Three times in the last 50 years – in 1960, 1971 and 1980 – the Turkish military has seized power from civilian governments whose policies they deemed unacceptable. In 1997, Turkey suffered a “soft coup”, when the military forced prime minister Necmeddin Erbakan out of power for being too Islamic.
The countrywide protests that began in Pakistan when President General Pervez Musharraf declared the country’s Chief Justice (CJ), Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, “non-functional” on March 9 are continuing, with no sign of the crisis being resolved in the foreseeable future. For the CJ’s supporters, the ideal outcome would be the withdrawal of charges against him at the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) – a forum for internal accountability of the judiciary – and his restoration to his position; in other words, a return to the status quo existing before March 9.
In recent years, Syria has come to occupy a somewhat paradoxical international profile. On the one hand, it is an authoritarian dictatorship in the best traditions of the modern Middle East. On the other, it is a constant target of US political attack; accused of being a sponsor of terrorism because of its enmity to Israel, and relations with Hizbullah and Islamic Iran.
If a country’s architecture can be taken as indicating its status in the world, that of Istanbul reflects fairly accurately both Turkey’s past and its present. While the grandeur of its historic buildings are vivid reminders of past glories, the blandness of its contemporary buildings–concrete and glass boxes–reflects the disrupting influence and ultimate vacuousness of its Westernization.
The threat to Muslims from an imperialistic American-Israeli power will not go away even if “Islamic terrorism” ends. The war-elites in Washington and Tel Aviv spent most of the last century sapping the resources of the world in what was supposedly a life-and-death struggle with communism. When communism collapsed, the politicians went looking for a new enemy to justify continuing their aggressive policies. Unable to find any convincing enemies to promote, they set about creating one from the movements of resistance created by their own policies; and so we now have “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamo-fascism”.
At the end of April, western human rights and charitable bodies organized a series of events to mark the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in the Darfur region of western Sudan. During this period, Darfur has become a by-word for human tragedy, with the Sudanese government of Omar Bashir being blamed for perpetrating a “genocide” against “African” tribes-people in the region, with the help of the notorious Janjaweed, described as militants belonging to “Arab” tribes, supported and equipped by the Sudanese government.
Barely a month after he announced his intention of returning to the political stage, Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister, is back in limelight. Since being released from jail in late 2004, he had been travelling around the world delivering speeches to academic institutions and thinktanks. Now he has promised to give the Malaysian opposition a shot in the arm.
On March 31 a five-year-old boy wandered out of his parents’ sight during a shopping trip to a mall in Kuala Lumpur. The story immediately made its way into the mainstream media, which began publicizing the parents’ desperate plea to anyone to return their missing child. Most had little hope of finding the boy, at least not alive.
Palestine has seldom been out of the news in recent years. In the last few years the separation wall has been built, the second intifada has taken place, Israel has withdrawn from Ghazzah, and also perpetrated further incursions into and land-appropriation in the West Bank. With all this going on, international humanitarian and human-rights laws have been largely thrown out of the window, and the Israelis continue with impunity to disregard laws and treaties to which they are signatories. In Palestine, the issue of political prisoners is an ongoing one.
Some three months after US and Iraqi forces launched their much-trumpeted security plan, code-named “Operation Imposing Law” (Fardh al-Qanun), designed primarily to secure the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and the restive al-Anbar province, the Iraqi insurgency has shown no significant sign of waning.
The Maghreb countries in North Africa are rich in oil and gas resources, and have substantial tourist potential. However, bureaucracy and corruption – familiar ills in every public and business sector – have blocked economic development. Consequently poverty is endemic; educational and employment opportunities are few in a region most of whose people are young and eager to learn and work. Add to this the fact that political (especially Islamic) opposition is severely suppressed and thereby driven underground, and it becomes obvious why the region has long been subject to violence, and has recently suffered suicide bombings for the first time.
Somalia’s transitional government (TG) claimed the victory when the shelling of Muqdisho (Mogadishu, the capital) by the Ethiopian army during the recent ten-day confrontation with supporters of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) came to an end on April 27.
Exile has replaced execution by noose or firing-squad as the preferred method of getting rid of troublesome politicians in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Serious questions have been raised about the attempt to bomb India’s parliament in New Delhi in December 2001. Human rights activists in India are campaigning against the death sentence passed against one of those accused. Fahad Ansari reports.1
On the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (saw) last month, the Islamic State organized a number of unity conferences on the Seerah. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, attended conferences in Tehran and Istanbul.