The New Face of the Islamic State

Source: Amag/CNN

After the disintegration of the physical Islamic State from Iraq and Syria, the organization has found refuge in Islamist pockets around the world. The ruthless Easter bombings, killing at least 359 and injuring scores more, shocked the entire world for the sheer damage it did to a peaceful community. This was a coordinated series of at least 8 bombings hitting both churches and a couple of luxury hotels. Right away, the thoughts of the remnants of the LTTE groups came to many a people’s minds but many were deliberately trying to avoid even suspecting a Muslim group.

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Many usual critics of Islamist groups, including Tarek Fatah, were suspecting the Islamic State or an affiliated local group right from the start. No other entity would have the motivation to pick Easter and target churches and hotels in such an organized and cold-blooded manner. It indeed turned out that the Islamic State finally took the responsibility for the heinous attacks which was carried out by perhaps the strangest of their allies.

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Source: Sebastian Church/CBCP News

All the suicide bombers were found to be Sri Lankan nationals and suspected to be a part of the local Islamist group National Tawheed Jamaat. This .group featured a number of well to do Sri Lankan Muslims who bought into the agenda of Islamism, which aspires to a pan-Islamic world implementing God’s will on the earth. They believed they were doing their bit in Sri Lanka after pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State and its caliph Abubakar Al-Baghdadi. Shockingly enough for many, one of the suicide bombers was Fatima Iqbal, a wife of a Sri Lankan millionaire, also involved in the attacks. Something which proves that poverty has nothing to do with what motivates these Islamist terrorists, a part of whose agenda is to attain paradise through “murderous martyrdom.”

This is what the challenge of the Islamic State has become now. While the horrors of the physical Caliphate have been pretty much addressed, something which had become a major global crisis around 2015-16, the activities of the group have now turned it into the second Al-Quaida. And other than their non-Muslim victims worldwide, the real cost of this crisis will be paid by the local Muslim community.

In the end, the onus will again fall on the peaceful and well-meaning Muslims all around the world. Because sadly, this virus is incubating among their brotherhood and has begun to eat not only the people outside but within it. Following the shocking Easter bombings in Colombo, the Muslim minority in the country is already feeling tightened scrutiny. But none of it should come as a surprise.

Just like the overwhelming response of solidarity from New Zealand following the Christchurch Mosque massacre, the Muslim community needs to reach out to the world too. Not just in their words, but with their actions, they must reject the cancer of the Islamic State and their allies propagating violent political Islam. Though what are you going to do when they actually do point out the problem as early as 2014 and those too eager to not hurt the community’s sentiment completely ignore these warnings. The signs for the Sri Lankan Easter bombing were coming for a very long time. But they need to keep vigilant.

There is no easy way of dealing with them.

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The Horror of a Vulnerable Minority

Source: iAfrica.com

The horrifying and shocking Christchurch mosque attack has forced the world to witness from the viewpoint of an oppressor what the misery of being a vulnerable minority is. After this, can you ever guarantee if any place in the world is safe for you to pray?

The valiant efforts of reassurances and condolences by the New Zealand premier are not enough and not even needed, as appreciable as they are, but she hardly knows better. She simply does not know how to reconcile with the brutal reality of the vicious, violent politics of some in her ethnic community, even living in supposedly quiet, utopian countries such as New Zealand. New Zealand responded with compassion and shock, especially the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, though there is little mention of her own xenophobic stand.

Just imagine how the innocent Muslims praying on a quiet Christchurch Friday in the mosque would have felt like when they had heard gunfire in its halls. But probably they should not have dropped their guard like that. They took the peace and tranquility of the quiet Christchurch town for granted. The mosque attacker, who was clearly a White Nationalist, had made his intentions clear beforehand on a facebook post about the crime he was going to commit. Muslims cannot breathe in peace in the West, even in the remote and tranquil New Zealand.

Source: wp.com

I would really like to make a part of the debate something that hardly ever sees the light of day and which needs to take place among conservative, liberal, and secular Muslims. And that is how tragedies such as these are politically used to repel political scrutiny into their social and theocratic positions. The left progressives in the West are obviously the greatest allies to them in sheltering their ideologies. This is where the following interview of Canadian Muslim journalist Tarek Fatah, a noted dissident from mainstream Islam, is of paramount importance. Because the absence of this side of the argument will be intellectual dishonesty. I commend Tarek Fatah for his courage.

 

Meanwhile, most people around the world, even in the modern Indian Republic with their preoccupation of hate for Pakistan, continue to ignore the constant fear. Even this Holi, two Hindu women, Reena and Raveena have been abducted by an unknown mob while injuring their family members. This happens just about every other month in Sindh.

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And of course, the constantly abused Christian community in Pakistan, even in Islamabad.

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Nobody in Pakistan seems to care about the continual targeting and murder of the Ahmedi community. Two more Ahmedi doctors were recently killed and their bodies found near Fateh Jung, in the outskirts of Islamabad.

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It is a tragedy how innocent people fall victim to the extremism of all kinds.

This is our Christchurch too. The difference is that it happens all year round. And closet Jamatiyas who would accuse liberals to be quiet about the atrocities of White Nationalists would willfully ignore this in the name of supporting an Islamic Republic.

And when a Prime Minister in Pakistan tries to become Jacinda Ardern, an anti-immigration politician who is the new hero of Muslim conservatives, he is instantly dubbed an infidel and a traitor.

What Cricket Really Needs Today

Source: Chris Hyde/Getty Images/stuff.co.nz

Source: Chris Hyde/Getty Images/stuff.co.nz

The cricket world cup is underway and the sport is back in news, trending worldwide on twitter every now and then.

The first 20 games of the tournament have been pretty dull to say the least, thanks to the terrible flat drop-in pitches, with the clear exception of the game between Australia and New Zealand that went down to the wire. Apart from that match, the only games that were the closest and the most exciting were between the supposed minnows.

There has been far too many brilliant performances by teams of associate countries, God knows what this term means, to be a fluke. And it is not fair at all that only after four years do their fans get a chance to cheer for them on a considerable international platform. Not because the world cup is held after every four years, but because that is when these teams get a chance to play the test playing nations.

ICC, the governing body of cricket, has always let politics and money get into the way they have been making various decisions pertaining to the sport. Not only is it hard to understand what standards the body follows in granting test status to associate members, but even how it tackles regulation aspects of the sport, such as the legality of bowling actions, in a consistently obnoxious manner.

Nobody knows why the ICC had granted Bangladesh test status after it won a single game against Pakistan in 1999, while Kenya is still waiting for it despite qualifying for the Semi Finals in the 2003 World Cup. Furthermore, Ireland has been performing consistently well since the 2007 world cup, winning several games, and beating giants such as West Indies, Pakistan and England, but still has not been able to impress the ICC.

ICC probably was so eager to grant test playing status to Bangladesh because of the commercial market that the country offered for the sport, and which could be lacking in Ireland, Holland and Kenya. While this is an important factor, it should not be dictating the sporting opportunity.

Irish captain William Porterfield was absolutely right when he said that their victory against the West Indies was no upset. The team has been performing easily at par with, if not better than, any world class test playing cricket team. He also expressed his disgust at the term “associate member” and the way ICC has been treating these teams, including his.

Teams such as Ireland, UAE, Holland, Kenya, Nepal, and especially Afghanistan deserve the test playing status, or at least proper, respectable international cricket slot, which goes for Zimbabwe and Bangladesh too. Not only will it work wonders for the development of cricket in these nations, which is something the ICC is supposed to do, but will also help the sport itself.

However, the ICC is hellbent to keep the sport of cricket in a closed circuit of countries that are already dominating it, and is even marginalizing the “lesser” cricket nations with its hideous transfer of power to the “Big Three” boards, namely, India, Australia and England. Big, in terms of commercialism.

What is even worse, the number of countries participating in the world cups will be reduced to 10 from 14 in the 2019 edition to be held in England and Wales. So will be the case in the next world cup to be held in India in 2023.

Cricket boards with an unnecessarily disproportionate focus on commercialism such as the Indian BCCI, are effectively destroying the sport with their influence on the international governing body.

The other way around, which surely no board will follow, is to completely ignore the ICC and carry out bilateral tours. such as a Pakistan and Ireland test series, or a Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia triangular tournament. Let the burden of marketing and broadcasting rest on the boards involved, and stop caring whether the matches are considered to be “counted” or legitimate. A much better option than succumbing to the status quo or voting to “boycott” the sport.

Will it affect the quality of cricket? Yes, but it would be affected anyway.

What cricket really needs is to get rid of the insulting “associate member” term and offer equal opportunity of playing, not financially growing, to every cricket playing nation. Only then will the sport truly reach its potential of popularity around the world.

Otherwise, it would not be surprising to see cricket played in three countries only.

Not that they would mind.