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Die Arabiese Môre

DAVID B. OTTAWAY

October 6, 1981, was meant to be a day of celebration in Egypt. It marked the anniversary of Egypt’s grandest moment of victory in three Arab-Israeli conflicts, when the country’s underdog army thrust across the Suez Canal in the opening days ofthe 1973 Yom Kippur War and sent Israeli troops reeling in retreat. On a cool, cloudless morning, the Cairo stadium was packed with Egyptian families that had come to see the military strut its hardware.On the reviewing stand, President Anwar el-Sadat,the war’s architect, watched with satisfaction as men and machines paraded before him. I was nearby, a newly arrived foreign correspondent.Suddenly, one of the army trucks halted directly in front of the reviewing stand just as six Mirage jets roared overhead in an acrobatic performance, painting the sky with long trails of red, yellow, purple,and green smoke. Sadat stood up, apparently preparing to exchange salutes with yet another contingent of Egyptian troops. He made himself a perfect target for four Islamist assassins who jumped from the truck, stormed the podium, and riddled his body with bullets.As the killers continued for what seemed an eternity to spray the stand with their deadly fire, I considered for an instant whether to hit the ground and risk being trampled to death by panicked spectators or remain afoot and risk taking a stray bullet. Instinct told me to stay on my feet, and my sense of journalistic duty impelled me to go find out whether Sadat was alive or dead.

Challenging Authoritarianism, Kolonialisme, and Disunity: The Islamic Political Reform Movements of al-Afghani and Rida

Ahmed Ali Salem

The decline of the Muslim world preceded European colonization of most

Muslim lands in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first
quarter of the twentieth century. In particular, the Ottoman Empire’s
power and world status had been deteriorating since the seventeenth century.
But, more important for Muslim scholars, it had ceased to meet

some basic requirements of its position as the caliphate, the supreme and
sovereign political entity to which all Muslims should be loyal.
Therefore, some of the empire’s Muslim scholars and intellectuals called
for political reform even before the European encroachment upon
Muslim lands. The reforms that they envisaged were not only Islamic, but
also Ottomanic – from within the Ottoman framework.

These reformers perceived the decline of the Muslim world in general,

and of the Ottoman Empire in particular, to be the result of an increasing

disregard for implementing the Shari`ah (Islamitiese wet). Egter, since the

late eighteenth century, an increasing number of reformers, sometimes supported

by the Ottoman sultans, began to call for reforming the empire along

modern European lines. The empire’s failure to defend its lands and to

respond successfully to the West’s challenges only further fueled this call

for “modernizing” reform, which reached its peak in the Tanzimat movement

in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Other Muslim reformers called for a middle course. On the one hand,

they admitted that the caliphate should be modeled according to the Islamic

sources of guidance, especially the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s

teachings (Sunnah), and that the ummah’s (the world Muslim community)

unity is one of Islam’s political pillars. Aan die ander kant, they realized the

need to rejuvenate the empire or replace it with a more viable one. Inderdaad,

their creative ideas on future models included, but were not limited to, die

following: replacing the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire with an Arab-led

caliphate, building a federal or confederate Muslim caliphate, establishing

a commonwealth of Muslim or oriental nations, and strengthening solidarity

and cooperation among independent Muslim countries without creating

a fixed structure. These and similar ideas were later referred to as the

Muslim league model, which was an umbrella thesis for the various proposals

related to the future caliphate.

Two advocates of such reform were Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and

Muhammad `Abduh, both of whom played key roles in the modern

Islamic political reform movement.1 Their response to the dual challenge

facing the Muslim world in the late nineteenth century – European colonization

and Muslim decline – was balanced. Their ultimate goal was to

revive the ummah by observing the Islamic revelation and benefiting

from Europe’s achievements. Egter, they disagreed on certain aspects

and methods, as well as the immediate goals and strategies, of reform.

While al-Afghani called and struggled mainly for political reform,

`Abduh, once one of his close disciples, developed his own ideas, which

emphasized education and undermined politics.




Organisatoriese Kontinuïteit in Egipte se Moslem-broederskap

Tess Lee Eisenhart

As Egypt’s oldest and most prominent opposition movement, the Society of

Muslim Brothers, al-ikhwan al-muslimeen, has long posed a challenge to successive secular
regimes by offering a comprehensive vision of an Islamic state and extensive social
welfare services. Sedert sy stigting in 1928, the Brotherhood (Ikhwan) has thrived in a
parallel religious and social services sector, generally avoiding direct confrontation with
ruling regimes.1 More recently over the past two decades, egter, the Brotherhood has
dabbled with partisanship in the formal political realm. This experiment culminated in
the election of the eighty-eight Brothers to the People’s Assembly in 2005—the largest
oppositional bloc in modern Egyptian history—and the subsequent arrests of nearly
1,000 Brothers.2 The electoral advance into mainstream politics provides ample fodder
for scholars to test theories and make predictions about the future of the Egyptian
regime: will it fall to the Islamist opposition or remain a beacon of secularism in the
Arab world?
This thesis shies away from making such broad speculations. Instead, it explores

the extent to which the Muslim Brotherhood has adapted as an organization in the past
decade.

Secularisme, Hermeneutiek, en Ryk: Die politiek van die Islamitiese Hervorming

Saba Mahmood

Since the events of September 11, 2001, against the

backdrop of two decades of the ascendance of global religious politics, urgent
calls for the reinstatement of secularism have reached a crescendo that cannot
be ignored. The most obvious target of these strident calls is Islam, particularly
those practices and discourses within Islam that are suspected of fostering fundamentalism
and militancy. It has become de rigueur for leftists and liberals alike
to link the fate of democracy in the Muslim world with the institutionalization

of secularism — both as a political doctrine and as a political ethic. This coupling
is now broadly echoed within the discourse emanating from the U.S. State
Department, particularly in its programmatic efforts to reshape and transform
“Islam from within.” In this essay, I will examine both the particular conception
of secularism that underlies the current consensus that Islam needs to be
reformed — that its secularization is a necessary step in bringing “democracy” to
the Muslim world — and the strategic means by which this programmatic vision is
being instituted today. Insomuch as secularism is a historically shifting category
with a variegated genealogy, my aim is not to secure an authoritative definition of
secularism or to trace its historical transformation within the United States or the
Muslim world. My goal here is more limited: I want to sketch out the particular
understanding of secularism underlying contemporary American discourses on
Islam, an understanding that is deeply shaped by U.S. security and foreign policy
concerns in the Muslim world.

Hizbollah’s Political Manifesto 2009

Following World War II, the United States became the centre of polarization and hegemony in the world; as such a project witnessed tremendous development on the levels of domination and subjugation that is unprecedented in history, making use and taking advantage of the multifaceted achievements on the several levels of knowledge, culture, technology, economy as well as the military level- that are supported by an economic-political system that only views the world as markets that have to abide by the American view.
The most dangerous aspect in the western hegemony-the American one precisely- is that they consider themselves as owners of the world and therefore, this expandin strategy along with the economic-capitalist project has become awestern expanding strategythat turned to be an international scheme of limitless greed. Savage capitalism forces- embodied mainly in international monopoly networks o fcompanies that cross the nations and continents, networks of various international establishments especially the financial ones backed by superior military force have led to more contradictions and conflicts of which not less important are the conflicts of identities, cultures, civilizations, in addition to the conflicts of poverty and wealth. These savage capitalism forces have turned into mechanisms of sowing dissension and destroying identities as well as imposing the most dangerous type of cultural,
national, economic as well as social theft .

Islamitiese politieke kultuur, Demokrasie, en Menseregte

Daniel E. Prys

Dit is aangevoer dat die Islam fasiliteer outoritarisme, weerspreek die

waardes van Westerse samelewings, en dit het belangrike politieke uitkomste beduidend beïnvloed

in Moslemlande. Gevolglik, geleerdes, kommentators, en die regering

amptenare wys gereeld op '' Islamitiese fundamentalisme '' as die volgende

ideologiese bedreiging vir liberale demokrasieë. hierdie siening, egter, is hoofsaaklik gebaseer

oor die ontleding van tekste, Islamitiese politieke teorie, en ad hoc-studies

van individuele lande, wat nie oorweeg ander faktore. Dit is my stelling

dat die tekste en tradisies van Islam, soos dié van ander godsdienste,

gebruik kan word om 'n verskeidenheid van politieke stelsels en beleid te ondersteun. land

spesifieke en beskrywende studies help ons nie om patrone te vind wat sal help nie

ons verduidelik die verskillende verhoudings tussen Islam en politiek regoor die land

lande van die Moslem-wêreld. vandaar, 'n nuwe benadering tot die studie van die

verband tussen Islam en die politiek is 'n beroep vir.
Ek stel voor, deur middel van streng evaluering van die verhouding tussen Islam,

demokrasie, en menseregte by die kruis-nasionale vlak, dit te veel

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, ekonomiese invloede, etniese gleufies,

en maatskaplike ontwikkeling, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Islamitiese politieke kultuur, Demokrasie, en Menseregte

Daniel E. Prys

Dit is aangevoer dat die Islam fasiliteer outoritarisme, weerspreek die

waardes van Westerse samelewings, en dit het belangrike politieke uitkomste beduidend beïnvloed
in Moslemlande. Gevolglik, geleerdes, kommentators, en die regering
amptenare wys gereeld op '' Islamitiese fundamentalisme '' as die volgende
ideologiese bedreiging vir liberale demokrasieë. hierdie siening, egter, is hoofsaaklik gebaseer
oor die ontleding van tekste, Islamitiese politieke teorie, en ad hoc-studies
van individuele lande, wat nie oorweeg ander faktore. Dit is my stelling
dat die tekste en tradisies van Islam, soos dié van ander godsdienste,
gebruik kan word om 'n verskeidenheid van politieke stelsels en beleid te ondersteun. land
spesifieke en beskrywende studies help ons nie om patrone te vind wat sal help nie
ons verduidelik die verskillende verhoudings tussen Islam en politiek regoor die land
lande van die Moslem-wêreld. vandaar, 'n nuwe benadering tot die studie van die
verband tussen Islam en die politiek is 'n beroep vir.
Ek stel voor, deur middel van streng evaluering van die verhouding tussen Islam,
demokrasie, en menseregte by die kruis-nasionale vlak, dit te veel
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, ekonomiese invloede, etniese gleufies,

en maatskaplike ontwikkeling, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Islamist Opposition Parties and the Potential for EU Engagement

Toby Archer

Heidi Huuhtanen

In light of the increasing importance of Islamist movements in the Muslim world and

the way that radicalisation has influenced global events since the turn of the century, it

is important for the EU to evaluate its policies towards actors within what can be loosely

termed the ‘Islamic world’. It is particularly important to ask whether and how to engage

with the various Islamist groups.

This remains controversial even within the EU. Some feel that the Islamic values that

lie behind Islamist parties are simply incompatible with western ideals of democracy and

menseregte, while others see engagement as a realistic necessity due to the growing

domestic importance of Islamist parties and their increasing involvement in international

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

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

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

their political circumstances, country by country.

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

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

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

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

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

deal with governing regimes that are authoritarian, but it is a new phenomenon to press

for democratic reform in states where the most likely beneficiaries might have, from the

EU’s point of view, different and sometimes problematic approaches to democracy and its

related values, such as minority and women’s rights and the rule of law. These charges are

often laid against Islamist movements, so it is important for European policy-makers to

have an accurate picture of the policies and philosophies of potential partners.

Experiences from different countries tends to suggest that the more freedom Islamist

parties are allowed, the more moderate they are in their actions and ideas. In many

cases Islamist parties and groups have long since shifted away from their original aim

of establishing an Islamic state governed by Islamic law, and have come to accept basic

democratic principles of electoral competition for power, the existence of other political

competitors, and political pluralism.

Political Islam in the Middle East

Is Knudsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islamitiese partye : hoekom hulle kan nie demokratiese

Bassam Tibi

Noting Islamism’s growing appeal and strength on the ground, many

Western scholars and officials have been grasping for some way to take

an inclusionary approach toward it. In keeping with this desire, it has

become fashionable contemptuously to dismiss the idea of insisting on

clear and rigorous distinctions as “academic.” When it comes to Islam

and democracy, this deplorable fashion has been fraught with unfortunate

consequences.

Intelligent discussion of Islamism, demokrasie, and Islam requires

clear and accurate definitions. Without them, analysis will collapse into

confusion and policy making will suffer. My own view, formed after

thirty years of study and reflection regarding the matter, is that Islam and

democracy are indeed compatible, provided that certain necessary religious

reforms are made. The propensity to deliver on such reforms is what

I see as lacking in political Islam. My own avowed interest—as an Arab-

Muslim prodemocracy theorist and practitioner—is to promote the establishment

of secular democracy within the ambit of Islamic civilization.

In order to help clear away the confusion that all too often surrounds

this topic, I will lay out several basic points to bear in mind. The first is

that, so far, Western practices vis-`a-vis political Islam have been faulty

because they have lacked the underpinning of a well-founded assessment.

Unless blind luck intervenes, no policy can be better than the assessment

upon which it is based. Proper assessment is the beginning of

all practical wisdom.

STRATEGIEë VIR innemende politieke Islam

SHADI HAMID

AMANDA KADLEC

Political Islam is the single most active political force in the Middle East today. Its future is intimately tied to that of the region. If the United States and the European Union are committed to supporting political reform in the region, they will need to devise concrete, coherent strategies for engaging Islamist groups. Yet, die VSA. has generally been unwilling to open a dialogue with these movements. Similarly, EU engagement with Islamists has been the exception, not the rule. Where low-level contacts exist, they mainly serve information-gathering purposes, not strategic objectives. The U.S. and EU have a number of programs that address economic and political development in the region – among them the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Union for the Mediterranean, and the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) – yet they have little to say about how the challenge of Islamist political opposition fits within broader regional objectives. VSA. and EU democracy assistance and programming are directed almost entirely to either authoritarian governments themselves or secular civil society groups with minimal support in their own societies.
The time is ripe for a reassessment of current policies. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, supporting Middle East democracy has assumed a greater importance for Western policymakers, who see a link between lack of democracy and political violence. Greater attention has been devoted to understanding the variations within political Islam. The new American administration is more open to broadening communication with the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the vast majority of mainstream Islamist organizations – including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan’s Islamic Action Front (IAF), Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD), the Islamic Constitutional Movement of Kuwait, and the Yemeni Islah Party – have increasingly made support for political reform and democracy a central component in their political platforms. In addition, many have signaled strong interest in opening dialogue with U.S. and EU governments.
The future of relations between Western nations and the Middle East may be largely determined by the degree to which the former engage nonviolent Islamist parties in a broad dialogue about shared interests and objectives. There has been a recent proliferation of studies on engagement with Islamists, but few clearly address what it might entail in practice. As Zoé Nautré, visiting fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, puts it, “the EU is thinking about engagement but doesn’t really know how.”1 In the hope of clarifying the discussion, we distinguish between three levels of “engagement,” each with varying means and ends: low-level contacts, strategic dialogue, and partnership.

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

Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy,

Marina Ottaway

During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. Th ey have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Other parties,
by and large, have failed on all accounts.
Th e public in the West and, in particular, the United States, has only become aware of the importance of Islamist movements after dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. Attention has been far more sustained since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, Islamist movements are widely regarded as dangerous and hostile. While such a characterization is accurate regarding organizations at the radical end of the Islamist spectrum, which are dangerous because of their willingness to resort to indiscriminate violence in pursuing their goals, it is not an accurate characterization of the many groups that have renounced or avoided violence. Because terrorist organizations pose an immediate
threat, egter, 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, Jordaan, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Politiek, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

Politieke Islam en die Europese buitelandse beleid

POLITICAL ISLAM AND THE EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY

MICHAEL EMERSON

RICHARD YOUNGS

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

ISLAMIC RULINGS ON WARFARE

H Youssef. Aboul-Enein
Sherifa Zuhur

The United States no doubt will be involved in the Middle East for many decades. To be sure, settling the Israeli–Palestinian dispute or alleviating poverty could help to stem the tides of Islamic radicalism and anti-American sentiment. But on an ideological level, we must confront a specific interpretation of Islamic law, history,and scripture that is a danger to both the United States and its allies. To win that ideological war, we must understand the sources of both Islamic radicalism and liberalism. We need to comprehend more thoroughly the ways in which militants misinterpret and pervert Islamic scripture. Al-Qaeda has produced its own group of spokespersons who attempt to provide religious legitimacy to the nihilism they preach. Many frequently quote from the Quran and hadith (the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and deeds) in a biased manner to draw justification for their cause. Lieutenant Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein and Dr. Sherifa Zuhur delve into the Quran and hadith to articulate a means by which Islamic militancy can be countered ideologically, drawing many of their insights from these and other classical Islamic texts. Deur dit te doen, they expose contradictions and alternative approaches in the core principles that groups like al-Qaeda espouse. The authors have found that proper use of Islamic scripture actually discredits the tactics of al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations. This monograph provides a basis for encouraging our Muslim allies to challenge the theology supported by Islamic militants. Seeds of doubt planted in the minds of suicide bombers might dissuade them from carrying out their missions. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this study of Islamic rulings on warfare to the national defense community as an effort to contribute to the ongoing debate over how to defeat Islamic militancy.

From Rebel Movement to Political Party

Alastair Crooke

The view held by many in the West that transformation from an armed resistance movement to political party should be linear, should be preceded by a renunciation of violence, should be facilitated by civil society and brokered by moderate politicians has little reality for the case of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). This is not to suggest that Hamas has not been subject to a political transformation: it has. But that transformation has been achieved in spite of Western efforts and not facilitated by those efforts. While remaining a resistance movement, Hamas has become the government of the Palestinian Authority and has modified its military posture. But this transformation has taken a different course from the one outlined in traditional conflict resolution models. Hamas and other Islamist groups continue to see themselves as resistance movements, but increasingly they see the prospect that their organizations may evolve into political currents that are focused on non-violent resistance.Standard conflict resolution models rely heavily on Western experience in conflict resolution and often ignore the differences of approach in the Islamic history of peace-making. Not surprisingly, the Hamas approach to political negotiation is different in style to that of the West. Also, as an Islamist movement that shares the wider optic of the impact of the West on their societies, Hamas has requirements of authenticity and legitimacy within its own constituency that bear on the importance attached to maintaining an armed capability. These factors, together with the overwhelming effect of long term conflict on a community’s psychology (an aspect that receives little attention in Western models that put preponderant weight on political analysis), suggests that the transformation process for Hamas has been very different from the transformation of arms movements in traditional analysis. In addition, the harsh landscape of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict gives the Hamas experience its special characteristics.Hamas is in the midst of an important transformation, but the political currents within Israel, and within the region, make the outcome of this transformation unpredictable. Much will depend on the course of Western policy (its “Global War on Terror”) and how that policy effects revivalist Islamist groups such as Hamas, groups that are committed to elections, reform and good-governance.

Arabiese Hervorming Bulletin

group of researchers


Egipte: Regression in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Party Platform?

Amr hamzawy


The Muslim Brotherhood’s draft party platform sends mixed signals about the movement’s political views

and positions. Although it has already been widely circulated, the document does not yet have final
approval from the movement’s guidance bureau.
The platform’s detailed treatment of political, sosiale, and economic issues marks a significant departure
from previously less developed positions, articulated inter alia in a 2004 reform initiative and the 2005
electoral platform for Brotherhood parliamentary candidates. This shift addresses one of the most
important criticisms of the Brotherhood, namely its championing of vague ideological and religious

slogans and inability to come up with specific policy prescriptions.
The document raises troubling questions, egter, regarding the identity of a future Brotherhood

political party as well as the group’s position on several political and social issues. Released in the
context of an ongoing stand-off between the Egyptian regime and the Brotherhood, it reveals significant
ambiguities and perhaps regression in the movement’s thinking.
First, the drafters chose not to address the future relationship between the party and the movement. In

doing so, they have deliberately ignored important ideas recently discussed within the movement,
especially among members of the parliamentary bloc. Inspired by the experiences of Islamist parties in
Marokko, Jordaan, and Yemen, these members advocate a functional separation between a party and
the movement, with the former focused mainly on political participation and the latter on religious
activism. In addition to its superficial treatment of the nature of the party and its internal organization, die
platform includes no clear statement on opening party membership to all Egyptians regardless of their
religion, one of the requirements for establishing a political party according to the Egyptian constitution.
Second, the draft Brotherhood platform identifies implementation of sharia as one of the party’s main

goals. Although this is consistent with the group’s interpretation of Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution
(“Islam is the religion of the state, and Islamic law is the main source of legislation”), it departs from the
pragmatic spirit of various Brotherhood statements and initiatives since 2004 in which less emphasis
was given to the sharia issue. The return to a focus on sharia in the platform has led to positions
fundamentally at odds with the civil nature of the state and full citizenship rights regardless of religious
affiliation.