of religion is increasing. However, this attraction is not uniform as religion is also losing appeal in many parts of the world. The question of religion is more critical for Muslim societies which account for about 24pc of the world population. In many Muslim countries, religion has taken over policy discourse and religiosity is increasing among the masses. Religion has also become an important question for Western countries, especially for those that have sizable Muslim populations. There are two aspects of the religion of Islam that worry the West: the so-called militant Islam and political Islam. The power elites and the majority of the intelligentsia in Muslim countries have little concern in terms of the rise of religious power in their countries. The West, too, seems ready to compromise o

What a choice for Egypt – a megalomaniac president or the madness of Isis by Robert Fisk

The images of an Egyptian gunboat exploding off the coast of Sinai last week were a warning to our Western politicians. Yes, we support Egypt. We love Egypt. We continue to send our tourists to Egypt. Because we support President Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – despite the fact that his government has locked up more than 40,000 mostly political prisoners, more than 20,000 of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, hundreds of whom have been sentenced to death. The Egyptian regime continues to pretend that its Brotherhood enemies are the same as Isis. And Isis – in its dangerous new role as the Islamist power in Sinai – has killed hundreds of Egyptian troops, more than 60 of them two weeks ago, after which a military spokesman in Cairo announced that Sinai was “100 per cent under control”. However, after last week’s virtual destruction of the naval vessel, we might ask: who does control the peninsula? Yet, while the biggest battle is fought in Sinai since the 1973 Arab-Israeli

The Iran agreement marks a new era for the Middle East

Peace-Forum A victory for negotiations, international law and reason will pay dividends for years On Tuesday morning after the   historic agreement   between Iran and world powers over Iran’s nuclear program, President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif both mentioned a new factor at play for their two countries. Obama called for seizing the opportunity to move in a new direction, and Zarif spoke of a new chapter of hope. This is precisely what we can expect if the agreement slowly leads to normal political relations and even an entente between the U.S. and Iran. The agreement marks a moment of success for the affirmation of steady diplomacy, the international rule of law, mutual respect, simultaneous political concessions and the shunning of hysteria from regional parties. A new era is possible, and we should hope that the U.S. and Iran pursue this process for further gains that can serve all the people of the region and the rest of the

Fruits of Daesh war: The Arab world’s anti-Israeli front is crumbling

For many Arab countries, averting the mortal dangers posed by ISIS and a nuclear Iran has become more important than backing the Palestinian cause. What is generally referred to as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has, in effect, been over the years, a three-dimensional conflict involving, in addition to the Palestinians, also the Arab world and the Muslim world. Hostility to Israel has been the one unifying factor in the Arab and Muslim world, which overcame disagreements on other matters between the constituent members. Since the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, the Palestinian issue has served as the linchpin around which hostility to Israel has been built and unity maintained. Israel’s existence was endangered three times — in 1948, 1967, and 1973 — by the combined attacks of Arab armies, which enjoyed the support of the entire Muslim world. Although the Israel Defense Forces brilliant victory in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 has served as a deterrent agai

Perfect Storm: The Implications of Middle East Chaos

Peace-Forum Henry Kissinger wrote that the causes of conflicts in the Middle East are similar to the causes that were operative in Europe in the seventeenth century, and which led to the Thirty Years’ War. In other words, the Middle East behaves in much the same way as Europe did before the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended that conflict. From this it follows that the Middle East lags behind the modern world by more than 350 years with regard to matters of war and peace and the systems of relations between states. The significance of this is not technical, and does not lie in the number of years, but rather is substantive and qualitative. In the Peace of Westphalia, the relevant European states defined the systems of relations between themselves on the basis of the recognition of the sovereignty of states, and on the removal of the religious component from among the factors legitimi

What does it mean to be a Muslim in America today?

Your existence is always interrogated, investigated and questioned. There are amazing questions about the West apparently being at war with Islam, or Islam being at war with the West — often, no one really knows what Islam or the West is. Some 1,400 years of tradition and civilisation is scapegoated inelegantly as this one collective hive mentality concept of a sour, dour people who apparently hate life and hate everything and hate themselves. In this interview, Al Jazeera America’s Wajahat Ali explains how Islamophobia is manufactured in the US — from its funding sources to its partners in the media and governance. For ordinary American Muslims, however, life goes on beyond the narrow prism of Islam and the West being at war with each other Being a Muslim in America is exhausting, as a result of this type of marginalised status that some American Muslims or Muslim communities have inhabited in the post-9/11 world. We’re living in volatile, uncertain times where the fringe have beco