RSSAll Entries in the "Studies & Researches" Category

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 elections. 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.

Islam and Democracy: Text, Tradition, and History

Ahrar Ahmad

Popular stereotypes in the West tend to posit a progressive, rational, and free West against a backward, oppressive, and threatening Islam. Public opinion polls conducted in the United States during the 1990s revealed a consistent pattern of Americans labeling Muslims as “religious fanatics” and considering Islam’s ethos as fundamentally “anti-democratic.”1 These characterizations
and misgivings have, for obvious reasons, significantly worsened since the tragedy of 9/11. However, these perceptions are not reflected merely in the popular consciousness or crude media representations. Respected scholars also have contributed to this climate of opinion by writing about the supposedly irreconcilable differences between Islam and the West, the famous “clash of civilizations” that is supposed to be imminent and inevitable, and about the seeming incompatibility between Islam and democracy. For example, Professor Peter Rodman worries that “we are challenged from the outside by a militant atavistic force driven by hatred of all Western political thought harking back to age-old grievances against Christendom.” Dr. Daniel Pipes proclaims that the Muslims challenge the West more profoundly than the communists ever did, for “while the Communists disagree with our policies, the fundamentalist Muslims despise our whole way of life.” Professor Bernard Lewis warns darkly about “the historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo–Christian heritage, our secular present, and the expansion of both.” Professor Amos Perlmutter asks: “Is Islam, fundamentalist or otherwise, compatible with human-rights oriented Western style representative democracy? The answer is an emphatic NO.” And Professor Samuel Huntington suggests with a flourish that “the problem is not Islamic fundamentalism, but Islam itself.” It would be intellectually lazy and simple-minded to dismiss their positions as based merely on spite or prejudice. In fact, if one ignores some rhetorical overkill, some of their charges, though awkward for Muslims, are relevant to a discussion of the relationship between Islam and democracy in the modern world. For example, the position of women or sometimes non-Muslims in some Muslim countries is problematic in terms of the supposed legal equality of all people in a democracy. Similarly, the intolerance directed by some Muslims against writers (e.g., Salman Rushdie in the UK, Taslima Nasrin in Bangladesh, and Professor Nasr Abu Zaid in Egypt) ostensibly jeopardizes the principle of free speech, which is essential to a democracy.
It is also true that less than 10 of the more than 50 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have institutionalized democratic principles or processes as understood in the West, and that too, only tentatively. Finally, the kind of internal stability and external peace that is almost a prerequisite for a democracy to function is vitiated by the turbulence of internal implosion or external aggression evident in many Muslim countries today (e.g., Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, and Bosnia).

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 Islamism in Afghanistan

Kristin Mendoza

The last half-century in particular has seen the recurrent use of religious Islam as

ideology, often referred to as political Islam or Islamism, in groups espousing the

establishment of an Islamic state. Attention was drawn to Afghanistan when it became

the rallying point for Islamists in the 1980s. However, the earlier appearance of an

Islamist movement in Afghanistan in the 1960s and its subsequent development offer an

instructive, unique lesson in understanding Islam and Islamism in Afghan society.

This overview of the Islamist movement in Afghanistan is divided into three

parts: It begins by defining the differing manifestations of Islam in Afghanistan,

indicating how Islamism differs from or draws upon each manifestation in constructing

its own vision. Then, the broader context of Islamism elsewhere in the Muslim world is

discussed and analyzed. Although the theoretical basis for Islamism was constructed in

the 1960s by Abu ‘Ala Mawdudi in Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb in Egypt, this paper will

show that the Islamist movement in Afghanistan did not mirror those in either of these

countries. To this end, this paper reviews the thought of the above-mentioned

theoreticians of Islamism, and outlines historical and social conditions that colored the

implementation of their models in their respective countries. This leads back to a

discussion of the Afghan context, which makes up the final part of the paper. It is

necessary to review salient aspects of the traditional structure of Afghan society, and the

role Islam has historically played in Afghanistan to understand how the Islamist

experience was shaped and constrained by this structure, as well as how the Islamist

experience has altered it.
As Afghanistan is now faced with the monumental task of rebuilding a state and

legal system, Islamists are attempting to influence the reconstruction. This overview will

underscore for those observing and participating in this process the importance of

understanding the Afghan Islamist perspective, its historical underpinnings, and current

demands.


GLOBALIZATION AND POLITICAL ISLAM: THE SOCIAL BASES OF TURKEY’S WELFARE PARTY

Haldun Gulalp

Political Islam has gained heightened visibility in recent decades in Turkey. Large numbers of female students have begun to demonstrate their commitment by wearing the banned Islamic headdress on university campuses, and influential pro-Islamist TV
channels have proliferated. This paper focuses on the Welfare (Refah) Party as the foremost institutional representative of political Islam in Turkey.
The Welfare Party’s brief tenure in power as the leading coalition partner from mid-1996 to mid-1997 was the culmination of a decade of steady growth that was aided by other Islamist organizations and institutions. These organizations and institutions
included newspapers and publishing houses that attracted Islamist writers, numerous Islamic foundations, an Islamist labor-union confederation, and an Islamist businessmen’s association. These institutions worked in tandem with, and in support of, Welfare as the undisputed leader and representative of political Islam in Turkey, even though they had their own particularistic goals and ideals, which often diverged from Welfare’s political projects. Focusing on the Welfare Party, then, allows for an analysis of the wider social base upon which the Islamist political movement rose in Turkey. Since Welfare’s ouster from power and its eventual closure, the Islamist movement has been in disarray. This paper will, therefore, be confined to the Welfare Party period.
Welfare’s predecessor, the National Salvation Party, was active in the 1970s but was closed down by the military regime in 1980. Welfare was founded in 1983 and gained great popularity in the 1990s. Starting with a 4.4 percent vote in the municipal elections of 1984, the Welfare Party steadily increased its showing and multiplied its vote nearly five times in twelve years. It alarmed Turkey’s secular establishment first in the municipal elections of 1994, with 19 percent of all votes nationwide and the mayor’s seats in both Istanbul and Ankara, then in the general elections of 1995 when it won a plurality with 21.4 percent of the national vote. Nevertheless, the Welfare Party was only briefly able to lead a coalition government in partnership with the right-wing True Path Party of Tansu C¸ iller.

Conflicts over Mosques in Europe

Stefano Allievi

As the reader will immediately see, the present study is the only one in the series not to have a general point of reference. Instead of addressing a broad issue such as places of worship, it focuses right from the outset on a single issue: the question of mosques, which is identified as a separate issue with its own specific characteristics.
This approach faithfully reflects the current state of affairs, as we will demonstrate in the pages below. Although forms of discrimination on the basis of religion are not completely absent – in particular, cases of discrimination towards certain minority religions or religious beliefs, some of which have even come before the European courts – in no country and in no other case has the opening of places of worship taken on such a high profile in the public imagination as the question of mosques and Islamic places of worship. With the passage of time, the question of mosques has led to more and more frequent disputes, debates, conflicts and posturing, even in countries where such conflicts were previously unknown and mosques were already present. This simple fact already puts us on a road that we might define as ‘exceptionalism’ with reference to Islam: a tendency to see Islam and Muslims as an exceptional case rather than a standard one; a case that does not sit comfortably with others relating to religious pluralism, and
which therefore requires special bodies, actions and specifically targeted reactions, unlike those used for other groups and religious minorities, and (as in the present study) specific research. 8 Conflicts over mosques in Europe An example of this exceptionalism is seen in the forms of representation of Islam in various European countries, which vary from case to case but differ, in particular, with respect to the recognized practices of relations between states and religious denominations in general. The most symbolic case is the creation in various countries, such as France, Spain, Belgium and Italy, of collective bodies of Islamic representation, with forms that often contradict the principles of non‑interference in the internal affairs of religious communities proclaimed and enshrined for other denominations and religious minorities. Forms of exceptionalism from a legal, political and social perspective are, however, present in many other fields, following a pervasive trend which affects countries with the widest range of state structures and which appears to be in a phase of further growth.
This situation, together with the increasingly evident emergence into the public arena of the dynamics of a conflict involving Islam (a kind of conflict in which the construction of mosques is the most frequent and widespread cause of disagreement), led to a desire to analyse recent cases of conflict, including clashes in countries that are regarded as peripheral within the European Union (EU) or
that lie beyond its borders. For this reason, we have chosen, contrary to the usual practice, to pay closest attention to the least studied and analysed countries, for which scientific literature is least abundant. Setting off on this supposition, we believe that meaningful data for the interpretation of broader dynamics may emerge from an extensive analysis of the frequency and pervasiveness of these conflicts, which are also affecting countries with a long history of immigration and are more generally affecting the relationship between Islam and Europe.For this reason we conducted a set of empirical investigations across seven European countries that are among the least studied and least known in this respect. We selected three Mediterranean countries which in certain respects vary greatly from one another: two countries in similar situations, where there is new immigration from Muslim countries and the memory of ancient historical domination (Spain and Italy); and one in which there is new immigration
from Muslim countries along with a significant historical Islamic presence (the memory of Turkish Ottoman domination) that poses a number of problems (Greece). Also chosen were two countries which have a very significant historical Islamic presence but which also face a number of new problems (Austria and Bosnia‑Herzegovina); the Nordic country with the largest Islamic presence (Sweden); and a central European country which has a long history of immigration and a particular institutional nature (Belgium). The last of these is also notable for its markedly local management of conflicts, which from a methodological perspective makes it an interesting control group.

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

Ahmed Ali Salem

The decline of the Muslim world preceded European colonization of most

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

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

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

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

disregard for implementing the Shari`ah (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. Indeed,

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.




Organizational Continuity in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Tess Lee Eisenhart

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

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

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

Roots Of Nationalism In The Muslim World

Shabir Ahmed

The Muslim world has been characterised by failure, disunity, bloodshed, oppression and backwardness. At present, no Muslim country in the world can rightly claim to be a leader in any field of human activity. Indeed, the non-Muslims of the East and the West
now dictate the social, economic and political agenda for the Muslim Ummah.
Furthermore, the Muslims identify themselves as Turkish, Arab, African and Pakistani. If this is not enough, Muslims are further sub-divided within each country or continent. For example, in Pakistan people are classed as Punjabis, Sindhis, Balauchis and
Pathans. The Muslim Ummah was never faced with such a dilemma in the past during Islamic rule. They never suffered from disunity, widespread oppression, stagnation in science and technology and certainly not from the internal conflicts that we have witnessed this century like the Iran-Iraq war. So what has gone wrong with the Muslims this century? Why are there so many feuds between them and why are they seen to be fighting each other? What has caused their weakness and how will they ever recover from the present stagnation?
There are many factors that contributed to the present state of affairs, but the main ones are the abandoning of the Arabic language as the language of understanding Islam correctly and performing ijtihad, the absorption of foreign cultures such as the philosophies of the Greeks, Persian and the Hindus, the gradual loss of central authority over some of the provinces, and the rise of nationalism since the 19th Century.
This book focuses on the origins of nationalism in the Muslim world. Nationalism did not arise in the Muslim world naturally, nor did it came about in response to any hardships faced by the people, nor due to the frustration they felt when Europe started to dominate the world after the industrial revolution. Rather, nationalism was implanted in the minds of the Muslims through a well thought out scheme by the European powers, after their failure to destroy the Islamic State by force. The book also presents the Islamic verdict on nationalism and practical steps that can be taken to eradicate the disease of nationalism from the Muslim Ummah so as to restore it back to its former glory.

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.

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 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.

ISLAMIC FAITH in AMERICA

JAMES A. BEVERLEY

AMERICA BEGINS A NEW MILLENNIUM AS ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY diverse nations of all time. Nowhere else in the world do so many people—offered a choice free from government influence—identify with such a wide range of religious and spiritual communities. Nowhere else has the human search for meaning been so varied. In America today, there are communities and centers for worship representing all of the world’s religions.
The American landscape is dotted with churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques. Zen Buddhist zendos sit next to Pentecostal tabernacles. Hasidic Jews walk the streets with Hindu swamis. Most amazing of all, relatively little conflict has occurred among religions in America. This fact, combined with a high level of tolerance of each other’s beliefs and practices, has let America produce people of goodwill ready to try to resolve any tensions that might emerge. The Faith in America series celebrates America’s diverse religious heritage.
People of faith and ideals who longed for a better world have created a unique society where freedom of religious expression is a keynote of culture. The freedom that America offers to people of faith means that not only have ancient religions found a home
here, but that newer ways of expressing spirituality have also taken root. From huge churches in large cities to small spiritual communities in towns and villages, faith in America has never been stronger. The paths that different religions have taken through
American history is just one of the stories readers will find in this series. Like anything people create, religion is far from perfect. However, its contribution to the culture and its ability to help people are impressive, and these accomplishments will be found in all the books in the series. Meanwhile, awareness and tolerance of the different paths our neighbors take to the spiritual life has become an increasingly important part of citizenship in America.
Today, more than ever, America as a whole puts its faith in freedom—the freedom to believe.