Showing posts from March, 2012

Pakistan's Overdue Review of its Relations with the United States

Pakistan-U.S. Relations: Commission Calls For End To Drone Attacks, Demands Apology For Deadly Airstrikes By Zarar Khan, Huffington Post, March 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani parliamentary commission demanded Tuesday an end to American drone attacks inside the country and an apology for deadly U.S. airstrikes in November as part of a review of its near-severed relations with the United States.

The commission was tasked with reviewing ties with Washington after errant airstrikes four months ago killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and prompted Islamabad to close its borders to U.S. and NATO supply lines to neighboring Afghanistan.

The incident presented an opportunity for the army – furious at the Americans and under public pressure following the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden last year that was seen in Pakistan as a violation of the country's sovereignty – to gain a negotiating advantage in its turbulent relationship with Washington.

American officials hope the oft-delayed review will lea…

Tragedy in Afghanistan and its Potential Consequences

Afghanistan Civilian Murders Give Taliban 'Forum' to Align With Afghan Public By Alex Ortolani, Asia Society, March 12, 2012

The slaying of 16 civilians in Afghanistan by a U.S. sergeant Sunday could not only stall U.S. efforts to negotiate with the Taliban, but give the group more public support even as the U.S. attempts to strengthen the government of President Hamid Karzai ahead of combat troop withdrawal next year, according to Asia Society experts.

"This action is all the more regrettable because it enables the Taliban, and those of their ilk, to claim a forum to appear in league with the interests and concerns of the Afghan people," said Asia Society Associate Fellow Thomas Gouttierre, Director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies and Asia. "That is a forum for which they have no just claim."

The killings come as the U.S. and Afghanistan seek to hold talks with the Taliban in an attempt to reduce civil strife whe…

Laughter in Islamic Tradition

The Holy Teaching Power of Laughter
Homaira Zaid, Huffington Post, March 2, 2012

When I was young, a teacher came regularly to my home to teach me Quranic Arabic. Almost every kid in my community had a religious teacher or went to a Muslim Sunday school -- and frankly, most of my friends couldn't wait to "age out." Sunday school was a drag, a miserable waste of a gorgeous weekend. But oddly enough, not for me. I thought about Sunday all week long. I practiced like crazy, waited impatiently for each lesson to start, listened in rapt attention throughout, and thought it the greatest honor to make my teacher happy.

Was it his impeccable Arabic pronunciation? The unsullied purity of his lineage? The perfect length of his beard? What was it about this man that made a 6-year-old want to do her homework?
I'll let you in on the secret: It was his deep rolling belly-laugh.

My teacher knew a cardinal rule of moral instruction: Never take yourself too seriously. That master …