by PEW FORUM ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE on AUGUST 9, 2012:
Excerpt from the Executive Summary — The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Continue reading →
Adeel Malik: Was the Middle East’s Economic Descent a Legal or Political Failure?
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by ADEEL MALIK for the CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF AFRICAN ECONOMIES, AUGUST 2012:
An influential thesis [Kuran, 2011, The Long Divergence] locates the economic failure of the Middle East in Islamic legal arrangements that laid the basis for organizational deficiencies. This article critically scrutinizes this thesis using the lens of political economy and argues that tracing the impact of Islamic law without a discussion of the enforcement environment is unconvincing.
Specifically, as a legal explanation for development, it is important to probe the extent to which Islamic law was embedded in the material domain and influenced by preferences of political incumbents. A key contention of the article is that Islamic law can be described, at best, as a proximate rather than a deep determinant of development, and that there is limited evidence to establish it as a causal claim. Continue reading →
by GRETCHEN PETERS for COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER at WEST POINT on JULY 31, 2012:
The CTC’s latest report leverages captured battlefield material and the insights of local community members in Afghanistan and Pakistan to outline the financial architecture that sustains the Haqqani faction of the Afghan insurgency. The Haqqani network is widely recognized as a semi-autonomous component of the Taliban and as the deadliest and most globally focused faction of that latter group. What receives far less attention is the fact that the Haqqani network also appears to be the most sophisticated and diversified from a financial standpoint. FULL REPORT
How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an
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by JEFFRY R. HALVERSON, R. BENNETT FURLOW and STEVEN R. CORMAN on JULY 9, 2012 for the CENTER FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION at ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY:
Islamist extremists make heavy use of the Qur’an (Islam’s most sacred text) in their strategic communication. This study analyzed the most frequently cited or quoted verses in the Center for Strategic Communication’s database of over 2,000 extremist texts. The texts date from the years 1998 to 2011, and originate primarily from the Middle East and North Africa. Taking this data as a starting point, we provide a qualitative analysis of the historical contexts and core narrative components of the cited passages. Continue reading →