The Great Debate UK

from FaithWorld:

Bin Laden ‘eased’ into sea in contentious burial

May 3, 2011

(Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama bin Laden was buried at sea somewhere in the north Arabian Sea/U.S. Navy)

from The Great Debate:

Why democracy will win

By Philip N. Howard
March 25, 2011


Philip N. Howard, an associate professor at the University of Washington, is the author of "The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy:  Information Technology and Political Islam". The opinions expressed are his own.

from FaithWorld:

Handouts dash Saudi king’s reformer reputation

By Reuters Staff
March 21, 2011

saudi king

(Saudi King Abdullah addresses the nation from his office at the Royal Palace in Riyadh March 18, 2011/Saudi Press Agency)

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Egypt and Pakistan; something borrowed, something new

February 9, 2011

candelightThe Egyptian uprising contains much that is familiar to Pakistan - the dark warnings of a coup, in Egypt's case delivered by Vice President Omar Suleiman, the role of political Islam, and a relationship with the United States distorted by U.S. aid and American strategic interests which do not match those of the people.

from FaithWorld:

Can Arabs learn from Turkish model of Islam and democracy?

February 3, 2011


(Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, December 2, 2008/Umit Bektas)

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, blasphemy, and a tale of two women

January 24, 2011

blasphemyprotestFor all the bad news coming out of Pakistan, you can't help but admire the courage of two very different women who did what their political leaders failed to do -- stood up to the religious right after the killing of Punjab governor Salman Taseer over his call for changes to the country's blasphemy laws.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan and the taboo of secularism

January 8, 2011

graveFor everyone trying to understand the implications of Salman Taseer's assassination, this essay from 2007 is good place to start (h/t Abu Muqawama).  "The Politics of God" is about why Europe decided, after years of warfare over the correct interpretation of Christianity, to separate church and state.  But it is also relevant to Pakistan, where the killing of the Punjab governor over his opposition to the country's blasphemy laws has shown that what was left of Pakistani secularism, is, if not dead, at least in intensive care.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

In Pakistan, a death foretold

January 4, 2011

taseerIn one of the more anguished posts about the murder of provincial governor Salman Taseer, Pakistani blogger Huma Imtiaz wrote that his assassination "is not the beginning of the end. This is the end. There is no going back from here, there is no miracle cure, there is no magic wand that will one day make everything better. Saying 'enough is enough' does not cut it anymore ..."

from FaithWorld:

Saudi king, religious police, Islam and donkeys – via WikiLeaks

December 8, 2010

mutaween 1 (Photo: Religious police perform dusk prayers with Saudi youth outside a Riyadh cafe on June 27, 2010 during half-time of the Germany-England World Cup soccer match. The police ensured that people watching matches in cafes said their prayers during the tournament/Fahad Shadeed)

WikiLeaks has come up with an interesting insight into the way King Abdullah views his own kingdom's religious police, the mutaween who enforce Islamic behaviour in public. A cable from the Riyadh embassy entitled IDEOLOGICAL AND OWNERSHIP TRENDS IN THE SAUDI MEDIA and dated 11 May 2009 mentions what appears to be a U.S. diplomat's visit to a Saudi newspaper editor whose name is XXXed out. The Saudi says the king had visited the office and complained about how ignorant the religious police were about Islam and how they  treated people like donkeys:

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

“Orientalism” in Afghanistan and Pakistan

October 22, 2010

dust storm twoIn his must-read essay on the debate about the state of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, Amil Khan has one of the best opening lines I've seen for a while: "Much is said about Pakistan, but I'm constantly saddened that so many innocent pixels are lost without good cause."