Sometimes a crime is so heinous and weird that it stuns the world. That is what is happening in Nigeria where the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls last month and has killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria in the past few years....................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
To the anxious question of what will happen to Afghanistan when foreign troops leave in 2014, Dr Abdul Qayum Mohmand had an unexpected answer. "Nothing will happen," the former University of Afghanistan assistant professor said. "Because nothing is happening now."
Before a somber seminar on the country's future in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, last week, Mohmand tried to lighten his pessimism by exaggerating for effect. But between the candour and humour of his chat at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies Malaysia was a sorrow that could not be concealed by bluffness........ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Whatever you may think progress looks like — a rebounding stock market, a new house, a good raise — the governments of the world have long held the view that only one statistic, the measure of gross domestic product, can really show whether things seem to be getting better or getting worse. G.D.P. is an index of a country’s entire economic output — a tally of, among many other things, manufacturers’ shipments, farmers’ harvests, retail sales and construction spending. It’s a figure that compresses the immensity of a national economy into a single data point of surpassing density. The conventional feeling about G.D.P. is that the more it grows, the better a country and its citizens are doing. In the U.S., economic activity plummeted at the start of 2009 and only started moving up during the second half of the year. Apparently things are moving in that direction still. In the first quarter of this year, the economy again expanded, this time by an annual rate of about 3.2 percent........ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Until recently, the “special relationship” between Israel and Turkey appeared unbreakable. Underpinned by shared perceptions of the threats and opportunities in their regional environment and cemented by an extensive web of joint initiatives in trade, intelligence, and defense, the Turkish-Israeli alliance blossomed in the 1990s. Any differences that arose between these two regional heavyweights paled in comparison to the overarching affinity and mutuality of interests that existed between them.
At least that’s the way it seemed at the time. Beneath the apparent façade of goodwill between the two countries lay a growing gap in values and political cultures that set the stage for a deterioration of relations as two major crises transpired. The first of these was Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008/2009, followed a year and a half later by Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-flagged ship attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the still-besieged Gazans. The divergence in values between the two countries began to take shape at the turn of the twenty-first century, and accelerated after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2003—a period that coincided with significant strides toward democracy in Turkey ....... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Often, but loosely, referred to as a “religion”, Islam may more accurately be depicted as a religiously based way of life, or Din—the Arabic term by which it is described in the Qur’an. This Quranically sanctioned way of describing Islam has the two important merits of, firstly, avoiding the dangers of misunderstanding which can easily arise from using the term “religion” with all the socio-cultural nuances and associations derived from the historical (mainly Christian) heritage and experience of the West in the context of which the term was primarily honed. Secondly and more importantly, it captures the essential characteristic of Islam as a comprehensive system of values and principles which encompasses the entire range of human experience—personal and social, economic and political, artistic and intellectual, creative or otherwise. All of these are sustained in Islam, by faith and endowed with religious meaning and ethical significance.......... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
On the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy, it would be instructive to reflect on the disastrous impact of that tragedy upon the entire human family.
One, hundreds of thousands, perhaps a couple of million, lives have been lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Afghan-Pakistan border and other places as a direct or indirect consequence of the so-called “war on terror” that followed 9-11. It is not just the violence generated by the US helmed occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan that is responsible for this. Terror groups that resist occupation or are seeking to avenge the death of innocent children and women at the hands of the occupiers, or those who are embroiled in the tussle for power or enmeshed in inter-sectarian and inter-factional feuds---like Al-Qaeda--- are also culpable.
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Last weekend, as tens of thousands of unarmed refugees marched toward Israel from all sides in a symbolic effort to reclaim their right of return, the world suddenly discovered the power of Palestinian nonviolence. Much like the "Freedom Flotilla," when nine activists were killed during an act of nonviolent international disobedience almost a year ago, the deaths of unarmed protesters at the hands of Israeli soldiers drew the world's attention to Palestine and the refugee issue............ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
There are two groups promoting the concept that Islam is tolerant of terrorism. The first is those wishing to hijack Islam for their political purposes and who have distorted and misquoted religious text to justify their abhorrent actions. The second are those who wish to spread fear and hatred of Muslims to suit their political or economic agendas, and similarly distort and misquote religious text to claim that Islam condones such abhorrent actions. However, mainstream traditional Muslims are and always have been very vocal in condemning both such extremist groups.......... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)