Analysis

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UK Peers Urge Pro-Iran, Pro-Palestinian Policies

A year ago, in May 2016, Britain’s House of Lords decided to establish a new International Relations Committee.  On 2 May 2017, after six months deliberation, the committee issued its second report: “The Middle East: Time for New Realism”.   It is, quite frankly, an astonishing document, imbued with unconcealed hostility towards, and distrust of, US President Donald Trump, with the anti-Brexit rhetoric of much of the British establishment, and with downright naïve recommendations, reflecting the consensus of the politically correct, concerning Saudi Arabia, the Iran nuclear deal, and Palestinian sovereignty.

Iran's Crown Prince Abbas Mirza, c.1820. (Photo: Getty)

Muslim Majority World Did Liberalise Indeed

I am quite used to people smirking into their sleeves when they hear that I’ve just written a book called The Islamic Enlightenment. The really helpful wags say they expect something along the lines of The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew, which was billed as a collection of all the memorable aphorisms of the former US vice-president, and contained only blank pages. So, the Islamic Enlightenment — good for a laugh. But we’re all familiar with the serious argument that lies behind the jests; that Islam has not been through an Enlightenment, a Reformation, or any of the other rites of…
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Jihadists (Picture: Getty Images)

Why Global Jihadism Remains Notorious

Global Jihadism, also known as Jihadist extremism, remains the most highlighted form of violent extremism today. It refers to actions justified by a particular interpretation of Islam, forming a worldwide violent ideological movement. The actors of global Jihadism can be organised individuals, groups, networks or organisations. Stories covering terrorist attacks committed by al-Qaeda and very recently ISIS militants in Europe and North America have swept Westerns and Eastern mainstream media since 1990s. Although it is unequivocal that most attacks – including some public executions of ‘spies’ or other enemies – were carried out in West Asia and North Africa, focus remains persistent…
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Misr Al Qadima, Cairo, Egypt - © Photo: Hakim Khatib/MPC Journal

Controversy of Islamist Politics on Other Belief Systems

Terrorist attacks have been randomly sweeping the world. While uncertainty around bloody conflicts in West Asia and Africa, sectarian politics in Arabia and Iran, integration issues in Europe and North America and lack of democracy in Muslim majority states have become the norms of modern politics, one fact remains certain: Sectarianism has been on the rise in Muslim majority countries. Perhaps there are detectable patterns along these sectarian lines that we can unfold. While the majority of Muslims have been unwillingly dragged into unpleasant discourses, often resulting in their discrimination and alienation based on religious affiliation, there are underlying patterns…
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Head of the Shiite opposition, left, and Sunni Muslim leader of a liberal opposition party, right, hold a sign reading "No Sunni, No Shia: One unified nation" on March 6, 2011.Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.

The Myth and History of Sunni-Shia Divide

Sunnis and Shias have lived together in peace for centuries, and up to the new millennium have barely had a history of bloody conflict. Why now? The Sectarian Elements of a Conflict The Middle East is a mess from which no one can claim exemption. The invasion of Iraq and the Syrian civil war have pulled all the already beleaguered regional governments into tragic quicksand, where alliances and animosities constantly shift. Everyone is stuck in an overly complicated nexus of relations, and the future is so murky no political leader can put forth a plausible way out. The world powers are…
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Analysis of Arab societies through sectarianism does not grasp the complex dynamics of identity politics in the region. MPC Journal/Hakim Khatib

Unlike Sects, Sectarianism Is Real In Arabic Speaking World

Last week, Saudi writer and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, wrote a piece in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper in which he argued that “Sunnis” were targeted as a group and called on them to ‘defend themselves as a sect’. Such flawed, reductionist and ill-informed analysis contributes to little more than reminding us that sectarianism is actually a fait accompli.

Why They Reject Religious Reform

Why They Reject Religious Reform

In a talk show on one of Egypt’s TV channels, an episode turned into a wrestling ring between two guests on a program, when one of the guests, lawyer Nabih Al-Wahsh, a close associate of Al-Azhar, took off his shoes and hit the reformist Sheikh Mustafa Rashid. The debate was about the daring religious edicts (fatwas) of Sheikh Rashid. Sheikh Rashid, a graduate of Al-Azhar himself and the Grand Mufti of Australia, has dozens of publications, fatwas and bold opinions that have been a subject of controversy in debates around Islamic jurisprudence since he issued them. His views are profoundly…
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