Empowering ASJ and Sufi Muslim Networks

Engaging and Empowering Pakistan’s Civil Society for Countering Violent Extremism

WORDE Launches Two New Reports on Pakistan Over the past several years, WORDE has been leading a comprehensive study through 35 cities and villages in Pakistan to explore the capacity of civil society for peacebuilding. We’ve identified over 100 local organizations that have implemented viable and innovative peacebuilding programs, ranging from inter-ethnic dialogues to fatwas […]

Equipping Pakistan’s Civil Society against the Taliban

December 24, 2014 | The Hill Waleed Ziad & Mehreen Farooq Hundreds of Pakistanis met outside Islamabad’s infamous Red Mosque last week to light candles for victims of the Taliban’s recent attack against the Army Public School in Peshawar. Nearby, activists called on the mosque’s extremist cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz to condemn the attack that killed over 140 […]

Six Things About Afghanistan that May Surprise You

By Mehreen Farooq, Waleed Ziad Foreign Policy: South Asia Channel | October 27, 2014 Despite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration on Sep. 29, many Afghans remain skeptical about what will happen next and whether his power-sharing deal with Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah will stick. Given two months of tumultuous political negotiations against the backdrop […]

Afghans Get Busy Helping Themselves

Wall Street Journal | Sept. 2, 2014 7:11 p.m. ET Traveling the country, we saw a vibrant civil society beginning to emerge. By Waleed Ziad, and Mehreen Farooq Afghans hoped to achieve a milestone this summer in their country’s history with President Hamid Karzai’s transfer of power and the inauguration of the next president. Those […]

Pakistan’s Bid for Tolerance

September 26, 2012 by Waleed Ziad, Mehreen Farooq Rising extremism in Pakistan has drawn attention to the need for engagement with moderate Muslim networks and civil society organizations that can effectively counter radical narratives and decrease the pool of recruits for militant organizations. In this ForeignPolicy.com photo essay, WORDE researchers travel across  35 cities and […]

5 Myths about Islam and Muslims

April 2011 | By Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi and Specialist Mehreen Farooq
To some Americans Islam has a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” split personality disorder. On one hand they see law-abiding Muslim citizens proclaim Islam as a religion of peace, while on the other hand they see Islam represented by suicide bombers who chant “Death to America.” The question of which category the majority of Muslims fall into has generated tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims around the world.

Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military

July 2005 | By Specialist Husain Haqqani
This book analyzes the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and Pakistan’s military, and explores the nation’s quest for identity and security. Tracing how the military has sought U.S. support by making itself useful for concerns of the moment–while continuing to strengthen the mosque-military alliance within Pakistan–Haqqani offers an alternative view of political developments since the country’s independence in 1947.

Engaging with Muslim Communities Around the World

February 26, 2009 | By Specialist Zeyno Baran
Throughout the world, liberal democracy is once again being challenged both as a political system and, more fundamentally, as an ideology and as a set of beliefs. Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in an ideological struggle—and the US is losing ground. Further spread of Islamism will leave America isolated and powerless to achieve its goals in security and foreign policy.

Understanding Sufism and its Potential Role in U.S. Policy

March 2004 | By Specialist Zeyno Baran
There are three main components of the war of terrorism. One is hunting down the terrorists, and it involves law enforcement, intelligence sharing, and crackdowns on the sources of funding. It also means confronting states that sponsor terrorism. The second component is homeland security. And the third one is the battle of ideas, which is in the first instance a civil war within the Muslim world between moderates and extremists. The US recognizes that it is not a member of the Muslim world and acknowledges that it is not America’s responsibility to make pronouncements on theology. At the same time, no one doubts that the United States has a very important role to play because it can affect what goes on. The US and other members of the international community can de-legitimate terrorism; forging an international consensus that terrorism is beyond the pale is a matter of international law and morality, no matter which political cause is invoked.

Jihadi Tomb Raiders

December 13, 2002 | Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi
Under the false pretenses of implementing “Islamic” law, Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamist group of the Salafi/Wahhabi strain, recently moved into the rugged mountains of northern Iraq and has taken control of the region. These jihadists have forcefully imposed their harsh Wahhabi version of Islamic law on villages in the Hawraman Mountain region, along the border with Iran. As part of this campaign, Ansar al-Islam vandalized the graves of classical Islamic scholars who are revered throughout the region as spiritual guides who promoted traditional Islam and Islamic mysticism.

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