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Islamistischen Bewegungen und den demokratischen Prozess in DER ARABISCHEN WELT: Exploring the Grauzonen

Nathan J. Braun, 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, jedoch, 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, Jordan, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Politik, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

ISLAMIST RADICALISATION

PREFACE
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

Issues relating to political Islam continue to present challenges to European foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As EU policy has sought to come to terms with such challenges during the last decade or so political Islam itself has evolved. Experts point to the growing complexity and variety of trends within political Islam. Some Islamist organisations have strengthened their commitment to democratic norms and engaged fully in peaceable, mainstream national politics. Others remain wedded to violent means. And still others have drifted towards a more quietist form of Islam, disengaged from political activity. Political Islam in the MENA region presents no uniform trend to European policymakers. Analytical debate has grown around the concept of ‘radicalisation’. This in turn has spawned research on the factors driving ‘de-radicalisation’, and conversely, ‘re-radicalisation’. Much of the complexity derives from the widely held view that all three of these phenomena are occurring at the same time. Even the terms themselves are contested. It has often been pointed out that the moderate–radical dichotomy fails fully to capture the nuances of trends within political Islam. Some analysts also complain that talk of ‘radicalism’ is ideologically loaded. At the level of terminology, we understand radicalisation to be associated with extremism, but views differ over the centrality of its religious–fundamentalist versus political content, and over whether the willingness to resort to violence is implied or not.

Such differences are reflected in the views held by the Islamists themselves, as well as in the perceptions of outsiders.

Political Islam and European Foreign Policy

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 .

The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood

Robert S. Aspekt

Steven Brooke

The Muslim Brotherhood is the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization. It is also the most controversial,
condemned by both conventional opinion in the West and radical opinion in the Middle East. American commentators have called the Muslim Brothers “radical Islamists” and “a vital component of the enemy’s assault forcedeeply hostile to the United States.” Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for “lur[ing] thousands of young Muslim men into lines for electionsinstead of into the lines of jihad.” Jihadists loathe the Muslim Brotherhood (known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) for rejecting global jihad and embracing democracy. These positions seem to make them moderates, the very thing the United States, short on allies in the Muslim world, seeks.
But the Ikhwan also assails U.S. Außenpolitik, especially Washington’s support for Israel, and questions linger about its actual commitment to the democratic process. Over the past year, we have met with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and activists from Egypt, Frankreich, Jordan, Spanien, Syrien,Tunesien, and the United Kingdom.

Europe’s Engagement with Moderate Islamists

Kristina Kausch

Direct engagement1 with Islamist political movements has typically been a no-go for European governments. In recent years, jedoch, the limits of the European Union’s (EU) stability-oriented approach towards cooperation with authoritarian rulers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to defend EU strategic interests in the region have become increasingly obvious. Incumbent MENA rulers’ attempts to portray the European choice of interlocutors in the region as either stabilising governments or de-stabilising Islamists are increasingly perceived as short-sighted and contradictory. Recent debates suggest that the search for viable alternative policy approaches is leading to a shift in European policy makers’ attitude towards moderate2 Islamist actors.
There is no shortage of incentives to redirect the course of EU policies in the region. Preventing the
radicalisation of Islamist movements in the region is an integral part of the EU’s counter-terrorism strategy. It
has become common wisdom that substantial political reform will only happen through effective pressure from
within. Non-violent, non-revolutionary Islamist parties that aspire to take power by means of a democratic
process have therefore often been portrayed as potential reform actors that carry the hopes of a volatile region
for genuine democratic development and long-term stability

Zivilgesellschaft und die Demokratisierung in der arabischen Welt

Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Even if Islam is the Answer, Arab Muslims are the Problem

In May 2008, the Arab nation experienced a number of fires, or rather, armed conflicts—in

Libanon, Irak, Palästina, Yemen, and Somalia. In these conflicts,

the warring parties used Islam as the instrument for mobilization

and amassing support. Collectively, Muslims are

waging war against Muslims.

After some Muslims raised the slogan of “Islam is the solution,"

it

became apparent “their Islam is the problem.” No sooner have some of them acquired weapons,

than they raised it against the state and its ruling regime regardless of

whether that regime was ruling in the name of Islam or not.

We have

seen this in recent years between the followers of Osama bin Laden

and the Al-Qaeda organization on the one hand, and the authorities in

the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the other. We have also seen an

explosive example of this phenomenon in Morocco, whose king rules in the name of Islam and

whose title is the ‘Prince of the Faithful.Thus each Muslim faction kills other Muslims in the

name of Islam.
A quick glance at the contents of the media confirms how the

term Islam and its associated symbols have become mere tools in the hands of these Muslims.

Prominent examples of these Islam-exploiting factions are:
Die Muslimbruderschaft, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Jamiat al-Islamiyya, in Egypt

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement, in Palestine Hezbollah, Fatah al-Islam,

and Jamiat al-Islammiyya, in Lebanon The Houthi Zayadi rebels and the Islamic Reform Grouping

(Islah), inYemen The Islamic courts, in Somalia The Islamic Front ,

das 500 most influential muslims

John Esposito

Ibrahim Kalin

The publication you have in your hands is the first of what we hope will be anannual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslimworld. We have strived to highlight people who are influential as Muslims, thatis, people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the factthat they are Muslim. We think that this gives valuable insight into the differentways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how peopleare living as Muslims today.Influence is a tricky concept. Its meaning derives from the Latin word influensmeaning to flow-in, pointing to an old astrological idea that unseen forces (like themoon) affect humanity. The figures on this list have the ability to affect humanitytoo. In a variety of different ways each person on this list has influence over thelives of a large number of people on the earth. Der 50 most influential figuresare profiled. Their influence comes from a variety of sources; however they areunified by the fact that they each affect huge swathes of humanity.We have then broken up the 500 leaders into 15 categories—Scholarly, Political,Administrative, Lineage, Preachers, Frauen, Youth, Philanthropy, Development,Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Medien, Radicals, International IslamicNetworks, and Issues of the Day—to help you understand the different kinds ofways Islam and Muslims impact the world today.Two composite lists show how influence works in different ways: InternationalIslamic Networks shows people who are at the head of important transnationalnetworks of Muslims, and Issues of the Day highlights individuals whoseimportance is due to current issues affecting humanity.

POLITICAL ISLAM and the West

JOHN L.ESPOSITO


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

Arab Reform Bulletin

Arab Reform Bulletin

Ibrahim al-Houdaiby

Muslim Brotherhood Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef’s decision to step down at the end of his first term in January 2009 is an important milestone for the largest opposition group in Egypt for two reasons. First, whoever the successor is, he will not enjoy the same historical legitimacy as Akef, who joined the Brotherhood at an early stage and worked with its founder, Hassan al-Banna. All of the potential replacements belong to another generation and lack the gravitas of Akef and his predecessors, which helped them resolve or at least postpone some organizational disputes. The second reason is that Akef, who presided over a major political opening of the group in which its various intellectual orientations were clearly manifested, has the ability to manage diversity. This has been clear in his relations with leaders of the organization’s different currents and generations and his ability to bridge gaps between them. No candidate for the post seems to possess this skill, except perhaps Deputy Guide Khairat al-Shater, whose chances seem nil because he is currently imprisoned.

Reneging on Reform: Egypt and Tunisia

Jeffrey Azarva

On November 6, 2003, President George W. Bush proclaimed, “Sixty years of Western nations excusingand accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe—because in the longrun, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.” This strategic shift, coupled with the invasionsof Iraq and Afghanistan, put regional governments on notice. The following spring, Tunisia’s president, ZineEl Abidine Bin Ali, and Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak—stalwart allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorismand two of North Africa’s most pro-American rulers—were among the first Arab leaders to visit Washingtonand discuss reform. But with this “Arab spring” has come the inadvertent rise of Islamist movementsthroughout the region. Jetzt, as U.S. policymakers ratchet down pressure, Egypt and Tunisia see a greenlight to backtrack on reform.