Terror bred by grievances, not Islam

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S speech at this week’s terrorism conference in the White House sounded to me like a broken record from the George W. Bush administration. Bush and his advisers attributed Muslim terrorism to Islam. “Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him,” said John Ashcroft, Bush’s...

Cow, crescent and star

 Published in  Middle East Policy, Washington, D.C.; December 5, 2014 Mustafa Malik, an international affairs commentator in Washington, is investigating the impact of Hindu nationalism on liberal values and democratic institutions in his native India. Earlier, he conducted fieldwork on religious movements and nationalist experiments in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent as a...

Bringing Indian Muslims out from cold

THE INSTALLATION of India’s Narendra Modi government has triggered concerns among many Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) has included in his Cabinet some of the well-known Muslim baiters such as Indresh Kumar and Sadhvi Rithambara. He has given top administrative posts to bureaucrats accused of involvement in anti-Muslim...

Struggle for Bangladesh’s cultural soul

SYLHET, Bangladesh: Is modernity finally putting brakes on the Islamization campaign in Bangladesh? Is it eroding the nation’s ethnic culture? These questions keep haunting me during trips to Bangladesh. A visit yesterday to  Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet lent the two questions special poignancy. The population of what is now Bangladesh is...

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...

Bangladesh’s epic quest for identity

I’M SADDENED by the bloody mayhem rocking Bangladesh, where I lived and worked through two turbulent decades.  Street fights between the country’s secularist government forces and Islamist activists have claimed dozens of lives. The clashes were triggered by a death sentence handed by a Bangladeshi court to  a leader of the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami. ...

Kashmiris try to globalize struggle

A Kashmiri Muslim noticed my Facebook comment about protests over the gang rape of a medical student in India. The 23-year-old woman has died of injuries from the brutal assault. I had applauded the electrifying protests in New Delhi and elsewhere in the country. And I had expressed hope that they would shame the Indian...

Is Obama a Muslim?

A Republican activist I had met last month at a Middle East Policy Council seminar in Washington called over the weekend. She asked what I thought about President Obama’s speech at the Democratic  convention in Charlotte, N.C., before getting to the reason for her call. Did I know if “Obama is really a Muslim”?  The...

Secularism loses ground in Indian subcontinent

By Mustafa Malik (Published in the Columbus Dispatch, October 12, 2011) Bangladesh has had a big political surprise since my last visit here a year ago.  Its staunchly secular Awami League party government has amended the constitution, making Islam the “state religion”!  The amendment also gave the constitution this opening statement from the Quran:  “In...