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Riforma islamica

Adnan Khan

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi boasted after the events of 9/11:
“…we must be aware of the superiority of our civilisation, a system that has guaranteed

well being, respect for human rights andin contrast with Islamic countriesrespect

for religious and political rights, a system that has its values understanding of diversity

and tolerance…The West will conquer peoples, like it conquered communism, even if it

means a confrontation with another civilisation, the Islamic one, stuck where it was

1,400 years ago…”1

And in a 2007 report the RAND institute declared:
“The struggle underway throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of

ideas. Its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world.”

Building moderate Muslim Networks, RAND Institute

The concept of ‘islah’ (riforma) is a concept unknown to Muslims. It never existed throughout the

history of the Islamic civilisation; it was never debated or even considered. A cursory glance at classical

Islamic literature shows us that when the classical scholars laid the foundations of usul, and codified

their Islamic rulings (fiqh) they were only looking to the comprehension of the Islamic rules in order to

apply them. A similar situation occurred when the rules were laid down for the hadith, tafseer and the

Arabic language. Scholars, thinkers and intellectuals throughout Islamic history spent much time

understanding Allah’s revelation – the Qur’an and applying the ayaat upon the realities and coined

principals and disciplines in order to facilitate understanding. Hence the Qur’an remained the basis of

study and all the disciplines that evolved were always based upon the Qur’an. Those who became

smitten by Greek philosophy such as the Muslim philosophers and some from amongst the Mut’azilah

were considered to have left the fold of Islam as the Qur’an ceased to be their basis of study. Thus for

any Muslim attempting to deduce rules or understand what stance should be taken upon a particular

issue the Qur’an is the basis of this study.

The first attempt at reforming Islam took place at the turn of the 19th century. By the turn of the

century the Ummah had been in a lengthy period of decline where the global balance of power shifted

from the Khilafah to Britain. Mounting problems engulfed the Khilafah whilst Western Europe was in

the midst of the industrial revolution. The Ummah came to lose her pristine understanding of Islam, e

in an attempt to reverse the decline engulfing the Uthmani’s (Ottomans) some Muslims were sent to the

Occidente, and as a result became smitten by what they saw. Rifa’a Rafi’ al-Tahtawi of Egypt (1801-1873),

on his return from Paris, wrote a biographical book called Takhlis al-ibriz ila talkhis Bariz (Il

Extraction of Gold, or an Overview of Paris, 1834), praising their cleanliness, love of work, and above

all social morality. He declared that we must mimic what is being done in Paris, advocating changes to

the Islamic society from liberalising women to the systems of ruling. This thought, and others like it,

marked the beginning of the reinventing trend in Islam.

L'Islam in Occidente

Jocelyne Cesari

L'immigrazione dei musulmani in Europa, Nord America, e l'Australia e le complesse dinamiche socio-religiose che si sono successivamente sviluppate hanno reso l'Islam in Occidente un nuovo e avvincente campo di ricerca. L'affare Salman Rushdie, controversie sull'hijab, gli attacchi al World Trade Center, e il furore per le vignette danesi sono tutti esempi di crisi internazionali che hanno portato alla luce le connessioni tra i musulmani in Occidente e il mondo musulmano globale. Queste nuove situazioni comportano sfide teoriche e metodologiche per lo studio dell'Islam contemporaneo, ed è diventato cruciale evitare di essenzializzare l'Islam o i musulmani e resistere alle strutture retoriche dei discorsi che si preoccupano della sicurezza e del terrorismo.
In questo articolo, Io sostengo che l'Islam come tradizione religiosa è una terra incognita. Una ragione preliminare di questa situazione è che non c'è consenso sulla religione come oggetto di ricerca. Religione, come disciplina accademica, è diventato diviso tra storico, sociologico, e metodologie ermeneutiche. Con l'Islam, la situazione è ancora più intricata. Nell'ovest, lo studio dell'Islam è nato come branca degli studi orientalisti e quindi ha seguito un percorso separato e distintivo dallo studio delle religioni. Anche se la critica dell'orientalismo è stata centrale per l'emergere dello studio dell'Islam nel campo delle scienze sociali, restano forti le tensioni tra islamisti e antropologi e sociologi. Il tema dell'Islam e dei musulmani in Occidente è radicato in questa lotta. Un'implicazione di questa tensione metodologica è che gli studenti dell'Islam che hanno iniziato la loro carriera accademica studiando l'Islam in Francia, Germania, o l'America trova difficile stabilire credibilità come studiosi dell'Islam, in particolare nel mondo accademico nordamericano

A Post-election Re-reading of Islamist Political Thought

Roxanne L. Euben

Barack Obama’s post-election rhetoric regarding the “Muslim world” has signaled a critical paradigm shift from his predecessor. The new president’s characterization of the United States in his inaugural address as a “nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers”; his formulation, invoked in several different contexts, that America will offer a hand of friendship to a Muslim world willing to “unclench [its] fist”; the emphasis on his own mixed lineage and experience living in Muslim countries; his pledge to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp; his interview with Al Arabiya; and the promise to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital during his first 100 days in office, all suggest a deliberate attempt to shift away from the hardening rhetoric of a new Cold War between the West and Islam and reframe American foreign policy toward Muslim societies.1 Obama’s rhetoric has enormous symbolic importance even if it has yet to issue in dramatic departures from previous U.S. foreign policies regarding, per esempio, Hamas or Iran’s nuclear program. At this particular juncture, its significance lies less in the specific policies it may presage or the greater sensitivity to Muslim sensibilities it reveals than in its underlying logic: implicit in these rhetorical gestures is the understanding that, as Obama put it in his interview with Al Arabiya, “the language we use matters,” that words and categories do not simply reflect but also create the world in which we live.

Islam and the West


John J. DeGioia

The remarkable feeling of proximity between people and nations is the unmistakable reality of our globalized world. Encounters with other peoples’ ways oflife, current affairs, politica, welfare and faithsare more frequent than ever. We are not onlyable to see other cultures more clearly, butalso to see our differences more sharply. The information intensity of modern life has madethis diversity of nations part of our every dayconsciousness and has led to the centrality ofculture in discerning our individual and collectiveviews of the world.Our challenges have also become global.The destinies of nations have become deeply interconnected. No matter where in the world we live, we are touched by the successes and failures of today’s global order. Yet our responses to global problems remain vastly different, not only as a result of rivalry and competing interests,but largely because our cultural difference is the lens through which we see these global challenges.Cultural diversity is not necessarily a source of clashes and conflict. Infatti, the proximity and cross-cultural encounters very often bring about creative change – a change that is made possible by well-organized social collaboration.Collaboration across borders is growing primarily in the area of business and economic activity. Collaborative networks for innovation,production and distribution are emerging as the single most powerful shaper of the global economy.

Democrazia, Terrorism and American Policy in the Arab World

F. Gregory Gause

The United States has embarked upon what President Bush and Secretary of State Rice has called a “generational challenge” to encourage political reform and democracy in the Arab world. The Bush Administration and other defenders of the democracy campaign contend that the push for Arab democracy is not only about spreading American values, but also about insuring American security. They hypothesize that as democracy grows in the Arab world, anti-American terrorism from the Arab world will decline. Therefore, the promotion of democracy inthe Arab world is not only consistent with American security goals in the area, but necessary to achieve those goals.
Two questions present themselves in considering this element of the “Bush Doctrine” in the Arab world: 1) Is there a relationship between terrorism and democracy such that the more democratic a country becomes, the less likely it is to produce terrorists and terrorist groups? In other words, is the security rationale for democracy promotion in the Arab world based on a sound premise?; e 2) What kind of governments would likely be generated by democratic elections in Arab countries? Would they be willing to cooperate with the United States on important policy objectives in the Middle East, not only in maintaining democracy but also on
Arab-Israeli, Gulf security and oil issues?
This paper will consider these two questions. It finds that there is little empirical evidence linking democracy with an absence of or reduction in terrorism. It questions whether democracy would reduce the motives and opportunities of groups like al-Qa’ida, which oppose democracy on both religious and practical grounds. It examines recent trends in Arab public opinion and elections, concluding that while Arab publics are very supportive of democracy, democratic elections in Arab states are likely to produce Islamist governments which would be much less likely to cooperate with the United States than their authoritarian predecessors.

Claiming the Center: Political Islam in Transition

John 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?,” “Quali sono le implicazioni di un governo islamico per il pluralismo, minoranze e diritti delle donne,” “Quanto sono rappresentativi gli islamisti,” “Ci sono moderati islamici?,” “L'Occidente dovrebbe temere una minaccia islamica transnazionale o uno scontro di civiltà?” Revivalismo islamico contemporaneo Il panorama del mondo musulmano oggi rivela l'emergere di nuove repubbliche islamiche (Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan), la proliferazione di movimenti islamici che fungono da principali attori politici e sociali all'interno dei sistemi esistenti, e la politica conflittuale degli estremisti violenti radicali._ In contrasto con gli anni '80, quando l'Islam politico era semplicemente identificato con l'Iran rivoluzionario o con i gruppi clandestini con nomi come la jihad islamica o l'Esercito di Dio, il mondo musulmano degli anni '90 è quello in cui gli islamisti hanno partecipato al processo elettorale e sono visibili come primi ministri, ufficiali di gabinetto, relatori di assemblee nazionali, parlamentari, e sindaci in paesi diversi come l'Egitto, Sudan, Turchia, Iran, Libano, Kuwait, Yemen, Giordania, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, e Israele/Palestina. All'alba del ventunesimo secolo, l'Islam politico continua ad essere una forza importante per l'ordine e il disordine nella politica globale, uno che partecipa al processo politico ma anche ad atti di terrorismo, una sfida al mondo musulmano e all'Occidente. Comprendere la natura dell'Islam politico oggi, e in particolare le questioni e gli interrogativi emersi dall'esperienza del recente passato, resta fondamentale per i governi, decisori politici, e studenti di politica internazionale allo stesso modo.

E 'la politica, Stupido

John L. Esposito

Stati Uniti la politica estera e l'Islam politico di oggi sono profondamente intrecciate. Ogni presidente degli Stati Uniti Jimmy Carter in quanto ha avuto a che fare con l'Islam politico; nessuna è stata così contestata come George W. Cespuglio. I responsabili politici, tanto più che 9/11, hanno dimostrato l'incapacità e / o mancanza di volontà di distinguere tra islamici radicali e moderati. Essi hanno ampiamente trattato l'Islam politico come una minaccia globale simile al modo che il comunismo è stato percepito. Tuttavia, anche nel caso del comunismo, infine i responsabili politici stranieri allontanata da un male informati, di ampia portata, e l'approccio paranoico personificata dal senatore Joseph McCarthy nel 1950 a più sfumato, pragmatico, e le politiche ragionevoli che ha portato alla creazione di relazioni con la Cina nel 1970, anche se le tensioni sono rimasti tra gli Stati Uniti e Unione Sovietica.

Come partiti islamisti continuano ad aumentare in risalto tutto il mondo, è necessario che i politici imparino a fare delle distinzioni e adottare approcci differenziati. Questo richiede una comprensione più profonda di ciò che motiva e informa i partiti islamici e il sostegno che ricevono, compreso il modo in cui alcune politiche statunitensi alimentano la più radicale ed estrema movimenti islamisti indebolendo il ricorso delle organizzazioni moderata a popolazioni musulmane. Ciò richiede anche la volontà politica di adottare approcci di impegno e di dialogo. Questo è particolarmente importante dove le radici dell'Islam politico più profondo del semplice andare anti-americanismo e in cui l'Islam politico si concretizza in forme non violente e democratiche. Le vittorie stordimento elettorale di Hamas in Palestina e gli sciiti in Iraq, emergere la Fratellanza Musulmana come il leader dell'opposizione parlamentare in Egitto, e la guerra di Israele contro Hamas e Hezbollah, vanno al cuore delle questioni di democrazia, terrorismo, e la pace in Medio Oriente.

Il terrorismo globale è diventata anche il pretesto per molti governanti musulmani autocratico e politici occidentali di arretramento o di ritirarsi dal processo di democratizzazione. Essi avvertono che la promozione di un processo democratico corre il rischio di favorire incursioni islamiche in centri di potere ed è controproducente per gli interessi occidentali, incoraggiare una più virulento anti-occidentalismo e una maggiore instabilità. Così, per esempio, nonostante la vittoria di Hamas 'in elezioni libere e democratiche, gli Stati Uniti e l'Europa non avrebbe consentito alla parte il pieno riconoscimento e sostegno.

Nei rapporti tra l'Occidente e mondo musulmano, frasi come uno scontro di civiltà o scontro di culture ricorrono come fa l'accusa che l'Islam sia incompatibile con la democrazia o che è una religione militante particolarmente. Ma è la religione problema principale e la cultura o è politica? È la causa primaria del radicalismo e antioccidentalismo, soprattutto anti-americanismo, estremista di teologia o semplicemente le politiche di molti governi occidentali e musulmani?

Risoluzione islamista America's Dilemma

Shadi Hamid

Stati Uniti. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East have long been paralyzed by the “Islamist dilemma”: in theory, we want democracy, ma, in practice, fear that Islamist parties will be the prime beneficiaries of any political opening. The most tragic manifestation of this was the Algerian debacle of 1991 e 1992, when the United States stood silently while the staunchly secular military canceled elections after an Islamist party won a parliamentary majority. More recently, the Bush administration backed away from its “freedom agenda” after Islamists did surprisingly well in elections throughout region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
But even our fear of Islamist parties—and the resulting refusal to engage with them—has itself been inconsistent, holding true for some countries but not others. The more that a country is seen as vital to American national security interests, the less willing the United States has been to accept Islamist groups having a prominent political role there. Tuttavia, in countries seen as less strategically relevant, and where less is at stake, the United States has occasionally taken a more nuanced approach. But it is precisely where more is at stake that recognizing a role for nonviolent Islamists is most important, e, here, American policy continues to fall short.
Throughout the region, the United States has actively supported autocratic regimes and given the green light for campaigns of repression against groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most influential political movement in the region. In March 2008, during what many observers consider to be the worst period of anti-Brotherhood repression since the 1960s, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waived a $100 million congressionally mandated reduction of military aid to Egypt.

Consultazione internazionale di intellettuali musulmani l'Islam & Politica

Stimson Center & Istituto di studi politici

Questa discussione di due giorni ha riunito esperti e studiosi provenienti da Bangladesh, Egitto, India,Indonesia, Kenia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan and Sri Lanka representing academia,non-governmental organizations and think tanks. Among the participants were a number of former government officials and one sitting legislator. The participants were also chosen to comprise abroad spectrum of ideologies, including the religious and the secular, cultural, political andeconomic conservatives, liberals and radicals.The following themes characterized the discussion:1. Western and US (Mis)Understanding There is a fundamental failure by the West to understand the rich variety of intellectual currents andcross-currents in the Muslim world and in Islamic thought. What is underway in the Muslim worldis not a simple opposition to the West based on grievance (though grievances there also are), but are newal of thought and culture and an aspiration to seek development and to modernize withoutlosing their identity. This takes diverse forms, and cannot be understood in simple terms. There is particular resentment towards Western attempts to define the parameters of legitimate Islamicdiscourse. There is a sense that Islam suffers from gross over generalization, from its champions asmuch as from its detractors. It is strongly urged that in order to understand the nature of the Muslim renaissance, the West should study all intellectual elements within Muslim societies, and not only professedly Islamic discourse.US policy in the aftermath of 9/11 has had several effects. It has led to a hardening andradicalization on both sides of the Western-Muslim encounter. It has led to mutual broad brush(mis)characterization of the other and its intentions. It has contributed to a sense of pan-Islamicsolidarity unprecedented since the end of the Khilafat after World War I. It has also produced adegeneration of US policy, and a diminution of US power, influence and credibility. Infine, theUS’ dualistic opposition of terror and its national interests has made the former an appealing instrument for those intent on resistance to the West.

Egitto: Contesto e Stati Uniti. Rapporto

Jeremy M. Tagliente

In the last year, Egyptian foreign policy, particularly its relationship with the United States, hasbenefitted substantially from both a change in U.S. policy and from events on the ground. TheObama Administration, as evident in the President’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, has elevatedEgypt’s importance to U.S. foreign policy in the region, as U.S. policymakers work to revive theArab-Israeli peace process. In choosing Cairo as a venue for the President’s signature address tothe Muslim world, Egyptians feel that the United States has shown their country respectcommensurate with its perceived stature in the Arab world.At the same time, continuing tensions with Iran and Hamas have bolstered Egypt’s position as amoderating force in the region and demonstrated the country’s diplomatic utility to U.S. foreignpolicy. Based on its own interests, Egypt has opposed Iranian meddling in the Levant and in Gazaand has recently expanded military cooperation with Israel in order to demonstrate resolve againstfurther Iranian provocations, such as arming Hamas or allowing Hezbollah to operate on Egyptiansoil. Inoltre, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (Dicembre 2008 to January 2009) highlighted theneed to moderate Hamas’s behavior, attain Palestinian unity, and reach a long-term Israel-Hamascease-fire/prisoner exchange, goals which Egypt has been working toward, albeit with limitedsuccess so far.Indications of an improved bilateral relationship have been clearly evident. Over the last sixmonths, there has been a flurry of diplomatic exchanges, culminating in President Obama’s June2009 visit to Egypt and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trip to Washington in August 2009,his first visit to the United States in over five years. Following President Obama’s June visit, thetwo governments held their annual strategic dialogue. Several months earlier, the United Statespledged to expand trade and investment in Egypt.Despite the appearance of a more positive atmosphere, inherent tensions and contradictions inU.S.-Egyptian relations remain. For U.S. policymakers and Members of Congress, the question ofhow to simultaneously maintain the U.S.-Egyptian strategic relationship born out of the CampDavid Accords and the 1979 peace treaty while promoting human rights and democracy in Egyptis a major challenge with no clear path. As Egyptian opposition figures have grown more vocal inrecent years over issues such as leadership succession, corruption, and economic inequality, andthe regime has subsequently grown more repressive in its response to increased calls for reform,activists have demanded that the United States pressure Egypt to create more breathing space fordissent. The Egyptian government has resisted any U.S. attempts to interfere in its domesticpolitics and has responded harshly to overt U.S. calls for political reform. At the same time, as theIsraeli-Palestinian situation has further deteriorated, Egypt’s role as a mediator has provedinvaluable to U.S. foreign policy in the region. Egypt has secured cease-fire agreements andmediated negotiations with Hamas over prisoner releases, cease-fire arrangements, and otherissues. Since Hamas is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and calls forIsrael’s destruction, neither Israel nor the United States government directly negotiates with itsofficials, using Egypt instead as a go-between. With the Obama Administration committed topursuing Middle East peace, there is concern that U.S. officials may give a higher priority toEgypt’s regional role at the expense of human rights and democratic reforms.


Joost Lagendijk

Jan Marinus Wiersma

“A ring of friends surrounding the Union [], from Morocco to Russia”.This is how, in late 2002, the then President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, described the key challenge facing Europe following the planned enlargement of 2004. The accession process had built up momentum, and the former communist countries of Central Europe had been stabilised and were transforming themselves into democracies. EU membership was not directly on the agenda for countries beyond the enlargement horizon, però. How could Europe prevent new dividing lines forming at its borders? How could the European Union guarantee stability, security and peace along its perimeter? Those questions were perhaps most pertinent to the EU’s southern neighbours. Since 11 Settembre 2001, in particular, our relations with the Islamic world have been imbued with a sense of urgency. Political developments in our Islamic neighbour countries bordering the Mediterranean could have a tremendous impact on European security. Although the area is nearby, the political distance is great. Amid threatening language about a ‘clash of civilisations’, the EU quickly drew the conclusion that conciliation and cooperation, rather than confrontation, constituted the best strategy for dealing with its southern neighbours.




Against the background of the ‘war on terror’,many people have come to view Islamism as amonolithic ideological movement spreading from thecenter of the Muslim world, the Middle East, toMuslim countries around the globe. To borrow aphrase from Abdullah Azzam, the legendary jihadistwho fought to expel the Soviet Union fromAfghanistan in the 1980s, many today see all Islamistsas fellow travellers in a global fundamentalist caravan.This paper evaluates the truth of that perception. Itdoes so by examining the spread of two broad categoriesof Islamic thinking and activism — the morepolitically focused Islamism and more religiouslyfocused ‘neo-fundamentalism’ — from the MiddleEast to Indonesia, a country often cited as an exampleof a formerly peaceful Muslim community radicalizedby external influences.Islamism is a term familiar to many.Most commonly itis used to categorize ideas and forms of activism thatconceive of Islam as a political ideology. Today, a widerange of groups are classified as Islamist, from theEgyptian Muslim Brotherhood to al-qa‘ida.While sucha categorization remains appropriate in many cases,Islamism seems less useful as a label for those groupsthat do not see Islam as a political ideology and largelyeschew political activism — even if their activism sometimeshas political implications. Included in this categoryare groups concerned primarily with Islamic mission-IV Be t w e e n t h e G l o b a l a n d t h e L o c a l : Islamismo, the Mi d d l e E a s t , a n d Indonesiaary activity, but it would also include a group such asal-qa‘ida whose acts of terrorism are arguably drivenless by concrete political objectives than religious inspiration,albeit of a misguided form. This paper thereforeuses the term ‘neo-fundamentalist’, developed by theFrench scholar Olivier Roy, to describe these groups andwill study the transmission of both Islamist and neofundamentalistideas to Indonesia.

Di riforma nel mondo musulmano: Il ruolo dei Poteri islamisti e Fuori

Shibley Telhami

L'attenzione dell'amministrazione Bush sulla diffusione della democrazia in Medio Oriente è stata molto discussa negli ultimi anni, not only in the United Statesand Arab and Muslim countries but also around theworld. In truth, neither the regional discourse about theneed for political and economic reform nor the Americantalk of spreading democracy is new. Over the pasttwo decades, particularly beginning with the end of theCold War, intellectuals and governments in the MiddleEast have spoken about reform. The American policyprior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 also aimedto spread democracy in the Arab world. But in that case,the first Gulf War and the need to forge alliances withautocratic regimes were one reason talk of democracydeclined. L'altra ragione è stata la scoperta che la riforma politica offriva aperture a gruppi politici islamisti che sembravano molto in contrasto con gli obiettivi americani. Il timore che i gruppi islamisti sostenessero la democrazia solo sulla base del principio di, un voto, Una volta,”come ha affermato l'ex Sottosegretario di Stato Edward Djerejianonce, ha portato gli Stati Uniti a fare marcia indietro. Anche presto nell'amministrazione Clinton, Il Segretario di Stato Warren Christopher inizialmente si è concentrato sulla democrazia nella sua politica in Medio Oriente, ma ha rapidamente messo da parte le questioni poiché l'amministrazione si è mossa per mediare i negoziati israelo-palestinesi all'ombra dei gruppi militanti islamisti,soprattutto Hamas.



At the dawn of the 21st centurypolitical Islam, ormore commonly Islamicfundamentalism, remainsa major presence in governments andoppositional politics from North Africato Southeast Asia. New Islamic republicshave emerged in Afghanistan,Iran, and Sudan. Islamists have beenelected to parliaments, served in cabinets,and been presidents, prime ministers,and deputy prime ministers innations as diverse as Algeria, Egitto, Indonesia,Giordania, Kuwait, Libano,Malaysia, Pakistan, and Yemen. At thesame time opposition movements andradical extremist groups have sought todestabilize regimes in Muslim countriesand the West. Americans have witnessedattacks on their embassies fromKenya to Pakistan. Terrorism abroadhas been accompanied by strikes ondomestic targets such as the WorldTrade Center in New York. In recentyears, Saudi millionaire Osama binLaden has become emblematic of effortsto spread international violence

Costruire ponti non muri

Alex Glennie

Since the terror attacks of 11 Settembre 2001 there has been an explosion of interest inpolitical Islamism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Until fairly recently,analysts have understandably focused on those actors that operate at the violent end of theIslamist spectrum, including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, some of the sectarian parties in Iraq andpolitical groups with armed wings like Hamas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)and Hezbollah in Lebanon.However, this has obscured the fact that across the MENA region contemporary politics arebeing driven and shaped by a much more diverse collection of ‘mainstream’ Islamistmovements. We define these asgroups that engage or seek to engage in the legal political processes oftheir countries and that have publicly eschewed the use of violence tohelp realise their objectives at the national level, even where they arediscriminated against or repressed.This definition would encompass groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Party ofJustice and Development (Pjd) in Morocco and the Islamic Action Front (IAF) in Jordan.These non-violent Islamist movements or parties often represent the best organised andmost popular element of the opposition to the existing regimes in each country, and as suchthere has been increasing interest on the part of western policymakers in the role that theymight play in democracy promotion in the region. Yet discussions on this issue appear tohave stalled on the question of whether it would be appropriate to engage with these groupson a more systematic and formal basis, rather than on the practicalities of actually doing so.This attitude is partly linked to a justifiable unwillingness to legitimise groups that mighthold anti-democratic views on women’s rights, political pluralism and a range of other issues.It also reflects pragmatic considerations about the strategic interests of western powers inthe MENA region that are perceived to be threatened by the rising popularity and influenceof Islamists. For their part, Islamist parties and movements have shown a clear reluctance toforge closer ties with those western powers whose policies in the region they stronglyoppose, not least for fear of how the repressive regimes they operate within might react.This project’s focus on non-violent political Islamist movements should not be misinterpretedas implicit support for their political agendas. Committing to a strategy of more deliberateengagement with mainstream Islamist parties would involve significant risks and tradeoffs forNorth American and European policymakers. Tuttavia, we do take the position that thetendency of both sides to view engagement as a zero sum ‘all or nothing’ game has beenunhelpful, and needs to change if a more constructive dialogue around reform in the MiddleEast and North Africa is to emerge.


cordoba fondazione

In spite of it being both a perennial anda complex debate, Arches Quarterly reexamines from theological and practicalgrounds, l'importante dibattito sul rapporto e la compatibilità tra Islam e Democrazia, come riecheggiato nell'agenda di speranza e cambiamento di Barack Obama. Mentre molti celebrano l'ascesa di Obama allo Studio Ovale come catarsi nazionale per gli Stati Uniti, othersremain less optimistic of a shift in ideologyand approach in the international arena.While much of the tension and distrust between the Muslim world and the USA canbe attributed to the approach of promotingdemocracy, typically favoring dictatorshipsand puppet regimes that pay lip-service todemocratic values and human rights, the aftershockof 9/11 has truly cemented the misgivingsfurther through America’s position onpolitical Islam. It has created a wall of negativityas found by,secondo cui 67% of Egyptians believethat globally America is playing a “mainlynegative” role.America’s response has thus been apt. Byelecting Obama, many around the world arepinning their hopes for developing a less belligerent,but fairer foreign policy towards theMuslim world. Il test per Obama, mentre discutiamo,è così che l'America ei suoi alleati promuovono la democrazia. Sarà facilitante o imponente?inoltre, can it importantly be an honestbroker in prolonged zones of conflicts?