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Октомври 6, 1981, е трябвало да бъде празник в Египет. Той отбеляза годишнината от най-великия момент на победата на Египет в три арабско-израелски конфликта, когато армията на аутсайдерите в страната премина през Суецкия канал в първите дни на откриването им 1973 Войната Йом Кипур и изпрати израелски войски, които се отдръпнаха. На хладно, безоблачно утро, стадионът в Кайро беше пълен с египетски семейства, които бяха дошли да видят военните, които разпъват хардуера си., Президент Ануар ел-Садат,архитект на войната, гледаше със задоволство как хората и машините дефилираха пред него. Бях наблизо, наскоро пристигнал чуждестранен кореспондент. Изведнъж, един от армейските камиони спря точно пред щанда за преглед точно когато шест реактивни самолета „Мираж“ изреваха над главата в акробатично изпълнение, рисуване на небето с дълги червени пътеки, жълто, лилаво,и зелен дим. Садат се изправи, очевидно се готви да размени поздрави с още един контингент от египетски войски. Той се превърна в перфектна мишена за четирима ислямистки убийци, скочили от камиона, нахлу на подиума, и осея тялото му с куршуми. Докато убийците продължиха, както изглеждаше цяла вечност, да пръскат стойката със своя смъртоносен огън, Замислих се за миг дали да се ударя на земята и да рискувам да бъда потъпкан до смърт от панически зрители, или да продължа и да рискувам да взема бездомен куршум. Инстинктът ми каза да стоя на крака, and my sense of journalistic duty impelled me to go find out whether Sadat was alive or dead.


Д-р, Islah Jad

Legislative elections held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 2006 brought to power the Islamist movement Hamas, which went on to form the majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council and also the first majority Hamas government. These elections resulted in the appointment of the first female Hamas minister, who became the Minister of Women’s Affairs. Between March 2006 and June 2007, two different female Hamas ministers assumed this post, but both found it difficult to manage the Ministry since most of its employees were not Hamas members but belonged to other political parties, and most were members of Fatah, the dominant movement controlling most Palestinian Authority institutions. A tense period of struggle between the women of Hamas in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the female members of Fatah came to an end following Hamas’ takeover of power in the Gaza Strip and the resultant fall of its government in the West Bank – a struggle which sometimes took a violent turn. One reason later cited to explain this struggle was the difference between secular feminist discourse and Islamist discourse on women’s issues. In the Palestinian context this disagreement took on a dangerous nature as it was used to justify perpetuating the bloody political struggle, the removal of Hamas women from their positions or posts, and the political and geographical divides prevailing at the time in both the West Bank and the occupied Gaza Strip.
This struggle raises a number of important questions: should we punish the Islamist movement which has come to power, or should we consider the reasons which led to Fateh’s failure in the political arena? Can feminism offer a comprehensive framework for women, regardless of their social and ideological affiliations? Can a discourse of a shared common ground for women help them to realize and agree upon their common goals? Is paternalism only present in Islamist ideology, and not in nationalism and patriotism? What do we mean by feminism? Is there only one feminism, or several feminisms? What do we mean by Islamis it the movement known by this name or the religion, the philosophy, or the legal system? We need to go to the bottom of these issues and consider them carefully, and we must agree upon them so that we can later decide, as feminists, if our criticism of paternalism should be directed at religion (вяра), which should be confined to the heart of the believer and not be allowed to take control of the world at large, or the jurisprudence, which relates to different schools of faith which explain the legal system contained in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophetthe Sunnah.


Interviews by Khaled Amayreh

Interview with Sameera Al-Halayka

Sameera Al-Halayka is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She was

born in the village of Shoyoukh near Hebron in 1964. She has a BA in Sharia (Islamic

Jurisprudence) from Hebron University. She worked as a journalist from 1996 to 2006 when

she entered the Palestinian Legislative Council as an elected member in the 2006 Избори.

She is married and has seven children.

Q: There is a general impression in some western countries that women receive

inferior treatment within Islamic resistance groups, such as Hamas. Is this true?

How are women activists treated in Hamas?
Rights and duties of Muslim women emanate first and foremost from Islamic Sharia or law.

They are not voluntary or charitable acts or gestures we receive from Hamas or anyone

else. Thus, as far as political involvement and activism is concerned, women generally have

the same rights and duties as men. After all, women make up at least 50 per cent of

society. In a certain sense, they are the entire society because they give birth to, and raise,

the new generation.

Therefore, I can say that the status of women within Hamas is in full conformity with her

status in Islam itself. This means that she is a full partner at all levels. Indeed, it would be

unfair and unjust for an Islamic (or Islamist if you prefer) woman to be partner in suffering

while she is excluded from the decision-making process. This is why the woman’s role in

Hamas has always been pioneering.

Q: Do you feel that the emergence of women’s political activism within Hamas is

a natural development that is compatible with classical Islamic concepts

regarding the status and role of women, or is it merely a necessary response to

pressures of modernity and requirements of political action and of the continued

Israeli occupation?

There is no text in Islamic jurisprudence nor in Hamas’ charter which impedes women from

political participation. I believe the opposite is truethere are numerous Quranic verses

and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed urging women to be active in politics and public

issues affecting Muslims. But it is also true that for women, as it is for men, political activism

is not compulsory but voluntary, and is largely decided in light of each woman’s abilities,

qualifications and individual circumstances. None the less, showing concern for public

matters is mandatory upon each and every Muslim man and woman. The Prophet

Muhammed said: “He who doesn’t show concern for the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.”

Moreover, Palestinian Islamist women have to take all objective factors on the ground into

account when deciding whether to join politics or get involved in political activism.


Ansiia Khaz Allii

More than thirty years have passed since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, yet there remain a number of questions and ambiguities about the way the Islamic Republic and its laws deal with contemporary problems and current circumstances, particularly with regard to women and women’s rights. This short paper will shed light on these issues and study the current position of women in various spheres, comparing this to the situation prior to the Islamic Revolution. Reliable and authenticated data has been used wherever possible. The introduction summarises a number of theoretical and legal studies which provide the basis for the subsequent more practical analysis and are the sources from where the data has been obtained.
The first section considers attitudes of the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards women and women’s rights, and then takes a comprehensive look at the laws promulgated since the Islamic Revolution concerning women and their position in society. The second section considers women’s cultural and educational developments since the Revolution and compares these to the pre-revolutionary situation. The third section looks at women’s political, social and economic participation and considers both quantative and qualitative aspects of their employment. The fourth section then examines questions of the family, the relationship between women and the family, and the family’s role in limiting or increasing women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Totalitarianism of Jihadist Islamism and its Challenge to Europe and to Islam

Басо тиби

When reading the majority of texts that comprise the vast literature that has been published by self-proclaimed pundits on political Islam, it is easy to miss the fact that a new movement has arisen. Further, this literature fails to explain in a satisfactory manner the fact that the ideology which drives it is based on a particular interpretation of Islam, and that it is thus a politicised religious faith,
not a secular one. The only book in which political Islam is addressed as a form of totalitarianism is the one by Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (2003). The author is, however, not an expert, cannot read Islamic sources, and therefore relies on the selective use of one or two secondary sources, thus failing to grasp the phenomenon.
One of the reasons for such shortcomings is the fact that most of those who seek to inform us about the ‘jihadist threat’ – and Berman is typical of this scholarship – not only lack the language skills to read the sources produced by the ideologues of political Islam, but also lack knowledge about the cultural dimension of the movement. This new totalitarian movement is in many ways a novelty
in the history of politics since it has its roots in two parallel and related phenomena: first, the culturalisation of politics which leads to politics being conceptualised as a cultural system (a view pioneered by Clifford Geertz); and second the return of the sacred, or ‘re-enchantment’ of the world, as a reaction to its intensive secularisation resulting from globalisation.
The analysis of political ideologies that are based on religions, and that can exert appeal as a political religion as a consequence of this, involves a social science understanding of the role of religion played by world politics, especially after the bi-polar system of the Cold War has given way to a multi-polar world. In a project conducted at the Hannah Arendt Institute for the application of totalitarianism to the study of political religions, I proposed the distinction between secular ideologies that act as a substitute for religion, and religious ideologies based on genuine religious faith, which is the case in religious fundamentalism (see note
24). Another project on ‘Political Religion’, carried out at the University of Basel, has made clearer the point that new approaches to politics become necessary once a religious faith becomes clothed in a political garb.Drawing on the authoritative sources of political Islam, this article suggests that the great variety of organisations inspired by Islamist ideology are to be conceptualised both as political religions and as political movements. The unique quality of political Islam lies is the fact that it is based on a transnational religion (see note 26).

Islam, Political Islam and America

Арабска прозрение

Is “Brotherhood” with America Possible?

khalil al-anani

“there is no chance of communicating with any U.S. administration so long as the United States maintains its long-standing view of Islam as a real danger, a view that puts the United States in the same boat as the Zionist enemy. We have no pre-conceived notions concerning the American people or the U.S. society and its civic organizations and think tanks. We have no problem communicating with the American people but no adequate efforts are being made to bring us closer,” said Dr. Issam al-Iryan, chief of the political department of the Muslim Brotherhood in a phone interview.
Al-Iryan’s words sum up the Muslim Brotherhood’s views of the American people and the U.S. government. Other members of the Muslim Brotherhood would agree, as would the late Hassan al-Banna, who founded the group in 1928. Al- Banna viewed the West mostly as a symbol of moral decay. Other Salafis – an Islamic school of thought that relies on ancestors as exemplary models – have taken the same view of the United States, but lack the ideological flexibility espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Muslim Brotherhood believes in engaging the Americans in civil dialogue, other extremist groups see no point in dialogue and maintain that force is the only way of dealing with the United States.

Liberal Democracy and Political Islam: the Search for Common Ground.

Мостафа Бенхенда

This paper seeks to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic political theories.1 The interplay between them is puzzling: например, in order to explain the relationship existing between democracy and their conception of the ideal Islamic political
regime, the Pakistani scholar Abu ‘Ala Maududi coined the neologism “theodemocracy” whereas the French scholar Louis Massignon suggested the oxymoron “secular theocracy”. These expressions suggest that some aspects of democracy are evaluated positively and others are judged negatively. For example, Muslim scholars and activists often endorse the principle of accountability of rulers, which is a defining feature of democracy. On the contrary, they often reject the principle of separation between religion and the state, which is often considered to be part of democracy (at least, of democracy as known in the United States today). Given this mixed assessment of democratic principles, it seems interesting to determine the conception of democracy underlying Islamic political models. In other words, we should try to find out what is democratic in “theodemocracy”. To that end, among the impressive diversity and plurality of Islamic traditions of normative political thought, we essentially focus on the broad current of thought going back to Abu ‘Ala Maududi and the Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Qutb.8 This particular trend of thought is interesting because in the Muslim world, it lies at the basis of some of the most challenging oppositions to the diffusion of the values originating from the West. Based on religious values, this trend elaborated a political model alternative to liberal democracy. Broadly speaking, the conception of democracy included in this Islamic political model is procedural. With some differences, this conception is inspired by democratic theories advocated by some constitutionalists and political scientists.10 It is thin and minimalist, up to a certain point. For example, it does not rely on any notion of popular sovereignty and it does not require any separation between religion and politics. The first aim of this paper is to elaborate this minimalist conception. We make a detailed restatement of it in order to isolate this conception from its moral (liberal) foundations, which are controversial from the particular Islamic viewpoint considered here. Indeed, the democratic process is usually derived from a principle of personal autonomy, which is not endorsed by these Islamic theories.11 Here, we show that such principle is not necessary to justify a democratic process.

Принципът на движението в структурата на исляма

Д-р. Мохамед Икбал

Като културно движение ислямът отхвърля стария статичен възглед за Вселената, и достига динамичен изглед. Като емоционална система на обединение тя признава стойността на индивида като такъв, и отхвърля кръвната връзка като основа на човешкото единство. Кръвната връзка е земнокоренен. Търсенето на чисто психологическа основа на човешкото единство става възможно само с възприятието, че целият човешки живот е духовен в своя произход.1 Такова възприятие създава свежи лоялности, без никакви церемонии, които да ги поддържат живи, и дава възможност на човека да се еманципира от земята. Християнството, което първоначално се е появило като монашески орден, е било изпробвано от Константин като система за обединение.2 Неуспехът му да работи като такава система подтиква император Юлиан3 да се върне при старите богове на Рим, на които той се опитва да постави философски интерпретации. Съвременният историк на цивилизацията по този начин изобразява състоянието на цивилизования свят за времето, когато ислямът се появява на сцената на историята: Тогава изглеждаше, че великата цивилизация, за изграждането на която са били необходими четири хиляди години, е на ръба на разпадането, и че човечеството вероятно ще се върне към това състояние на варварство, където всяко племе и секта е против следващото, и редът и редът бяха неизвестни . . . The
старите племенни санкции бяха загубили своята сила. Следователно старите имперски методи вече няма да действат. Новите санкции, създадени от
Християнството работеше разделение и унищожение вместо единство и ред. Беше време, изпълнено с трагедия. Цивилизация, като гигантско дърво, чиято зеленина е обхванала света и чиито клони са донесли златните плодове на изкуството, науката и литературата, стоеше треперещ, багажникът му вече не е жив с течащия сок на преданост и благоговение, но изгнил до основи, разкъсани от военните бури, и държани заедно само от въжетата на древните обичаи и закони, това може да избухне всеки момент. Имаше ли някаква емоционална култура, която би могла да бъде внесена, да събере човечеството още веднъж в единство и да спаси цивилизацията? Тази култура трябва да е нещо от нов тип, защото старите санкции и церемонии бяха мъртви, а изграждането на други от същия вид би било работа
векове. “След това писателят продължава да ни казва, че светът е имал нужда от нова култура, която да заеме мястото на културата на трона, и системите за обединение, които се основават на кръвна връзка.
Това е удивително, добавя той, че такава култура е трябвало да възникне от Арабия точно по времето, когато е била най -необходима. Има, however, нищо невероятно във феномена. Светът-живот интуитивно вижда собствените си нужди, и в критични моменти определя собствената си посока. Ето какво, на езика на религията, ние наричаме пророческо откровение. Естествено е, че ислямът е трябвало да проникне в съзнанието на прост народ, недокоснат от някоя от древните култури, и заема географско положение, където три континента се срещат заедно. Новата култура намира основата на световното единство в принципа на Tauhâd.’5 Ислям, като държавна власт, е само практическо средство за превръщането на този принцип в жив фактор в интелектуалния и емоционалния живот на човечеството. Изисква лоялност към Бога, не на тронове. И тъй като Бог е върховната духовна основа на целия живот, лоялността към Бога практически се равнява на лоялността на човека към неговата идеална природа. Крайната духовна основа на целия живот, както е замислено от исляма, е вечен и се разкрива в разнообразие и промяна. Обществото, основано на такова схващане за Реалността, трябва да се примири, в живота си, категориите постоянство и промяна. Тя трябва да притежава вечни принципи за регулиране на колективния си живот, защото вечното ни дава опора в света на вечната промяна.

Ислямска реформация

Аднан Хан

Италианският премиер, Силвио Берлускони се похвали след събитията от 9/11:
„... трябва да сме наясно с превъзходството на нашата цивилизация, система, която гарантира

благополучие, зачитане на правата на човека и – за разлика от ислямските страни – уважение

за религиозни и политически права, система, която има своите ценности разбиране за многообразието

и толерантност ... Западът ще завладее народите, сякаш победи комунизма, дори и да е така

означава конфронтация с друга цивилизация, ислямската, остана там, където беше

1,400 преди години ... ”1

И в а 2007 доклад, деклариран от института RAND:
„Борбата, която се води в голяма част от мюсюлманския свят, по същество е война на

идеи. Резултатът от него ще определи бъдещата посока на мюсюлманския свят. "

Изграждане на умерени мюсюлмански мрежи, Институт RAND

Понятието „ислям“ (реформа) е понятие, непознато за мюсюлманите. Той никога не е съществувал през цялото време

историята на ислямската цивилизация; тя никога не е била обсъждана или дори обмисляна. Бегъл поглед към класиката

Ислямската литература ни показва, че когато класическите учени поставят основите на узула, и кодифициран

техните ислямски решения (фикх) те се стремяха само към разбирането на ислямските правила, за да

прилагайте ги. Подобна ситуация се случи, когато бяха определени правилата за хадиса, tafseer и

арабски език. Учени, мислители и интелектуалци през цялата ислямска история прекарват много време

разбиране на откровението на Аллах - Корана и прилагане на аята върху реалностите и измислено

принципи и дисциплини, за да се улесни разбирането. Следователно Коранът е в основата на

изучаването и всички развиващи се дисциплини винаги се основават на Корана. Тези, които станаха

поразени от гръцката философия като мюсюлманските философи и някои от мутазила

се смята, че са напуснали кръга на исляма, тъй като Коранът е престанал да бъде тяхната основа за изучаване. Така за

всеки мюсюлманин, който се опитва да изведе правила или да разбере каква позиция трябва да бъде заета по отношение на конкретен човек

издаването на Корана е в основата на това изследване.

Първият опит за реформиране на исляма е направен в края на 19 век. До края на

век Ума е била в продължителен период на упадък, когато глобалният баланс на силите се измести

от Халифа до Великобритания. Проблемите с монтирането обхванаха Халифата, докато Западна Европа беше

в разгара на индустриалната революция. Уммата изгуби девственото си разбиране за исляма, и

в опит да обърне упадъка, обхващащ османските (Османци) някои мюсюлмани бяха изпратени в

Запад, и в резултат на това бяха поразени от това, което видяха. Rifa’a Rafi ’al-Tahtawi от Египет (1801-1873),

при завръщането си от Париж, wrote a biographical book called Takhlis al-ibriz ila talkhis Bariz (The

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.



In the aftermath of September 11, the long and checkered relationship between Islam and the West entered a new phase. The attacks were interpreted as the fulfillment of a prophecy that had been in the consciousness of the West for a long time, i.e., the coming of Islam as a menacing power with a clear intent to destroy Western civilization. Representations of Islam as a violent, militant, and oppressive religious ideology extended from television programs and state offices to schools and the internet. It was even suggested that Makka, the holiest city of Islam, be “nuked” to give a lasting lesson to all Muslims. Although one can look at the widespread sense of anger, hostility, and revenge as a normal human reaction to the abominable loss of innocent lives, the demonization of Muslims is the result of deeper philosophical and historical issues.
In many subtle ways, the long history of Islam and the West, from the theological polemics of Baghdad in the eighth and ninth centuries to the experience of convivencia in Andalusia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, informs the current perceptions and qualms of each civilization vis-à-vis the other. This paper will examine some of the salient features of this history and argue that the monolithic representations of Islam, created and sustained by a highly complex set of image-producers, think-tanks, academics, lobbyists, policy makers, and media, dominating the present Western conscience, have their roots in the West’s long history with the Islamic world. It will also be argued that the deep-rooted misgivings about Islam and Muslims have led and continue to lead to fundamentally flawed and erroneous policy decisions that have a direct impact on the current relations of Islam and the West. The almost unequivocal identification of Islam with terrorism and extremism in the minds of many Americans after September 11 is an outcome generated by both historical misperceptions, which will be analyzed in some detail below, and the political agenda of certain interest groups that see confrontation as the only way to deal with the Islamic world. It is hoped that the following analysis will provide a historical context in which we can make sense of these tendencies and their repercussions for both worlds.

Islam in the West

Джоселин Чезари

The immigration of Muslims to Europe, North America, and Australia and the complex socioreligious dynamics that have subsequently developed have made Islam in the West a compelling new ªeld of research. The Salman Rushdie affair, hijab controversies, the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the furor over the Danish cartoons are all examples of international crises that have brought to light the connections between Muslims in the West and the global Muslim world. These new situations entail theoretical and methodological challenges for the study of contemporary Islam, and it has become crucial that we avoid essentializing either Islam or Muslims and resist the rhetorical structures of discourses that are preoccupied with security and terrorism.
In this article, I argue that Islam as a religious tradition is a terra incognita. A preliminary reason for this situation is that there is no consensus on religion as an object of research. Religion, as an academic discipline, has become torn between historical, sociological, and hermeneutical methodologies. With Islam, the situation is even more intricate. In the West, the study of Islam began as a branch of Orientalist studies and therefore followed a separate and distinctive path from the study of religions. Even though the critique of Orientalism has been central to the emergence of the study of Islam in the ªeld of social sciences, tensions remain strong between Islamicists and both anthropologists and sociologists. The topic of Islam and Muslims in the West is embedded in this struggle. One implication of this methodological tension is that students of Islam who began their academic career studying Islam in France, Germany, or America ªnd it challenging to establish credibility as scholars of Islam, particularly in the North American academic

Професия, Колониализъм, Апартейд?

The Human Sciences Research Council

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa commissioned this study to test the hypothesis posed by Professor John Dugard in the report he presented to the UN Human Rights Council in January 2007, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel (namely, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, и
Газа, hereafter OPT). Professor Dugard posed the question: Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?
In order to consider these consequences, this study set out to examine legally the premises of Professor Dugard’s question: is Israel the occupant of the OPT, и, if so, do elements of its occupation of these territories amount to colonialism or apartheid? South Africa has an obvious interest in these questions given its bitter history of apartheid, which entailed the denial of selfdetermination
to its majority population and, during its occupation of Namibia, the extension of apartheid to that territory which South Africa effectively sought to colonise. These unlawful practices must not be replicated elsewhere: other peoples must not suffer in the way the populations of South Africa and Namibia have suffered.
To explore these issues, an international team of scholars was assembled. The aim of this project was to scrutinise the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric. This study is the outcome of a fifteen-month collaborative process of intensive research, consultation, writing and review. It concludes and, it is to be hoped, persuasively argues and clearly demonstrates that Israel, since 1967, has been the belligerent Occupying Power in the OPT, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid. Belligerent occupation in itself is not an unlawful situation: it is accepted as a possible consequence of armed conflict. At the same time, under the law of armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law), occupation is intended to be only a temporary state of affairs. International law prohibits the unilateral annexation or permanent acquisition of territory as a result of the threat or use of force: should this occur, no State may recognise or support the resulting unlawful situation. In contrast to occupation, both colonialism and apartheid are always unlawful and indeed are considered to be particularly serious breaches of international law because they are fundamentally contrary to core values of the international legal order. Colonialism violates the principle of self-determination,
which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has affirmed as ‘one of the essential principles of contemporary international law’. All States have a duty to respect and promote self-determination. Apartheid is an aggravated case of racial discrimination, which is constituted according to the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973,
hereafter ‘Apartheid Convention’) by ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’. The practice of apartheid, освен това, is an international crime.
Professor Dugard in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007 suggested that an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s conduct should be sought from the ICJ. This advisory opinion would undoubtedly complement the opinion that the ICJ delivered in 2004 on the Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territories (hereafter ‘the Wall advisory opinion’). This course of legal action does not exhaust the options open to the international community, nor indeed the duties of third States and international organisations when they are appraised that another State is engaged in the practices of colonialism or apartheid.


Cordoba Foundation

Абдула Фалик |

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? 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, САЩ, 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

US Hamas policy blocks Middle East peace

Хенри Зигман

Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions. Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the “road map” and other previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed. Israel’s government believes that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance. What hope there is for the bilateral talks that resume in Washington DC on September 2 depends entirely on President Obama proving that belief to be wrong, and on whether the “bridging proposals” he has promised, should the talks reach an impasse, are a euphemism for the submission of American parameters. Such a US initiative must offer Israel iron-clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time must make it clear these assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza. This paper focuses on the other major obstacle to a permanent status agreement: the absence of an effective Palestinian interlocutor. Addressing Hamas’ legitimate grievances – and as noted in a recent CENTCOM report, Hamas has legitimate grievances – could lead to its return to a Palestinian coalition government that would provide Israel with a credible peace partner. If that outreach fails because of Hamas’ rejectionism, the organization’s ability to prevent a reasonable accord negotiated by other Palestinian political parties will have been significantly impeded. If the Obama administration will not lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation, Europe must do so, and hope America will follow. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can guarantee the goal of “two states living side by side in peace and security.”
But President Obama’s present course absolutely precludes it.

Islamism revisited


There is a political and security crisis surrounding what is referred to as Islamism, a crisis whose antecedents long precede 9/11. Over the past 25 years, there have been different emphases on how to explain and combat Islamism. Analysts and policymakers
in the 1980s and 1990s spoke of the root causes of Islamic militancy as being economic malaise and marginalization. More recently there has been a focus on political reform as a means of undermining the appeal of radicalism. Increasingly today, the ideological and religious aspects of Islamism need to be addressed because they have become features of a wider political and security debate. Whether in connection with Al-Qaeda terrorism, political reform in the Muslim world, the nuclear issue in Iran or areas of crisis such as Palestine or Lebanon, it has become commonplace to fi nd that ideology and religion are used by opposing parties as sources of legitimization, inspiration and enmity.
The situation is further complicated today by the growing antagonism towards and fear of Islam in the West because of terrorist attacks which in turn impinge on attitudes towards immigration, religion and culture. The boundaries of the umma or community of the faithful have stretched beyond Muslim states to European cities. The umma potentially exists wherever there are Muslim communities. The shared sense of belonging to a common faith increases in an environment where the sense of integration into the surrounding community is unclear and where discrimination may be apparent. The greater the rejection of the values of society,
whether in the West or even in a Muslim state, the greater the consolidation of the moral force of Islam as a cultural identity and value-system.
Following the bombings in London on 7 Юли 2005 it became more apparent that some young people were asserting religious commitment as a way of expressing ethnicity. The links between Muslims across the globe and their perception that Muslims are vulnerable have led many in very diff erent parts of the world to merge their own local predicaments into the wider Muslim one, having identifi ed culturally, either primarily or partially, with a broadly defi ned Islam.


Биргит Кравиец
Хелмут Райфелд

In our modern Western society, state-organised legal sys-tems normally draw a distinctive line that separates religion and the law. Conversely, there are a number of Islamic re-gional societies where religion and the laws are as closely interlinked and intertwined today as they were before the onset of the modern age. At the same time, the proportion in which religious law (shariah in Arabic) and public law (qanun) are blended varies from one country to the next. What is more, the status of Islam and consequently that of Islamic law differs as well. According to information provided by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), there are currently 57 Islamic states worldwide, defined as countries in which Islam is the religion of (1) the state, (2) the majority of the population, or (3) a large minority. All this affects the development and the form of Islamic law.