If there is any truth in the saying that people vote against, rather than for, someone or something, then the results of the general elections in Pakistan on February 18 are a stinging rebuke to General Pervez Musharraf and the party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e Azam faction, PML-Q), that he created as a civilian façade for his brutal rule.
Most Muslims know that shirk—associating partners with Allah—is the greatest sin one can commit. There are numerous ayaat in the Qur’an (2:165, 4:48, 6:22, 6:137, 6:151, 31:13 and many others) that attest to this. What is less well understood is that there are different forms of shirk.
Every month or two, a new controversy concerning Islam and Muslims erupts in the UK. Sometimes they concern terrorism or extremism, sometimes education or women, sometimes anti-semitism. Often they are based on wildly sensationalised reports of the statements of some Muslim or another, stoked up by the right-wing media to demonise the Muslim community as whole.
On the face of it, Kosova’s declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17 should have been grounds for celebration across the Muslim world. The fact that, a few short years later, Kosova’s declaration of independence, and its recognition by much of the international community, should be greeted with so muted a response among Muslims requires some explanation. As for so much in the Balkans, the explanation lies in history, albeit recent.
The results of Pakistan’s elections last month threw up no great surprises. Perhaps the only unexpected thing about them was that they passed relatively peacefully, with few attempts to disrupt the polling on the day, and only half-hearted attempts by the Musharraf regime to prevent the opposition parties’ successes.
While the public mind waits to see what drama we will have next in the American-led (but Israeli inspired) war on Islamic self-determination, otherwise known as “the war on terror”, zionists or people working for them succeed in assassinating ImadMughniyyeh, a commander of Hizbullah, in – of all places – the diplomatic quarter of Damascus, the capital of Syria.1
As Crescent goes to press, intense campaigning is under way in Malaysia for the general election on March 8. The election was called by prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after almost a year of speculation that turned out to be correct: that it would be held before April this year.
The assassination of Imad Mughniyyeh, the Lebanese Hizbullah’s most senior military commander, who died on February 12 in a bombing in Damascus, is probably the most serious blow that Israel has so far managed to deal the Islamic resistance movement.
Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, the young, staunchly anti-American firebrand of the Iraqi Shi‘a community, has been largely absent from view for more than a year, but the tense anticipation with which decision-makers in Baghdad and Washington awaited his expected announcement at the end of February showed his continued importance to Iraq's political scene and its future.
The US and its allies are not only losing the war in Afghanistan, but their military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), is also on the verge of unravelling as a result of this failure. Several Western officials, including US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, defence secretary Robert Gates, British foreign secretary David Miliband and Lord Paddy Ashdown, a British peer, have in recent days given dire warnings about NATO’s impending collapse.
Jose Padilla, a 37-year-old American citizen, was sentenced to 17 years in prison on January 22, after being found guilty of terrorist offences. The prosecution alleged that he had enrolled in a military training camp in Afghanistan as part of a conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism against Americans.
When rebel groups centred in Sudan's Darfur region attacked Chad's capital, Ndajamena, on February 2 it looked as if the long, corrupt and oppressive rule of presidentIdriss Deby (pic) might be ending, but Chad was not so lucky. As a report in the Economist put it, “Chad is one of Africa's poorest and least stable countries and Mr Deby one of the continent's worst presidents.”
Last month, five young Muslims in Britain were cleared of terrorism charges on appeal, in the latest of a series of trials of Muslims in Britain. FAHAD ANSARI discusses the implications of the case and the growing criminilizations of Islam in Britain.
This month, Muslims all over the world will mark the birth anniversary of the Prophet (saw) with elaborate functions involving na’at recitals and nasheeds. Zafar Bangash, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) asks why Muslims ignore so much of the Seerah.