There has always been debate within the Islamic movement about the propriety and importance of engaging the West or subsystems of it (such as Christian churches) in discussion about issues that divide Muslims from Jews and Christians. Such low-decibel but high-profile discussion has produced numerous platforms for “inter-faith” dialogue or trialogue, countless ecumenical meetings, and now a proverbial “dialogue of civilizations”, conducted on the part of the Muslims by a bewildering range of official and non-officials institutions and “leaders”.
Barack Obama, Democratic party presidential nominee, calls it the “good war”; his Republican rival, John McCain, insists that he will “chase Osama to the gates of hell.” Americans are being told that Afghanistan is the “right war” and that it is “winnable”, in contrast to Iraq.
Unable to contain (much less defeat) the resistance that has spread to most parts of Afghanistan in the last two years, the US has decided to bomb its way to “victory” by attacking Pakistan on the spurious pretext that it is going after insurgent sanctuaries across the border.
The recent history of Pakistan seems to be one of crisis after crisis, punctuated only by periods of waiting to see what the next crisis will be. Developments in the last month, however, have been ominous and dangerous even by Pakistani standards, raising genuine fears that the crisis now developing may reduce the country to levels of disorder and chaos unprecedented even in Pakistan’s turbulent history.
Within a period of less than 30 years, Muslims have consigned one superpower—the Soviet Union—to the dustbin of history and are about to deliver the other—the US—to the same fate, together with its regional surrogate, Israel. The achievements against the US are particularly remarkable because the mujahideen have had little or no external help.
In a few months’ time, Crescent International will insha’Allah complete 37 years of publication. During that time, it has inevitably seen many changes. It began as a local community paper in Toronto in the 1970s, before being transformed into a newsmagazine of the global Islamic movement after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, under the influence of Dr Kalim Siddiqui.1
If anyone hoped that the security pact being negotiated between the US and Iraq was rising above the cycle of frustrations and false starts, then such fanciful thoughts can now be dismissed. On September 17 Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki told a group of Iraqi journalists that “there are very serious and dangerous obstacles facing the deal.
A powerful truck bomb tore through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad a few hours after Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s newly-elected President, addressed a joint session of Parliament on September 20. According to police sources, 53 persons were killed and more than 250 injured.
On September 8, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court found three Muslim men, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, guilty of conspiracy to murder using home-made bombs. Four of their co-defendants, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Ibrahim Savant and Umar Islam, had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance.
There are many unknown victims of the US’s global war on Islamic dissidence. The plight of one of them hit the headlines earlier this summer, after years in which nothing was known of her. FAHAD ANSARI reports on the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Muslimah now in US custody after disappearing in Pakistan in 2003.
To mark the cccasion of Yaum al-Quds this year, Crescent International in South Africa published a booklet analysing the rise of Hamas and the current state of the Palestinian struggle. Here we publish an abridged version of this booklet. The full version is available on the website of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought.