Modi winning India vote, losing agenda

Pollsters in India are predicting a big win for the Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) in the country’s three-phase general elections that began on Monday. The ruling Congress party, they say, is headed for a free fall. Entrenched, as it is, in the traditionalist and fundamentalist Hindu base, the BJP has made inroads into...

Is Hindu nationalism mellowing?

NEW DELHI – India’s Hindu nationalists gloated as Nancy Powell, the U.S. ambassador to New Delhi, went to meet Norendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of their Bharatya Janata Party. Indian media described the meeting as America’s “cave-in” and “about face” to the chief minister of Gujarat state. Nine years ago Modi was banned from...

The Hindus outrage Hindus

"Enlightenment liberalism, as all other ideologies, has emerged from a particular set of historical circumstances of particular societies.  It came about mainly a reaction to the omnipresent church’s rigorous rules suppressing the desires, expressions and creativity of everyday Christians. It wasn’t much of a surprise, then, that the ideologues and activists of the Enlightenment avenged the harsh religious repression by banishing religion from the public space."

Don’t write Brotherhood off too soon

(Published in The Daily Star, Lebanon, July 16, 2013) Alejandro Jodorowsy said, “Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.” The French filmmaker’s remark was resoundingly vindicated by Egypt’s liberal elites. They led massive crowds against President Muhammad Mursi and succeeded in getting the all-too-willing army to overthrow his year-old democratically elected government....

Egyptians, unite to rescue democracy!

My hats off to Egypt’s secular and Islamist revolutionaries for the courage and spirit of freedom they demonstrated when they bundled out Hosni Mubarak’s monstrous dictatorship. Over the decades I have developed an interest in Egyptian society and politics. I cherish my friendship with Egyptians in Egypt and the United States. I understand Egyptian secularists’...

Pakistan’s scary quest for roots

WHY IS PAKISTAN being riven by Sunni-Shia and Sunni-Ahmadi strife? A scholar at Columbia University shares his thoughts on the question in a New York Times op-ed entitled “Pakistan’s tyrannical majority.” Manan Ahmed Asif quotes Muhammad Ali Jinnah telling Pakistanis: “[E]very one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations...