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A Muslim Archipelago

Max L. Gross

This book has been many years in the making, as the author explains in his Preface, though he wrote most of the actual text during his year as senior Research Fellow with the Center for Strategic Intelligence Research. The author was for many years Dean of the School of Intelligence Studies at the Joint Military Intelligence College. Even though it may appear that the book could have been written by any good historian or Southeast Asia regional specialist, this work is illuminated by the author’s more than three decades of service within the national Intelligence Community. His regional expertise often has been applied to special assessments for the Community. With a knowledge of Islam unparalleled among his peers and an unquenchable thirst for determining how the goals of this religion might play out in areas far from the focus of most policymakers’ current attention, the author has made the most of this opportunity to acquaint the Intelligence Community and a broader readership with a strategic appreciation of a region in the throes of reconciling secular and religious forces.
This publication has been approved for unrestricted distribution by the Office of Security Review, Department of Defense.

Democracy in Islamic Political Thought

Azzam S. Tamimi

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

Secularism, Hermeneutics, and Empire: The Politics of Islamic Reformation

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 .

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Price

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes

in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government

officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next

ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, however, is based primarily

on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies

of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention

that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,

can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country

specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help

us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the

countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the

connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,

democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much

emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first

use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay

between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

The Prelude to the Islamic State

Muhammad Ibn Katebur Rahman

We have been given Islam as guidance and his guidance is divided in to, acts of worship wholly between Allah and His servants and acts of achieving aims to attain the Islamic sovereignty on earth. Acts of worship are Salat, Saum, Zabh, etc which have no rational reasons for its existence. Then there are acts which have reasons for its existence such as spending wealth, Jihad, speaking truth, fighting injustice, preventing zina, drugs, interests, etc which are there for the benefit and well being of societies and nations. Each intelligent worshipper in order to achieve these goals of universal benefits therefore must always seek ways to attain it and one of it is theological and political unity. In order to envision the gateways in the world to implement and realize these universal interests we then must know about the changing world, we must know about the age of information. We must know about its nature, behavior, progression which includes knowing about politics, history, technology, science, military, cultures, philosophies, psychology of nations, people of power and values, places of interest and value, resources of earth, international law, internet, humanity with its divisions on basis of wealth, power and their place in history and progression. Our Prophet (saas) stated that the knowledge is a lost property of a believer and indeed this knowledge is all those knowledge which by knowing benefits Islam and the Muslims both in world and hereafter. The intelligent among us especially the clerics, therefore study books and organizes people of knowledge on basis of their respective expertise so that they can give efficient and effective solutions for the attainment of those Islamic universal benefits. The Islamic politics is just there to realize these universal benefits, to humanity on whole and Muslims in particular

The Islamization of Pakistan

The Middle East Institute

Since 2007, Pakistan, though not on the verge of becoming a failed state, nonetheless has been gripped by a series of interrelated crises. As the contributors to this volume demonstrate, Pakistan’s current travails have deep and tangled historical roots. They also demonstrate that Pakistan’s domestic situation historically has been influenced by, and has affected developments in neighboring countries as well as those farther afield.
The origins of many of Pakistan’s troubles today lie not just in the circumstances in which the state of Pakistan emerged, but in the manner in which various domestic political forces have defined and sought to advance their competing visions of the state since independence. Over the years, successive national political leaders, the military, and other actors have appropriated the symbols, institutions, tools of statecraft, and even the rhetoric of Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in order to advance their own narrow agendas.
As the contributors emphasize, much of the present turmoil in Pakistan dates from the late 1970s, when the rise to power of General Zia ul Haq and his Islamization program intersected with the momentous events of 1979, most importantly, the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The 18 essays comprising this volume examine the tight interplay between these domestic and regional factors, discuss the key domestic and foreign policies adopted during the Zia years, and disclose the heavy cost that Pakistan and its people have borne as a consequence. Taken together, the essays present a grim, tragic account of the past 30 years — of a country’s founding creed violated, much of its resources misspent, and its social fabric rent. And they suggest an uncertain future. At the same time, however, they point hopefully, if not confidently, to what Pakistan’s fragile civilian government must seek to reclaim and can achieve — provided that its leaders prove to be moderate, resourceful, and determined, and that the West (especially the United States) implements policies which support rather than undermine them.
In his Eid-ul-Azha Message to the Nation on October 24, 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared: “My message to you all is of hope, courage and confidence. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation.” More than a half-century has elapsed since Jinnah made this statement, yet the issues facing Pakistan are no less grave. One hopes that the current and next generation of Jinnah’s successors, together with Pakistan’s friends will be able to summon the necessary will and bolster the state’s capacity to deal with these issues effectively.

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Price

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes
in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government
officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next
ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, however, is based primarily
on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies
of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention
that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,
can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country
specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help
us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the
countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the
connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,
democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much
emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first
use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay
between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Islamist 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

human rights, 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, and

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.

Democratization and Islamic Politics: A Study on the Wasat Party in Egypt

YOKOTA Takayuki

The aim of this article is to explore the often contradictory correlation between democratization and Islamic politics in Egypt, focusing on a new Islamic political party, the Wasat Party (Ḥizb al-Wasaṭ).
Theoretically, democratization and Islamic politics are not incompatible if Islamic political organizations can and do operate within a legal and democratic framework. On the other hand, this requires democratic tolerance by governments for Islamic politics, as long as they continue to act within a legal framework. In the Middle East, however, Islamic political parties are often suspected of having undemocratic agendas, and governments have often used this suspicion as a justification to curb democratization. This is also the case with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (Jam‘īya al-Ikhwān al-Muslimīn) under the Ḥusnī Mubārak regime. Although the Brotherhood is a mainstream Islamic movement in Egypt, operating publicly and enjoying considerable popularity,
successive governments have never changed its illegal status for more than half a century. Some of the Brotherhood members decided to form the Wasat Party as its legal political organ in order to break this stalemate.
There have been some studies on the Wasat Party. Stacher [2002] analyzes the “Platform of the Egyptian Wasat Party” [Ḥizb al-Wasaṭ al-Miṣrī 1998] and explains the basic principles of the Wasat Party as follows: democracy, sharī‘a (Islamic law), rights of women, and Muslim- Christian relations. Baker [2003] regards the Wasat Party as one of the new Islamist groups that have appeared in contemporary Egypt, and analyzes its ideology accordingly. Wickham [2004] discusses the moderation of Islamic movements in Egypt and the attempt to form the Wasat Party from the perspective of comparative politics. Norton [2005] examines the ideology and activities of the Wasat Party in connection with the Brotherhood’s political activities. As these earlier studies are mainly concerned with the Wasat Party during the 1990s and the early 2000s, I will examine the ideology and activities of the Wasat Party till the rise of the democratization movement in Egypt in around 2005. I will do so on the basis of the Wasat Party’s documents, such
as the “Platform of the New Wasat Party” [Ḥizb al-Wasaṭ al-Jadīd 2004]1), and my interviews with its members.

The Lives of Hasan al Banna & Syed Qutb.

The Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al Muslimeen) was founded by Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949) in the Egyptian town of al- Isma’iliyyah in 1928. The son of an Azharite scholar, who earned his livelihood by repairing watches, Hasan al-Banna showed from his early
school-days an inclination and great zeal for calling people to Islamic values and traditions. His strong sense of religiosity and spiritual awareness drove him to join the Hasafiyyah tariqah, one of many Sufi tariqahs that were widespread in Egypt at that time. Even though he was not formally associated with this tariqah after he founded the Ikhwan, he, nevertheless, maintained a good relation with it, as indeed with other Islamic organizations and religious personalities, and persisted in reciting the litanies (awrad, pl. of wird) of this tariqah until his last days. Though Hasan al-Banna joined a modern-type school of education, he promised his father that he would continue to memorize the Qur’an, which he did, in fact later, at the age of twelve. While at school, he took part in the activities of some religious associations and clubs which were promoting it and calling for the observance of Islamic teachings .

Sayyid Qutb: The Karl Marx of the Islamic Revolution

Leslie Evans

Sayyid Qutb (October 9, 1906-August 29, 1966), the Egyptian literary critic, philosopher, and theorist of the contemporary jihadist movement is only becoming a familiar name in the West in recent years, but his voluminous writings have had and continue to have enormous impact in the Muslim world. It is not an overstatement to say that it is hardly possible to understand the reasoning and goals of the Islamic militants without some familiarity with the outlook Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) enunciated.
A search of Amazon.com returns no less than seven books in English about Sayyid Qutb as well as collections of his writings and many of his own books in translation. The two works touched on here are only a random sampling of a very large literature which is again but a minute fraction of what exists in Arabic. These two are quite different in scope and attitude. Adnan Ayyub Musallam, a Palestinian native of Bethlehem, holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan
and is currently professor of history, politics, and cultural studies at Bethlehem University in the West Bank. His generally sympathetic but critical biography concentrates on the evolving politics of Qutb’s affiliations and thought. The quite brief and more critical piece by Paul Berman for the New York Times looks at Qutb’s theology and helps to clarify his argument with Christianity and Western secularism.
Brilliant from his earliest youth, Sayyid Qutb was an unlikely figure to serve as the inspiration for a global revolutionary movement. Although for a brief period he was a member of the militant Muslim Brothers, where he served as an editor not as an organizer, he spent most of his life as a lone intellectual. Where Marx, the theorist of world communism, labored in the British Museum, Sayyid Qutb wrote his most influential works in an Egyptian prison, where he spent most of the last eleven years of his life, until his execution by the Nasser government in 1966. Even his turn to Islam in any serious way did not take place until he was past forty, yet in prison in his fifties he produced a controversial rethinking of the religion that reverberates around the world.
Qutb was born in the village of Musha, between Cairo and Aswan into a family of small landowners. He was sent to the local madrasa, the government school, rather than the still more religious kuttab, the Islamic school, but he won a contest between the two schools for the best memorization of the Qur’an. He recalled his life there in his only biographical work, “Child from the Village,” recording local customs and superstitions. From that period he acquired a belief in the world of spirits that he carried with him all his life

In the Shadow of an Arab Caesar: Sayyid Qutb and the Radicalization of Modern Islamic Fundamentalism

Research

“We are the umma of the believers, living within a jahili society. As a community of believers we should see ourselves in a state of war with the state and the society. The territory we dwell in is the House of War.”1 These were the words of Sayyid Qutb in an Egyptian military court in April, 1966 before he and two of his companions were sentenced to death by hanging. The offense; conspiring against the government and plotting its overthrow, the evidence used by the state prosecutors in the trial, besides ‘confessions,’ a book, Qutb’s final piece of literature, Ma‘alim fi al-Turuq, Signposts.2 This study does not set out to be a thorough analysis of the political and religious ideology of Sayyid Qutb. Rather it is an attempt to identify the political and social climate in Egypt as the primary motivation which led to the development of Qutb’s radical interpretations of Islam. Notions of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism dominated the political discourse of Qutb’s Egypt and hearts and minds were enraptured by promises of its populist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. This chapter in Arab history from the early 1950’s until the late 1960’s is etched in historical memory as the era of pan-Arabism. However, it was also a vital period in the evolution of fundamentalist Islam into its more radical form which first expressed itself in the 1970’s and is until today at the base of radical fundamentalist Islamic thought worldwide. This piece will
demonstrate the principal role played by Sayyid Qutb in this transformation and reveal that radical interpretations of Islam were given impetus to develop in Egypt during this period due to the nature of Nasser’s regime

Political Islam in the Middle East

Are 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.

Islamist Parties : why they can’t be democratic

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, democracy, 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.

Islamist Parties : going back to the origins

Husain Haqqani

Hillel Fradkin

How should we understand the emergence and the nature of Islamist parties? Can they reasonably be expected not just to participate in democratic politics but even to respect the norms of liberal democracy? These questions lie at the heart of the issues that we have been asked to address.
In our view, any response that is historically and thus practically relevant must begin with the following observation: Until very recently, even the idea of an Islamist party (let alone a democratic Islamist party) would have seemed, from the perspective of Islamism itself, a paradox if not a contradiction in terms. Islamism’s original conception of a healthy Islamic political life made no room for—indeed rejected—any role for parties of any sort. Islamist groups described themselves as the vanguard of Islamic revival, claiming that they represented the essence of Islam and reflected the aspiration of the global umma (community of believers) for an Islamic polity. Pluralism, which is a precondition for the operation of political parties, was rejected by most Islamist political
thinkers as a foreign idea.
As should be more or less obvious, the novelty not only of actually existing Islamist parties but of the very idea of such parties makes it exceptionally difficult to assess their democratic bona fides. But this difficulty merely adds another level of complication to a problem that stems from the very origins of Islamism and its conception of the true meaning of Islam and of Islam’s relationship to political life