This article was originally published on January 18th here.
At the beginning of December 2011, the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University convened a meeting of over twenty world famous Islamic scholars and dignitaries together with over one hundred and twenty clerics from every province of Afghanistan. The event was unprecedented in the history of Afghan conflict resolution. Never before had anyone brought together the beleaguered Imams of the Afghan provinces, men who had stood up for peace and risked their lives to fight against the misuse of their religion. These men stood witness as colleagues, who dared stand up at Friday prayer and advocate for Islam’s commitment to nonviolence, for women’s rights, and for tolerance, were assassinated by radical forces in the region and neighboring states whose only purpose was to keep the war going and Afghanistan divided. Nevertheless, these men …
More than 120 Muslim leaders Commit to the Future of Afghanistan during International Conference in Turkey
George Mason University Press Release
November 29, 2011
Istanbul, Turkey –From every province of Afghanistan, Imams and civil society leaders will meet together today with Islamic scholars for the first time during the Islamic Cooperation for a Peaceful Future in Afghanistan conference, an unprecedented gathering that will open on November 30 in Istanbul, Turkey. More than 80 Afghan scholars will meet with over 20 of the world’s most prestigious Muftis and Islamic scholars, with millions of followers across the world, from Pakistan to Indonesia.
The conference participants consider this gathering, discussion and commitment for peace and non-violence as the establishment of a historically significant point of reference for Islamic teachings of moderation, tolerance, peace and cooperation.
The conference is an academic forum created by the Center for World Religions, …
He was racing in a Humvee with four other soldiers, having arrived there just days before, 19 years old. The day he got there his best friend was shot in the head, boom, gone in an instant. Now he was racing along this road when a missile directly hit the cab of the vehicle. One guy’s legs were gone and another was killed right away, and the missile flew right by his head, just missing him. He seemed uninjured, but he was, and now he is back in Boston.
It was a sunny August afternoon in Boston as I leaped into a cab. I had just finished attending a conference of great religious educators at Boston University, and I was feeling very good about my presentation. I thought it was a home run because I really connected with the message and the people.
The 50-something Irish cab driver, whose presence …
The recent news of a rogue group of American military personnel murdering Afghans for sport is a sign of America’s war fatigue. The more the war drags on without attainable goals the worse the “quality control” of American troops. American troops are exhausted and over-stretched, and we must ask, what is there to be done?
The clear answer is deep engagement with the people of Afghanistan, engagement that wins the war through winning the people from the insurgents, and even winning over many of the insurgents. Here is how:
Vastly Expand CERP Funds
CERP stands for Commanders’ Emergency Response Program. These funds are being used by forward thinking commanders to reconstruct mosques and other basic construction needs. General Petreaus should significantly increase the quantity of these funds and the flexibility of their usage, particularly supporting commanders and chaplains in particular regions that have engaged the community, tribal and religious leaders …
This is a wonderful article, very important timing. Ria is absolutely right on, except I suspect strongly that Petreaus is much more of an ally than she thinks. But there are other problems with the American military and political system that are preventing the rational approach that she is recommending. The ideology of killing, hard conquest, is in the way, and it still afflicts enough people at various levels of authority that moving quickly now is hard. But that is where progressives need to step up and lobby hard, with money, to do the right thing.
A role for the US in Afghan national reconciliation?
05 August 2010
Washington, DC – In June, at the latest loya jirga (a grand assembly comprised of tribal leaders) meeting in Kabul, 1,600
Trying to figure out why I am always trying to clean up messes that I did not create, messes that I predicted. So here we go again with the dance of clashes that others crave. I will be on Al Hurra at 4 because there are demonstrations happening in response all over the world.
The Obama administration has said that it is concerned about the proposed burning of the Koran by a US church group.
On Tuesday, the White House said that it supported recent comments from General David Patraeus, the chief commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, that the torching could put US troops in the country at risk.
“It puts our troops in harm’s way, any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.
A Church group in
Why Afghanistan Matters
by Sophia Rose Shafi
As a parent of a child who is half-Afghan, I am reminded daily of how lucky she is to have shelter, good health, and ample food and clothing. Most Afghan children are not so lucky. 14% of children die before reaching their first birthday. One in five children die before they reach the age of five years old. Afghanistan also has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world, after Angola and Sierra Leone.
Life is also dismal for adults. Only 22% of Afghans have access to safe water. Life expectancy is 44 years old (44.04 for men, 44.21 for women). The maternal death rate hovers at around 50%. And 87% of females are victims of domestic violence.
History has not been kind to Afghans, especially over the past thirty years of unending war. Most know the story well – Soviet invasion, …
In another very interesting official American diplomatic gesture in the Age of Obama, a cable has been sent to all U.S. Embassies to invite Iranian officials to participate in July 4 parties that are held at each embassy. What a brilliant move, especially before the elections. It is open-ended, unilateral, quietly dispersed to hundreds of embassies to avoid a centralized response, and it is announced right before the elections.
But the traditional fare of these parties, hamburgers and hot dogs, should be hallal, acceptable for Orthodox Muslims. I am serious. The gesture mutatis mutandis is great, but it should be inclusive so that the President of Iran and others cannot say it is an attempt to corrupt Muslims. It could make some hallal meat contractor very happy.…
This is a must read for those who want to follow the steadily unfolding truths behind Cheney’s commitment to torture and violence. That it comes from a commtted fellow Republican in a very senior position makes it even more credible. Read the whole article by Laurence Wilkerson here. The essential lie that Cheney keeps telling is that President Obama is endangering the country by not following Cheney’s commitment to torture. Below are excerpts:
First, more Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney’s watch than on any other leader’s watch in US history. So his constant claim that no Americans were killed in the “seven and a half years” after 9/11 of his vice presidency takes on a new texture when one considers that fact. And it is a fact.
There was absolutely no policy priority attributed to al-Qa’ida by the Cheney-Bush administration in the months before 9/11. Counterterrorism czar
I was concerned by a recent description in the New York Times of the inner workings of Fatah, and the questions facing the United States and Israel. The author writes as if he accepts everything that Israeli leaders tell him at face value. Speaking about the question of a Fatah meeting in order to reform the movement and thus present a better challenge to Hamas at the polls, he writes:
For Israel and the United States, the problem is equally vexing. They have an interest in helping the nationalists to reform and hold their congress. But they also have to decide how much to help the new leaders, some of whom may end up becoming opponents if the peace negotiating process fails.
Oh really? Endless interviews with Fatah activists over the years come back to one theme: the leadership of Israel, in order to hold onto Judea and Samaria for …