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The Arab Tomorrow

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, en av arméns lastbilar stannade direkt framför granskningsläktaren precis när sex Mirage-jetplan vrålade ovanför i en akrobatisk föreställning, måla himlen med långa spår av rött, gul, lila,och grön rök. Sadat reste sig, uppenbarligen förbereder sig för att utbyta hälsningar med ännu en kontingent av egyptiska trupper. Han gjorde sig själv till ett perfekt mål för fyra islamistiska mördare som hoppade från lastbilen, stormade pallen, och fyllde sin kropp med kulor. När mördarna fortsatte under vad som verkade vara en evighet att spraya stativet med sin dödliga eld, Jag funderade ett ögonblick på om jag skulle slå i marken och riskera att bli trampad ihjäl av panikslagna åskådare eller stanna kvar och riskera att ta en lös kula. Instinkten sa åt mig att hålla mig på benen, och min känsla av journalistisk plikt fick mig att gå och ta reda på om Sadat levde eller var död.

FEMINISM MELLAN SEKULARISM OCH ISLAMISM: FALLET PALESTINA

Dr, Islah Jad

Lagstiftningsval hölls på Västbanken och Gazaremsan i 2006 tog den islamistiska rörelsen Hamas till makten, som fortsatte med att bilda majoriteten av det palestinska lagstiftande rådet och även den första majoriteten av Hamas-regeringen. Dessa val resulterade i utnämningen av den första kvinnliga Hamas-ministern, 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. En anledning som senare citerades för att förklara denna kamp var skillnaden mellan sekulär feministisk diskurs och islamistisk diskurs om kvinnofrågor. I det palestinska sammanhanget fick denna meningsskiljaktighet en farlig karaktär eftersom den användes för att rättfärdiga att vidmakthålla den blodiga politiska kampen, avlägsnandet av Hamas-kvinnor från deras positioner eller poster, och de politiska och geografiska klyftor som rådde vid den tiden på både Västbanken och den ockuperade Gazaremsan.
Denna kamp väcker ett antal viktiga frågor: ska vi straffa den islamistiska rörelsen som kommit till makten, eller ska vi överväga orsakerna som ledde till Fatehs misslyckande på den politiska arenan? Kan feminism erbjuda en heltäckande ram för kvinnor, oavsett deras sociala och ideologiska tillhörighet? Kan en diskurs om en gemensam gemensam grund för kvinnor hjälpa dem att förverkliga och komma överens om sina gemensamma mål? Finns paternalism endast närvarande i islamistisk ideologi, och inte i nationalism och patriotism? Vad menar vi med feminism? Finns det bara en feminism, eller flera feminismer? Vad menar vi med islam – är det rörelsen känd under detta namn eller religionen, filosofin, eller rättssystemet? Vi måste gå till botten med dessa frågor och noggrant överväga dem, och vi måste komma överens om dem så att vi senare kan besluta, som feminister, om vår kritik av paternalismen ska riktas mot religionen (tro), som bör begränsas till den troendes hjärta och inte tillåtas ta kontroll över världen i stort, eller rättspraxis, som hänför sig till olika trosskolor som förklarar det rättssystem som finns i Koranen och profetens ord. – Sunnah.

ISLAMISKA KVINNAAKTIVISM I OCKUPIERADE PALESTINA

Intervjuer av Khaled Amayreh

Intervju med Sameera Al-Halayka

Sameera Al-Halayka är en vald medlem av det palestinska lagstiftande rådet. Hon var

född i byn Shoyoukh nära Hebron i 1964. Hon har en BA i sharia (Islamic

Juridik) från Hebron University. Hon arbetade som journalist från 1996 till 2006 när

hon gick in i det palestinska lagstiftande rådet som en vald medlem i 2006 val.

Hon är gift och har sju barn.

F: Det finns ett allmänt intryck i vissa västländer som kvinnor får

sämre behandling inom islamiska motståndsgrupper, som Hamas. Är detta sant?

Hur behandlas kvinnliga aktivister i Hamas?
Muslimska kvinnors rättigheter och skyldigheter härrör först och främst från islamisk sharia eller lag.

De är inte frivilliga eller välgörande handlingar eller gester vi får från Hamas eller någon annan

annan. Således, vad gäller politiskt engagemang och aktivism, kvinnor har i allmänhet

samma rättigheter och skyldigheter som män. Trots allt, kvinnor utgör åtminstone 50 procent av

samhälle. I viss mening, de är hela samhället eftersom de föder, och höja,

den nya generationen.

Därför, Jag kan säga att kvinnornas status inom Hamas är i full överensstämmelse med henne

status i själva islam. Det betyder att hon är en fullvärdig partner på alla nivåer. Verkligen, det skulle vara

orättvist och orättvist för en islamist (eller islamist om du föredrar det) kvinna att vara partner i lidande

medan hon är utestängd från beslutsprocessen. Det är därför kvinnans roll i

Hamas har alltid varit banbrytande.

F: Känner du att framväxten av kvinnors politiska aktivism inom Hamas är

en naturlig utveckling som är förenlig med klassiska islamiska begrepp

om kvinnors ställning och roll, eller är det bara ett nödvändigt svar på

påtryckningar från modernitet och krav på politisk handling och av det fortsatta

Israelisk ockupation?

Det finns ingen text i islamisk rättspraxis eller i Hamas stadga som hindrar kvinnor från

politiskt deltagande. Jag tror att det motsatta är sant — det finns många koranverser

och uttalanden av profeten Muhammed som uppmanar kvinnor att vara aktiva i politik och offentlighet

frågor som berör muslimer. Men det är också sant för kvinnor, som det är för män, politisk aktivism

är inte obligatoriskt utan frivilligt, och avgörs till stor del i ljuset av varje kvinnas förmågor,

kvalifikationer och individuella förutsättningar. Ändå, visa oro för allmänheten

ärenden är obligatoriska för varje muslimsk man och kvinna. Profeten

sa Muhammed: "Den som inte visar oro för muslimers angelägenheter är inte muslim."

Dessutom, Palestinska islamistiska kvinnor måste ta hänsyn till alla objektiva faktorer på plats

ta hänsyn till när man bestämmer sig för om man ska gå med i politiken eller engagera sig i politisk aktivism.


Islam, Politisk islam och Amerika

Arab Insight

Är "Broderskap" med Amerika möjligt?

khalil al-anani

"det finns ingen chans att kommunicera med någon U.S. administration så länge som USA behåller sin långvariga syn på islam som en verklig fara, en syn som sätter USA i samma båt som den sionistiska fienden. Vi har inga förutfattade meningar om det amerikanska folket eller USA. samhället och dess medborgerliga organisationer och tankesmedjor. Vi har inga problem med att kommunicera med det amerikanska folket men inga tillräckliga ansträngningar görs för att föra oss närmare," sa Dr. Issam al-Iryan, chef för Muslimska brödraskapets politiska avdelning i en telefonintervju.
Al-Iryans ord sammanfattar Muslimska brödraskapets syn på det amerikanska folket och USA. regering. Andra medlemmar av Muslimska brödraskapet skulle hålla med, liksom den bortgångne Hassan al-Banna, som grundade gruppen i 1928. Al- Banna såg västvärlden mest som en symbol för moraliskt förfall. Andra salafister – en islamisk tankeskola som förlitar sig på förfäder som exemplariska modeller – har antagit samma syn på USA, men saknar den ideologiska flexibilitet som det Muslimska brödraskapet förespråkar. Medan Muslimska brödraskapet tror på att engagera amerikanerna i civil dialog, andra extremistgrupper ser ingen mening med dialog och hävdar att våld är det enda sättet att hantera USA.

ROOTS OF MISCONCEPTION

IBRAHIM KALIN

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, akademiker, 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.

Ockupation, Kolonialism, Apartheid?

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 (nämligen, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, och
Gaza, 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, och, 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, moreover, 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.

ISLAM, DEMOKRATI & USA:

Cordoba Foundation

Abdullah Faliq

Intro ,


Trots att det är både en perenn och en komplex debatt, Arches Quarterly granskar om från teologiska och praktiska grunder, den viktiga debatten om förhållandet och kompatibiliteten mellan islam och demokrati, som ekade i Barack Obamas agenda för hopp och förändring. Medan många firar Obamas uppstigning till Oval Office som en nationell katarsis för USA, andra förblir mindre optimistiska om en förändring i ideologi och synsätt på den internationella arenan. Även om mycket av spänningen och misstron mellan den muslimska världen och USA kan tillskrivas strategin att främja demokrati, gynnar vanligtvis diktaturer och marionettregimer som ger läpparnas bekännelse till demokratiska värderingar och mänskliga rättigheter, efterskalvet av 9/11 har verkligen cementerat farhågorna ytterligare genom USA:s ståndpunkt om politisk islam. Det har skapat en vägg av negativitet som hittats av worldpublicopinion.org, enligt vilken 67% av egyptierna tror att Amerika globalt spelar en "främst negativ" roll.
USA:s svar har alltså varit träffande. Genom att välja Obama, många runt om i världen sätter sitt hopp om att utveckla en mindre krigförande, men rättvisare utrikespolitik gentemot den muslimska världen. Testet för Obama, när vi diskuterar, är hur Amerika och hennes allierade främjar demokrati. Kommer det att vara underlättande eller imponerande?
Dessutom, kan det vara en ärlig mäklare i utdragna konfliktzoner? Anlita prolifis expertis och insikt
c lärda, akademiker, rutinerade journalister och politiker, Arches Quarterly lyfter fram förhållandet mellan islam och demokrati och Amerikas roll – såväl som de förändringar som Obama åstadkom, i att söka den gemensamma grunden. Anas Altikriti, VD:n för Th e Cordoba Foundation ger inledningen till denna diskussion, där han reflekterar över de förhoppningar och utmaningar som vilar på Obamas väg. Följer Altikriti, den tidigare rådgivaren till president Nixon, Dr Robert Crane ger en grundlig analys av den islamiska principen om rätten till frihet. Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysias tidigare vice premiärminister, berikar diskussionen med de praktiska realiteterna i att implementera demokrati i muslimskt dominerande samhällen, nämligen, i Indonesien och Malaysia.
Vi har också Dr Shireen Hunter, från Georgetown University, USA, 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
– en Sinn Féin-medlem som fick utstå fyra års fängelse för irländska republikanska aktiviteter och en kämpe för Guildford 4 och Birmingham 6, reflekterar över hans senaste resa till Gaza där han bevittnade effekterna av brutaliteten och orättvisan mot palestinier; Dr Marie Breen-Smyth, Direktör för Centrum för studier av radikalisering och samtida politiskt våld diskuterar utmaningarna med att kritiskt forska om politisk terror; Dr Khalid al-Mubarak, författare och dramatiker, diskuterar utsikterna till fred i Darfur; och slutligen journalisten och människorättsaktivisten Ashur Shamis ser kritiskt på demokratisering och politisering av muslimer idag.
Vi hoppas att allt detta ger en omfattande läsning och en källa för reflektion över frågor som berör oss alla i en ny gryning av hopp.
Tack

US Hamas policy blocks Middle East peace

Henry Siegman


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.

Islamismen återupptogs

MAHA Azzam

Det råder en politisk och säkerhetsmässig kris kring det som kallas islamism, en kris vars föregångare länge föregår 9/11. Under de senaste 25 år, det har funnits olika betoningar på hur man förklarar och bekämpar islamism. Analytiker och beslutsfattare
på 1980- och 1990-talen talade om grundorsakerna till islamisk militans som ekonomisk sjukdomskänsla och marginalisering. På senare tid har det varit fokus på politiska reformer som ett sätt att undergräva radikalismens dragningskraft. Alltmer idag, 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. Umman existerar potentiellt varhelst det finns muslimska samhällen. Den gemensamma känslan av att tillhöra en gemensam tro ökar i en miljö där känslan av integration i det omgivande samhället är oklar och där diskriminering kan vara uppenbar. Desto större förkastande av samhällets värderingar,
oavsett om det är i väst eller till och med i en muslimsk stat, desto större konsolidering av islams moraliska kraft som kulturell identitet och värdesystem.
Efter bombningarna i London på 7 juli 2005 det blev mer uppenbart att vissa ungdomar hävdade religiöst engagemang som ett sätt att uttrycka etnicitet. 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.

PRECISION IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR:

Sherifa Zuhur

Seven years after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks, many experts believe al-Qa’ida has regained strength and that its copycats or affiliates are more lethal than before. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 asserted that al-Qa’ida is more dangerous now than before 9/11.1 Al-Qa’ida’s emulators continue to threaten Western, Middle Eastern, and European nations, as in the plot foiled in September 2007 in Germany. Bruce Riedel states: Thanks largely to Washington’s eagerness to go into Iraq rather than hunting down al Qaeda’s leaders, the organization now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in western Iraq. Its reach has spread throughout the Muslim world and in Europe . . . Osama bin Laden has mounted a successful propaganda campaign. . . . His ideas now attract more followers than ever.
It is true that various salafi-jihadist organizations are still emerging throughout the Islamic world. Why have heavily resourced responses to the Islamist terrorism that we are calling global jihad not proven extremely effective?
Moving to the tools of “soft power,” what about the efficacy of Western efforts to bolster Muslims in the Global War on Terror (kvot)? Why has the United States won so few “hearts and minds” in the broader Islamic world? Why do American strategic messages on this issue play so badly in the region? Why, despite broad Muslim disapproval of extremism as shown in surveys and official utterances by key Muslim leaders, has support for bin Ladin actually increased in Jordan and in Pakistan?
This monograph will not revisit the origins of Islamist violence. It is instead concerned with a type of conceptual failure that wrongly constructs the GWOT and which discourages Muslims from supporting it. They are unable to identify with the proposed transformative countermeasures because they discern some of their core beliefs and institutions as targets in
this endeavor.
Several deeply problematic trends confound the American conceptualizations of the GWOT and the strategic messages crafted to fight that War. These evolve from (1) post-colonial political approaches to Muslims and Muslim majority nations that vary greatly and therefore produce conflicting and confusing impressions and effects; och (2) residual generalized ignorance of and prejudice toward Islam and subregional cultures. Add to this American anger, fear, and anxiety about the deadly events of 9/11, and certain elements that, despite the urgings of cooler heads, hold Muslims and their religion accountable for the misdeeds of their coreligionists, or who find it useful to do so for political reasons.

EGYPT’S MUSLIM BROTHERS: CONFRONTATION OR INTEGRATION?

Research

The Society of Muslim Brothers’ success in the November-December 2005 elections for the People’s Assembly sent shockwaves through Egypt’s political system. In response, the regime cracked down on the movement, harassed other potential rivals and reversed its fledging reform process. This is dangerously short-sighted. There is reason to be concerned about the Muslim Brothers’ political program, and they owe the people genuine clarifications about several of its aspects. But the ruling National Democratic
Party’s (NDP) refusal to loosen its grip risks exacerbating tensions at a time of both political uncertainty surrounding the presidential succession and serious socio-economic unrest. Though this likely will be a prolonged, gradual process, the regime should take preliminary steps to normalise the Muslim Brothers’ participation in political life. The Muslim Brothers, whose social activities have long been tolerated but whose role in formal politics is strictly limited, won an unprecedented 20 per cent of parliamentary seats in the 2005 val. They did so despite competing for only a third of available seats and notwithstanding considerable obstacles, including police repression and electoral fraud. This success confirmed their position as an extremely wellorganised and deeply rooted political force. At the same time, it underscored the weaknesses of both the legal opposition and ruling party. The regime might well have wagered that a modest increase in the Muslim Brothers’ parliamentary representation could be used to stoke fears of an Islamist takeover and thereby serve as a reason to stall reform. If so, the strategy is at heavy risk of backfiring.

Iraq and the Future of Political Islam

James Piscatori

Sixty-five years ago one of the greatest scholars of modern Islam asked the simple question, “whither Islam?”, where was the Islamic world going? It was a time of intense turmoil in both the Western and Muslim worlds – the demise of imperialism and crystallisation of a new state system outside Europe; the creation and testing of the neo- Wilsonian world order in the League of Nations; the emergence of European Fascism. Sir Hamilton Gibb recognised that Muslim societies, unable to avoid such world trends, were also faced with the equally inescapable penetration of nationalism, secularism, and Westernisation. While he prudently warned against making predictions – hazards for all of us interested in Middle Eastern and Islamic politics – he felt sure of two things:
(a) the Islamic world would move between the ideal of solidarity and the realities of division;
(b) the key to the future lay in leadership, or who speaks authoritatively for Islam.
Today Gibb’s prognostications may well have renewed relevance as we face a deepening crisis over Iraq, the unfolding of an expansive and controversial war on terror, and the continuing Palestinian problem. In this lecture I would like to look at the factors that may affect the course of Muslim politics in the present period and near-term future. Although the points I will raise are likely to have broader relevance, I will draw mainly on the case of the Arab world.
Assumptions about Political Islam There is no lack of predictions when it comes to a politicised Islam or Islamism. ‘Islamism’ is best understood as a sense that something has gone wrong with contemporary Muslim societies and that the solution must lie in a range of political action. Often used interchangeably with ‘fundamentalism’, Islamism is better equated with ‘political Islam’. Several commentators have proclaimed its demise and the advent of the post-Islamist era. They argue that the repressive apparatus of the state has proven more durable than the Islamic opposition and that the ideological incoherence of the Islamists has made them unsuitable to modern political competition. The events of September 11th seemed to contradict this prediction, yet, unshaken, they have argued that such spectacular, virtually anarchic acts only prove the bankruptcy of Islamist ideas and suggest that the radicals have abandoned any real hope of seizing power.

Islam and Democracy

ITAC

If one reads the press or listens to commentators on international affairs, it is often said – and even more often implied but not said – that Islam is not compatible with democracy. In the nineties, Samuel Huntington set off an intellectual firestorm when he published The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, in which he presents his forecasts for the world – writ large. In the political realm, he notes that while Turkey and Pakistan might have some small claim to “democratic legitimacy” all other “… Muslim countries were overwhelmingly non-democratic: monarchies, one-party systems, military regimes, personal dictatorships or some combination of these, usually resting on a limited family, clan, or tribal base”. The premise on which his argument is founded is that they are not only ‘not like us’, they are actually opposed to our essential democratic values. He believes, as do others, that while the idea of Western democratization is being resisted in other parts of the world, the confrontation is most notable in those regions where Islam is the dominant faith.
The argument has also been made from the other side as well. An Iranian religious scholar, reflecting on an early twentieth-century constitutional crisis in his country, declared that Islam and democracy are not compatible because people are not equal and a legislative body is unnecessary because of the inclusive nature of Islamic religious law. A similar position was taken more recently by Ali Belhadj, an Algerian high school teacher, preacher and (in this context) leader of the FIS, when he declared “democracy was not an Islamic concept”. Perhaps the most dramatic statement to this effect was that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of the Sunni insurgents in Iraq who, when faced with the prospect of an election, denounced democracy as “an evil principle”.
But according to some Muslim scholars, democracy remains an important ideal in Islam, with the caveat that it is always subject to the religious law. The emphasis on the paramount place of the shari’a is an element of almost every Islamic comment on governance, moderate or extremist. Only if the ruler, who receives his authority from God, limits his actions to the “supervision of the administration of the shari’a” is he to be obeyed. If he does other than this, he is a non-believer and committed Muslims are to rebel against him. Herein lies the justification for much of the violence that has plagued the Muslim world in such struggles as that prevailing in Algeria during the 90s

Challenging Authoritarianism, Kolonialism, 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.
Därför, 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 (Islamic law). However, 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. On the other hand, they realized the

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

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

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. However, 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.




A Muslim Archipelago

max L. Brutto

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.