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ISLAM, DEMOCRACY & THE USA:

Cordoba Foundation

Αμπντουλάχ 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 worldpublicopinion.org, 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? Enlisting the expertise and insight of prolifi
c scholars, academics, seasoned journalists and politicians, Arches Quarterly brings to light the relationship between Islam and Democracy and the role of America – as well as the changes brought about by Obama, in seeking the common ground. Anas Altikriti, the CEO of Th e Cordoba Foundation provides the opening gambit to this discussion, where he refl ects on the hopes and challenges that rests on Obama’s path. Following Altikriti, the former advisor to President Nixon, Dr Robert Crane off ers a thorough analysis of the Islamic principle of the right to freedom. Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, enriches the discussion with the practical realities of implementing democracy in Muslim dominant societies, namely, in Indonesia and Malaysia.
We also have Dr Shireen Hunter, of Georgetown University, ΗΠΑ, who explores Muslim countries lagging in democratisation and modernisation. Th is is complemented by terrorism writer, Dr Nafeez Ahmed’s explanation of the crisis of post-modernity and the
demise of democracy. Dr Daud Abdullah (Director of Middle East Media Monitor), Alan Hart (former ITN and BBC Panorama correspondent; author of Zionism: Th e Real Enemy of the Jews) and Asem Sondos (Editor of Egypt’s Sawt Al Omma weekly) concentrate on Obama and his role vis-à-vis democracy-promotion in the Muslim world, as well as US relations with Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Minister of Foreign Aff airs, Maldives, Ahmed Shaheed speculates on the future of Islam and Democracy; 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.
We hope all this makes for a comprehensive reading and a source for refl ection on issues that aff ect us all in a new dawn of hope.
Thank you

PRECISION IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR:

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, Middle Eastern, 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 (ποσοστό)? 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; and (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.

GLOBALIZATION AND POLITICAL ISLAM: THE SOCIAL BASES OF TURKEY’S WELFARE PARTY

Haldun Gulalp

Political Islam has gained heightened visibility in recent decades in Turkey. Large numbers of female students have begun to demonstrate their commitment by wearing the banned Islamic headdress on university campuses, and influential pro-Islamist TV
channels have proliferated. This paper focuses on the Welfare (Refah) Party as the foremost institutional representative of political Islam in Turkey.
The Welfare Party’s brief tenure in power as the leading coalition partner from mid-1996 to mid-1997 was the culmination of a decade of steady growth that was aided by other Islamist organizations and institutions. These organizations and institutions
included newspapers and publishing houses that attracted Islamist writers, numerous Islamic foundations, an Islamist labor-union confederation, and an Islamist businessmen’s association. These institutions worked in tandem with, and in support of, Welfare as the undisputed leader and representative of political Islam in Turkey, even though they had their own particularistic goals and ideals, which often diverged from Welfare’s political projects. Focusing on the Welfare Party, then, allows for an analysis of the wider social base upon which the Islamist political movement rose in Turkey. Since Welfare’s ouster from power and its eventual closure, the Islamist movement has been in disarray. This paper will, therefore, be confined to the Welfare Party period.
Welfare’s predecessor, the National Salvation Party, was active in the 1970s but was closed down by the military regime in 1980. Welfare was founded in 1983 and gained great popularity in the 1990s. Starting with a 4.4 percent vote in the municipal elections of 1984, the Welfare Party steadily increased its showing and multiplied its vote nearly five times in twelve years. It alarmed Turkey’s secular establishment first in the municipal elections of 1994, with 19 percent of all votes nationwide and the mayor’s seats in both Istanbul and Ankara, then in the general elections of 1995 when it won a plurality with 21.4 percent of the national vote. Nevertheless, the Welfare Party was only briefly able to lead a coalition government in partnership with the right-wing True Path Party of Tansu C¸ iller.

Democracy in Islamic Political Thought

Azzam S. Tamimi

Democracy has preoccupied Arab political thinkers since the dawn of the modern Arab renaissance about two centuries ago. Since then, the concept of democracy has changed and developed under the influence of a variety of social and political developments.The discussion of democracy in Arab Islamic literature can be traced back to Rifa’a Tahtawi, the father of Egyptian democracy according to Lewis Awad,[3] who shortly after his return to Cairo from Paris published his first book, Takhlis Al-Ibriz Ila Talkhis Bariz, in 1834. The book summarized his observations of the manners and customs of the modern French,[4] and praised the concept of democracy as he saw it in France and as he witnessed its defence and reassertion through the 1830 Revolution against King Charles X.[5] Tahtawi tried to show that the democratic concept he was explaining to his readers was compatible with the law of Islam. He compared political pluralism to forms of ideological and jurisprudential pluralism that existed in the Islamic experience:
Religious freedom is the freedom of belief, of opinion and of sect, provided it does not contradict the fundamentals of religion . . . The same would apply to the freedom of political practice and opinion by leading administrators, who endeavour to interpret and apply rules and provisions in accordance with the laws of their own countries. Kings and ministers are licensed in the realm of politics to pursue various routes that in the end serve one purpose: good administration and justice.[6] One important landmark in this regard was the contribution of Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1810- 99), leader of the 19th-century reform movement in Tunisia, who, in 1867, formulated a general plan for reform in a book entitled Aqwam Al-Masalik Fi Taqwim Al- Mamalik (The Straight Path to Reforming Governments). The main preoccupation of the book was in tackling the question of political reform in the Arab world. While appealing to politicians and scholars of his time to seek all possible means in order to improve the status of the
community and develop its civility, he warned the general Muslim public against shunning the experiences of other nations on the basis of the misconception that all the writings, inventions, experiences or attitudes of non-Muslims should be rejected or disregarded.
Khairuddin further called for an end to absolutist rule, which he blamed for the oppression of nations and the destruction of civilizations.

Islamic Political Culture, Δημοκρατία, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Τιμή

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.

Islamic Political Culture, Δημοκρατία, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Τιμή

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.

ISLAMIST MOVEMENTS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE ARAB WORLD: Exploring the Gray Zones

Nathan J. καφέ, Amr Hamzawy,

Μαρίνα 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, Ιορδανία, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Πολιτική, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

ISLAMIST RADICALISATION

PREFACE
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

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.

ISLAM, ISLAMISTS, AND THE ELECTORAL PRINCIPLE I N THE MIDDLE EAST

James Piscatori

For an idea whose time has supposedly come, ÒdemocracyÓ masks an astonishing

number of unanswered questions and, in the Muslim world, has generated

a remarkable amount of heat. Is it a culturally specific term, reflecting Western

European experiences over several centuries? Do non-Western societies possess

their own standards of participation and accountabilityÑand indeed their own

rhythms of developmentÑwhich command attention, if not respect? Does Islam,

with its emphasis on scriptural authority and the centrality of sacred law, allow

for flexible politics and participatory government?

The answers to these questions form part of a narrative and counter-narrative

that themselves are an integral part of a contested discourse. The larger story

concerns whether or not ÒIslamÓ constitutes a threat to the West, and the supplementary

story involves IslamÕs compatibility with democracy. The intellectual

baggage, to change the metaphor, is scarcely neutral. The discussion itself has

become acutely politicised, caught in the related controversies over Orientalism,

the exceptionalism of the Middle East in particular and the Muslim world in general,

and the modernism of religious ÒfundamentalistÓ movements.

To Be A Muslim

Fath Yakan

All praises to Allah, and blessings and peace to His Messenger.This book is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the characteristics that every single Muslim should portray in order to fulfill the conditions of being a Muslim in both belief and practice. Many people are Muslim by identity,because they were ”born Muslim” from Muslim parents. Theymay not know what Islam really means or its requirements, an dso may lead a very secular life. The purpose of this first partis to explain the responsibility of every Muslim to become aknowledgeable and true believer in Islam.The second part of this book discusses the responsibility to become an activist for Islam and participate in the Islamic Movement. It explains the nature of this movement and its goals, philosophy, strategy, and tactics, as well as the desirable characteristics of it members.The failure of various movements in the Islamic world, and especially in the Arab countries, result from a spiritual emptiness in these movements as well as in society generally. In sucha situation the principles and institutions of Islam are forgotten.The westernized leaders and movements collapse when they encounter serious challenges. These leaders and movements and the systems of government and economics they try to imposehave fallen because they lacked a solid base. They fell becausethey were artificial constructs copied from alien cultures anddid not represent the Muslim community. Therefore they wererejected by it. This situation is comparable to a kidney transplantin a human body. Although the body is able to tolerate it painfully for a short period of time, eventually the kidney willbe rejected and die.When the sickness of the Muslim Ummah became acute few Muslims thought of building a new society on Islamic principles.Instead many tried to import man made systems and principles, which looked good but really were grossly defectiveand so could be easily toppled and crushed.

the 500 most influential muslims

John Esposito

Ibrahim Kalin

The publication you have in your hands is the first of what we hope will be anannual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslimworld. We have strived to highlight people who are influential as Muslims, thatis, people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the factthat they are Muslim. We think that this gives valuable insight into the differentways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how peopleare living as Muslims today.Influence is a tricky concept. Its meaning derives from the Latin word influensmeaning to flow-in, pointing to an old astrological idea that unseen forces (like themoon) affect humanity. The figures on this list have the ability to affect humanitytoo. In a variety of different ways each person on this list has influence over thelives of a large number of people on the earth. The 50 most influential figuresare profiled. Their influence comes from a variety of sources; however they areunified by the fact that they each affect huge swathes of humanity.We have then broken up the 500 leaders into 15 categories—Scholarly, Political,Administrative, Lineage, Preachers, γυναίκες, Youth, Philanthropy, Development,Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Μεσο ΜΑΖΙΚΗΣ ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗΣ, Radicals, International IslamicNetworks, and Issues of the Day—to help you understand the different kinds ofways Islam and Muslims impact the world today.Two composite lists show how influence works in different ways: InternationalIslamic Networks shows people who are at the head of important transnationalnetworks of Muslims, and Issues of the Day highlights individuals whoseimportance is due to current issues affecting humanity.

Beyond Post-Islamism

Ιχσάν Γιλμάζ


With the increased international prominence of Turkey and its successful and internationallyrespected AK Party government, the Academia’s attention has focused on the Turkish Islamistexperience. Turkey had already been seen as an almost unique case as far Islam-state-secularismdemocracyrelations were concerned but the recent transformation of Turkish Islamism coupledwith the global turmoil in the post-9/11 world has made the Turkish case much more important.While Turkish Islamists’ recent transformation that has brought about their rise to the power hasbeen applauded at home and abroad, there are relatively very few studies that analyze theirtransformation by taking into account the unique experience of Turkish Islamism starting from the18th & 19th centuries’ Ottoman secularization, Young Ottomans of the 1860s and the Ottomanconstitutionalism and democracy. Moreover, some dynamics that affected the change in theTurkish Islamists’ Islamic normative framework have not been analyzed in detail. Thus, this studyendeavors to analyze the main factors behind the newly emerged tolerant normative framework ofthe AK Party leaders who were formerly Islamists. After showing that there are good historicalreasons arising from the Ottoman experience of secularism and democracy and arguing based on abrief theoretical discussion of the plurality of Islamisms, it argues that the Turkish Islamism hasalways differed from the other Islamist experiences. Therefore, in this study, a detailed evaluationof the Turkish Islamist experience starting from the Young Ottomans is undertaken. Then, thispaper attempts to show that Islamic groups’ physical and discursive interaction has been a crucialfactor in the Turkish Islamism’s transformation. Main premise of this paper is that the Gülenmovement has been the most influential factor that has helped the AK Party leaders to develop amore tolerant normative framework and to eventually jettison their Islamism. It is of coursedifficult to establish casual relationship between two social phenomena but one can underscorecorrelations. As the main hypothesis is that the Gülen movement has been the most influentialfactor in the normative transformation of the former Islamists’ mental frameworks and theirreligio-political worldviews, this paper provides a comparative discourse analysis betweenFethullah Gülen’s and Islamists’ ideas on several issues that have been relevant for both Islamismand newly-emerged post-Islamism. To identify these relevant issues (secularism, pluralism,democracy, rule of law, nationalism, state, ισλαμισμός, religiosity, the other, borders and dialogue),the paper provides a brief theoretical discussion of Islamism and post-Islamism that will also helpthe reader to understand the fundamental differences between Islamism and the Gülenian thought.

ISLAMIC MODERNITIES: FETHULLAH GULEN and CONTEMPORARY ISLAM

Φέργκιουσον Caki

The Nurju movement1, being the oldest moderate Islamist movement which is probably peculiar to Modern Turkey, was broken into several groups since Said Nursi, the founder of the movement, passed away in 1960. At the present time, there are more than ten nurcu groups with different agendas and strategies. Despite all their differences, today the Nurju groups seem to acknowledge each other’s identity and try to keep a certain level of solidarity. Theplace of the Fethullah Gulen group within the Nurju movement, however, seems to be a bit shaky.Fethullah Gulen (b.1938) split himself, at least in appearance, from the overall Nurju movement in 1972 and succeeded in establishing his own group with a strong organizational structure in the 1980’s and the 90’s. Due to the development of its broad school network both in Turkey and abroad2, his group attracted attention. Those schools fascinated not only Islamist businessmen and middle classes but also a large number of secularist intellectuals and politicians. Although it originally emerged out of the overall Nurju movement, some believe that the number of the followers of the Fethullah Gulen group is much larger than that of the total of the rest of the nurju groups. Yet, there seems to be enough reason to think that there was a price to pay for this success: alienation from other Islamist groups as well as from the overall Nurju movement of which the Fethullah Gulen group3 itself is supposed to be a part.