Stories about Islamic State (IS)

Arbaeen: “If you want to see humanity living and breathing, experience this walk”

The 40th – or Arbaeen in Arabic – holds great significance in the traditions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Ahle Bait (AS). Arbaeen marks the completion of Ashura, the day when Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred on the planes of Karbala. Since then, his followers and lovers walk to their beloved as they feel his plight as their own. The walk particularly takes place in the memory of the return of Imam Hussain’s (RA) family from Syria, after getting freed from the shackles of Yazid. People from different parts of the world participate in this event, which remained banned ...

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Annihilating Raqqa while allowing thousands of IS terrorists to escape – who was the US trying to kill?

Amnesty International released an explosive report last week, which described the US-led coalition’s disproportionate and indiscriminate war in Raqqa as the US-led “war of annihilation”. The report confirmed what some people have suspected for a while but few have dared to even talk about. Namely, that the United States and its allies have completely destroyed a Syrian city, and left almost nothing but death and destruction in their wake.   In coming to its conclusion, Amnesty researchers visited 42 coalition air strike sites across the city and interviewed 112 civilian residents who had survived the ordeal. The results of their investigation ...

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The Syrian conflict approaches its seventh year, but the inhumanity is endless

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows that the war is over. Everybody knows that the good guys lost.” – Leonard Cohen, Everybody knows 1988 As Syria labels its latest escalation with Washington DC a ‘war crime’, an obscene irony in a civil war fast devolved into a brutal proxy war, on the threshold of its seven year anniversary, the world’s most violent proxy war is fast spinning out of orbit. The developments are dizzying. NATO’s two largest armies, in a tense face-off, now stand on opposite sides of the conflict. In the cross hairs aimed at one another, the Kurdish forces – the Pershmaga, astonishing ...

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Islamophobia is an undeniable fact in the West, but Muslim Americans can’t jump the gun and label every act as hate crime

It is true that Islamophobia is a real phenomenon; Muslims have been and continue to be targeted because of their faith, principles and values. There are segments of societies in the western world that stereotype Muslims as gangsters, thugs and terrorists, want them barred from ever entering their countries, and it is highly unlikely that this hostile attitude towards Muslims will simmer down anytime soon. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is a racist bigot who hates Muslims (but not his rich Arab friends) and will continue to incite violence against law-abiding Muslims wherever and whenever he can. Having said that, and in the light of recent developments ...

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Some fall and some rise, and 2017 proved just that

Another year has come and gone, while another approaches very soon. This year was quite eventful for Pakistan where China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects gathered steam, a sitting prime minister got ousted, international cricket teams came to Pakistan, and right-wingers took over the Faizabad interchange. Interestingly, this past year also witnessed the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in Europe, record-breaking hurricanes in the US, and the rise of a modern, reformist crown successor in Saudi Arabia. More specifically, following is a list of notable events of this past year: America’s new president New York real estate billionaire, Donald Trump, was inaugurated as the 45th President of ...

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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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The Iraq intervention ensued and we said “never again” – yet here we are, silent, when it comes to intervention in Myanmar and Yemen

“The world has abandoned us,” was the message that was sent loud and clear last year to the global community from the victims of Aleppo, Syria. There were clear reports of chemical attacks against inhabitants, including children, perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Yet, the international community watched helplessly as rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the largest town in Syria, descended into a humanitarian catastrophe. While the crisis received reasonable coverage in international media, it failed to mobilise large-scale demonstrations in western capital cities. There were more people gathered in front of the French Embassy to mock the burkini ban than there were to ...

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Can the Kurdish referendum potentially destabilise the Middle East?

Over the last few weeks, political conversations in Iraq have mostly revolved around the historic Kurdish referendum. This referendum allowed the Kurds to declare independence from the Iraqi central government in Baghdad. The Kurds are a stateless ethnic group of people who inhabit spaces in modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. They’ve been one of the most persecuted groups in history and it was only recently, in 2005, that they gained constitutional recognition in Iraq. A few days before the referendum, I asked an Iraqi friend about what the referendum entails and if it would prove to be successful. He smiled and informed me that Baghdad had been resisting ...

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Can Islam and democracy coexist in today’s world?

Germany has given its verdict and elected Angela Merkel for the fourth consecutive term. Her victory has relieved many as her popularity took a nosedive after her brave decision to take in refugees in 2015. However, at the same time, the reduced margin of her victory has also raised alarms. The German far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has accumulated 13% of the total votes, becoming the first such party to win so many seats in more than 50 years. The improvement in its vote tally is remarkable, given the fact that it only won 4.7% of the total votes in the 2013 elections, narrowly missing the ...

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US-Pakistan-Afghanistan: The gloves are now off

Like millions of Americans, I watched President Donald Trump’s speech from my living room on August 21, 2017. It is the third time an American president has addressed our nation on Afghanistan, now the longest war in American history. To those of us familiar with the region, the speech was business as usual, with a few notable changes. But for those Americans with loved ones in Pakistan, the president’s speech was a plainspoken warning – fall in line Pakistan, or face the consequences. Taking the speech to its furthest extrapolation, without change, Pakistan will soon face US sanctions. Certainly for Pakistan, clouds are gathering. The Trump administration ...

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