The imposition of Islamic law in rebel territories in Syria has begun, a new article in the Washington Post shows. It apparently starts with strokes of a pipe for punishments rather than the more severe punishments of stoning or cutting off a hand. Liz Sly’s Washington Post article explores the changes that Jabhat Al Nusra is making in war-torn Syria: “During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith,” she writes. “And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.” Continue reading
Both Egypt and Tunisia have looked to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a model for the Arab Spring in their own states. In his recent book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, Andrew C. McCarthy condemns this outlook as “perverse.” “It is perverse to regard the Islamist AKP as a ‘model for the Arab Spring,’” he argues. “The main lesson of the Arab Spring is that the mirage of Islam as a moderating force hospitable to democratic transformation exists solely in our own minds, for our own consumption.” Continue reading
In Afghanistan, farmers grow poppy for opium, which is later processed into heroin and, ultimately, sold as heroin on the black market. How, when the Quran defines drugs as “the filth of Satan’s handiwork,” does the Islamic populace in Afghanistan justify growing this illicit crop? For one thing, the sale, but not consumption, of opium is acceptable to the locals because it is supposedly consumed by the West–by infidels–and thus furthers the war on them, outlines Gretchen Peters in her book Seeds of Terror: How Drugs, Thugs, and Crime Are Reshaping the Afghan War. Peters has worked for the Associated Press and ABC News. Continue reading
The Arab Spring brought a chance for democratization and the toppling of repressive regimes. However, some remain cautious given the ascendance of Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
In an incisive article detailing Al Qaeda’s responses to the Arab Spring, Donald Holbrook outlines the opportunities that these revolutions have wrought for al Qaeda in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, as well the chaos in Syria. Continue reading