Tag Archives: ISIS

Whose Terror, Whose Powerlessness? Milind Wani


Guest post by MILIND WANI

On January 7 a car bomb at a Libyan police camp in the town of Zilten killed 60 people and wounded 200 more.  On January 11, bombs in three cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, killed over 130 people. On January 16, ISIS forces attacked the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor, killing Syrian army members as well as women and children. Death toll estimates range between 130 and 300 people.  On February 1, a suicide bomber detonated a vest outside Afghanistan’s national police headquarters in Kabul, killing 20 and injuring 29. On February 8, ISIS executed approximately 300 activists, police, and military personnel in Mosul, Iraq. On February 21, ISIS detonated car bombs in two Syrian towns heavily populated with Shi’ite Muslims, killing between 140 and 270 people, and wounding over 300 more. In March this year, a car bomb detonated in a busy public square killed at least 37 people in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The same month, on a street filled with shops and cafes in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, a suicide bomber killed five people. On March 27, seventy-two people, including 29 children, were killed in a suicide bombing at the largest public park in Lahore, Pakistan. In May Baghdad attacks, at least 69 to 90 were killed in suicide attacks and car bombings in Iraq capital. On June 28, a trio of suicide bombings at an airport in Istanbul killed 45 and injured 200 more. On 3rd July 2016, coordinated bomb attacks were carried out in Baghdad, resulting in mass civilian casualties. A few minutes after midnight local time, a suicide truck bombing in the district of Karrada killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more. This list is not exhaustive.

In the above backdrop of terror attacks in middle east by the ISIS or groups associated with it, that Pratap Bhanu Mehta should be impelled to write a passionate piece only after the horrendous truck rampage which left 84 dead in Nice says much about how even the most sympathetic of commentators have become party to selective amnesia. But if that was his only sin, one could just put it down to the times we live in where even the most informed ones are not free of ideological biases. However there is much that can be considered as problematic, either in terms of his analysis or the solutions he proposes or the stand he takes and would want us to take. Continue reading Whose Terror, Whose Powerlessness? Milind Wani

Challenges to “Islamic State” from within Islam

This news was not as widely reported in the Indian media, to my knowledge, but on September 24, 204, 120 Islamic scholars wrote an Open Letter to to the “fighters and followers” of the Islamic State, denouncing them as un-Islamic, using the most Islamic of terms.

Lauren Markoe wrote in Huffington Post a report reproduced in NewAge Islam:

Relying heavily on the Quran, the 18-page letter released Wednesday (Sept. 24) picks apart the extremist ideology of the militants who have left a wake of brutal death and destruction in their bid to establish a transnational Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

Even translated into English, the letter will still sound alien to most Americans, said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who released it in Washington with 10 other American Muslim religious and civil rights leaders.

“The letter is written in Arabic. It is using heavy classical religious texts and classical religious scholars that ISIS has used to mobilize young people to join its forces,” said Awad, using one of the acronyms for the group. “This letter is not meant for a liberal audience.”

Even mainstream Muslims, he said, may find it difficult to understand.

Awad said its aim is to offer a comprehensive Islamic refutation, “point-by-point,” to the philosophy of the Islamic State and the violence it has perpetrated. The letter’s authors include well-known religious and scholarly figures in the Muslim world, including Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

Continue reading Challenges to “Islamic State” from within Islam

Syrian Jihad spawned the Islamic State: Nauman Sadiq

Guest Post by NAUMAN SADIQ

Let me admit at the outset that Assad is an illegitimate tyrant who must abdicate his hereditary throne to the will of the people when the opportune moment arrives. But at the moment our primary concern shouldn’t be bringing democracy to Syria; at the moment our first and foremost priority should be reducing the level of violence in Syria. There are two parties to this conflict: the regime and the rebels (the majority of whom are takfiri jihadis). It is not possible for the regime to deescalate the conflict because it is holding a tiger by the tail. The regime is fighting a war of defense; and what is at stake in this war is its survival; not only its survival but the survival of its clan: the Alawite minority of 2.6 million people who comprise 12% population of Syria’s 22 million people.

The second party to the conflict is the rebels who are generously supported by the Gulf monarchies, Turkey (Sunni Muslims), Western powers and Israel. Don’t get alarmed and be dismissive of the possibility of an alliance [1] between the Sunni Muslims of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and the Zionists of Israel. It is realpolitik: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In fact the Western interest in this war is partly about Israel’s regional security[2] because the Shia axis comprising Iran-Syria-Hezbollah is an existential threat to Israel; and with each passing year the nature of this threat will enhance proportionally with the increased sophistication of Iranian missile program. During the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon, most of the rockets fired by Hezbollah into the Israeli territory missed their target; but according to some reports Iran and Hezbollah have already developed smarter missiles and with every passing year the threat of Hezbollah’s guided missiles so close to Israeli borders will keep on haunting the Israeli strategists’ dreams.  Continue reading Syrian Jihad spawned the Islamic State: Nauman Sadiq

The European Union And The Twin Civil Wars In Syria/Iraq: Peter Custers

Is this one of those rare occasions where policymakers self-critically correct a gigantic blunder? Or is it a cold turn-about guided by pure self-interest? On August the 15th, the Foreign Ministers of EU-countries gathered in Brussels and decided that each would henceforth be free to supply arms to Kurdish rebels fighting Sunni extremists of ISIS in the North of Iraq. Even Germany which in the past had been unwilling to furnish military supplies to warring parties  in ‘conflict zones’, is now ready to provide armoured vehicles and other hardware to the Kurds opposing ISIS’ advance. The decision of Europe’s Foreign Ministers may surprise some, for barely a year and four months ago, in April of 2013, the European Union had lifted a previously instituted ban on all imports of Syrian oil (1). Moreover, the lifting of this boycott was quite explicitly intended to facilitate the flow of oil from areas in the North-East of Syria, where Sunni extremist rebel organisations had established a strong foothold, if not overall predominance over the region’s oil fields (2). ISIS was not the only Sunni extremist organisation disputing control over Syrian oil fields. Yet there is little doubt but that the fateful decision the EU took last year has helped ISIS consolidate its hold over Syrian oil resources and prepare for a sweeping advance into areas with oil wells in the North of Iraq (3).  Continue reading The European Union And The Twin Civil Wars In Syria/Iraq: Peter Custers

Strange yet familiar – race politics in the USA

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Here is a link to Jon Stewart on race politics in the USA, in the context of the recent shooting by a white cop of a black unarmed teenager in Ferguson.

See any resemblances to our own fair country and the politics of caste, class, gender and community here? So familiar are the doubts expressed, questions raised, biases proudly stated, you could be pardoned for thinking it’s not the US of A, but Mera Bharat Mahan.  Continue reading Strange yet familiar – race politics in the USA

Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS ‘Caliphate’: Irfan Al-Alawi

Even as Israeli bombings and ground attacks on Gaza continue, there are no less disturbing reports of ISIS attacks on Christians, the last of whom are reportedly fleeing Mosul. One of the oldest churches has been attacked and reduced to ashes. The rise of ISIS is not only a danger signal for non Muslim or even non Sunni minorities, it represents one of the most serious threats in recent times to the entire heritage of Islam and the diversity within it as well. We reproduce below a piece by Irfan Al-Alwai argues that Sunni Muslims must reject the ISIS’ new ‘Caliphate’. Irfan Al-Alawi is the executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation and international director of Centre for Islamic Pluralism in the United States. Here are some extracts from the article:

On July 5, the pan-Arab television channel Al-Arabiya, Saudi-owned but based in Dubai, reproduced images of vandalism by the “Islamic State,” using bulldozers against Sunni and Sufi shrines, and dynamite to blow up Shia meeting houses, or husseiniyat, in the Iraqi province of Nineveh, which the marauders seized in June. The pictures were released by the “Islamic State.” Four Sufi shrines and six Shia husseiniyat had been leveled.

Shia mosque being dynamited by ISIS
Shia mosque being dynamited by ISIS

In addition, Chaldean Christian and Syrian Orthodox cathedrals in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, were found emptied by the fanatics, who removed their crosses then hung black “Islamic State” flags on them.

The “Islamic State,” through its supposed caliph, declared, “rush O Muslims to your state. Yes, it is your state. Rush, because Syria is not for the Syrians, and Iraq is not for the Iraqis. The earth is Allah’s… Muslims everywhere, whoever is capable of performing hijrah [emigration] to the Islamic State, then let him do so, because hijrah to the land of Islam is obligatory… We make a special call to the scholars, fuqahā’ [experts in Islamic jurisprudence], and callers [to religion], especially the judges, as well as people with military, administrative, and service expertise, and medical doctors and engineers of all different specializations and fields… their emigration is wājib ‘aynī [an individual obligation], so that they can answer the dire need of the Muslims for them.”
This demand reveals the cynical nature of the “Islamic State” and its bid for jurisdiction over all Sunnis. Although it has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, it cannot defeat the bloodthirsty regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, and it certainly cannot protect Muslims in Burma. Regardless of its bluster, it cannot “conquer Rome,” as it threatens. Therefore, the “caliph” pleads for a supposed religious duty by Sunnis throughout the world to travel to the “Islamic State” and reinforce it. Read the full article here.