In Iraq, tens of people are dying every day as a result of Iraqi resistance operations against US, British and Iraqi government forces, operations against resistance groups, and fighting between militias representing various political factions (most of them sectarian). No one doubts that the US has failed utterly in its agenda there, and that the country is in chaos.
Every US president enters the twilight zone of his presidency with trepidation. Given the enormous power and prestige of this office, seeing it slip from one’s grasp must be a particularly painful experience. For George Bush it is even worse, as he has presided over a series of disasters regarded as largely of his own making.
We at Crescent routinely criticise “extremists” of various kinds within the Islamic movement, whether they be sectarian extremists, or militant extremists, who regard military jihad as the be-all and end-all of the struggle of the Islamic movement; or religious extremists, who reduce Islam to nothing more than personal or spiritual religiosity.
It is sometimes tempting to read the news coming out of Palestine and regard it simply as more of the same. Nonetheless, there are significant developments over time, which need to be considered. The latest of these is a renewed effort by the US and international bodies to promote Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah party as the Palestinians’ true leaders and real representatives.
The United States of America, the sole superpower in the world, or the so-called “hyper-power”, the one with the most advanced armed forces, with satellites in the air and spies everywhere, is getting its nose bloodied in Afghanistan and suffering military defeat in Iraq. And who is inflicting these humiliations? Mujahideen armed with little more than iron determination to expel the occupiers from their homelands.
After a quarter of a century in power, president Husni Mubarak of Egypt appears not to have learnt how to avoid making damaging decisions on sensitive occasions. Unleashing yet another crackdown on the popular and ‘moderate’ Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, he chose the month of Ramadan as the occasion for expressing his anger. The crackdown also occurred on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Hassan al-Banna, the Ikhwan’s founder.
That Yemen is in the grip of poverty, drought, political mismanagement and corruption is not in doubt. Nor is there any doubt that Yemen is steeped in tribal and regional tension and, at times, confrontation that might again split the country into South Yemen (a former British colony) and North Yemen.
It is widely argued that the United Nations is needed for the promotion of international peace and security, as well as for the protection of human rights and the advancement of human development worldwide. But it is also widely held that the UN is unequal to its tasks, mainly because a few powerful states have a monopoly over its decisions and control the selection and functions of its secretary general and other officials. It is not, therefore, surprising that it is those very countries, led by the US, which oppose every attempt to improve the functions, procedures and powers of the UN and its various officials and agencies. Worldwide attention on these fault lines was focused by the appointment of the foreign minister of South Korea (which is a close ally of the US) as secretary general to succeed Kofi Annan, whose term of office ends in December.
Ramadan 1427 provided enough evidence of the truth in Allah’s words for any Muslim to solidify his or her faith. Almost daily for about three weeks, minister after minister, newspaper after newspaper, commentator after commentator voiced opinions about the “Muslim problem” and how to solve it.
According to a poll published on October 24, only 32 percent of Turks still want to join the European Union: less than half of those who were in favour of it two years ago. This dramatic drop in enthusiasm for EU membership is due mainly to the undisguised arrogance shown to Turkey in recent months by the EU and its members, notably France. This shabby treatment of an old ally of the West contrasts sharply with the recent speedy admission of new applicants from Eastern Europe to the EU.
At the OIC Summit earlier this year, Muslim governments indicated a desire to counter the increasing sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi’as. Last month they followed up with a Declaration aimed specifically at the sectarian violence in Iraq. Crescent correspondent NASR SALEM discusses the Makkah Declaration and its implications.
In view of the present situation in Iraq, where bloodshed is widespread, and where aggression on assets and property, perpetrated under the guise of Islam, is daily occurrence, and in response to the invitation of the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and under the umbrella of the OIC International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), We the scholars of Iraq, from both the Sunnis and the Shiites, having met in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in Ramadan of the Lunar Hijra year of 1427H (2006) and deliberated on the situation in Iraq and the disastrous plight of the Iraqi people, issue and proclaim the following Declaration
Although little noticed elsewhere in the Ummah, a popular Islamic movement has taken power in Somalia and is under attack from neighbouring Ethiopia, backed by the US. MAHMOUD AHMED SHAIKH reports.
Every year there is confusion in the Ummah over the correct days for marking the beginning and end of Ramadan. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, and a community leader in Toronto, Canada, explains how the issue could be resolved.
The guns of Israel’s war of aggression had hardly fallen silent in August when Hizbullah, which emerged victorious after its fighters fought the most powerful military machine in the Middle East to a standstill, found itself in a number of domestic political battles. Some of the bones of contention are related to post-war reconstruction and the future makeup of the Lebanese cabinet; other issues are enmeshed with US-led efforts to disarm Hizbullah and put an end to its role as a resistance movement.
Never has the spectre of disintegration, following full-blown civil war, seemed so imminent in Iraq as in recent weeks. Fears of the break-up of the country into feuding entities are being fuelled not only by the passage of a new federalism law through Iraq’s parliament but also by growing indications of support for the division of Iraq in the US. Despite all the shrill talk from US president George W. Bush’s officials about “staying the course” and never to “cut and run,” the fact remains that Washington has been abuzz with discussions of alternative courses of action, which include breaking Iraq up into three autonomous regions.