RSSMaingizo zote "Marekani & Europe" Kundi

It’s the Policy, Stupid

John L. Esposito

US foreign policy and political Islam today are deeply intertwined. Every US president since Jimmy Carter has had to deal with political Islam; none has been so challenged as George W. Bush. Policymakers, particularly since 9/11, have demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to distinguish between radical and moderate Islamists. They have largely treated political Islam as a global threat similar to the way that Communism was perceived. Hata hivyo, even in the case of Communism, foreign policymakers eventually moved from an ill-informed, broad-brush, and paranoid approach personified by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s to more nuanced, pragmatic, and reasonable policies that led to the establishment of relations with China in the 1970s, even as tensions remained between the United States and the Soviet Union.

As Islamist parties continue to rise in prominence across the globe, it is necessary that policymakers learn to make distinctions and adopt differentiated policy approaches. This requires a deeper understanding of what motivates and informs Islamist parties and the support they receive, including the ways in which some US policies feed the more radical and extreme Islamist movements while weakening the appeal of the moderate organizations to Muslim populations. It also requires the political will to adopt approaches of engagement and dialogue. This is especially important where the roots of political Islam go deeper than simple anti-Americanism and where political Islam is manifested in non-violent and democratic ways. The stunning electoral victories of HAMAS in Palestine and the Shi’a in Iraq, the Muslim Brotherhood’s emergence as the leading parliamentary opposition in Egypt, and Israel’s war against HAMAS and Hizbollah go to the heart of issues of democracy, ugaidi, and peace in the Middle East.

Global terrorism has also become the excuse for many Muslim autocratic rulers and Western policymakers to backslide or retreat from democratization. They warn that the promotion of a democratic process runs the risk of furthering Islamist inroads into centers of power and is counterproductive to Western interests, encouraging a more virulent anti-Westernism and increased instability. Hivyo, for example, despite HAMAS’ victory in free and democratic elections, the United States and Europe failed to give the party full recognition and support.

In relations between the West and the Muslim world, phrases like a clash of civilizations or a clash of cultures recur as does the charge that Islam is incompatible with democracy or that it is a particularly militant religion. But is the primary issue religion and culture or is it politics? Is the primary cause of radicalism and anti-Westernism, especially anti-Americanism, extremist theology or simply the policies of many Muslim and Western governments?


Resolving America’s Islamist Dilemma

Shadi Hamid

Marekani. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East have long been paralyzed by the “Islamist dilemma”: in theory, we want democracy, lakini, in practice, fear that Islamist parties will be the prime beneficiaries of any political opening. The most tragic manifestation of this was the Algerian debacle of 1991 na 1992, when the United States stood silently while the staunchly secular military canceled elections after an Islamist party won a parliamentary majority. More recently, the Bush administration backed away from its “freedom agenda” after Islamists did surprisingly well in elections throughout region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
But even our fear of Islamist parties—and the resulting refusal to engage with them—has itself been inconsistent, holding true for some countries but not others. The more that a country is seen as vital to American national security interests, the less willing the United States has been to accept Islamist groups having a prominent political role there. Hata hivyo, in countries seen as less strategically relevant, and where less is at stake, the United States has occasionally taken a more nuanced approach. But it is precisely where more is at stake that recognizing a role for nonviolent Islamists is most important, na, here, American policy continues to fall short.
Throughout the region, the United States has actively supported autocratic regimes and given the green light for campaigns of repression against groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most influential political movement in the region. In March 2008, during what many observers consider to be the worst period of anti-Brotherhood repression since the 1960s, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waived a $100 million congressionally mandated reduction of military aid to Egypt.

International Consultation of Muslim Intellectuals on Islam & Siasa

Stimson Center & Taasisi ya Utafiti wa Sera

This two-day discussion brought together experts and scholars from Bangladesh, Misri, India,Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan and Sri Lanka representing academia,non-governmental organizations and think tanks. Among the participants were a number of former government officials and one sitting legislator. The participants were also chosen to comprise abroad spectrum of ideologies, including the religious and the secular, cultural, political andeconomic conservatives, liberals and radicals.The following themes characterized the discussion:1. Western and US (Mis)Understanding There is a fundamental failure by the West to understand the rich variety of intellectual currents andcross-currents in the Muslim world and in Islamic thought. What is underway in the Muslim worldis not a simple opposition to the West based on grievance (though grievances there also are), but are newal of thought and culture and an aspiration to seek development and to modernize withoutlosing their identity. This takes diverse forms, and cannot be understood in simple terms. There is particular resentment towards Western attempts to define the parameters of legitimate Islamicdiscourse. There is a sense that Islam suffers from gross over generalization, from its champions asmuch as from its detractors. It is strongly urged that in order to understand the nature of the Muslim renaissance, the West should study all intellectual elements within Muslim societies, and not only professedly Islamic discourse.US policy in the aftermath of 9/11 has had several effects. It has led to a hardening andradicalization on both sides of the Western-Muslim encounter. It has led to mutual broad brush(mis)characterization of the other and its intentions. It has contributed to a sense of pan-Islamicsolidarity unprecedented since the end of the Khilafat after World War I. It has also produced adegeneration of US policy, and a diminution of US power, influence and credibility. hatimaye, theUS’ dualistic opposition of terror and its national interests has made the former an appealing instrument for those intent on resistance to the West.

The W&M Progressive

Julian Carr
Richael Mwaminifu
Ethan Forrest

Accepting the Responsibility of Electoral Choice

The development of democratic institutions comes with negative externalities. As a political progressive, I believe that the big picture – establishing a solid democratic foundation – outweighs the possible emergence of political parties that may advocate religious or gender intolerance. I am a firm believer in the workings of the democratic process. While I have been studying in Egypt for the semester, I am reminded that despite the imperfections of the United States democratic system, it is still many times better than living under any authoritarian regime that outlaws political parties and posts military police at a variety of locations in an effort to exert control and maintain power.

In Egypt, the electoral process is not democratic. The National Political Party – the party of President Mubarak – exerts tremendous influence in the country. Its main opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood, which was created in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. The Muslim Brotherhood is based on very strict interpretations of the Koran and the idea that secular governments are a direct violation of the teaching of the Koran. The party has a very violent past; it has been directly responsible for several assassination attempts and the assassination of the Egyptian leader Anwar-as-Sadat in 1981.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an illegal political party. Because the political party is religious, it is not allowed to participate in the public sphere under Egyptian law. Despite this technicality, the party has members in the Egyptian Parliament. Hata hivyo, the parliamentarians cannot officially declare their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood but instead identify as Independents. Though the party remains illegal, it remains the most powerful opposition to the ruling National Democratic Party.

Muslim Americans Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream

Pew Research Center

Muslims constitute a growing and increasingly important segment of American society.Yet there is surprisingly little quantitative research about the attitudes and opinions of thissegment of the public for two reasons. Kwanza, the U.S. Census is forbidden by law from askingquestions about religious belief and affiliation, na, as a result, we know very little about thebasic demographic characteristics of Muslim Americans. Pili, Muslim Americans comprisesuch a small percentage of the U.S. population that general population surveys do not interview asufficient number of them to allow for meaningful analysis.This Pew Research Center study is therefore the first ever nationwide survey to attempt tomeasure rigorously the demographics, attitudes and experiences of Muslim Americans. It buildson surveys conducted in 2006 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project of Muslim minority publics inGreat Britain, Ufaransa, Germany and Spain. The Muslim American survey also follows on Pew’sglobal surveys conducted over the past five years with more than 30,000 Muslims in 22 nationsaround the world since 2002.The methodological approach employed was the most comprehensive ever used to studyMuslim Americans. Nearly 60,000 respondents were interviewed to find a representative sampleof Muslims. Interviews were conducted in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, as well as English. Subsamplesof the national poll were large enough to explore how various subgroups of thepopulationincluding recent immigrants, native-born converts, and selected ethnic groupsincluding those of Arab, Pakistani, and African American heritagediffer in their attitudesThe survey also contrasts the views of the Muslim population as a whole with those ofthe U.S. general population, and with the attitudes of Muslims all around the world, includingWestern Europe. hatimaye, findings from the survey make important contributions to the debateover the total size of the Muslim American population.The survey is a collaborative effort of a number of Pew Research Center projects,including the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the Pew Forum on Religion &Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center. The project was overseen by Pew Research CenterPresident Andrew Kohut and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Director Luis Lugo. ThePew Research Center’s Director of Survey Research, Scott Keeter, served as project director forthe study, with the close assistance of Gregory Smith, Research Fellow at the Pew Forum. Manyother Pew researchers participated in the design, execution and analysis of the survey.

Mashariki ya Kati Demokrasia Promotion Si Njia moja Street

Marina Ottaway

The U.S. administration is under pressure to revive democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East,but momentum toward political reform has stalled in most of the region. Opposition parties are at lowebb, and governments are more firmly in control than ever. While new forms of activism, such as laborprotests and a growing volume of blogging critical of government and opposition parties have becomewidespread, they have yet to prove effective as means of influencing leaders to change long-standingpolicies.The last time a U.S. administration faced such unfavorable circumstances in advancing political reformswas over 30 years ago, when the Helsinki process was launched during the Cold War. That experiencetaught us that the United States needs to give reluctant interlocutors something they want if itexpects them to engage on issues they would rather not address. If Washington wants Arab countriesto discuss the universal democratic principles that should underpin their political systems, it needs to beprepared to discuss the universal principles that should underpin its own Middle East policies.

Algeria: Matarajio ya Dola ya Kiislamu au ya Kidunia

Wakati Akac

Je! Kuna matarajio gani kwa serikali ya Kiislamu nchini Algeria siku hizi? Kabla ya kujibu swali hilo, lazima kwanza tuelewe kisiasa, kiuchumi,na maendeleo ya kijamii ambayo yamefanyika hivi karibuni nchini Algeria. !Matukio hayo yatatoa mwangaza juu ya kupungua kwa harakati za Waisilamu, Algeria ilipitisha mfumo wa "ujamaa" wa ndani. Mfano wake wa maendeleo ya kiuchumi ulitegemea mapato kutoka kwa hidrokaboni, haswa mafuta. Kwa kuongeza, sekta ya umma ilitawala shughuli za kiuchumi kupitia Biashara Zinazomilikiwa na Serikali (SOE) ambazo zilitakiwa kuchochea maendeleo ya kiuchumi na kijamii ya nchi. !Serikali ilikuwa muuzaji mkuu wa chakula cha ruzuku, huduma, nyumba, elimu, na kazi. Katika awamu hii ya kwanza ya uzoefu wa ujamaa, serikali ilifanikiwa kukabiliana na "shida za maendeleo,”Na inaweza kutoa bidhaa na huduma zilizotajwa hapo juu ikiwa tu bei ya mafuta na mapato ya mafuta yalikuwa ya kutosha.1 !serikali, hata hivyo, alishindwa kukabiliwa na "ukuzaji wa shida" wakati wa awamu hii ya uzoefu wa ujamaa. Kupungua kwa bei ya mafuta katikati ya miaka ya 1980, kutoka pande zote $40 kwa kuzunguka $6 pipa katika wiki chache, iliiacha serikali ishindwe kutoa viwango bora vya maisha kwa idadi ya watu ambao walikuwa na ukubwa mara mbili tangu uhuru. Kwa kuwa mapato ya mafuta yalikuwa, na bado wako, chanzo muhimu cha fedha za kigeni kwa nchi, kupungua kwa bei mbaya ya mafuta yasiyosafishwa kulikuwa na athari kadhaa. Kwanza, ilisababisha mgogoro mkubwa wa deni la nje. Pili, kulikuwa na kupunguzwa kwa kiasi kikubwa kwa kiasi cha uagizaji-hasa, bidhaa za chakula. !andika, rasilimali za bajeti za serikali zilipunguzwa na kuhusu 50%. hatimaye, kulikuwa na mdororo mkubwa wa uchumi ambao ulisababisha maandamano ya kijamii ambayo yalisababisha, kwa upande wake, kwa "ghasia za mkate."

TRAVELS AMONG EUROPE’S MUSLIM NEIGHBOURS

Joost Lagendijk

Jan MARINUS WIERSMA

“A ring of friends surrounding the Union [], from Morocco to Russia”.This is how, in late 2002, the then President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, described the key challenge facing Europe following the planned enlargement of 2004. The accession process had built up momentum, and the former communist countries of Central Europe had been stabilised and were transforming themselves into democracies. EU membership was not directly on the agenda for countries beyond the enlargement horizon, hata hivyo. How could Europe prevent new dividing lines forming at its borders? How could the European Union guarantee stability, security and peace along its perimeter? Those questions were perhaps most pertinent to the EU’s southern neighbours. Since 11 Septemba 2001, in particular, our relations with the Islamic world have been imbued with a sense of urgency. Political developments in our Islamic neighbour countries bordering the Mediterranean could have a tremendous impact on European security. Although the area is nearby, the political distance is great. Amid threatening language about a ‘clash of civilisations’, the EU quickly drew the conclusion that conciliation and cooperation, rather than confrontation, constituted the best strategy for dealing with its southern neighbours.

BETWEEN THE GLOBAL AND THE LOCAL

Anthony BUBALO

Greg FEALY

Against the background of the ‘war on terror’,many people have come to view Islamism as amonolithic ideological movement spreading from thecenter of the Muslim world, the Middle East, toMuslim countries around the globe. To borrow aphrase from Abdullah Azzam, the legendary jihadistwho fought to expel the Soviet Union fromAfghanistan in the 1980s, many today see all Islamistsas fellow travellers in a global fundamentalist caravan.This paper evaluates the truth of that perception. Itdoes so by examining the spread of two broad categoriesof Islamic thinking and activism — the morepolitically focused Islamism and more religiouslyfocused ‘neo-fundamentalism’ — from the MiddleEast to Indonesia, a country often cited as an exampleof a formerly peaceful Muslim community radicalizedby external influences.Islamism is a term familiar to many.Most commonly itis used to categorize ideas and forms of activism thatconceive of Islam as a political ideology. Today, a widerange of groups are classified as Islamist, from theEgyptian Muslim Brotherhood to al-qa‘ida.While sucha categorization remains appropriate in many cases,Islamism seems less useful as a label for those groupsthat do not see Islam as a political ideology and largelyeschew political activism — even if their activism sometimeshas political implications. Included in this categoryare groups concerned primarily with Islamic mission-IV Be t w e e n t h e G l o b a l a n d t h e L o c a l : Islamism, the Mi d d l e E a s t , a n d Indonesiaary activity, but it would also include a group such asal-qa‘ida whose acts of terrorism are arguably drivenless by concrete political objectives than religious inspiration,albeit of a misguided form. This paper thereforeuses the term ‘neo-fundamentalist’, developed by theFrench scholar Olivier Roy, to describe these groups andwill study the transmission of both Islamist and neofundamentalistideas to Indonesia.

The future of Islam after 9/11

Mansoor Moaddel

There is no consensus among historians and Islamicists about the nature of theIslamic belief system and the experience of historical Islam, on which one couldbase a definitive judgment concerning Islam’s compatibility with modernity. Nonetheless,the availability of both historical and value survey data allow us to analyzethe future of Islam in light of the horrific event of 9/11. The key factor that woulddetermine the level of societal visibility necessary for predicting the future developmentof a culture is the nature and clarity of the ideological targets in relation towhich new cultural discourses are produced. Based on this premise, I shall try toilluminate the nature of such targets that are confronted by Muslim activists inIran, Misri, and Jordan.

Kisiasa Uislamu na Magharibi

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, Misri, Indonesia,Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,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. Kwanza, 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.

Uislamu, DEMOKRASIA & MAREKANI

Cordoba msingi


In spite of it being both a perennial anda complex debate, Arches Quarterly reexamines from theological and practicalgrounds, the important debate about the relationship and compatibility between Islam and Democracy, as echoed in Barack Obama’s agenda of hope and change. Whilst many celebrate Obama’s ascendancy to the Oval Office as a national catharsis for the US, othersremain less optimistic of a shift in ideologyand approach in the international arena.While much of the tension and distrust between the Muslim world and the USA canbe attributed to the approach of promotingdemocracy, typically favoring dictatorshipsand puppet regimes that pay lip-service todemocratic values and human rights, the aftershockof 9/11 has truly cemented the misgivingsfurther through America’s position onpolitical Islam. It has created a wall of negativityas found by worldpublicopinion.org,according to which 67% of Egyptians believethat globally America is playing a “mainlynegative” role.America’s response has thus been apt. Byelecting Obama, many around the world arepinning their hopes for developing a less belligerent,but fairer foreign policy towards theMuslim world. Th e test for Obama, as we discuss,is how America and her allies promote democracy. Will it be facilitating or imposing?Moreover, can it importantly be an honestbroker in prolonged zones of conflicts?

The Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium

Steve Merley,
Mchambuzi mwandamizi


The Global Muslim Brotherhood has been present in Europe since 1960 when SaidRamadan, the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, founded a mosque in Munich.1 Since that time,Brotherhood organizations have been established in almost all of the EU countries, as well asnon-EU countries such as Russia and Turkey. Despite operating under other names, some ofthe organizations in the larger countries are recognized as part of the global MuslimBrotherhood. Kwa mfano, the Union des Organizations Islamiques de France (UOIF) isgenerally regarded as part of the Muslim Brotherhood in France. The network is alsobecoming known in some of the smaller countries such as the Netherlands, where a recentNEFA Foundation report detailed the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in that country.2Neighboring Belgium has also become an important center for the Muslim Brotherhood inEurope. A 2002 report by the Intelligence Committee of the Belgian Parliament explainedhow the Brotherhood operates in Belgium:“The State Security Service has been following the activities of the InternationalMuslim Brotherhood in Belgium since 1982. The International MuslimBrotherhood has had a clandestine structure for nearly 20 miaka. The identityof the members is secret; they operate in the greatest discretion. They seek tospread their ideology within the Islamic community of Belgium and they aimin particular at the young people of the second and third generation ofimmigrants. In Belgium as in other European countries, they try to take controlof the religious, kijamii, and sports associations and establish themselves asprivileged interlocutors of the national authorities in order to manage Islamicaffairs. The Muslim Brotherhood assumes that the national authorities will bepressed more and more to select Muslim leaders for such management and,in this context, they try to insert within the representative bodies, individualsinfluenced by their ideology.

Muslim Brotherhood katika Ulaya

T wewe Brigi Marshal
Shumuliyyat al-islam (Islam as encompassing every aspect of life) is the first of twenty principles laid out by the
founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, Hassan al-Banna, to teach his followers the proper understanding
of Islam. Even though this principle, usually translated as the “comprehensive way of life,” still remains integral
to the teachings of the members of the Brotherhood, both in Egypt and in Europe, it is strangely enough
neither commented upon in scholarly references nor by the wider public. When the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe (FIOE, representing the Muslim Brotherhood movement at the European level) presented the European Muslim Charter to the international press in January 2008, none pinpointed this “universal dimension” of their understanding of Islam despite the potential tensions or even incompatibilities, both political and
legal, that this concept might have on a discourse on integration and citizenship. What do the Muslim Brothers traditionally say about this concept and how do they justify their call for it? What are its constituents
and the scope of its application? Are there any significant modifications to the concept in attempting to contextualize it within a pluralist Europe?

The Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Network

Zeyno Baran


Washington D.C. has suddenly become very interested in the Muslim Brotherhood. American policymakers are debating whether to engage non-violent elements of the Muslim Brotherhood network, both inside and outside the United States, in the hope that such engagement will empower these “moderates” against violent Wahhabi and Salafi groups such as al-Qaeda. Kwa bahati mbaya, this strategy is based on a false assumption: that “moderate” Islamist groups will confront and weaken their violent co-religionists, robbing them of their support base.
This lesser-of-two-evils strategy is reminiscent of the rationale behind the Cold War-era decision to support the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet army. In the short term, the U.S. alliance with the mujahideen did indeed aid America in its struggle against the Soviet Union. In the long term, hata hivyo, Marekani. support led to the empowerment of a dangerous and potent adversary. In choosing its allies, the U.S. cannot afford to elevate short-term tactical considerations above longer-term strategic ones. Most importantly, the U.S. must consider the ideology of any potential partners.
Although various Islamist groups do quarrel over tactics and often bear considerable animosity towards one another, they all agree on the endgame: a world dictated by political Islam. A “divide and conquer” strategy by the United States will only push them closer together.