Axis of Frustration

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN the oftpeddled “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” mantra, and the lurking shadow of the extremist, sit the rest of us, looking askance with raised brow. Historians may one day regard these years as the first time in history that the global community came to the collective realization, with proof, that we’re being duped.

Whereas much of 2001-2003 was spent busy on the hunt for an elusive enemy- Monty Python’s Terry Jones aptly asked: “How do you wage war on an abstract noun?” – the year 2004 finally gave expression to a growing worldview that it’s more about Iraqi oil, Israeli “security”, and Washington’s empty elections, than it is about saving Iraq from itself. We always believed it. Now, everyone else does too.

The natural progression, it is hoped, is toward a better understanding of root causes, rather than a superficial treatment of bothersome symptoms: the “Why” on terrorism, if you will. In advancing this kind of thinking into the mainstream, Islamica looks at some of the sources of Muslim discontent.

In Fencing Zion, Caging Palestine, a series of articles looks at the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians living in the shadow of an apartheid wall, which was recently ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice. The End of the Neo-Cons? looks at the forgettable legacy of America’s most ideologically-crazed and militarily belligerent individuals. A trio of articles in our “Identity” section captures the precariousness of the Muslim position in the West. Our coverage of the ongoing Iraq crisis continues with Iraq: The Downward Spiral, which chronicles a journey to Iraq and Kurdistan this March.

In keeping with Islámicas emphasis on Islam’s aesthetic tradition, an article on Prophetic relics, continuing commentary on the Sufi aphorisms of Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah, an interview with one of Turkey’s leading calligraphers, a study of Islamic gardens, poetry and fiction offerings- provide respite from the more material sensibilities of the political articles.

In large part, thanks to the ongoing blunders of the Iraqi occupation, citizens of the world now find common ground where, previously, little existed. Perhaps never before has everyone so fervently shared a common enemy, namely, the calculated interests of a war-mongering few. In this issue, Islamica explores this common ground and seeks to offer new ways of looking at the issues; not merely as isolated incidents operating in a vacuum, but as global symptoms revealing deeper problems.

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    A piece previously published in the print issue of Islamica Magazine between 2003-2009. The following has been an effort to digitize and archive as a free service. Author citations can be found at as we continue to work on improving the digital archives here.

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