Islam and Secularism in the Middle East edited by John L. Esposito and Azzam Tamimi. Pub: New York University Press, New York, NY 10003, USA, 2000. Pp: 214. Pbk: $18.95.
An interesting and ironic message appeared on an Islamic e-mail forum early this year. The author, a supporter of the Taliban and Usama bin Ladin, had previously been extremely critical of the Islamic State of Iran, which he saw as a sectarian, Shi’i state.
That Israel is a terrorist state and its prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is a war-criminal are undeniable. The murder on January 24 of Elie Hobeika, himself one of the most notorious war-criminals in Lebanon, was almost certainly carried out by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
Since succeeding his father, Hafez, as president in 2000, Bashar al-Asad has been going through the motions of reforming the political, security and economic policies and practices bequeathed to him. But although he has released most of Syria’s estimated 50,000 political prisoners, declared corruption his principal target, and made some changes to the cabinet...
Senator Sam Brownback, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was more honest than Filipino officials when he said that the Philippines is to be the “next Afghanistan.”
US allies in South-East Asia have been quick to seize the opportunity offered by the West’s anti-terrorism campaign to act against Islamic activism among the region’s ocean of Muslims. Few now bother to deny that the US is working towards a direct military role in the region.
George W. Bush’s inauguration as president a year ago followed one the most controversial and tainted elections in US history. A year later, with all attention turned to the ‘war against terrorism’, he hopes to be remembered as a great president. YUSUF AL-KHABBAZ has a better memory...
General Pervez Musharraf won widespread praise for his speech of January 12, attacking Pakistan’s Islamic institutions, not only from the West but from other established enemies of Islam such as Indian home affairs minister L. K. Advani and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.
America’s treatment of prisoners from Afghanistan has embarrassed even its closest allies. France and Germany have officially urged Washington to ensure that the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are treated lawfully, and the European Union has called for their rights to be protected.
The former Soviet republics of Central Asia are not teeming with US servicemen, but more than 1,000 troops are based in Uzbekistan, and US forces have been allowed to use air-bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
With Qazi Husain Ahmed, its amir (leader), in detention since October, the Jama’at-e Islami, an Islamic political party in Pakistan, is feeling somewhat adrift, although acting amir Syed Munawwar Hasan is trying gamely to lead.
A call for a nevitalized role for Muslim ulama in overcoming the Zionist menace sounded in Beirut in late December, when about 130 senior ulama from around the world descended on the Lebanese capital to attend a two-day conference on “Saving Jerusalem and Supporting the Palestinian People.”
US diplomats in Yemen, have been travelling through the country in recent weeks conferring with tribal leaders, particularly in areas allegedly serving as safe-havens for al-Qaeda activists, and inspecting religious schools suspected of receiving funding from Bin Ladin.