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The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood

Robert S. Leiken

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. foreign policy, 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, France, Jordan, Spain, Syria,Tunisia, and the United Kingdom.


Youssef H. Aboul-Enein
Sherifa Zuhur

The United States no doubt will be involved in the Middle East for many decades. To be sure, settling the Israeli–Palestinian dispute or alleviating poverty could help to stem the tides of Islamic radicalism and anti-American sentiment. But on an ideological level, we must confront a specific interpretation of Islamic law, history,and scripture that is a danger to both the United States and its allies. To win that ideological war, we must understand the sources of both Islamic radicalism and liberalism. We need to comprehend more thoroughly the ways in which militants misinterpret and pervert Islamic scripture. Al-Qaeda has produced its own group of spokespersons who attempt to provide religious legitimacy to the nihilism they preach. Many frequently quote from the Quran and hadith (the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and deeds) in a biased manner to draw justification for their cause. Lieutenant Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein and Dr. Sherifa Zuhur delve into the Quran and hadith to articulate a means by which Islamic militancy can be countered ideologically, drawing many of their insights from these and other classical Islamic texts. In so doing, they expose contradictions and alternative approaches in the core principles that groups like al-Qaeda espouse. The authors have found that proper use of Islamic scripture actually discredits the tactics of al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations. This monograph provides a basis for encouraging our Muslim allies to challenge the theology supported by Islamic militants. Seeds of doubt planted in the minds of suicide bombers might dissuade them from carrying out their missions. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this study of Islamic rulings on warfare to the national defense community as an effort to contribute to the ongoing debate over how to defeat Islamic militancy.

Rethinking International Relations Theory in Islam

Mohammad Abo-Kazleh

The legal foundation of foreign relations in Islam is based on Sharīy’ah. The original sources ofSharīy’ah are the Quran and the Prophetic traditions (Sunnah). Derived from Sharīy’ah is theFiqh or Islamic jurisprudence which covers the myriad of problems and issues that arise in thecourse of man’s life. (al-Mawdūdī, 2002) Among the main issues which the contemporaryIslamic jurisprudence attempt to deal with are foreign relations in Islam. Muslim jurists havedeveloped different opinions about the organizing principle of foreign relations in Islam. Some(hereafter referred to as traditionalists) who were influenced by the realistic tendency of Islamicstate, particularly during the periods of Conquest, believe that foreign relations in Islamoriginally depend on the attitude of non-Muslim groups or states toward Islam and Muslims.Therefore, the basis of foreign relations of Islamic state is fight, but under certain conditions. Incontrast, other jurists (hereafter referred to as pacifists or non-traditionalists) believe that theorigin of foreign relations in Islam is peace, because the Quran unambiguously states “there isno compulsion in religion.”(2: 256) Accordingly, the principle of war advocated bytraditionalists is, non-traditionalists believe, not compatible with this unrelenting Quranic rule.The differences over the original principle of foreign relations in Islam are usually attributed tothe fact that exegetes of the Quran most often diverge in their approach to analyze andunderstand the related Quranic verses, and this create a dilemma in Islamic jurisprudence. Theproblem is complicated because proponents of both approaches depend on Quranic verses tojustify their claims.


Sherifa Zuhur

This monograph addresses three issues in contemporary Egypt: failures of governance and political development, the continued strength of Islamism, and counter terrorism. It is easier to tackle their contours in Egypt if they are considered separately. They are not, however, separate or independent; continuing to treat them as mutually exclusive conditions will lead to further crisis down the road.
The Egyptian government forged a truce with its most troublesome Islamist militants in 1999. However, violence emerged again from new sources of Islamist militancy from 2003 into 2006. All of the previously held conclusions about the role of state strength
versus movements that led to the truce are now void as it appears that “al-Qa’idism” may continue to
plague the country or, indeed, the region as a whole.
In consequence, an important process of political liberalization was slowed, and in 3 to 4 years, if not earlier, Egypt’s political security and stability will be at risk. Widespread economic and political discontent might push that date forward. In addition, continuing popular support for moderate Islamism could lead to a situation where the current peace could erode if a
comprehensive peace settlement to the Palestinian- Arab-Israeli conflict is achieved, and if various other
factors were to come into play.

Counter Transformations in the Center and Periphery of Turkish Society and the Rise of the Justice and Development Party

Ramin Ahmadov

The election results on November 3, 2002, which brought the Justice and Development Party into power, shocked many, but for varying reasons. Afterwards, some became more hopeful about future of their country, while others became even more doubtful and anxious, since for them the “republican regime” came under threat. These opposing responses, along with the perceptions that fueled them, neatly describe the two very different worlds that currently exist within Turkish society, and so it is important to think through many of the contested issues that have arisen as a result of these shifting political winds.
The winning Justice and Development Party (JDP) was established in 2001 by a group of politicians under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, many of whom split from the religio-political movement of Necmetiin Erbakan, the National Outlook Movement, and the Welfare Party. Interestingly, in less than two years after its establishment, and at the first general election it participated in, the JDP received 34.29 % of the vote when all other established parties fell under the 10 % threshold. The only exception to this was the Republican People’s Party (19.38 %). The JDP captured 365 out of 550 seats in the parliament and therefore was given the opportunity of establishing the government alone, which is exactly what happened. Two years later, in the 2004 local elections, the JDP increased its votes to 41.46 %, while the RPP slightly decreased to 18.27 %, and the Nationalist Action Party increased to 10.10 % (from 8.35 % in 2002). Finally, in the most recent general elections in Turkey in 2007, which was marked by intense debate over presidential elections and an online military note, the JDP won nearly half of all votes, 46.58 %, and began its second term in power.

Progressive Thinking in Contemporary Islam

Prof. Dr. Christian W. Troll

It seems sensible to start by shedding light on the background context and then to define the broader framework within which theprogressive thinkingin contemporary Islam which we want to discuss is embedded. The movements and trends which are shaping the contemporary Islamic world can be analyzed and assessed in the light of two conflicting forces, namely the notions of authenticity on the one hand and modernity on the other.
Such an approach perceives contemporary Islam as being torn between the authenticity in matters of life and doctrine which it derives from its past and the modernity which refers it to a present (and a future) in which Muslims no longer hold the reins of power and are therefore no longer able to control the development of thought.
Islam is centred on a scripture which it holds in faith to be the revelation of God. This scripture, the Qur’an, is believed to be eternal and immutable in form and content and thus to be valid for every place and time, to contain a truth which obtains for ever. Modernity, by contrast, is characterized by the relativity and the progressive nature of all truth. For the modernists there is nothing, spoken or written, which cannot be construed and questioned, which cannot and indeed should not be further refined by the human mind.
Islam thus sees itself positioned between the authenticity of a truth – that of the Qur’an as a – so to speak – naked, irrefutable fact – and a modernity whose knowledge in all fields is constantly being reconstructed. Is the solution to be found in modernizing Islam or in Islamizing modernity? It is the task of the Muslims to answer this question.

The Securitisation of Islam in Europe

Jocelyne Cesari

European discourse on Islam is a microcosm of the debate on Islam’s compatibility with the West. Because Western countries generally associate Islam with the al-Qaeda movement, the Palestinian issue and Iran, their discussion of the religion involves an essentialised approach to a multifaceted faith. In his book Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, Mahmood Mamdani refers to this slant as ‘culture talk’, or viewing the religion as a single unified ideology spreading from Europe to Iraq and Afghanistan. According to this perspective, Islam is steeped in history and absolutely incapable of innovation, and Muslims are defined by an almost compulsive
conformity to their past and an inability to address the current challenges of political development and religious liberal thinking. Therefore, culture talk justifies the artificial divide between modern and pre-modern religions and between secularism and Islam.1 Culture talk has become prevalent in modern international relations discourse, in part because it refers to stereotypes that are familiar to the historical consciousness of Western politicians and intellectuals.
The use of these trite depictions of Islam in professional debates has established a paradoxical policy of European governments both fearing and fostering radicalisation in a process I call the ‘securitisation’ of Islam. The conditions that lead to this development have already occurred:
The European state views Muslim groups as a threat to its survival and takes measures to reassure citizens that it will not allow the incubation of terrorism. However, the politicisation of religion essentially impoverishes and threatens its survival,2 leading devout Muslims to feel resentful of the interference of non-religious actors. Thus, the measures intended to prevent radicalisation actually engender discontent and prompt a transformation of religious conservatism to fundamentalism. This is the process of securitisation. It involves actors who propose that Islam is an existential threat to European political and secular norms and thereby justifies extraordinary measures against it. Ole Weaver best explains repercussions of such actions: “When mobilised as politics, religion represses the transcendence of the divine. Fear and trembling is replaced by absolute certainty.”3 As an existential concept, faith is easily securitized, and it can incite a proclivity for violence in place of pious concepts.

Turkey and the EU: A Survey on Turkish MPs’ EU Vision

Kudret Bulbul

Even though Turkey’s dream for being a member of European Union (EU) dates back to late 1950s, it can be said that this process has gained its momentum since the governing period of Justice and Development Party, which is shortly called AK party or AKP in Turkish. When compared with earlier periods, the enormous accomplishments during the AK party’s rule are recognized by domestic and European authorities alike. In the parallel of gigantic steps towardsthe European membership, which is now a real possibility for Turkey, there have been increasingdebates about this process. While some European authorities generate policies over Cyprus issueagainst Turkey’s membership, some others mainly lead by German Christian Democrats proposea privileged status rather than full membership. Turkish authorities do not stay silent over thesearguments, and probably first time the Turkish foreign minister can articulate that “should they(the EU) propose anything short of full membership, or any new conditions, we will walk away.And this time it will be for good” (The Economist 2005 30-31) After October third, Even though Mr. Abdullah Gül, who is the foreign minister of the AK party govenrment, persistentlyemphasizes that there is no such a concept so-called “privileged partnership” in the framework document, (Milliyet, 2005) the prime minister of France puts forward that this option is actually one of the possible alternatives.


Saliba Sarsar

Alexander Keller

Democracy is highly promoted and sought these days but its principles are hard to practice and protect. Once secured, however, it generates real life in human communities. Its sunrises provide energy to freedom and growth to civil society and culture, while its sunsets store energy to sustain deliberative citizenship and liberty and bridge past accomplishments to future aspirations.
However, what do we mean by democracy? Are there perfect democratic societies around the world? Are democracy’s rays likely to shine on all landscapes? Is Muslim culture hospitable to deepening democracy’s impact? Do Muslims have a different understanding of democracy? If democracy is the preferred goal, how can democracy’s supporters move democratization forward in Muslim countries?
What we know is that no “one model fits all environments” exists. The journey of democracy is a “generational initiative” that must carefully consider internal and external dynamics. If Muslims, like others, wish to promote democracy, then they can detect their country’s place on the democratic terrain and determine how best to improve their practices and standing at home and abroad given their culture, historical experiences, resources, and vision for the future.
This select bibliography is designed to help all those interested in understanding the link between Islam and Muslims on the one hand and democracy on the other. It consists of over 100 entries, divided among books, articles, presentations, and reports; government sources; and institutes and organizations.

why are there no arab democracies ?

Larry Diamond

During democratization’s “third wave,” democracy ceased being a mostly Western phenomenon and “went global.” When the third wave began in 1974, the world had only about 40 democracies, and only a few of them lay outside the West. By the time the Journal of Democracy began publishing in 1990, there were 76 electoral democracies (accounting for slightly less than half the world’s independent states). By 1995, that number had shot up to 117—three in every five states. By then, a critical mass of democracies existed in every major world region save one—the Middle East.1 Moreover, every one of the world’s major cultural realms had become host to a significant democratic presence, albeit again with a single exception—the Arab world.2 Fifteen years later, this exception still stands.
The continuing absence of even a single democratic regime in the Arab world is a striking anomaly—the principal exception to the globalization of democracy. Why is there no Arab democracy? Indeed, why is it the case that among the sixteen independent Arab states of the Middle East and coastal North Africa, Lebanon is the only one to have ever been a democracy?
The most common assumption about the Arab democracy deficit is that it must have something to do with religion or culture. After all, the one thing that all Arab countries share is that they are Arab.

Muslim Civil Society in Urban Public Spaces: Globalization, Discursive Shifts, and Social Movements

Paul M. Lubeck
Bryana Britts
Cities are processes, not products. The three Islamic elements that set in motion the processes that give rise to Islamic cities were: a distinction between the members of the Umma and the outsiders, which led to juridical and spatial distinction by neighborhoods; the segregation of the sexes which gave rise to a particular solution to the question of spatial organization; and a legal system which, rather than imposing general regulations over land uses of various types in various places, left to the litigation of the neighbors the detailed adjudication of mutual rights over space and use. (Janet Abu Lughod 1987: 173)
Framing: Muslim Movements in Urban Situations We live in an intellectual moment when the complexity of the global Islamic
revival renders it difficult to generalize about Muslim institutions, social movements, and discursive practices. While diversity and locality remain paramount features of Muslim cities, globalization has inadvertently nurtured transnational Muslim networks from the homeland of Islam and extended them into the web of interconnected world cities. Quite opportunistically, urban-based
Muslim networks and insurrectionist movements now thrive in the interstitial spaces created by the new global communication and transportation infrastructures. What, then, are the long-term patterns for Muslims in cities? Since the last millennium, as Janet Abu-Lughod reminds us, “the Islamic cityhas been the primary site for: defining power relations between ruler and subject, specifying the rights and identities of spatial communities, and regulating urban social relations between genders. Today’s Muslim city remains the epicenter of a burgeoning public sphere in which informed publics debate highly contested Islamic discourses regarding social justice,


Mona El-Ghobashy

Jihane al-Halafawi’s small apartment above a barbershop in Alexandria is exceedingly

orderly, a cool oasis on a sweltering summer afternoon. Plant leaves brush up against
curtains undulating with the breeze from the nearby Mediterranean. As she walks into
the living room with a tray full of cakes and tea, al-Halafawi is the picture of a kindly
Egyptian mother, a genuine smile gracing her youthful face. But when this fifty-yearold
mother of six and grandmother announced her candidacy for Egypt’s parliamentary
elections in fall 2000, the state geared up amassive security force outside polling stations;
leftists shrugged her off as a “front” for her husband; and state feminists dedicated to the
electoral empowerment of women were silent.When Halafawi outperformed her rulingparty
rival in the first round, despite rigging, the Interior Ministry promptly stepped in
and canceled the results on the pretext of respecting an earlier court ruling postponing
the elections.
Alexandria’s al-Raml district went without parliamentary representation for two years

s al-Halafawi and her legal team battled the state in the courts. Finally, in June 2002,
a Supreme Administrative Court ruling compelled the Interior Ministry to hold the
by-elections.On election day, security forces blockaded roads leading to polling stations,
arrested al-Halafawi’s legal team and 101 of her supporters, roughed up journalists, and
stepped aside as public-sector workers bused in from outside the district voted for her

rival. Unusually, the six o’clock news was interrupted that evening to announce the
sweeping victory of the two ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) candidates in the
Raml by-elections.1
Al-Halafawi’s experience is one dramatic piece of a larger story, the story of the

group of which she is a part: the Society of Muslim Brothers (Jamaat al-Ikhwan al-
Muslimun).2 Over the past quarter-century, the Society of Muslim Brothers (Ikhwan)
has morphed from a highly secretive, hierarchical, antidemocratic organization led by
anointed elders into a modern, multivocal political association steered by educated,

savvy professionals not unlike activists of the same age in rival Egyptian political
parties. Seventy-seven years ago, the Muslim Brothers were founded in the provincial
city of Ismailiyya by the charismatic disciplinarian and shrewd organizer Hasan al-
Banna (1906–49).

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, however, 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



With President Hosni Mubarak’s surprise announcement to amend the constitution and to hold the first direct, multi-candidate presidential elections in September of this year, it appeared that the Egyptian government had made political reform a priority
and was committed to opening the door to greater political competition. The presidential election initially held symbolic significance and the promise of setting the stage for further reform and greater citizen participation. However, whether this symbolic step toward expanded democratic participation can be characterized as the start of a genuine democratic transition leading to a sustained system of democracy
remains in doubt. The 2005 parliamentary election process suggests otherwise.
The three rounds of parliamentary elections in November and December 2005 appear to have been deeply flawed and will be most remembered for escalating tension over each successive round and outright violence resulting in 12 deaths. Overt intimidation cast a menacing shadow over the second and third phases of elections in particular, and low voter turnout—as with the presidential election—was a notable feature that underscored continued citizen apathy in the political process. Vote buying
was also rampant. Yet despite this, it must be noted that open campaigning for opposition candidates was permitted and that some important procedural changes were made as a result of complaints emerging from the presidential election. Overall, the parliamentary elections seem to indicate that government policies have left the secular opposition extremely weak. Although Egypt does provide for political party engagement—a positive attribute in a region where political parties are not always allowed—the lack of genuine political competition is a pervasive problem that constitutes a major impediment to sustained democratic change.
The most notable features that shaped the electoral environment for parliamentary elections were the fracture and competition between official National Democratic Party-endorsed candidates and those not selected who ran as independents; the inevitable weakness of the secular opposition parties as a result of emergency laws that limited development; and the ability of the Muslim Brotherhood to campaign
freely and demonstrate its strength on the ground despite its status as an illegal
The new parliament, comprised of a majority of NDP members, the near absence of opposition party members, and a solid minority bloc of independents affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood will present a new challenge for the regime and leave democratic reformers uncertain as to their future.

Egypt in the 21st Century

Bruce Rutherford

Egypt: a brief history!
• “As Egypt goes, so go the Arabs”
• Intellectual & cultural center of Arab world
• Birth place of modern Arab na8onalism
• Largest Arab popula8on (80+ million)
• Largest army in Arab world
• Second largest economy in Arab world
• Advantageous geographical loca8on ( Suez Canal,
Nile, Mediterranean, etc.)
• Educa8onal, poli8cal, cultural, etc. influence over
the Arab world

• 1952 dissa8sfied Army Officers overthrew King Farouk

(Bri8sh Installed & supported)

• Gamal Abdel Nasser (President 1956‐1970)

– Charisma8c leader

– Champion of Arab na8onalism & Arab Socialism

– Suppressed all poli8cal opposi8ons (including the Muslim


– Kept a 8ght control on the economy and poli8cal life

(na8onalized most private businesses)

– 1967 war with Israel

– Economy went from bad to worse under Nasser

– Now, Nasser is a cult figure through the Arab world &


Liberalizing the Muslim Brotherhood

Mohamed Fayez Farahat

Firstly, we must note that some object to the very question over whether the Muslim Brotherhood is turning into a liberal force. The notion contains a crucial flaw, since religious groups cannot be assessed based on shifting ideological frameworks. In other words, they argue that these groups be judged based on standards taking into consideration both the groups’ characteristics and the characteristics of the cultural framework in which they operate. Most likely, this reservation is due to the debate in the Arab and Islamic world over the relationship between liberalism and secularism, and the substantial overlap between the two concepts. At its essence, these people do not believe that the Islamist movements – including the social movements – have truly accepted secularism as a prerequisite of becoming a liberal movement. They argue that there is a limit to how far the Islamist movements can go with regards to secularism, and so we should not expect the Islamist movements to become completely liberal in the Western understanding of liberalism, since they will not give up their religious nature which distinguishes them from nonreligious political movements.
However, with all due respect to this point of view, there are still others firmly believing in the compatibility of liberalism with a social movement retaining its religious character. One of the main prerequisites to transitioning from being a religious movement to a liberal religious movement is distinguishing between what is religious or evangelical, and what is political. This distinction is still lacking among many Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood.