Still a long way to go….

by Omar Ali

There can be no doubt that hardcore salafist jihadism (which is the kind of jihadism promoted by alqaeda and its affiliated groups) is not compatible with “normal” life in the modern world. This is not due to the effects of some brilliant US policy or propaganda; it was incompatible even when the CIA and Saudi Arabia and ISI were working together to use it against the soviets in Afghanistan (which is why there has been no peace in Afghanistan since that glorious jihad “succeeded” in 1992). The CIA of course couldn’t care less and simply wrapped up their operation, gave medals to Imam Wilson and left the region to their proteges in the ISI. Saudi Arabia took a little longer to wake up, but by the time Mullah Omar was pouring a jug of cold water on some Saudi prince in Kandahar, their official romance with this project was over. … and …, thanks to their education in National Defence College, proved stupider than their paymasters in Saudi Arabia and their trainers in the CIA and were trying to save some jihadis for their own use until very recently (maybe still trying in North Waziristan, but that game is going to be up soon). So maybe the real question is not how it is now marginalized but how it ever became so powerful? On the other hand, this piece by Fareed Zakaria has more than whiff of Tom Friedman about it, which can never be good. Salafist jihadism is about to lose its last state sponsors, but as a terrorist movement it has many many years left to run. And the various underlying issues that were used by the salafists as recruiting tools have not gone away (Israeli occupation, corruption, injustice, a dozen different ethnic and religious clashes in different places, the question of mosque and state in Islam) and will continue in other forms. Still, I agree that the salafist jihadi wave has crested and outside of afghanistan, pakistan, somalia and yemen, its pretty much confined to the distant fringes of real politics and struggles. Unfortunately, in these countries there is still a long way to go….

Courtesy:, Feb 16, 2010

The Jihad Against the Jihadis – Fareed Zakaria

How moderate Muslim leaders waged war on extremists—and won.

Courtesy: NEWSWEEK

September 11, 2001, was gruesome enough on its own terms, but for many of us, the real fear was of what might follow. Not only had Al Qaeda shown it was capable of sophisticated and ruthless attacks, but a far greater concern was that the group had or could establish a powerful hold on the hearts and minds of Muslims. And if Muslims sympathized with Al Qaeda’s cause, we were in for a herculean struggle. There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims living in more than 150 countries across the world. If jihadist ideology became attractive to a significant part of this population, the West faced a clash of civilizations without end, one marked by blood and tears.

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Sufi chants and revolutions – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Courtesy: Wichaar

If one reads Punjabi [Sindhi] classical poetry, with no presumption of Sufism, it is just good poetry of a certain period that has withstood the test of time. I do not know anybody who would claim that just reading and singing of this poetry would bring social change.

One of our reputable progressive historians asserted in one of his recently published column that chanting Sufi songs cannot change the situation: one needs a modern theory or model to address contemporary problems. I agree with the main assertion but strongly disagree with the intent he has put forth in his argument. His formulation lacks historical perspective of which he is supposed to be an expert.

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By Dr Ali AKbar Dhakan, Karachi, Sindh

The importance of coal has been tremendously realized in the present times of scant resources of energy throughout our country. The quality of coal found in Sindh is one of the best, and sindh is endowed with enormous potential of coal resources.Unfortunately, the coal has not been fully explored and exploited to meet energy requirements with the result that the Country is facing shortage of energy supplies.When Sindh is endowed with huge good quality lignite coal deposits suitable for electric power generation and other applications.It constitutes around 98% of total coal deposits of the country. Historically, coal has been used as a major source of energy since centuries.The industrial revolution and enhanced use of electricity was also due to coal.