Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Musharraf's theatre of the absurd

by Rajeev Srinivasan from Rediff News

There are also thousands of Chinese living in Pakistan. The burqa-clad and stave-wielding woman warriors of the Lal Masjid kidnapped five Chinese women accusing them of prostitution. This led to a Chinese demarche to Musharraf, which he accepted with alacrity. Pakistanis clearly understand that Musharraf/ISI are China's clients. Hence, as revenge for the Lal Masjid siege, terrorists shot dead three other Chinese in Peshawar ... The Americans are being hoodwinked by the ever-resilient Musharraf, who has the legendary nine lives of a feline. Pakistan is the centre of Mohammedan terrorism in the world, and it is a Chinese proxy. It is high time the Americans internalised the idea that the true axis of evil is China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Radical Islam Called Largest Threat to Global Religious Freedom

by Evan Moore from CNSNews

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former member of the Islamist terrorist organization Jemmah Islamiya, urged a direct, widespread and intellectual attack on the underpinnings of Islamist theology that "can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist ... The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Sharia. Unlike Salafism [the conservative strain of Islam that al Qaeda and the Saudi government adhere to], more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts," he added.

Hearts and minds of young Muslims will be won or lost in the mosques

by Madeleine Bunting from The Guardian

It is estimated that 90% of Britain's male Muslims attend Friday prayers, making it the best place to connect to the core constituency. The Metropolitan police's Muslim Contact Unit has understood this, following a strategy of working with Islamist- and Salafi-dominated mosques such as the one in Brixton, well aware that their best chance of drawing extremists away from violence is through those who know how to argue the case on Islamic grounds and redirect the religious fervour of hot-headed young men. Winning hearts and minds will take a generation; but what's becoming clear is just how many Muslims are engaged in this struggle already.

Shattered certitudes and new realities

by Praveen Swami from The Hindu

The belief system that led Kafeel Ahmed to the hospital burns unit where he is now battling for his life is unknown, bar one fact: at some point he began to journey into the strange and subterranean world of the jihadist movement. By some accounts, Ahmed was drawn around 1999-2000 to the Salafi movement, a sect inspired by the 18th century preacher, Saudi Arab Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Salafis, who take the Prophet Muhammed’s companions and the two generations of Muslims after them to be exemplary models of the practice of Islam, became active in South Asia in the 19th century. Known in South Asia as the Ahl-e-Hadith, or followers of the Prophet’s traditions, the Salafi sect grew spectacularly because of Saudi Arabian support.

Iraqi delegation heads to Saudi Arabia to coordinate in fighting Al Qaeda

from the Associated Press

It was not clear if the delegation will speak with the Saudi officials about the political crisis in which the main Sunni bloc is boycotting parliament and Cabinet meetings, or about sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. In January, a top Saudi Sunni cleric declared Shiites around the world to be heretics and urged Sunni Muslims around the world to expel Shiites from their land. Abdullah bin Jabrain, a key members in Saudi Arabia's clerical establishment, joined a chorus of other senior figures from the kingdom's hard-line Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam who have deemed Shiites as infidels.

Reach Out to Muslim Moderates

by James Woolsey and Nina Shea from The Moscow Times

On the eve of his departure from office, Blair gave a television interview taking on those he once courted -- British Islamists who have been quick to level charges of Islamophobia: "The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle [against terror] is that we're not actually fighting it properly. We're not actually standing up to these people and saying, 'It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified.' ... Some of what is written on this is loopy-loo in its extremism." Contrast this with the Bush administration's new approach. On June 27, Bush delivered his "Muslim Initiative" address at the Washington Islamic Center in tribute to the 50th anniversary of that organization's founding, by Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia, and its extremist ideology often flows with the kingdom's money. The Washington Islamic Center is not an exception.