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Showing posts from May, 2017

Taliban Targeting of Islamic Scholars - A Vicious Campaign to Control Religious Narrative

Taliban Target: Scholars of Islam
By MUJIB MASHAL and JAWAD SUKHANYAR
New York Times, MAY 28, 2017

TOGH-BAIRDI, Afghanistan — A lone grave, its dirt mound shaded under the drooping branches of a mulberry tree and kept adorned with flowers, has become a daily stop for seminary students and staff members near Togh-Bairdi, in northern Afghanistan.

It is the burial site of Mawlawi Shah Agha Hanafi, a revered religious scholar who founded the seminary about two decades ago and helped it grow into a thriving school for 1,300 students, including 160 girls. This month, the Taliban planted a bomb that killed him as he conducted a discussion about the Prophet Muhammad’s traditions, and his grave, at a corner of the seminary grounds, has become a gathering place for prayer and grief.
“When I come to work, the first thing I do is recite a verse of the Quran at his grave,” said Jan Agha, the headmaster of the seminary, in Parwan Province. “Then I weep, and then I go to my office.”
The scholars hav…

Who are the new jihadis? - An Insightful analysis by Olivier Roy

Who are the new jihadis? Biographies of ‘homegrown’ European terrorists show they are violent nihilists who adopt Islam, rather than religious fundamentalists who turn to violence
by Olivier Roy

There is something new about the jihadi terrorist violence of the past two decades. Both terrorism and jihad have existed for many years, and forms of “globalised” terror – in which highly symbolic locations or innocent civilians are targeted, with no regard for national borders – go back at least as far as the anarchist movement of the late 19th century. What is unprecedented is the way that terrorists now deliberately pursue their own deaths.
Over the past 20 years – from Khaled Kelkal, a leader of a plot to bomb Paris trains in 1995, to the Bataclan killers of 2015 – nearly every terrorist in France blew themselves up or got themselves killed by the police. Mohamed Merah, who killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, uttered a variant of a famous statement at…

My Return to Blogging & plan to focus on broader issues in South West Asia

I am returning to active blogging after a few years in response to requests from some loyal followers. The purpose remains educational in focus and I hope to use this medium to alert my students and other followers about informative and insightful publications on South and South West Asia besides occasional updates about my own writings, travel reports and events.