Stories about Boko Haram

Is it really the end of the Islamic State?

On November 21, 2017, media outlets reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Soon after, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Syria’s Bashar al Assad, and then with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, all three intent on reinforcing their hegemonies. Regime change in Syria now seems even more unlikely, not to mention justice for the victims of Assad’s war crimes. Erdogan will continue to silence opposition and allocate more resources in his offensive against the Kurds, while Putin strengthens ties with two allies in the Middle East. Thus, even without the IS, the ...

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For the US, friends and enemies aren’t important, only interests are

Growing up, we form friendships, alliances and enmities in playgrounds and classrooms. There are clear rules that govern our interactions and attitudes towards those we call friends and those we regard as enemies or our friends’ enemies. It’s mostly cut and dry and there’s very little room for ambiguity. As we grow up, we begin to see shades of grey and the thick dividing lines that existed in our minds begin to blur. However, somewhere that conditioned perception of a clear demarcation between good versus bad and friend versus enemy persists in our psyche. International relations are complex. There are layers and subtexts that ...

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Donald Trump as US president would trump rationality and tolerance

The distinction between the religious right-of-centre and the loony religious right is more pronounced in the west as compared to India and Pakistan, where the difference is usually a blur. An example of this is David Cameron referring to anti-Muslim bigots engaging in violent hate crimes. He said this amounts to them being no different to jihadists. The conventional interpretation about endorsing a holy war against evils within oneself or an armed struggle in case of violation of one’s rights against the specific aggressors only after peaceful modes of conflict resolution have now been exhausted. Furthermore, former Muslims’ endorsing violent interpretations should not ...

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Is prayer a better way to deal with depression than treatment from a mental health professional?

I’d like you to take a moment to imagine two people. Both follow the same religious scripture, with equal regularity yet one interprets the passages as peaceful instructions on life, while the other sees them as commands to violently confront anyone who disagrees with certain worldviews. The disparity is drastic. They read the same words, yet the comprehension is as different as a chalk or cheese. When we speak of the religious extremism that plagues the world and its driving factors we rightly mention political unrest, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, violent text, the mullah culture, and more, but what we fail to talk about ...

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If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

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Changing the perception of Islam in the world is a Muslim’s responsibility

Ever since the Paris attack on November  13, 2015, and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, that left 14 people dead, there is growing antagonism against the Muslim community in the United Sates leading to increase in hate crimes like arson and vandalism at mosques, targeting hijab wearing women causing insecurity among the Muslim communities. Sadly, even the Sikhs have not been spared for they have often been mistaken to be representing radical Islamic elements. Many of the gurdwaras have been desecrated and many Sikhs had to bear the brunt of racist attacks. The politicians, especially ...

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Why do over 17 million Pakistanis hold a ‘favourable’ view of ISIS?

At first glance, it looks like an overenthusiastic Black Friday sale by Q-Mobile and Huawei, but a closer look at the unmistakably grim faces next to the long banners reveal that this group was involved in Pakistan’s favourite pastime – a protest. Photo: Kashif N Chaudhry Photo: Kashif N Chaudhry Photo: Mohammad Jibran Nasir – Official Yes, we love a good protest, don’t we? We gleefully demonstrate against the sentencing of murderer Mumtaz Qadri, who incidentally threatened to commit the anti-Islamic act of suicide after being hailed as the ideal Muslim and says he isn’t ...

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You think ISIS is the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world? Well, it’s not.

So you thought ISIS was the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world? Well, it’s not. The deadliest is Boko Haram. The outfit overtook ISIS in 2014 in terms of the number of innocent people killed. To make matters worse, the group has already pledged allegiance to ISIS making it a deadly and potent outsourced partner in Africa. While global media is abuzz with the ISIS catastrophe, Boko Haram – a Nigerian terrorist organisation – is laying strong foundations in North and West Africa. The outfit, based in Nigeria, is also active in Cameroon, Niger and Chad. It also carries attacks in other African ...

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Why do Muslims play victims of free-speech but make excuses for apostasy and blasphemy?

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), as reported by The Express Tribune on September 1, 2015, initiated a nationwide campaign to ‘create awareness about the religion (Islam)’ by displaying billboards that, as ICNA spokesman Nadeem Baig stated, hopes to,“raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about the Muslim Americans”. The billboards contain messages such as how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) supports ‘peace, social justice and women’s rights’. Photo: Islamic Circle of North America Facebook page Yahoo News also covered ICNA’s crusade and the comments section got flooded by anti-Muslim vitriol. Such comments demonstrate that Islam has a poor image in ...

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Donald Trump, you’re racist and you’re fired!

Joaquin Guzman also known as El Chapo (meaning shorty) is being hailed as the real Shawshank after a mind-boggling escape from the Altiplano prison through a one-mile long tunnel, an engineering marvel on its own.  The gravity of negligence on part of the Mexican security officials and seriousness of the flak coped by Mexican Premier Enrique Pena in the wake of an embarrassing escape of the world’s most feared drug lord jibed to the lighter side when American rapper Pitbull took on Donald trump,  after the latter’s racist remarks on Hispanic immigrants. It all began to simmer when Trump of The Apprentice fame kick started his presidential campaign. He resorted to clichés such as, “Sadly, ...

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