Daily Archives: October 11, 2009

PAKISTAN: State faces crisis of purpose

This is an old piece but after the attack on GHQ it is quite a relevant reading. Comments are welcome. Raza Rumi

Oxford Analytica – Wednesday, October 1 2008

SUBJECT: Scenarios for the future of Pakistan.
SIGNIFICANCE: Recent geopolitical developments have undermined the traditional rationale of the state, promoting deepening internal discord. To survive, Pakistan will need to re-cast itself and find a new place in the international order. Yet the three most likely ways forward are each fraught with difficulties.
ANALYSIS: Most of the domestic and geopolitical forces that have held Pakistan together since its hasty creation in 1947 have been weakening rapidly.
As such, the country is at an historic crossroads. Its future in recognisable form will be in serious doubt unless it can find alternative sources of cohesion. Continue reading
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Chandra Muzaffar on Islamic Reform & Liberation Theology

Chandra Muzaffar is Malaysia’s best-known public intellectual. He has written widely on questions related to Islam, inter-faith relations and liberation theology, issues that he discusses in this interview with Yoginder Sikand.
Q: Much of your writing focuses on a critique of capitalism and consumerism, or what you very aptly term as ‘moneytheism’, which you contrast with the monotheism of Islam. How do you see Muslim scholars dealing with these issues?
A: Unfortunately, what is in some circles called ‘Islamic Economics’ has not sufficiently critiqued capitalism and the consumerist ethos. In fact, many of those associated with the ‘Islamic Economics’ project have simply tried to apply a so-called ‘Islamic’ gloss on capitalism. If at all those associated with the ‘Islamic Economics’ project critique consumerism, which is such a deeply-rooted phenomenon globally, including in predominantly Muslim countries, it is only at a very general level, in the form of statements to the effect that it is incompatible with Islam, or appeals for balance, restraint and moderation. But this does not go along with any rigorous analysis of economic structures that generate consumerism in the first place. I don’t know of any well-known writers associated with the ‘Islamic Economics’ project who have done this in a sufficient manner. Rather, their focus tends to be more on the technical aspects, such as the ban on interest, interest-free banking and discussions about disallowing the production of things considered to be haraam. Continue reading

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