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Opposing Hindutava: US conference raises troubling questions

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  By James M. Dorsey Controversy over a recent ‘ Dismantling Global Hindutava’ conference that targeted a politically charged expression of Hindu nationalism raises questions that go far beyond the anti-Muslim discriminatory policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling party. The conference and responses to it highlight a debilitating deterioration in the past two decades, especially since 9/11, of the standards of civility and etiquette that jeopardize civil, intelligent, and constructive debate and allow expressions of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes to become mainstream. Organizers of the conference that was co-sponsored by 53 American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, insisted that they distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutava, Mr. Modi’s notion of Hindu nationalism that enables discrimination against and attacks on India’s 200

Initial Taliban moves fail to convince Afghanistan’s neighbours

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  By James M. Dorsey      The Taliban’s record in recent weeks on making good on promises to respect human and women’s rights as well as uphold freedom of the press is mixed at best. Afghanistan’s neighbours and near-neighbours are not holding their breath even if some are willing to give the Central Asian country’s new rulers the benefit of the doubt. A litmus test of Taliban willingness to compromise may come sooner than later. It’s most likely only a matter of time before China knocks on newly appointed Afghan acting interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani’s door demanding the extradition of Uighur fighters. The Chinese demand would be challenging not only because of the Taliban’s consistent rejection, no matter the cost, of requests for the expulsion of militants who have helped them in their battles. The Taliban already made that clear two decades ago when they accepted the risk of a US invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 by refusing for the umpteenth time to hand o

To include or not include? China-led SCO weighs Iranian membership

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  By James M. Dorsey The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan may help Iran reduce its international isolation. At least, that’s what the Islamic Republic hopes when leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gather in Tajikistan next week end . Members are admitted to the eight-member China-led SCO that also groups Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, by unanimous consensus. Iran, unlike its rivals in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has long had observer status with the SCO. The Gulf states have so far kept their distance to the China-dominated regional alliance created to counter the ‘evils’   of ‘terrorism, separatism, and extremism ” so as not to irritate their main security ally, the United States. Acceptance of the Iranian application would constitute a diplomatic coup for Tehran and Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi. Mr. Raisi, a proponent of closer relations with China and Russia, is expected to make hi

Bin Laden’s legacy probably surpasses his wildest dreams

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  By James M. Dorsey At the very outset of the 21 st century, Osama bin Laden wittingly or unwittingly positioned himself with the 9/11 attacks as one of its most important figures. The attacks initially served to undermine multi-cultural policies in relatively ethnically and religiously homogeneous European societies, which struggled to with migration from other continents, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. The legacy of the attacks has brought identity politics back to the fore not only in the West but also in Africa and Asia. In doing so, the attacks reshaped global politics and attitudes towards large numbers of people fleeing political and economic collapse as the ‘other’ instead of viewing them as victims of misconceived Western policies that backfired in countries governed and mismanaged by corrupt politicians and political and economic structures. “Identity wars and conflicts based on differences in ethnicity, culture, language or religion are, once ignited, the

Taliban perpetuate Muslim world's failed governance paradigm

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  By James M. Dorsey The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan perpetuates a paradigm of failed governance in the Muslim world based on a centuries-old alliance between Islamic scholars and the state that, according to scholar Ahmet T Kuru , explains underdevelopment in many Muslim-majority states and authoritarianism in most. The takeover also highlights that, in a twist of irony,   a majority of competitors for Muslim religious soft power, leadership of the Muslim world, and the ability to define Islam have as much in common as they have differences. The takeover further spotlights the Muslim world’s struggles to free itself from the shackles of a paradigm that is at the root of its ills. That struggle has expressed itself in a decade of protest, dissent, defiance, and often brutally suppressed or derailed popular revolts as well as the self-defeating flight into militant and jihadist interpretations of the faith that fail to recognize that their radical view is nothing else but anot

Meet Zayed Fadi: Turkish TV’s bellwether for relations with the UAE

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  By James M. Dorsey Turkish state-run television appears to have not gotten the message: Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are burying the hatchet – one of several Turkish efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East and prevent them from spinning out of control. TRT 1 is set to broadcast a new and second season of Teskilat (The Organization), a series allegedly endorsed by Turkey’s intelligence agency, that portrays it as fighting a covert war against a thinly disguised Arab adversary, the United Arab Emirates. The UAE-backed fictional organization is led by Zayed Fadi, a composite figure whose first name refers to Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whom pro-government Turkish media long called the ‘prince of darkness.’ Fadi references controversial Abu Dhabi-based former Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan, an associate of Prince Mohammed with close ties to the United States and Israel. Known by his nickname Abu Fadi or Father of Fadi, Mr. Dahlan’s