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Cordoba Foundation

Abdullah Faliq |

Intro ,

In spite of it being both a perennial and a complex debate, Arches Quarterly reexamines from theological and practical grounds, the important debate about the relationship and compatibility between Islam and Democracy, as echoed in Barack Obama’s agenda of hope and change. Whilst many celebrate Obama’s ascendancy to the Oval Office as a national catharsis for the US, others remain less optimistic of a shift in ideology and approach in the international arena. While much of the tension and distrust between the Muslim world and the USA can be attributed to the approach of promoting democracy, typically favoring dictatorships and puppet regimes that pay lip-service to democratic values and human rights, the aftershock of 9/11 has truly cemented the misgivings further through America’s position on political Islam. It has created a wall of negativity as found by, according to which 67% of Egyptians believe that globally America is playing a “mainly negative” role.
America’s response has thus been apt. By electing Obama, many around the world are pinning their hopes for developing a less belligerent, but fairer foreign policy towards the Muslim world. Th e test for Obama, as we discuss, is how America and her allies promote democracy. Will it be facilitating or imposing?
Moreover, can it importantly be an honest broker in prolonged zones of confl icts? Prolifi patirties ir įžvalgos panaudojimas
c mokslininkai, akademikai, patyrę žurnalistai ir politikai, Arches Quarterly atskleidžia islamo ir demokratijos santykius bei Amerikos vaidmenį, taip pat Obamos sukeltus pokyčius., ieškant bendros kalbos. Anas Altikriti, Th e Cordoba Foundation generalinis direktorius pateikia šios diskusijos pradžią, kur jis apmąsto Obamos kelyje esančias viltis ir iššūkius. Sekant Altikriti, buvęs prezidento Niksono patarėjas, Daktaras Robertas Crane'as siūlo išsamią islamo teisės į laisvę principo analizę. Anvaras Ibrahimas, buvęs Malaizijos ministro pirmininko pavaduotojas, praturtina diskusiją praktine demokratijos įgyvendinimo musulmonų dominuojančiose visuomenėse realijomis, būtent, Indonezijoje ir Malaizijoje.
Taip pat turime daktarę Shireen Hunter, Džordžtauno universitete, JAV, kuris tyrinėja musulmoniškas šalis, atsilikusias demokratizacijos ir modernizavimo srityje. Ją papildo terorizmo rašytojas, Dr Nafeez Ahmed paaiškino postmodernybės krizę ir
demokratijos žlugimas. Daktaras Daudas Abdullah (Vidurio Rytų žiniasklaidos monitoriaus direktorius), Alanas Hartas (buvęs ITN ir BBC Panoramos korespondentas; sionizmo autorius: Tikrasis žydų priešas) ir Asemas Sondosas (Egipto savaitraščio Sawt Al Omma redaktorius) sutelkti dėmesį į Obamą ir jo vaidmenį skatinant demokratiją musulmonų pasaulyje, taip pat JAV santykius su Izraeliu ir Musulmonų brolija.
Užsienio reikalų ministras, Maldyvai, Ahmedas Shaheedas spėlioja apie islamo ir demokratijos ateitį; Cllr. Gerry Maclochlainn
a Sinn Féin member who endured four years in prison for Irish Republican activities and a campaigner for the Guildford 4 and Birmingham 6, refl ects on his recent trip to Gaza where he witnessed the impact of the brutality and injustice meted out against Palestinians; Dr Marie Breen-Smyth, Director of the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence discusses the challenges of critically researching political terror; Dr Khalid al-Mubarak, writer and playwright, discusses prospects of peace in Darfur; and fi nally journalist and human rights activist Ashur Shamis looks critically at the democratisation and politicisation of Muslims today.
Tikimės, kad visa tai suteiks išsamų skaitymą ir šaltinį apmąstymams apie problemas, kurios liečia mus visus naujoje vilties aušroje.

Islamic Political Culture, Demokratija, and Human Rights

Daniele. Kaina

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, however, is based primarily on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions, can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the
connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam, democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages, and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of Islam on politics across eight nations. I argue that much of the power
attributed to Islam as the driving force behind policies and political systems in Muslim nations can be better explained by the previously mentioned factors. I also find, contrary to common belief, that the increasing strength of Islamic political groups has often been associated with modest pluralization of political systems.
I have constructed an index of Islamic political culture, based on the extent to which Islamic law is utilized and whether and, if so, how,Western ideas, institutions, and technologies are implemented, to test the nature of the relationship between Islam and democracy and Islam and human rights. This indicator is used in statistical analysis, which includes a sample of twenty-three predominantly Muslim countries and a control group of twenty-three non-Muslim developing nations. In addition to comparing
Islamic nations to non-Islamic developing nations, statistical analysis allows me to control for the influence of other variables that have been found to affect levels of democracy and the protection of individual rights. The result should be a more realistic and accurate picture of the influence of Islam on politics and policies.


Sherifa zuhur

Seven years after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks, many experts believe al-Qa’ida has regained strength and that its copycats or affiliates are more lethal than before. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 asserted that al-Qa’ida is more dangerous now than before 9/11.1 Al-Qa’ida’s emulators continue to threaten Western, Artimųjų Rytų, and European nations, as in the plot foiled in September 2007 in Germany. Bruce Riedel states: Thanks largely to Washington’s eagerness to go into Iraq rather than hunting down al Qaeda’s leaders, the organization now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in western Iraq. Its reach has spread throughout the Muslim world and in Europe . . . Osama bin Laden has mounted a successful propaganda campaign. . . . His ideas now attract more followers than ever.
It is true that various salafi-jihadist organizations are still emerging throughout the Islamic world. Why have heavily resourced responses to the Islamist terrorism that we are calling global jihad not proven extremely effective?
Moving to the tools of “soft power,” what about the efficacy of Western efforts to bolster Muslims in the Global War on Terror (GWOT)? Why has the United States won so few “hearts and minds” in the broader Islamic world? Why do American strategic messages on this issue play so badly in the region? Why, despite broad Muslim disapproval of extremism as shown in surveys and official utterances by key Muslim leaders, has support for bin Ladin actually increased in Jordan and in Pakistan?
This monograph will not revisit the origins of Islamist violence. It is instead concerned with a type of conceptual failure that wrongly constructs the GWOT and which discourages Muslims from supporting it. They are unable to identify with the proposed transformative countermeasures because they discern some of their core beliefs and institutions as targets in
this endeavor.
Several deeply problematic trends confound the American conceptualizations of the GWOT and the strategic messages crafted to fight that War. These evolve from (1) post-colonial political approaches to Muslims and Muslim majority nations that vary greatly and therefore produce conflicting and confusing impressions and effects; ir (2) residual generalized ignorance of and prejudice toward Islam and subregional cultures. Add to this American anger, fear, and anxiety about the deadly events of 9/11, and certain elements that, despite the urgings of cooler heads, hold Muslims and their religion accountable for the misdeeds of their coreligionists, or who find it useful to do so for political reasons.

Islamistų opozicijos partijos ir ES įsitraukimo potencialas

Toby Archer

Heidi Huuhtanen

Atsižvelgiant į didėjančią islamistinių judėjimų svarbą musulmonų pasaulyje ir

radikalėjimas nuo amžių pradžios paveikė pasaulinius įvykius, tai

Svarbu, kad ES įvertintų savo politiką, susijusią su veikėjais, kurie gali būti laisvi

vadinamas „islamo pasauliu“. Ypač svarbu paklausti, ar ir kaip užsiimti

su įvairiomis islamistų grupuotėmis.

Tai tebėra prieštaringa net ES viduje. Kai kurie mano, kad islamas tai vertina

gulėti už islamistų partijų yra tiesiog nesuderinami su vakarietiškais demokratijos idealais ir

Žmonių teisės, o kiti mano, kad įsitraukimas yra reali būtinybė dėl augančio

domestic importance of Islamist parties and their increasing involvement in international

affairs. Another perspective is that democratisation in the Muslim world would increase

European security. The validity of these and other arguments over whether and how the

EU should engage can only be tested by studying the different Islamist movements and

their political circumstances, country by country.

Democratisation is a central theme of the EU’s common foreign policy actions, as laid

out in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union. Many of the states considered in this

report are not democratic, or not fully democratic. In most of these countries, Islamist

parties and movements constitute a significant opposition to the prevailing regimes, ir

in some they form the largest opposition bloc. European democracies have long had to

spręsti valdančius režimus, kurie yra autoritariniai, bet tai naujas reiškinys, kurį reikia spausti

demokratinėms reformoms tose valstybėse, kuriose naudos gali gauti labiausiai tikėtini asmenys, nuo

ES požiūriu, skirtingi ir kartais problemiški požiūriai į demokratiją ir ją

susijusios vertybės, mažumų ir moterų teisės bei teisinės valstybės principai. Šie mokesčiai yra

dažnai prieštarauja islamistiniams judėjimams, todėl Europos politikos formuotojams svarbu tai padaryti

turėti tikslų potencialių partnerių politikos ir filosofijos vaizdą.

Įvairių šalių patirtis rodo, kad kuo daugiau laisvės yra islamistų

vakarėliai leidžiami, tuo jie nuosaikesni savo veiksmuose ir idėjomis. Daugelyje

islamistų partijos ir grupės jau seniai nukrypo nuo savo pirminio tikslo

islamo valstybės, valdomos pagal islamo teisę, įkūrimo, ir atėjo priimti pagrindinius

demokratiniai rinkiminės konkurencijos dėl valdžios principai, kitų politinių egzistavimą

konkurentai, ir politinis pliuralizmas.

Political Islam in the Middle East

Ar Knudsenas

This report provides an introduction to selected aspects of the phenomenon commonly

referred to as “political Islam”. The report gives special emphasis to the Middle East, į

particular the Levantine countries, and outlines two aspects of the Islamist movement that may

be considered polar opposites: democracy and political violence. In the third section the report

reviews some of the main theories used to explain the Islamic resurgence in the Middle East

(Figure 1). In brief, the report shows that Islam need not be incompatible with democracy and

that there is a tendency to neglect the fact that many Middle Eastern countries have been

engaged in a brutal suppression of Islamist movements, causing them, some argue, to take up

arms against the state, and more rarely, foreign countries. The use of political violence is

widespread in the Middle East, but is neither illogical nor irrational. In many cases even

Islamist groups known for their use of violence have been transformed into peaceful political

parties successfully contesting municipal and national elections. Nonetheless, the Islamist

revival in the Middle East remains in part unexplained despite a number of theories seeking to

account for its growth and popular appeal. In general, most theories hold that Islamism is a

reaction to relative deprivation, especially social inequality and political oppression. Alternative

theories seek the answer to the Islamist revival within the confines of religion itself and the

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

The conclusion argues in favour of moving beyond the “gloom and doom” approach that

portrays Islamism as an illegitimate political expression and a potential threat to the West (“Old

Islamism”), and of a more nuanced understanding of the current democratisation of the Islamist

movement that is now taking place throughout the Middle East (“New Islamism”). This

importance of understanding the ideological roots of the “New Islamism” is foregrounded

along with the need for thorough first-hand knowledge of Islamist movements and their

adherents. As social movements, its is argued that more emphasis needs to be placed on

understanding the ways in which they have been capable of harnessing the aspirations not only

of the poorer sections of society but also of the middle class.




Politinis islamas šiandien yra vienintelė aktyviausia politinė jėga Artimuosiuose Rytuose. Jos ateitis glaudžiai susijusi su regiono ateitimi. Jeigu Jungtinės Valstijos ir Europos Sąjunga yra įsipareigojusios remti politines reformas regione, jiems reikės sugalvoti betoną, nuoseklios islamistų grupių įtraukimo strategijos. Dar, Jungtinės Amerikos Valstijos. paprastai nenorėjo pradėti dialogo su šiais judėjimais. Panašiai, ES bendradarbiavimas su islamistais buvo išimtis, ne taisyklė. Kur yra žemo lygio kontaktai, jie daugiausia skirti informacijos rinkimo tikslams, ne strateginiai tikslai. Jungtinės Amerikos Valstijos. ir ES turi daugybę programų, skirtų ekonominiam ir politiniam vystymuisi regione, įskaitant Artimųjų Rytų partnerystės iniciatyvą. (MEPI), Tūkstantmečio iššūkio korporacija (MKC), Viduržemio jūros šalių sąjunga, ir Europos kaimynystės politika (ENP) – tačiau jie turi mažai ką pasakyti apie tai, kaip islamistų politinės opozicijos iššūkis dera su platesnio pobūdžio regioniniais tikslais. JAV. ES parama demokratijai ir programavimas beveik vien yra nukreipti arba pačioms autoritarinėms vyriausybėms, arba pasaulietinėms pilietinės visuomenės grupėms, turinčioms minimalią paramą savo visuomenėse..
Atėjo laikas iš naujo įvertinti dabartinę politiką. Nuo rugsėjo mėnesio teroristinių išpuolių 11, 2001, Artimųjų Rytų demokratijos rėmimas Vakarų politikos formuotojams tapo svarbesnis, kurie mato ryšį tarp demokratijos stokos ir politinio smurto. Didesnis dėmesys buvo skirtas politinio islamo skirtumų supratimui. Naujoji Amerikos administracija yra atviresnė bendravimui su musulmonų pasauliu. Tuo tarpu, didžioji dauguma pagrindinių islamistų organizacijų, įskaitant Musulmonų broliją Egipte, Jordanijos islamo veiksmų frontas (IAF), Maroko teisingumo ir plėtros partija (PJD), Kuveito islamo konstitucinis judėjimas, ir Jemeno Islah partija – vis dažniau rėmimą politinėms reformoms ir demokratijai padarė pagrindiniu savo politinių platformų komponentu.. Papildomai, daugelis parodė didelį susidomėjimą pradėti dialogą su JAV. ir ES vyriausybės.
Vakarų šalių ir Artimųjų Rytų santykių ateitį gali daugiausia nulemti tai, kiek pirmosios šalys įtrauks nesmurtines islamistų partijas į platų dialogą apie bendrus interesus ir tikslus.. Pastaruoju metu padaugėjo tyrimų apie bendradarbiavimą su islamistais, tačiau nedaugelis aiškiai nurodo, ką tai gali reikšti praktiškai. Kaip Zoe Nautre, kviestinis bendradarbis Vokietijos užsienio santykių taryboje, įdeda, „ES galvoja apie dalyvavimą, bet iš tikrųjų nežino, kaip tai padaryti“.1 Tikėdamasi paaiškinti diskusiją, skiriame tris „įsitraukimo“ lygius,“ kiekvienas su įvairiomis priemonėmis ir tikslais: žemo lygio kontaktai, strateginis dialogas, ir partnerystę.

Islamist Parties : participation without power

Malika Zeghal

Over the last two decades, social and political movements grounding their ideologies in references to Islam have sought to become legal political parties in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Some of these Islamist movements have been authorized to take part lawfully in electoral competition. Among the best known is Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which won a parliamentary majority in 2002 and has led the government ever since. Morocco’s own Party of Justice and Development (PJD) has been legal since the mid- 1990s and commands a significant bloc of seats in Parliament. Egipte, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has never been authorized to form a political party, but in spite of state repression it has successfully run candidates as nominal independents in both national and local elections.
Since the early 1990s, this trend has gone hand-in-hand with official policies of limited political liberalization. Together, the two trends have occasioned a debate about whether these movements are committed to “democracy.” A vast literature has sprung up to underline the paradoxes as well as the possible risks and benefits of including Islamist parties in the electoral process. The main paradigm found in this body of writing focuses on the consequences that might ensue when Islamists use democratic instruments, and seeks to divine the “true” intentions that Islamists will manifest if they come to power.


Natanas Dž. Ruda, Amr Hamzawy,

Marina Ottaway

During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. Th ey have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Other parties,
by and large, have failed on all accounts.
Th e public in the West and, in particular, the United States, has only become aware of the importance of Islamist movements after dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. Attention has been far more sustained since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, Islamist movements are widely regarded as dangerous and hostile. While such a characterization is accurate regarding organizations at the radical end of the Islamist spectrum, which are dangerous because of their willingness to resort to indiscriminate violence in pursuing their goals, it is not an accurate characterization of the many groups that have renounced or avoided violence. Because terrorist organizations pose an immediate
threat, however, policy makers in all countries have paid disproportionate attention to the violent organizations.
It is the mainstream Islamist organizations, not the radical ones, that will have the greatest impact on the future political evolution of the Middle East. Th e radicals’ grandiose goals of re-establishing a caliphate uniting the entire Arab world, or even of imposing on individual Arab countries laws and social customs inspired by a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam are simply too far removed from today’s reality to be realized. Th is does not mean that terrorist groups are not dangerous—they could cause great loss of life even in the pursuit of impossible goals—but that they are unlikely to change the face of the Middle East. Mainstream Islamist organizations are generally a diff erent matter. Th ey already have had a powerful impact on social customs in many countries, halting and reversing secularist trends and changing the way many Arabs dress and behave. And their immediate political goal, to become a powerful force by participating in the normal politics of their country, is not an impossible one. It is already being realized in countries such as Morocco, Jordanija, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Politika, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.



Issues relating to political Islam continue to present challenges to European foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As EU policy has sought to come to terms with such challenges during the last decade or so political Islam itself has evolved. Experts point to the growing complexity and variety of trends within political Islam. Some Islamist organisations have strengthened their commitment to democratic norms and engaged fully in peaceable, mainstream national politics. Others remain wedded to violent means. And still others have drifted towards a more quietist form of Islam, disengaged from political activity. Political Islam in the MENA region presents no uniform trend to European policymakers. Analytical debate has grown around the concept of ‘radicalisation’. This in turn has spawned research on the factors driving ‘de-radicalisation’, and conversely, ‘re-radicalisation’. Much of the complexity derives from the widely held view that all three of these phenomena are occurring at the same time. Even the terms themselves are contested. It has often been pointed out that the moderate–radical dichotomy fails fully to capture the nuances of trends within political Islam. Some analysts also complain that talk of ‘radicalism’ is ideologically loaded. At the level of terminology, we understand radicalisation to be associated with extremism, but views differ over the centrality of its religious–fundamentalist versus political content, and over whether the willingness to resort to violence is implied or not.

Such differences are reflected in the views held by the Islamists themselves, as well as in the perceptions of outsiders.

Political Islam and European Foreign Policy




Since 2001 and the international events that ensued the nature of the relationship between the West and political Islam has become a definingissue for foreign policy. In recent years a considerable amount of research and analysis has been undertaken on the issue of political Islam. This has helped to correct some of the simplistic and alarmist assumptions previously held in the West about the nature of Islamist values and intentions. Parallel to this, the European Union (EU) has developed a number of policy initiatives primarily the European Neighbourhood Policy(ENP) that in principle commit to dialogue and deeper engagement all(non-violent) political actors and civil society organisations within Arab countries. Yet many analysts and policy-makers now complain of a certain a trophy in both conceptual debate and policy development. It has been established that political Islam is a changing landscape, deeply affected bya range of circumstances, but debate often seems to have stuck on the simplistic question of ‘are Islamists democratic?’ Many independent analysts have nevertheless advocated engagement with Islamists, but theactual rapprochement between Western governments and Islamist organisations remains limited .

Islamist Parties , ARE THEY DEMOCRATS? DOES it matter ?

Tarekas Masoudas

Driven by a sense that “the Islamists are coming,” journalists and policy makers have been engaged of late in fevered speculation over whether Islamist parties such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Palestine’s Hamas really believe in democracy. While I attempt to outline the boundaries of the Islamist democratic commitment, I think that peering into the Islamist soul is a misuse of energies. The Islamists are not coming. Moreover, as Adam Przeworski and others have argued, commitments to democracy are more often born of environmental constraints than of true belief. Instead of worrying whether Islamists are real democrats,
our goal should be to help fortify democratic and liberal institutions and actors so that no group—Islamist or otherwise—can subvert them.
But what is this movement over whose democratic bona fides we worry? Islamism is a slippery concept. For example, if we label as Islamist those parties that call for the application of shari‘a, we must exclude Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (which is widely considered Islamist) and include Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (which actively represses Islamists). Instead of becoming mired in definitional issues, we would do better to focus on a set of political parties that have grown from the same historical roots, derive many of their goals and positions from the same body of ideas, and maintain organizational ties to one another—that is, those parties that spring from the international MB. These include the Egyptian mother organization (founded in 1928), but also Hamas, Jordanijos islamo veiksmų frontas, Algeria’s Movement for a Peaceful Society, the Iraqi Islamic Party, Lebanon’s Islamic Group, and others.

Counter Transformations in the Center and Periphery of Turkish Society and the Rise of the Justice and Development Party

Raminas Ahmadovas

The election results on November 3, 2002, which brought the Justice and Development Party into power, shocked many, but for varying reasons. Afterwards, some became more hopeful about future of their country, while others became even more doubtful and anxious, since for them the “republican regime” came under threat. These opposing responses, along with the perceptions that fueled them, neatly describe the two very different worlds that currently exist within Turkish society, and so it is important to think through many of the contested issues that have arisen as a result of these shifting political winds.
The winning Justice and Development Party (JDP) was established in 2001 by a group of politicians under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, many of whom split from the religio-political movement of Necmetiin Erbakan, the National Outlook Movement, and the Welfare Party. Interestingly, in less than two years after its establishment, and at the first general election it participated in, the JDP received 34.29 % of the vote when all other established parties fell under the 10 % threshold. The only exception to this was the Republican People’s Party (19.38 %). The JDP captured 365 out of 550 seats in the parliament and therefore was given the opportunity of establishing the government alone, which is exactly what happened. Two years later, in the 2004 local elections, the JDP increased its votes to 41.46 %, while the RPP slightly decreased to 18.27 %, and the Nationalist Action Party increased to 10.10 % (from 8.35 % į 2002). Finally, in the most recent general elections in Turkey in 2007, which was marked by intense debate over presidential elections and an online military note, the JDP won nearly half of all votes, 46.58 %, and began its second term in power.

Turkey and the EU: A Survey on Turkish MPs’ EU Vision

Kudret Bulbul

Even though Turkey’s dream for being a member of European Union (EU) dates back to late 1950s, it can be said that this process has gained its momentum since the governing period of Justice and Development Party, which is shortly called AK party or AKP in Turkish. When compared with earlier periods, the enormous accomplishments during the AK party’s rule are recognized by domestic and European authorities alike. In the parallel of gigantic steps towardsthe European membership, which is now a real possibility for Turkey, there have been increasingdebates about this process. While some European authorities generate policies over Cyprus issueagainst Turkey’s membership, some others mainly lead by German Christian Democrats proposea privileged status rather than full membership. Turkish authorities do not stay silent over thesearguments, and probably first time the Turkish foreign minister can articulate that “should they(the EU) propose anything short of full membership, or any new conditions, we will walk away.And this time it will be for good” (The Economist 2005 30-31) After October third, Even though Mr. Abdullah Gül, who is the foreign minister of the AK party govenrment, persistentlyemphasizes that there is no such a concept so-called “privileged partnership” in the framework document, (Milliyet, 2005) the prime minister of France puts forward that this option is actually one of the possible alternatives.


Anthony Bubalo
Greg Fealy
Sekminių Meisonas

The fear of Islamists coming to power through elections has long been an obstacle to democratisation in authoritarian states of the Muslim world. Islamists have been, and continue to be, the best organised and most credible opposition movements in many of these countries.

They are also commonly, if not always correctly, assumed to be in the best position to capitalise on any democratic opening of their political systems. Tuo pačiu metu, the commitment of Islamists to democracy is often questioned. Iš tikrųjų, when it comes to democracy, Islamism’s intellectual heritage and historical record (in terms of the few examples of Islamist-led states, such as Sudan and Iran) have not been reassuring. The apparent strength of Islamist movements, combined with suspicions about Islamism’s democratic compatibility, has been used by authoritarian governments as an argument to defl ect both domestic and international calls for political reform and democratisation.

Domestically, secular liberals have preferred to settle for nominally secular dictatorships over potentially religious ones. Internationally, Western governments have preferred friendly autocrats to democratically elected, but potentially hostile, Islamist-led governments.

The goal of this paper is to re-examine some of the assumptions about the risks of democratisation in authoritarian countries of the Muslim world (and not just in the Middle East) where strong Islamist movements or parties exist.

Success of Turkey’s AK Party must not dilute worries over Arab Islamists

Mona Eltahawy

It has been unsurprising that since Abdullah Gul became president of Turkey on 27 August that much misguided analyses has been wasted on howIslamistscan pass the democracy test. His victory was bound to be described as theIslamistrouting of Turkish politics. And Arab Islamistsin the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, their supporters and defenderswere always going to point to Turkey and tell us that we’ve been wrong all along to worry about the Arab Islamistalleged flirtation with democracy. “It worked in Turkey, it can work in the Arab world,” they would try to assure us.Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.Firstly, Gul is not an Islamist. His wife’s headscarf might be the red cloth to the bull of the secular nationalists in Turkey, but neither Gul nor the AK Party which swept parliamentary elections in Turkey in June, can be called Islamists. In fact, so little does the AK Party share with the Muslim Brotherhoodaside from the common faith of its membersthat it’s absurd to use its success in Turkish politics as a reason to reduce fears over the Mus-lim Brotherhood’s role in Arab politics.The three litmus tests of Islamism will prove my point: women and sex, į “Vakarai”, and Israel.As a secular Muslim who has vowed never to live in Egypt should Islamists ever take power, I never take lightly any attempt to blend religion with politics. So it has been with a more than skeptical eye that I’ve followed Turkish politics over the past few years.

Claiming the Center: Political Islam in Transition

Jonas L. Esposito

In the 1990s political Islam, what some callIslamic fundamentalism,” remains a major presence in government and in oppositional politics from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Political Islam in power and in politics has raised many issues and questions: “Is Islam antithetical to modernization?,” “Are Islam and democracy incompatible?,” “What are the implications of an Islamic government for pluralism, minority and women’s rights,” “How representative are Islamists,” “Are there Islamic moderates?,” “Should the West fear a transnational Islamic threat or clash of civilizations?” Contemporary Islamic Revivalism The landscape of the Muslim world today reveals the emergence of new Islamic republics (Iranas, Sudan, Afganistanas), the proliferation of Islamic movements that function as major political and social actors within existing systems, and the confrontational politics of radical violent extremists._ In contrast to the 1980s when political Islam was simply equated with revolutionary Iran or clandestine groups with names like Islamic jihad or the Army of God, the Muslim world in the 1990s is one in which Islamists have participated in the electoral process and are visible as prime ministers, cabinet officers, speakers of national assemblies, parliamentarians, and mayors in countries as diverse as Egypt, Sudan, Turkija, Iranas, Libanas, Kuwait, Jemenas, Jordanija, Pakistanas, Bangladesh, Malaizija, Indonezija, and Israel/Palestine. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, political Islam continues to be a major force for order and disorder in global politics, one that participates in the political process but also in acts of terrorism, a challenge to the Muslim world and to the West. Understanding the nature of political Islam today, and in particular the issues and questions that have emerged from the experience of the recent past, remains critical for governments, policymakers, and students of international politics alike.