The nature of Islamic fundamentalism
By Lisa Macdonald
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By Lisa Macdonald
By Farooq Sulehria
Pakistan is situated in a region where fundamentalism has been posed, of late, as one of the most threatening questions. The process initiated by the Islamic revolution in Iran has even been internationalised by the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan. At the same time, the rise of Hindu radicalism in India has further complicated the situation in Pakistan.
On April 4, 1967, African-American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King addressed a gathering of religious antiwar activists at Riverside Church in New York City. On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated.
By Norm Dixon
10 October 2001 -- Since the appalling acts of mass murder in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, US President George Bush has at times sounded like a fire-and-brimstone preacher.
With home-spun, Bible-inspired homilies, Bush has warned that the “evil-doers” — Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that shelters him — will pay for their sins. However, Bush has avoided the most pertinent and illuminating Biblical phrase to explain those terrible events: “You reap what you sow”.
The seeds of what became the Taliban were sown by Washington itself in the rugged mountains and deep valleys of Afghanistan and the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.
In 1978, the left-wing, secular Peoples Democratic Party (PDPA) took power in Afghanistan. Fearing the radical reforms being implemented there would inspire similar demands from the peoples of the region, Washington immediately moved to arm and train counter-revolutionaries — the mujaheddin — organised by Afghanistan's wealthy landlords and its Muslim religious establishment.
By Asma Agbarieh-Zahalka
The road from the airport to the hotel shows the story: modern buildings partly conceal dilapidated, crowded structures that seem on the verge of collapse. Ancient jalopies chug along as if by inertia, while the latest luxury models zip past them. Huge billboards advertise multinational corporations. All this goes side by side with centuries-old mosques of breathtaking beauty, witnesses to a time when Egypt was the centre of Islamic culture — not just another third-world country offering the world cheap labour for exploitation. This was my first encounter with Cairo. Love at first sight.
I wasn't there as a tourist. What brought me to Egypt with my colleague, Samia Nassar, was the wave of strikes which, since December 2006, has been shaking the regime of Hosni Mubarak. In 2007 there were 580 strikes, demonstrations and protests, involving between 300,000 and 500,000 workers. The number for 2008 is likely to be more than twice that, reflecting enormous hikes in food prices.
By Tony Iltis
July 12, 2008 -- The visit to Sydney for World Youth Day (WYD), July 15-20, by Pope Benedict XVI and 300,000 Catholic pilgrims is set to become the scene for protests. Ironically, the protests are being fuelled by the clumsy efforts of the NSW state Labor Party government to suppress them — passing laws making it illegal to “annoy” pilgrims and defining “annoy” broadly enough to include having signs, or even wearing t-shirts, with messages that the doctrinally rigid pope or his followers disapprove of.
* * *
[This is the text of a talk presented at the Marxism Summer School conducted by the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective in January 2005. The pope referred to is the then-reigning Pope John-Paul II. The current Pope Benedict XVI is mentioned, being Cardinal Ratzinger at the time this talk was presented. See the appendices for more on Ratzinger and his background.]
I have an acquaintance who is a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party and a fundamentalist Christian, she occasionally gives me a lift to the railway station in the morning, which I appreciate. I didn’t know her religious bent until one morning she started regaling me with her opinion of Marxism, which was entirely based on the one sentence written by Marx that she knew: “Religion is the opium of the people.”
I don’t think she could even give a coherent explanation of the sentence, let alone an understanding of its context. She just knew that it was godless communism and that was enough for her.
July 29, 2008 -- Dramatic events within the worldwide Anglican Communion (the international association of national Anglican churches) have revealed a “cold split” with the potential for a complete collapse of the Episcopal formation. Superficially, the debates have centred on the right of women and homosexuals to be priests and bishops, and on gay marriage. However, while theological arguments dating back centuries are being mouthed, behind them are class-war elements of more recent vintage, including some connected with the era of US President Ronald Reagan’s backing of Central American death squads in the 1980s.
African bishops have led the charge against modernity, but they are funded and organised by right-wing US think tanks and the Sydney Anglicans’ arch-reactionary Archbishop Peter Jensen. Another player is the Vatican, which has been reported as throwing its resources behind Anglican Primate Rowen Williams.
By Hugo Richer
August 5, 2008 -- The defeat of the Colorado Party in the 2008 presidential election meant much more than a change of government in Paraguay. This defeat meant the fall of the last political party in Latin America that had been formed both politically and ideologically within the framework of the Cold War.
By Mike Ely
It is a deep thing that people still celebrate the survival of the early colonists at Plymouth — by giving thanks to the Christian god who supposedly protected and championed the European invasion. The real meaning of all that, then and now, needs to be continually excavated. The myths and lies that surround the past are constantly draped over the horrors and tortures of our present.