Archive for category Islamic state
By Terrence McCoy
September 3 2014
It began with a knife, an orange tunic and a name. “I am Steven Joel Sotloff,” the bedraggled journalist said. “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now. And why I’m appearing before you.” Sotloff paused for a long moment, kneeling on the desert floor, and looked directly into the Islamic State’s camera. He neither wept nor begged. There was only resignation. “And now,” he said, “it is time for my message.”
After it was done and Sotloff was dead, the knife-wielding man who has come to be known as “Jihadi John” grabbed another Western hostage. Promising to “strike the necks” of more Americans if the United States continues airstrikes against the Islamic State, he warned, “We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of American against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.”
The beheading of Sotloff, two weeks after journalist James Foley’s decapitation, is an Islamic State calling card. In the last week alone, militants decapitated a Kurdish man and then days later beheaded a Lebanese soldier in an additional video. The decapitations are brutal and terrifying. But are they politically motivated? Or do they instead betray an unhinged brand of violence that is ultimately self-defeating? Read the rest of this entry »
August 28 2014
With Iraq and Syria ablaze, the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia seems almost an afterthought. But Riyadh will be a crucial, if quixotic, ally as the United States seeks to mobilize Sunni Muslims against the terrorist Islamic State.
The kingdom’s many critics argue that Saudi Arabia itself helped spread the toxic virus by bankrolling Islamist rebels and their extremist Salafist Muslim ideology. As if to insulate itself from such criticism, the kingdom recently donated $100 million to a new U.N. counterterrorism center, and its senior religious leader, the grand mufti, declared the Islamic State and its al-Qaeda forebear “enemy No. 1 of Islam.”
Complicating Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in containing regional instability is the fact that generational change is slowly coming in the kingdom. The stakes for the United States in this leadership transition are large, and the outcome is hard to predict.
King Abdullah remains in power, a generally popular and respected monarch. But at 90, his energy and attention span are limited. Tensions have surfaced at several Saudi ministries over the last year, suggesting a jockeying for power. Read the rest of this entry »
By Carol J. Williams
Los Angeles Times
Aug 28, 2014
Unilateral airstrikes against Islamic State targets not enough to contain the extremists, experts say
Islamic State radicals seen building momentum with atrocities, territorial conquests
‘Counter-messaging’ needed to break Islamic State’s appeal to disaffected young Muslims, terrorism experts say
While the world has recoiled in horror at the atrocities committed by Islamic State radicals, the violence has helped the militant group recruit a global force of extremists and furthered its pursuit of a fundamentalist Muslim caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, terrorism experts say.
The United States and its Western allies have responded with airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq and relief operations for the victims of the Al Qaeda splinter group’s campaign of violence.
But the air attacks on Islamic State fighters in Iraq and contemplation of similar action in war-torn Syria will do little more than temporarily curb the militants’ momentum as the international community struggles to find a long-term solution to their destabilizing threat, analysts say.
“There is no short-term fix that will completely defeat this threat, so it’s important to differentiate between stopping ISIS’ momentum and ending or defeating them as an organization,” said Janine Davidson, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She was referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as the group called itself before proclaiming its caliphate two months ago. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIRUT — The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”
It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.
Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.
Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse. Read the rest of this entry »
by Deborah Amos
July 05, 2014
The Islamist radicals who have declared an Islamic caliphate on land they control straddling Iraq and Syria are waging an audacious publicity stunt, according to some analysts.
While it may bring them even greater attention, it’s also likely to be an overreach that will open riffs with its current partners, the Sunni Muslims in Iraq who welcomed the militant group in early June. They all share the goal of overthrowing Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his sectarian rule, but the more secular parts of the Sunni coalition didn’t sign up for an Islamic state.
“By announcing the caliphate, they are picking a fight with everybody,” says David Kilcullen, a guerrilla warfare expert and former chief counter-terrorism strategist for the U.S. State Department.
The militants were known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But in announcing a caliphate, which is a single, unified Islamic state, they are now simply calling themselves the Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »
by Alissa J. Rubin
New York Times
July 5, 2014
BAGHDAD — Wearing a black turban and black robes, the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic state that stretches across eastern Syria and much of northern and western Iraq made a startling public appearance, his first in many years, at a well-known mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to a video released on Saturday whose contents were confirmed by experts and witnesses.
Until then, there had been very few photographs on the Internet of the insurgent known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But on Friday he delivered a public sermon in a city once under American control with an audacity that even Osama bin Laden never tried.
Previously he had been all but invisible, seemingly reluctant to risk a public appearance as his group grew in strength and he became the United States’ second-most sought-after terrorist, after Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda. The United States government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The victories gained by the militant group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were built on months of maneuvering along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which define a region known as the cradle of civilization.
But on Friday at the pulpit of Mosul’s Great Mosque, Mr. Baghdadi appeared confident, calm and measured as he urged the faithful to fast during Ramadan and undertake jihad. He also asserted his position as caliph, or spiritual leader, of the Muslim faithful, calling himself “Khalifa Ibrahim,” or caliph Abraham, a reference to the prophet Abraham, who appears in the Quran. Mr. Baghdadi’s militant group declared its territory in Iraq and Syria a caliphate, or Islamic state, on June 29. Read the rest of this entry »
3 July 2014
The militants are using rape and brutality to control women who have not stopped mobilising since the US occupation
In a PBS NewsHour video report in June, Isis extremist militants parade through Mosul, Iraq, one of the first cities to fall to their onslaught in early June. The armed men are hanging off the back of trucks, as the crowd films them. One fighter leans out a car window, wagging his finger. The footage provides a translation. The fighter has spotted a woman, and he is ordering her to cover up.
This is how an extremist agenda is imposed: on women’s bodies. That fighter had barely arrived in Mosul yet his first order of business gives us a chilling glimpse of a broader strategy, one that targets women with repression and violence. In recent weeks, women living under Isis control have been seized from their homes and raped. They have been ordered to cover themselves fully and stay in the house.
As Iraq descends into war, women are not only on the frontlines: they are the battlefield. But here is the part that too many media reports have missed: they are not just victims; they are critical first responders. Read the rest of this entry »
By Pepe Escobar
2 July 2014
Welcome to IS. No typo; the final goal may be (indiscriminate) regime change, but for the moment name change will do. With PR flair, at the start of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or ISIL – the Islamic State of the Levant – to some) solemnly declared, from now on, it will be known as Islamic State (IS).
“To be or not to be” is so … metaphysically outdated. IS is – and here it is – in full audio glory. And we’re talking about the full package – Caliph included: “the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn ‘Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra’i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship”. Or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
IS has virtually ordered “historic” al-Qaeda – yes, that 9/11-related (or not) plaything of one Osama bin Laden – as well as every other jihadi outfit on the planet, to pledge allegiance to the new imam, in theological theory the new lord over every Muslim. There’s no evidence Osama’s former sidekick, Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri will obey, not to mention 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. Most probably al-Qaeda will say “we are the real deal” and a major theological catfight will be on. Read the rest of this entry »
by Khaled Diab
New York Times
July 2, 2014
The jihadist insurgent group ISIS, or as it now prefers to be called, the Islamic State, appears well on the road to achieving its stated goal: the restoration of the caliphate. The concept, which refers to an Islamic state presided over by a leader with both political and religious authority, dates from the various Muslim empires that followed the time of the Prophet Muhammad. From the seventh century onward, the caliph was, literally, his “successor.”
The problem with this new caliphate, which, an ISIS spokesman claimed on Sunday, had been established under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Islamist militant leader since the early days of the American occupation of Iraq, is that it is ahistorical, to say the least.
The Abbasid caliphate, for example, which ruled from 750 to 1258, was an impressively dynamic and diverse empire. Centered in Baghdad, just down the road from where ISIS is occupying large areas of Iraq, the Abbasid caliphate was centuries ahead of Mr. Baghdadi’s backward-looking cohorts. Abbasid society during its heyday thrived on multiculturalism, science, innovation, learning and culture — in sharp contrast to ISIS’ violent puritanism. The irreverent court poet of the legendary Caliph Harun al-Rashid (circa 763-809), Abu Nuwas, not only penned odes to wine, but also wrote erotic gay verse that would make a modern imam blush. Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2014
COMMENT Come June 2014, some 56 years after independence, Malaysian parliamentarians will decide whether we are going to evolve into an Islamic State as a private members bill allowing the implementation of Hudud Laws in Kelantan is put to them.
For those committed to secularism like this writer, the mind boggles with questions of how we came to this cross-roads after half a century of urbanization and industrialization?
Did Globalization pass us by and left us more conservative or did we take a peek at the world and have decided to reject it.
Confucius said that one has to walk in the shoes of others to understand their perspective. To some Malaysians, the journey from independence through nation building is only meaningful if we recover our full integrity by returning this land to its original state prior to Western colonialism.
To them, Malaya continues to be defined not by its multiculturalism but by its Islamic heritage. Society can only fully recover if Muslims live by the laws of their religion. Read the rest of this entry »
Moratorium call on statements by Pakatan Rakyat leaders on latest hudud controversy to refer issue to Majlis Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat for decision
(Media Statement in Gelang Patah on Sunday, 27th April 2014)
For the first time in six years after the “political tsunami” of the 12GE in March 2008, the overly-paid strategists, plotters and schemers of UMNO/BN must be feeling on top of the world and rubbing their hands with glee for they have finally vindicated their existence and colossal expenditures.
They believe that they have struck gold and have finally succeeded in putting in place their formula to ensure the end of the political threat posed by Pakatan Rakyat and the return to Putrajaya of UMNO and BN in the 14GE by the perpetuation of the political and power structure of Umno/BN even in the years after 2020.
Three days ago, the Deputy Mentri Besar of Kelantan, Datuk Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah publicly said that DAP and PKR should stay off the hudud bill controversy on the ground that “they have no right to interfere” in the PAS agenda to implement hudud in Kelantan.
He said that in the common policy framework signed among Pakatan Rakyat component parties on September 28, 2011, PAS only agreed to not impose on its long-standing objective for Malaysia to be recognised as an Islamic State.
He said the agreement is limited at the national level but in the context of Kelantan it is different because hudud was enacted way back in 1993, before the opposition pact was realised. Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2013
SHAH ALAM, 21 DISEMBER – Rakyat turun ke jalanraya dan mengadu kepada Tuhan kerana kerajaan sudah tidak lagi mendengar keluh kesah mereka, bukan bermakna rakyat mahukan sebarang bentuk negara tetapi mahukan keadilan.
Demikian analisa bekas mufti Perlis, Prof Madya Dato’ Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin terhadap revolusi berganda di Mesir yang akhirnya menyaksikan Presiden ke-lima negara tersebut, Dr Mohamad Morsi digulingkan.
Beliau mengulas lanjut soal meletakkan label ‘negara Islam’ yang bagi beliau bukanlah perkara yang terlalu penting.
“Pakistan pun ada enakmen undang-undang Islam, tetapi lihat negara dia punyalah kotor. Bukankah kebersihan itu sebahagian daripada Islam. New Zealand lebih Islam daripada Pakistan,” ujarnya dalam wacana ‘Ikhwan Muslimin: Musuh atau kawan’ di sini, hari ini. Read the rest of this entry »
UMNO General Assembly re-enacting last year’s “drama”: Who lied – Najib/Muhyiddin, Chua Soi Lek or all three?
The 66th UMNO General Assembly is in full-swing but it is only a re-enactment of last year’s 65th UMNO General Assembly “drama”.
At the end of the 65th UMNO General Assembly last December, I posed the question: “Who lied – Najib/Muhyiddin or Chua Soi Lek? Or all three?”
Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will only be delivering his UMNO Presidential address tomorrow and his winding-up speech on Friday, one does not have to be prescient to know it will be equally valid and pertinent to pose this same question at the end of the 66th UMNO General Assembly.
The Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has already started the ball rolling for the re-enactment of this “drama” last year of whether “Who lied – Najib/Muhyiddin or Chua Soi Lek? Or all three?”
Last night at the opening of the UMNO Youth, Wanita and Puteri Assemblies, Muhyiddin dismissed PAS’ Islamic State goal as “a daydream”.
But this is the very exact opposite of what the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek is warning the Malaysian Chinese and non-Muslims up and down the country of “a point of no return” for the PAS agenda of an Islamic state if Pakatan Rakyat wins Putrajaya in the 13th general election! Read the rest of this entry »
Al Arabiya News
19 November 2011
TUNIS – With deep roots in the fight against anti-Muslim oppression, Hamadi Jebali emerged from years in jail under a repressive regime as a man of compromise and the moderate face of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamist party.
The 63-year-old Ennahda secretary general is set to become the north African country’s prime minister under a deal reached by the three main parties, to be approved Tuesday by the newly elected constituent assembly.
With his neatly trimmed white beard, thin-framed glasses and the prayer mark of the pious Muslim on his forehead, Jebali “has been one of the main players on the Islamic scene” in Tunisia, Sofiene Ben Fahrat, editor of Tunisia’s La Presse daily told AFP.
“He notably led the confrontation against the regime of (Habib) Bourguiba,” the father of independent Tunisia who launched a repressive campaign against Islamists and had several of its leaders sentenced to death, he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Nov 20, 2012
Islamist parties throughout the world are grappling with new roles and responsibilities. PAS is no exception.
The discussions at the party’s muktamar held in Kota Bharu last weekend highlight that PAS is adapting to new conditions globally and nationally, and in fact embracing reform.
Perhaps more than any party in Malaysia, PAS is engaging in accommodation.
Despite news reports focusing on the comments of one or two individuals – a common feature, especially in the reporting of Malaysia’s Islamic party – PAS is moving towards a more nationally-oriented position in which it can play a prominent role as a partner in an alternative government.
In fact, judging by its actions and the meeting taken as a whole rather than the words reported, the muktamar highlights that PAS is continuing to embrace more progressive positions, especially among its leadership.
Its challenges, however, have more to do with winning over its more parochial and conservative membership that is reluctant to change and struggling to adapt and understand a more complex and demanding political environment. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ahmad Farouk Musa
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 18, 2012
NOV 18 — If there is anything unmistakably clear from the recent muktamar or general assembly of the Islamic Party of Malaysia — PAS — is that despite the acceptance of the concept of tahalluf siyasi or political consensus among the three major components of the opposition front — Pakatan Rakyat — PAS’ ambition in establishing an Islamic State and implementing hudud laws is unwavering, if not more resolute.
It appears rather incongruous that despite the acceptance of Buku Jingga or Orange Book as a comprehensive framework of the opposition front on how to govern the country when they come to power, PAS seems to have a higher agenda — to transform the multiracial and multi-religious country into a full-fledged Islamic state with Islamic laws.
Islamic laws and hudud were never mentioned in Buku Jingga and neither was the establishment of Islamic State. PAS even came out with its own manifesto “Nation of Care and Opportunity”. However this concept of a benevolent state is not well received by many PAS members themselves. Reason being, the so-called Erdoganists in PAS mainly mooted it. Recent spate of debate about the concept of Islamist Democrat — a term popularised by the Erdoganists — between the ulama faction and the young Turks clearly proved that they are considered contaminants in the “pure and pristine” PAS struggle. Read the rest of this entry »
— Art Harun
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 08, 2012
NOV 8 — Lately there has been a public discourse on whether Malaysia is a secular country or otherwise.
Let us take a break. And take a visit down memory lanes. Perhaps history might shed some lights on the issue.
To begin with, Article 3 (1) of our Federal Constitution provides as follows:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”
Initially, when the Reid Commission was set to draft our Constitution, the Alliance (Umno, MIC and MCA) presented a 20 page memorandum to the Reid Commission. On Islam, the memo says:
“The religion of Malaysia shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion, and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State.”
After 118 meetings, the Reid Commission wrote its report in Rome and published it in February 1957. On the position of Islam, it says:
“We have considered the question whether there should be any statement in the Constitution to the effect that Islam should be the State religion. There was universal agreement that if any such provision were inserted it must be made clear that it would not in any way affect the civil rights of non-Muslims — ‘the religion of Malaysia shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State’. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ahmad Farouk Musa
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 03, 2012
NOV 3 — One of the most contentious issues in our country is the debate on Islamic State vis-à-vis Secular State. It should be highlighted at this initial point that the Islamic State concept was borne out only early in the 20th century after the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. Irrespective of which divide we are on, one basic fact that we have to agree upon is that the terminology Dawlah Islamiyyah or Islamic State was never mentioned in the Qur’an.
However, Islamic State remains the main agenda of political Islam that defines Islam as ad-deen wa-dawlah or “religion and state”. It could be argued that since there is no single predominant interpretation of what an Islamic state is, a vicious contestation still exists among the Islamists about the concept of Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 30, 2012
Marina Mahathir wrote in a recent column that for any candidate seeking to be voted in this general election, the following are good and civil traits:
1. Be nice, be gracious, be polite – rudeness makes you look ugly.
2. If you disagree with someone, fine. But disagree courteously and intelligently, and do not just bad-mouth them.
3. If you do not think that someone is right, give your reasons why.
4. At least pretend that your audience is smart, and live up to them.
5. If you really think violence is the answer, we will find you a ticket to Syria, where you can indulge in all that you want to.
6. If you really think you are a defender of Islam, we will get you a ticket to trail the Republicans on their election campaign. We will even get you a spot on Rush Limbaugh’s show, where you can do your defending thing.
7. Do suddenly stop kissing babies and hugging old people. Seriously, we are not buying it.
8. Leave your expensive watch at home if you are going to sympathise with how people are coping with their monthly expenses. Unless you are going to donate the cost of the watch to some worthwhile cause.
9. Lower your volume. Shouting something stupid does not make it smarter.
10. Tell us what your principles in life are, and how you aim to stick to them.
My only addition is that no serving member of parliament should lie publicly. It is worse if one is a member of the cabinet. And because of such lies, I would argue that we need a ‘truth-o-meter’ which the CNN uses to validate claims by US presidential candidates.
I am boiling mad because Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the so-called minister responsible for parliamentary and legal matters, was quoted by theSun as saying: “None of the nation’s past prime minister (have) ever declared Malaysia a secular state … the only sitting prime minister who (has) made a statement on the issue was … (Dr) Mahathir Mohamad, who declared that Malaysia is an Islamic state.”
Since we do not have the privilege of a truth-o-meter service in Malaysia, allow me to assume that role since my column is also called ‘Truth Matters’. Read the rest of this entry »
by Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 24, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Hudud will not have an impact on non-Muslims in Malaysia, Umno minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom has said, disputing the repeated warnings by political ally MCA to the Chinese community on the controversial Islamic penal code.
In a written reply to Tan Tee Beng (IND-Nibong Tebal), the minister for Islamic affairs, explained that hudud, which prescribes the amputation of hands for theft, could only be applied to those who come under the jurisdiction of the Syariah court — Muslims.
“Therefore, hudud law will not impact non-Muslims,” he concluded.
MCA has been using the hudud issue to warn the non-Muslim community away from voting for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the coming polls, insisting that the pact’s “dominant” partner PAS would insist on its implementation despite its ties with secular DAP and PKR.
Hudud has remained a sensitive touch point in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, which has a 60 per cent Muslim population, with political parties continuing to spar over the subject in the run-up to the 13th general election.
The idea of an Islamic criminal code has been used to either scare the minority Chinese voters, or shore up support among the majority Malay-Muslim community. Read the rest of this entry »