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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 Studierende

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, und
which therefore requires special bodies, actions and specifically targeted reactions, unlike those used for other groups and religious minorities, und (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, Spanien, 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 (Belgien). 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.

Islamische Politische Kultur, Demokratie, und Menschenrechte

Daniel E. Preis

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes

in Muslim nations. Folglich, 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.

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

Menschenrechte, 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, und

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.

ISLAMIST RADICALISATION

PREFACE
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

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

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

Es ist die Politik, Dumm

John L. Edwards

US-Außenpolitik und dem politischen Islam sind heute eng miteinander verwoben. Jeder US-Präsident Jimmy Carter, da musste mit dem politischen Islam befassen; none wurde so George W angefochten. Busch. Die politischen Entscheidungsträger, zumal 9/11, haben gezeigt, Unfähigkeit und / oder Unwilligkeit, zwischen radikalen und gemäßigten Islamisten zu unterscheiden. Sie haben weitgehend den politischen Islam als globale Bedrohung ähnliche Weise, dass der Kommunismus wahrgenommen wurde behandelt. Aber, auch im Fall des Kommunismus, Außenpolitiker schließlich aus zog ein schlecht informiert, breiten Pinsel, und paranoide Ansatz von Senator Joseph McCarthy in den 1950er Jahren personifiziert nuancierter, pragmatisch, und angemessenen Maßnahmen, die zur Feststellung der Beziehungen mit China in den 1970er Jahren führte, sogar als Spannungen blieben zwischen den Vereinigten Staaten und der Sowjetunion.

Als islamistischen Parteien weiterhin im Vordergrund der ganzen Welt steigen, ist es notwendig, dass Politiker, Unterscheidungen zu treffen und zu verabschieden differenzierte Ansätze lernen. Dies erfordert ein tieferes Verständnis von dem, was motiviert und informiert islamistischen Parteien und die Unterstützung, die sie erhalten, einschließlich der Möglichkeiten, in dem einige US-Politik Feed desto radikaler und extremer islamistischer Bewegungen, während die Schwächung der Attraktivität der gemäßigten Organisationen der muslimischen Bevölkerung. Es erfordert auch den politischen Willen zu verabschieden Ansätze für Engagement und Dialog. Dies ist besonders wichtig, wo die Wurzeln des politischen Islam tiefer gehen als die einfache Anti-Amerikanismus und wo ist der politische Islam in gewaltfreie und demokratische Weise zum Ausdruck. Die überwältigende Wahlsiege der Hamas in Palästina und die Schiiten im Irak, der Muslimbruderschaft Aufkommen als führender parlamentarischen Opposition in Ägypten, und Israels Krieg gegen die Hamas und der Hisbollah gehen zum Herzen der Fragen der Demokratie, Terrorismus, und Frieden im Nahen Osten.

Der globale Terrorismus hat auch die Entschuldigung für die vielen muslimischen autokratische Herrscher und die westliche Politik zum Rückfall oder Rückzug aus der Demokratisierung geworden. Sie warnen, dass die Förderung eines demokratischen Prozesses die Gefahr der Förderung der islamistischen Einzug in Zentren der Macht läuft und ist kontraproduktiv für westliche Interessen, Förderung eines virulenten antiwestlicher und erhöhter Instabilität. So, zum Beispiel, Trotz den Sieg der Hamas in freien und demokratischen Wahlen, den Vereinigten Staaten und Europa nicht an die Partei zu geben volle Anerkennung und Unterstützung.

In den Beziehungen zwischen dem Westen und der muslimischen Welt, Phrasen wie ein Kampf der Kulturen oder ein Zusammenprall der Kulturen wiederkehren wie der Vorwurf, dass der Islam mit Demokratie unvereinbar ist oder dass es eine besonders militante Religion ist. Aber ist das primäre Problem Religion und Kultur, oder ist es der Politik? Ist die primäre Ursache von Radikalismus und antiwestlicher, vor allem Anti-Amerikanismus, extremistischer Theologie oder einfach nur die Politik der viele muslimische und westliche Regierungen?


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, however. 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 September 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.

Die Muslimbruderschaft in Belgien

Steve Merley,
Senior Analyst


Die Global Muslimbruderschaft hat in Europa präsent seit 1960 wenn SaidRamadan, der Enkel von 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. For example, 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 years. 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.

Die Muslimbruderschaft in Europa

T Sie Brigi Marschall
Shumuliyyat al-Islam (Islam umfasst wie jeden Aspekt des Lebens) 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?

Die Muslimbruderschaft's Conquest of Europe

Lorenzo Vidino


Seit seiner Gründung im 1928, die Muslimbruderschaft (Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) hat sich tiefgreifend das politische Leben des Nahen Ostens beeinflusst. Sein Motto ist aufschluss: “Allah ist unser Ziel. Der Prophet ist unser Führer. Der Koran ist unser Gesetz. Jihad ist unser Weg. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

While the Brotherhood’s radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists who often prefer more radical organizations.

But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development. Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ultimate goal may not be simplyto help Muslims be the best citizens they can be,” but rather to extend Islamic law throughout Europe and the United States.[2]

Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim communities in their engagement with Europe’s political elite. Funded by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a centralized network that spans nearly every European country.

These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they continue to embrace the Brotherhood’s radical views and maintain links to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Niederländisch, and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially, when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.

But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society. While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized Brotherhood presence. The German government’s reaction is also instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its activities.