Syria: Needed US-Islamist detente

THE UNITED STATES has taken a welcome step to tackle the Syrian crisis. It has joined Russia in arranging a peace conference in Geneva next month, which, unfortunately, would also expose America’s diminished global standing. The end of Syria’s murderous Bashar al-Assad regime will come, however, from its eventual attrition from the uprising. A main...

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...

Time to get over anti-Islamist paranoia

ANDREW J. BACEVICH says “the big story of Muslim self-determination is likely to continue unimpeded” and lead to the rollback of American hegemony over Muslim societies.  In his Washington Post piece, the historian recalled that when the British Empire was collapsing, it could turn over its “imperial responsibility” to the United States.  But Americans today,...

Obama, Romney clueless about Islam

That was a shocker. On Monday, Mitt Romney launched a blistering, if empty,  assault on President Obama’s allegedly “passive”  policy toward Muslim extremists and terrorists. The Republican presidential nominee accused the president of not being able to tackle “violent extremists,” some of whom stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Obama “passive” about extremists and...

Obama’s sermon on extremism

President Obama  told the U.N. General Assembly that Muslims must shun “extremism” and exercise “tolerance” for their adversaries. He was referring to the violence-prone protest rallies that the American film “Innocence of Muslims” has triggered in many Muslim countries. The amateurish video shows  the Prophet Muhammad in pornographic poses and other demeaning postures. Some Muslim...

The outrage: Revisit free speech

 (Published in the San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 2012) It was a reprehensible crime. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. diplomatic staff members were nurturing excellent U.S.-Libyan relations until they were murdered by a Muslim mob in Benghazi. Many Libyans will fondly remember Stevens’ hard work to implement the U.S. policy to facilitate...

Democracy fluid in Bangladesh

By Mustafa Malik SYLHET, Bangladesh – Paralyzing general strikes, known here as hartal, remain a common and effective tool of democratic politics in Bangladesh. A local opposition politician has been kidnapped from a highway, which the opposition says was arranged by the ruling Awami League party. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to which the abducted...

Aiding Arab freedom serves U.S.

(Published in the Columbus Dispatch, April 30, 2011) By Mustafa Malik Democratization of Arab societies “would be a disaster” for the West, warns Princeton University scholar Bernard Lewis. Yet he predicts that Islamic political parties are “very likely to win … genuinely fair and free elections” in the Arab world. One of the West’s best-known...