Four years have passed since South Sudan seceded from Sudan, and the only thing it has earned so far is violence and internal crisis that seems to have no end in sight. The international community has stood by South Sudan’s side, but the new country has repeatedly let everyone down.
The ongoing violence and civil war in South Sudan has killed and displaced millions of innocent civilians. This young country, carved forcibly out of Africa’s largest nation (erstwhile undivided Sudan), is a living example of a failed state.
But that is not all: recently, South Sudan decided to expel UN officials from its territory, out of fear that cases of human rights violations might reach the rest of the world. Calls to reconsider the decision went unheard, and the United Nations Security Council was forced to impose travel bans and sanctions in response. Continue reading
I recently published a post on Muslim Memo showcasing images of Eid al-Fitr celebrations around the globe. For the audience of my own blog, I am sharing the roundup here.
Just in case you are interested, you can check out the previously published roundups of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
Every year, Muslims observe fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. I recently published the following photo gallery on Muslim Memo, showcasing Ramadan celebrations around the world. Continue reading
Nowadays, if there is one part of the world that repeatedly finds itself in the midst of some conflict or the other, it has to be Western Asia, which is more commonly known as Middle East.
Looking at the present-day map of Middle East is a confusing and heart-breaking experience. There are random boundaries separating one state from another, and issues such as terrorism, political strife, corruption, etc. are rampant.
However, it was not always this way. Not so long ago, Middle East was the pinnacle of peace and prosperity. So what went wrong? In this rather long essay, I will try to explain the root causes of the ongoing strife in the Middle East. Continue reading
Of late, checking the news has become monotonous. Every other day, in virtually all publications and verticals of repute, there is some “expert” or the other busy discussing ways in which Islam is in conflict with the rest of world, or how Islam is having trouble dealing with itself, etc.
None of these so-called “insights” are original, nor do they add any merit to the news in general. Yet, such opinions continue to remain in vogue, and are preferred by the common populace. You know, when you segregate people and talk about ‘us’ versus ‘them’, people enjoy taking sides.
So, I decided to dig deeper, and reflect on what exactly such viewpoints are trying to convey. Is Islam really at war with everyone? Or is Islam having a crisis within itself? Do Muslims need to react? Continue reading
When it comes to the Middle East, everything happens at a pace that is too fast to comprehend. Proxy wars, manipulations and unjustifiable violence — unfortunately, a region so blessed and so beautiful is nowadays mostly known for all the wrong things.
As of now, Iran-Arab relations are turning from bad to worse with sectarian rhetoric and regional rivalries resulting in a weird form of power struggle that will have many losers, and probably zero winners. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have entered into a stare-down in Yemen, and with nearly all the major states of the region taking sides, the flames of these tensions are reaching as far as Turkey and Pakistan. Add to it the fact that the recent nuclear deal between P5+1 and Iran can affect regional strife even further, and the chances of a zero sum game look even bleak.
At this point, one needs to wonder: what can be the possible solution for Middle East? Continue reading
On March 18, a student in Pine Bush High School near New York City recited the American Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. This was done as part of the school’s Foreign Language Week, which was conducted to celebrate the “many races, cultures and religions that make up [the US and the Pine Bush] School District.”
One would expect the multicultural and cosmopolitan American society to appreciate such gestures. However, reactions to the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic spoke otherwise: the language in itself was described to be meant for terrorists! Such bigotry once again highlighted everything that is wrong with USA nowadays: xenophobia, racism, ignorance, violence and above all, Islamophobia. Continue reading
Of late, countries at the centre of the world — Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and even Lebanon for that matter — are going through troubles and disturbances. Be it the Arab Spring or militant insurgency, the overall atmosphere in most countries of the region has been turbulent, to say the least.
However, right next to these countries, the Gulf states, in spite of all their internal and external problems, have enjoyed relative comfort. Partly due to the fact that the natives of Gulf tend to prefer political stability over chaos, and partly on account of the cash reserves that oil and hydrocarbons keep generating, the Gulf states have, by and large, kept insurgency and instability away from their respective territories.
Yet, this does not imply that life is a bed of roses for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In fact, recently, the GCC has been doing its share of research and brainstorming over security and diplomacy issues. As of now, the security calculations of Gulf countries are being radically shaken. Continue reading
Back in 2011, South Sudan broke away from Sudan and declared itself as an independent state. Western media verticals, as well as many pro-secession pundits claimed that statehood will usher in a new era of prosperity and growth for South Sudan, and eventually, even Sudan will have to acknowledge the superiority of the South Sudanese state.
Apparently, those dreams are yet to come true, and with things going the way they currently are, prospects do not seem promising for South Sudan.
In fact, I have written about South Sudan multiple times: back in 2013 itself, I termed South Sudan to be a failed state — I am yet to be proven wrong. In 2014, troubled by the loss of life and property in South Sudan, I questioned the logic of secession, and even thought of ways to fix the blunder named South Sudan.
However, all said and done, South Sudan continues to prove itself as a failed state. Continue reading
Every year in December, Christians all around the world celebrate Christmas, marking the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, when it comes to venerating Christ, most Christians tend to go out-of-the-way and claim ownership of Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is viewed as the Son of God, or God Incarnate.
However, there is another religion that pays equal, if not greater, respect to Jesus, albeit in a slightly different manner.
Unlike Christianity that began respecting Christ only after he had left this world, Islamic veneration of Jesus began during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad himself.
Islam views Jesus as a Prophet of God, rather than Son of God. Jesus, or Isa as he is called in Arabic, is referred to by name in nearly 25 different verses of The Quran, with titles such as Messenger, Prophet, and even Messiah. In fact, all Muslim theologians view Jesus as a precursor to Prophet Muhammad.
So, is the fact that both Christianity and Islam respect Jesus enough to build bridges between the two religions? Or are the different versions a source of perennial tension between adherents of the two faiths? Continue reading