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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.

Conflicts over Mosques in Europe

Stefano Studenti

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, a
which therefore requires special bodies, actions and specifically targeted reactions, unlike those used for other groups and religious minorities, a (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, Španělsko, 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, nicméně, 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 (Belgie). 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.

Islamic Political Culture, Demokracie, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Cena

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, nicméně, 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. Proto, 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.

Islamist Opposition Parties and the Potential for EU Engagement

Toby Archer

Heidi Huuhtanen

In light of the increasing importance of Islamist movements in the Muslim world and

the way that radicalisation has influenced global events since the turn of the century, it

is important for the EU to evaluate its policies towards actors within what can be loosely

termed the ‘Islamic world’. It is particularly important to ask whether and how to engage

with the various Islamist groups.

This remains controversial even within the EU. Some feel that the Islamic values that

lie behind Islamist parties are simply incompatible with western ideals of democracy and

lidská práva, while others see engagement as a realistic necessity due to the growing

domestic importance of Islamist parties and their increasing involvement in international

affairs. Another perspective is that democratisation in the Muslim world would increase

European security. The validity of these and other arguments over whether and how the

EU should engage can only be tested by studying the different Islamist movements and

their political circumstances, country by country.

Democratisation is a central theme of the EU’s common foreign policy actions, as laid

out in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union. Many of the states considered in this

report are not democratic, or not fully democratic. In most of these countries, Islamist

parties and movements constitute a significant opposition to the prevailing regimes, a

in some they form the largest opposition bloc. European democracies have long had to

deal with governing regimes that are authoritarian, but it is a new phenomenon to press

for democratic reform in states where the most likely beneficiaries might have, from the

EU’s point of view, different and sometimes problematic approaches to democracy and its

related values, such as minority and women’s rights and the rule of law. These charges are

often laid against Islamist movements, so it is important for European policy-makers to

have an accurate picture of the policies and philosophies of potential partners.

Experiences from different countries tends to suggest that the more freedom Islamist

parties are allowed, the more moderate they are in their actions and ideas. In many

cases Islamist parties and groups have long since shifted away from their original aim

of establishing an Islamic state governed by Islamic law, and have come to accept basic

democratic principles of electoral competition for power, the existence of other political

competitors, and political pluralism.



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.

It’s the Policy, Stupid

John L. Edwards

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. Nicméně, 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, terorismus, 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. Tím pádem, 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?


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, nicméně. 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 Září 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.

Muslimské bratrstvo v Belgii

Steve Merley,
Senior Analyst

Globální muslimské bratrstvo je v Evropě přítomno od té doby 1960 když SaidRamadan, vnuk Hassana Al-Banna, založil mešitu v Mnichově.1 Od té doby,Bratrské organizace byly založeny téměř ve všech zemích EU, stejně jako nečlenské země EU, jako je Rusko a Turecko. Navzdory působení pod jinými jmény, některé z organizací ve větších zemích jsou uznávány jako součást globálního Muslimského bratrství. Například, Unie islámských organizací ve Francii (UOIF) je obecně považována za součást Muslimského bratrstva ve Francii. Síť je také známá v některých menších zemích, jako je Nizozemsko, kde nedávná zpráva Nadace NEFA podrobně popisuje aktivity Muslimského bratrstva v této zemi.2 Sousední Belgie se také stala důležitým centrem Muslimského bratrstva v Evropě. A 2002 zpráva zpravodajského výboru belgického parlamentu vysvětlila, jak Bratrstvo působí v Belgii:"Státní bezpečnostní služba od té doby sleduje aktivity Mezinárodního muslimského bratrstva v Belgii." 1982. The International MuslimBrotherhood has had a clandestine structure for nearly 20 let. 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, social, 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.

Muslimské bratrstvo v Evropě

T vám Brigi maršál
Shumuliyyat al-islám (Islám zahrnuje všechny aspekty života) je prvním z dvaceti principů stanovených v
zakladatel hnutí Muslimské bratrstvo, Hassan al-Banna, naučit své následovníky správnému porozumění
islámu. I když tento princip, obvykle se překládá jako „komplexní způsob života,„Stále zůstává nedílnou součástí
k učení členů Bratrstva, jak v Egyptě, tak v Evropě, je to kupodivu dost
ani komentováno ve vědeckých referencích, ani širší veřejností. Když federace islámské
Organizace v Evropě (FIOE, zastupující hnutí Muslimské bratrstvo na evropské úrovni) v lednu představila evropskou muslimskou chartu mezinárodnímu tisku 2008, nikdo neurčil tuto „univerzální dimenzi“ svého chápání islámu navzdory potenciálnímu napětí nebo dokonce neslučitelnosti, politické i politické
právní, že tento koncept může mít v diskurzu o integraci a občanství. Co tradičně říkají muslimští bratři o tomto konceptu a jak ospravedlňují svou výzvu k němu? Jaké jsou jeho složky
a rozsah jeho použití? Existují nějaké významné úpravy konceptu při pokusu o jeho kontextualizaci v rámci pluralitní Evropy?

Muslimské bratrstvo je dobytí Evropy

Lorenzo Vidino

Od svého založení v 1928, Muslimské bratrstvo (Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) hluboce ovlivnil politický život na Středním východě. Jeho motto je výmluvné: “Naším cílem je Alláh. Prorok je náš vůdce. Korán je náš zákon. Džihád je naše cesta. Umírání v cestě Alláha je naší nejvyšší nadějí.”

Zatímco radikální myšlenky Bratrstva formovaly víru generací islamistů, za poslední dvě desetiletí, ztratila část své síly a přitažlivosti na Středním východě, rozdrcen tvrdými represemi ze strany místních režimů a uražen mladší generací islamistů, kteří často upřednostňují radikálnější organizace.

Blízký východ je však pouze jednou částí muslimského světa. Evropa se stala inkubátorem islámského myšlení a politického rozvoje. Od počátku šedesátých let, Členové a sympatizanti Muslimského bratrstva se přestěhovali do Evropy a pomalu, ale stabilně vytvářeli širokou a dobře organizovanou síť mešit, charitativní organizace, a islámské organizace. Na rozdíl od větší islámské komunity, konečný cíl Muslimského bratrstva nemusí být jednoduchý “pomoci muslimům být nejlepšími občany, jakými mohou být,” ale spíše rozšířit islámské právo po celé Evropě a Spojených státech.[2]

Čtyři desetiletí výuky a kultivace se vyplatila. Studentští uprchlíci, kteří před čtyřiceti lety migrovali ze Středního východu, a jejich potomci nyní vedou organizace, které zastupují místní muslimské komunity v jejich zapojení do evropské politické elity.. Financováno velkorysými přispěvateli z Perského zálivu, předsedají centralizované síti pokrývající téměř všechny evropské země.

Tyto organizace se představují jako hlavní proud, i když nadále přijímají radikální názory Bratrstva a udržují kontakty s teroristy. S umírněnou rétorikou a dobře mluvenou němčinou, Holandský, a francouzsky, získaly uznání mezi evropskými vládami i médii. Politici napříč politickým spektrem spěchají, aby je zapojili, kdykoli nastane problém zahrnující muslimy nebo, parochiálněji, když usilují o hlas narůstající muslimské komunity.

Ale, arabsky nebo turecky před muslimy, upustí svou fasádu a přijmou radikalismus. Zatímco jejich zástupci hovoří o mezináboženském dialogu a integraci v televizi, jejich mešity hlásají nenávist a varují věřící před zlem západní společnosti. Zatímco veřejně odsuzují vraždu dojíždějících v Madridu a školních dětí v Rusku, nadále shromažďují peníze pro Hamas a další teroristické organizace. Evropané, touží navázat dialog s jejich stále více neloajální muslimskou menšinou, tuto duplicitu přehlédnout. Případ je zvláště viditelný v Německu, který si v Evropě zachovává klíčový význam, nejen díky své poloze v srdci Evropy, ale také proto, že hostil první velkou vlnu přistěhovalců Muslimského bratrstva a je hostitelem nejlépe organizované přítomnosti Bratrstva. Reakce německé vlády je rovněž poučná, i kdyby jen ukázala nebezpečí přijetí rétoriky Muslimského bratrstva v nominální hodnotě, aniž by se zabývala širším rozsahem jejích činností.