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  • Originally published 10/29/2014

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  • Originally published 05/20/2014

    Islamism with a Human Face?

    Until now, Islamist rule has implied violence and dictatorship; can it evolve into something decent?

  • Originally published 10/21/2013

    Muslim Russia?

    Muslims may become a demographic majority in twenty-first Russia ... but the Kremlin's xenophobic response isn't helping matters.

  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Daniel Pipes: Will Turkey's Military Emulate Egypt's?

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.That is the important question asked today by Steve Coll:Will Egypt's counter-revolution inspire Turkey's fragmented, avowedly secular military—which once dominated the country's politics, via coup-making—to reorganize and reassert itself? Could the military do so if it tried? … recent events in Egypt will surely stir and tempt Atatürk's heirs in the opposition.My take: It is hard to imagine, given how the top Turkish brass submitted so meekly to AKP control and permitted the imprisonment of so many of its members that, at this late date, it will find the gumption to challenge Erdoğan & Co.If there were to be a revolt, therefore, it would more likely come not from the ranks of the generals – who carried out all of Turkey's prior coups d'état – but from some disgruntled colonel fed up with his superiors' supine responses to Islamist domination and inspired by Sisi's bold action in Egypt.

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Karima Bennoune: Killing the Arab Spring in Its Cradle

    Karima Bennoune, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis, is the author of the forthcoming book “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories From the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.”...Since it attained independence from France in 1956, Tunisia has had some of the region’s most progressive laws relating to women and families. Many fear that Ennahda is trying to undo those laws. Amel Grami, an intellectual historian at Manouba University, whose campus was besieged last year by Salafi activists opposed to women’s equality and secular education, says the Arab Spring has “triggered a male identity crisis” that has magnified the extreme positions taken by Islamist parties.

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Daniel Pipes: Islamism's Likely Doom

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved. As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities -- sectarian (Sunni, Shi'ite), political (monarchical, republican), tactical (political, violent), or attitudes toward modernity (Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood) -- and cooperate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because "all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Shari'a)."

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Stagnant Mediterranean

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Books. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.From the heights of Gibraltar you can see Africa about nine miles away to the south — and gaze eastward on the seemingly endless Mediterranean, which stretches 2,400 miles to Asia. Mare Nostrum, “our sea,” the Romans called the deep blue waters that allowed Rome to unite Asia, Africa, and Europe for half a millennium under a single, prosperous, globalized civilization.

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Trinidad panel looks at 1990 coup attempt

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad — The Muslim cleric who led a small army that stormed Trinidad & Tobago’s parliament in a blaze of gunfire is a free man. Never convicted of any charges, he cheerfully presides over a mosque and school complex in the country’s bustling capital and shares time among his four wives, the maximum Islam allows.Yasin Abu Bakr and his followers were jailed for two years after the 1990 attempt to overthrow the government of one of the Caribbean’s most prosperous countries. But they were freed under an amnesty and attempts to prosecute them failed even though 24 people were killed. More than 50 people were taken hostage, including the prime minister, who was bound and shot in the leg.After years of lingering questions about the attempted coup by Bakr and 113 armed rebels, a commission appointed by the government in 2010 has been taking a fresh look into the only Islamic revolt in the Western Hemisphere. The commission has held more than a dozen sessions over three years in an effort to understand better how and why the violent upheaval occurred. But the panel has no subpoena power and the findings are unlikely to lead to any arrests....

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Jack Bemporad, Marshall Preger, and Suhail A. Khan: Muslims Reflect on the Holocaust

    Rabbi Jack Bemporad is Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding (New Jersey), and Director of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Pontifical Angelicum University (Rome).Professor Marshall Breger is Professor of Law, Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America; former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and liaison to the Jewish community.Suhail A Khan is Senior Fellow, Institute for Global Engagement in Washington, DC and former liaison to the Muslim community for President George W. Bush.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    How scholars in Timbuktu protected medieval texts under an Islamist occupation

    Sidi Lamine gently opens the creaky wooden door that leads to his collection of manuscripts. Housed in a dark, windowless room, hundreds of medieval texts line handsome wooden bookshelves that reach to the ceiling. A musty smell lingers over everything. On an ornate table under dusty glass rest the rarest books in his collection, several of which he quietly mentions were written in 1010."I haven't visited this room in more than 10 months," he says, "because I was scared the Islamists would know that I have manuscripts like these, and they would destroy them. I thank God they are still OK."Mr. Lamine, who says he's at least 70 years old and has been helping to preserve the texts since he was 10, recounts how Islamist militants took over this city recently, threatening the precious works. "Under the occupation," he says, "Islamists found families with manuscripts, and those manuscripts have not been seen since."...

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Timothy R. Furnish: Breaking Down the New Pew Study of Muslims

    Timothy R. Furnish has served as an Arabic linguist with the 101st Airborne and as an Army chaplain, holds a PhD in Islamic history from Ohio State, is the author of Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, Their Jihads, and Osama bin Laden (2005), and blogs at MahdiWatch. His extended piece for the History News Network, The Ideology Behind the Boston Marathon Bombing, recently received “top billing” in Zen’s Recommended Reading of April 24th.

  • Originally published 04/29/2013

    Jesus and Muhammad

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Originally posted on Informed Comment.I’ve always liked Andrew Sullivan even when I disagree with him. I’m going to disagree with him, or more specifically Alexis de Tocqueville and one of his readers who quotes him:

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Mehdi Hasan: Anti-Semitism Rampant Amongst British Muslim

    Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the political director of the Huffington Post UK, where this column is crosspostedIf tomorrow, God forbid, I were to cause the death of an innocent man with my car, minutes after sending a series of texts on my mobile phone, I’m guessing I’d spend the rest of my life riddled with guilt. What I wouldn’t do is go on television and lay the blame for my subsequent 12-week imprisonment at the door of . . . wait for it . . . the Jews. Yet that’s what the Labour peer Nazir Ahmed did in April 2012 – less than five years after causing a car crash on the M1 in which Martin Gombar, aged 28, was killed.“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians,” he says to his Pakistani interviewer in Urdu, in a video recording obtained by the Times. “My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.” The judge who put him behind bars, Lord Ahmed claims, was appointed to the high court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair’s during “an important case”....

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Denying Islam's Role in Terror: Explaining the Denial

    Image via Shutterstock.Originally printed in the Spring 2013 edition of Middle East Quarterly.Over three years after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas, in November 2009, the classification of his crime remains in dispute. In its wisdom, the Department of Defense, supported by law enforcement, politicians, journalists, and academics, deems the killing of thirteen and wounding of forty-three to be "workplace violence." For example, the 86-page study on preventing a repeat episode, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood, mentions "workplace violence" sixteen times. (1)

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    Ousmane Kane: Is Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa More (or Less) Peaceful than Elsewhere?

    Ousmane Kane is Alwaleed Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society and Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.The destruction of the sixth-century monumental Buddha statues of Bamiyan in March 2001 by the Taliban shocked many persons concerned with the preservation of world cultural legacy. Such examples of iconoclasm were not new in Islamic history. In the name of the restoration of the purity of the faith, groups with similar persuasions have destroyed Sufi and Shiite shrines in various parts of the Arabian Peninsula during the nineteenth and twentieth century. But until very recently, few observers believed that such examples of iconoclasm will ever reach the Sahel. Although the Sahelian countries had overwhelming Muslim populations, Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa was believed to be peaceful compared to elsewhere in the Arab World. In most of the twentieth century, no armed Islamic group was to be found anywhere in the Sahel. Very few Sub-Saharans trained in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation or joined Al-Qaida, and suicide bombing was unheard of until a few years ago. This is not so much because intolerant Islamic groups were not to be found in the Sahel, but they had neither the sophistication nor the logistical and financial resources to challenge state power.

  • Originally published 01/28/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: The Middle East's Nonexistant Gay Rights Movement

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. He is teaching a course this January at NYU's Abu Dhabi campus.ABU DHABI -- "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths -- that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still," President Barack Obama declared at his inauguration last Monday, "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall."But does it also go through Sharjah?That's where two dozen men were arrested and lashed in 2004 at an apparent "gay wedding" here in the United Arab Emirates, where homosexual relations are illegal. Since then, untold numbers of gays have reportedly received lashes, prison sentences, psychological "therapy" and hormone treatments to remedy the so-called "illness" of homosexuality.President Obama received just praise for mentioning Stonewall, site of a 1969 New York police raid and riot that touched off the modern American homosexual rights movement. And to his credit, the president and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have instructed U.S. foreign aid agencies to support gay-rights efforts overseas. "Gay rights are human rights," Ms. Clinton said in 2011....

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    Edwin Black at Fordham University traces Farhud and the roots of the Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust

    Award-winning, bestselling author Edwin Black will chronicle the centuries of intersection between Islam and Jewry that led to the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad in 1941 and the ensuing Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust in a major address at Fordham University 6 PM January 31, 2013. Black's presentation is based on his recent bestselling and critically acclaimed book, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust. The event at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham is sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. Black's presentation will be followed by a 28-minute filmed testimony by actual victims in the documentary "The Farhud," screened by Professor Haim Shaked.Dr. Shaked is flying in from Miami for the special event. He is the director of The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami. Black's presentation and the film are predicted to "completely re-define people's perception of mideast history, the Palestine conflict, and the basis for the robust international Arab alliance with the Nazis," said author Black.

  • Originally published 05/31/2009

    Sectsploitation: How to Win Hearts and Minds in the Islamic World

    A rational discussion of Islam’s causal role in American “overseas contingency operations”—the erstwhile “global war on terror”--or the multitude of “man-made disasters” besetting the modern world has become almost impossible in the current hyper-partisan American political climate.

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