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Women in Islam

Amira Burghul

Despite major consensus amongst a large number of philosophers and historians that the

principles and teachings of Islam caused a fundamental change in the position of women

compared to the prevailing situation in countries in both East and West at the time, and despite

the agreement of a large number of thinkers and legislators that women during the time of the

Prophet (PBUH) were granted rights and legal privileges not granted by man-made laws until

recently, propaganda campaigns by Westerners and people with a Westernised perspective

consistently accuse Islam of being unjust to women, of imposing restrictions on them, и

marginalising their role in society.

This situation has been made worse by the atmosphere and conditions prevalent across the

Muslim world, where ignorance and poverty have produced a limited understanding of religion

and family and human relations which occlude justice and a civilised way of life, particularly

between men and women. The small group of people who have been granted opportunities to

acquire an education and abilities have also fallen into the trap of believing that achieving justice

for women and capitalising on their abilities is dependent upon rejecting religion and piety and

adopting a Western way of life, as a result of their superficial studies of Islam on the one hand

and the effect of life’s diversions on the other.

Only a very small number of people from these two groups have managed to escape and cast off

their cloaks of ignorance and tradition. These people have studied their heritage in great depth

and detail, and have looked at the results of Western experiences with an open mind. They have

distinguished between the wheat and the chaff in both the past and the present, and have dealt

scientifically and objectively with the problems which have arisen. They have refuted the false

charges made against Islam with eloquent arguments, and have admitted to concealed flaws.

They have also re-examined the sayings and customs of the Infallible Ones in order to

distinguish between what is established and holy and what has been altered and distorted.

The responsible behaviour of this group has established new directions and new ways of dealing

with the question of women in Islamic societies. They have clearly not yet tackled all problems

and found final solutions for the many legislative gaps and deficiencies, but they have laid the

ground for the emergence of a new model for Muslim women, who are both strong and

committed to the legal and effective foundations of their society.

With the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the blessing of its leaders, which is the

main religious authority for the participation of women and their effective political and social

participation, the scope for strong debate over women in Islam has been significantly expanded.

The model of Muslim women in Iran has spread to Islamic resistance movements in Lebanon,

Palestine other Arab countries and even the Western world, and as a result, propaganda

campaigns against Islam have abated to some extent.

The emergence of Salafi Islamic movements such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and similar

Salafi movements in Saudi Arabia and North Africa, and their fanatical way of treating women,

have provoked nervous onlookers fearing an Islamic resurgence into launching new propaganda

campaigns accusing Islam of inspiring terrorism and being backwards and unjust towards

women.

The Totalitarianism of Jihadist Islamism and its Challenge to Europe and to Islam

Басо тиби

When reading the majority of texts that comprise the vast literature that has been published by self-proclaimed pundits on political Islam, it is easy to miss the fact that a new movement has arisen. Further, this literature fails to explain in a satisfactory manner the fact that the ideology which drives it is based on a particular interpretation of Islam, and that it is thus a politicised religious faith,
not a secular one. The only book in which political Islam is addressed as a form of totalitarianism is the one by Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (2003). The author is, however, not an expert, cannot read Islamic sources, and therefore relies on the selective use of one or two secondary sources, thus failing to grasp the phenomenon.
One of the reasons for such shortcomings is the fact that most of those who seek to inform us about the ‘jihadist threat’ – and Berman is typical of this scholarship – not only lack the language skills to read the sources produced by the ideologues of political Islam, but also lack knowledge about the cultural dimension of the movement. This new totalitarian movement is in many ways a novelty
in the history of politics since it has its roots in two parallel and related phenomena: first, the culturalisation of politics which leads to politics being conceptualised as a cultural system (a view pioneered by Clifford Geertz); and second the return of the sacred, or ‘re-enchantment’ of the world, as a reaction to its intensive secularisation resulting from globalisation.
The analysis of political ideologies that are based on religions, and that can exert appeal as a political religion as a consequence of this, involves a social science understanding of the role of religion played by world politics, especially after the bi-polar system of the Cold War has given way to a multi-polar world. In a project conducted at the Hannah Arendt Institute for the application of totalitarianism to the study of political religions, I proposed the distinction between secular ideologies that act as a substitute for religion, and religious ideologies based on genuine religious faith, which is the case in religious fundamentalism (see note
24). Another project on ‘Political Religion’, carried out at the University of Basel, has made clearer the point that new approaches to politics become necessary once a religious faith becomes clothed in a political garb.Drawing on the authoritative sources of political Islam, this article suggests that the great variety of organisations inspired by Islamist ideology are to be conceptualised both as political religions and as political movements. The unique quality of political Islam lies is the fact that it is based on a transnational religion (see note 26).

Liberal Democracy and Political Islam: the Search for Common Ground.

Мостафа Бенхенда

This paper seeks to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic political theories.1 The interplay between them is puzzling: for example, in order to explain the relationship existing between democracy and their conception of the ideal Islamic political
regime, the Pakistani scholar Abu ‘Ala Maududi coined the neologism “theodemocracy” whereas the French scholar Louis Massignon suggested the oxymoron “secular theocracy”. These expressions suggest that some aspects of democracy are evaluated positively and others are judged negatively. For example, Muslim scholars and activists often endorse the principle of accountability of rulers, which is a defining feature of democracy. On the contrary, they often reject the principle of separation between religion and the state, which is often considered to be part of democracy (at least, of democracy as known in the United States today). Given this mixed assessment of democratic principles, it seems interesting to determine the conception of democracy underlying Islamic political models. In other words, we should try to find out what is democratic in “theodemocracy”. To that end, among the impressive diversity and plurality of Islamic traditions of normative political thought, we essentially focus on the broad current of thought going back to Abu ‘Ala Maududi and the Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Qutb.8 This particular trend of thought is interesting because in the Muslim world, it lies at the basis of some of the most challenging oppositions to the diffusion of the values originating from the West. Based on religious values, this trend elaborated a political model alternative to liberal democracy. Broadly speaking, the conception of democracy included in this Islamic political model is procedural. With some differences, this conception is inspired by democratic theories advocated by some constitutionalists and political scientists.10 It is thin and minimalist, up to a certain point. For example, it does not rely on any notion of popular sovereignty and it does not require any separation between religion and politics. The first aim of this paper is to elaborate this minimalist conception. We make a detailed restatement of it in order to isolate this conception from its moral (liberal) foundations, which are controversial from the particular Islamic viewpoint considered here. Indeed, the democratic process is usually derived from a principle of personal autonomy, which is not endorsed by these Islamic theories.11 Here, we show that such principle is not necessary to justify a democratic process.

Islamic Reformation

Adnan Khan

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi boasted after the events of 9/11:
“…we must be aware of the superiority of our civilisation, a system that has guaranteed

well being, respect for human rights andin contrast with Islamic countriesrespect

for religious and political rights, a system that has its values understanding of diversity

and tolerance…The West will conquer peoples, like it conquered communism, even if it

means a confrontation with another civilisation, the Islamic one, stuck where it was

1,400 years ago…”1

And in a 2007 report the RAND institute declared:
“The struggle underway throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of

ideas. Its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world.”

Building moderate Muslim Networks, RAND Institute

The concept of ‘islah’ (reform) is a concept unknown to Muslims. It never existed throughout the

history of the Islamic civilisation; it was never debated or even considered. A cursory glance at classical

Islamic literature shows us that when the classical scholars laid the foundations of usul, and codified

their Islamic rulings (fiqh) they were only looking to the comprehension of the Islamic rules in order to

apply them. A similar situation occurred when the rules were laid down for the hadith, tafseer and the

Arabic language. Scholars, thinkers and intellectuals throughout Islamic history spent much time

understanding Allah’s revelation – the Qur’an and applying the ayaat upon the realities and coined

principals and disciplines in order to facilitate understanding. Hence the Qur’an remained the basis of

study and all the disciplines that evolved were always based upon the Qur’an. Those who became

smitten by Greek philosophy such as the Muslim philosophers and some from amongst the Mut’azilah

were considered to have left the fold of Islam as the Qur’an ceased to be their basis of study. Thus for

any Muslim attempting to deduce rules or understand what stance should be taken upon a particular

issue the Qur’an is the basis of this study.

The first attempt at reforming Islam took place at the turn of the 19th century. By the turn of the

century the Ummah had been in a lengthy period of decline where the global balance of power shifted

from the Khilafah to Britain. Mounting problems engulfed the Khilafah whilst Western Europe was in

the midst of the industrial revolution. The Ummah came to lose her pristine understanding of Islam, и

in an attempt to reverse the decline engulfing the Uthmani’s (Ottomans) some Muslims were sent to the

Запад, and as a result became smitten by what they saw. Rifa’a Rafi’ al-Tahtawi of Egypt (1801-1873),

on his return from Paris, wrote a biographical book called Takhlis al-ibriz ila talkhis Bariz (The

Extraction of Gold, or an Overview of Paris, 1834), praising their cleanliness, love of work, and above

all social morality. He declared that we must mimic what is being done in Paris, advocating changes to

the Islamic society from liberalising women to the systems of ruling. This thought, and others like it,

marked the beginning of the reinventing trend in Islam.

PRECISION IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR:

Sherifa Zuhur

Seven years after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks, many experts believe al-Qa’ida has regained strength and that its copycats or affiliates are more lethal than before. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 asserted that al-Qa’ida is more dangerous now than before 9/11.1 Al-Qa’ida’s emulators continue to threaten Western, Middle Eastern, and European nations, as in the plot foiled in September 2007 in Germany. Bruce Riedel states: Thanks largely to Washington’s eagerness to go into Iraq rather than hunting down al Qaeda’s leaders, the organization now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in western Iraq. Its reach has spread throughout the Muslim world and in Europe . . . Osama bin Laden has mounted a successful propaganda campaign. . . . His ideas now attract more followers than ever.
It is true that various salafi-jihadist organizations are still emerging throughout the Islamic world. Why have heavily resourced responses to the Islamist terrorism that we are calling global jihad not proven extremely effective?
Moving to the tools of “soft power,” what about the efficacy of Western efforts to bolster Muslims in the Global War on Terror (GWOT)? Why has the United States won so few “hearts and minds” in the broader Islamic world? Why do American strategic messages on this issue play so badly in the region? Why, despite broad Muslim disapproval of extremism as shown in surveys and official utterances by key Muslim leaders, has support for bin Ladin actually increased in Jordan and in Pakistan?
This monograph will not revisit the origins of Islamist violence. It is instead concerned with a type of conceptual failure that wrongly constructs the GWOT and which discourages Muslims from supporting it. They are unable to identify with the proposed transformative countermeasures because they discern some of their core beliefs and institutions as targets in
this endeavor.
Several deeply problematic trends confound the American conceptualizations of the GWOT and the strategic messages crafted to fight that War. These evolve from (1) post-colonial political approaches to Muslims and Muslim majority nations that vary greatly and therefore produce conflicting and confusing impressions and effects; и (2) residual generalized ignorance of and prejudice toward Islam and subregional cultures. Add to this American anger, fear, and anxiety about the deadly events of 9/11, and certain elements that, despite the urgings of cooler heads, hold Muslims and their religion accountable for the misdeeds of their coreligionists, or who find it useful to do so for political reasons.

BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY

HASAN AL-BANNA

The First Islamic State
On the foundation of this virtuous Qur’anic social order the first Islamic state arose, having unshakeable faith in it, meticulously applying it, and spreading it throughout the world, so that the first Khilafah used to say: ‘If I should lose a camel’s lead, I would find it in Allah’s Book.’. He fought those who refused to pay zakah, regarding them as apostates because they had overthrown one of the pillars of this order, saying: ‘By Allah, if they refused me a lead which they would hand over to the Apostle of Allah (PBUH), I would fight them as soon as I have a sword in my hand!’ For unity, in all its meanings and manifestations, pervaded this new forthcoming nation.
Complete social unity arose from making the Qur’anic order and it’s language universal, while complete political unity was under the shadow of the Amir Al-Mumineen and beneath the standard of the Khilafah in the capital.
The fact that the Islamic ideology was one of decentralisation of the armed forces, the state treasuries, и provincial governors proved to be no obstacle to this, since all acted according to a single creed and a unified and comprehensive control. The Qur’anic principles dispelled and laid to rest the superstitious idolatry prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula and Persia. They banished guileful Judaism and confined it to a narrow province, putting an end to its religious and political authority. They struggled with Christianity such that its influence was greatly diminished in the Asian and African continents, confined only to Europe under the guard of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. Thus the Islamic state became the centre of spiritual and political dominance within the two largest continents. This state persisted in its attacks against the third continent, assaulting Constantinople from the east and besieging it until the siege grew wearisome. Then it came at it from the west,
plunging into Spain, with its victorious soldiers reaching the heart of France and penetrating as far as northern and southern Italy. It established an imposing state in Western Europe, radiant with science and knowledge.
Afterwards, it ended the conquest of Constantinople itself and the confined Christianity within the restricted area of Central Europe. Islamic fleets ventured into the depths of the Mediterranean and Red seas, both became Islamic lakes. And so the armed forces of the Islamic state assumed supremacy of the seas both in the East and West, enjoying absolute mastery over land and sea. These Islamic nations had already combined and incorporated many things from other civilisations, but they triumphed through the strength of their faith and the solidness of their system over others. They Arabised them, or succeeded in doing so to a degree, and were able to sway them and convert them to the splendour, beauty and vitality of their language and religion. The Muslims were free to adopt anything beneficial from other civilisations, insofar as it did not have adverse effects on their social and political unity.

Democracy in Islamic Political Thought

Azzam S. Тамими

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.

Islamic Political Culture, Демокрация, and Human Rights

Даниеле. Цена

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 Political Culture, Демокрация, and Human Rights

Даниеле. Цена

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.

Political Islam in the Middle East

Са Кнудсен

This report provides an introduction to selected aspects of the phenomenon commonly

referred to as “political Islam”. The report gives special emphasis to the Middle East, in

particular the Levantine countries, and outlines two aspects of the Islamist movement that may

be considered polar opposites: democracy and political violence. In the third section the report

reviews some of the main theories used to explain the Islamic resurgence in the Middle East

(Figure 1). In brief, the report shows that Islam need not be incompatible with democracy and

that there is a tendency to neglect the fact that many Middle Eastern countries have been

engaged in a brutal suppression of Islamist movements, causing them, some argue, to take up

arms against the state, and more rarely, foreign countries. The use of political violence is

widespread in the Middle East, but is neither illogical nor irrational. In many cases even

Islamist groups known for their use of violence have been transformed into peaceful political

parties successfully contesting municipal and national elections. Nonetheless, the Islamist

revival in the Middle East remains in part unexplained despite a number of theories seeking to

account for its growth and popular appeal. In general, most theories hold that Islamism is a

reaction to relative deprivation, especially social inequality and political oppression. Alternative

theories seek the answer to the Islamist revival within the confines of religion itself and the

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

The conclusion argues in favour of moving beyond the “gloom and doom” approach that

portrays Islamism as an illegitimate political expression and a potential threat to the West (“Old

Islamism”), and of a more nuanced understanding of the current democratisation of the Islamist

movement that is now taking place throughout the Middle East (“New Islamism”). This

importance of understanding the ideological roots of the “New Islamism” is foregrounded

along with the need for thorough first-hand knowledge of Islamist movements and their

adherents. As social movements, its is argued that more emphasis needs to be placed on

understanding the ways in which they have been capable of harnessing the aspirations not only

of the poorer sections of society but also of the middle class.

Islamist Parties : why they can’t be democratic

Bassam Tibi

Noting Islamism’s growing appeal and strength on the ground, many

Western scholars and officials have been grasping for some way to take

an inclusionary approach toward it. In keeping with this desire, it has

become fashionable contemptuously to dismiss the idea of insisting on

clear and rigorous distinctions as “academic.” When it comes to Islam

and democracy, this deplorable fashion has been fraught with unfortunate

consequences.

Intelligent discussion of Islamism, democracy, and Islam requires

clear and accurate definitions. Without them, analysis will collapse into

confusion and policy making will suffer. My own view, formed after

thirty years of study and reflection regarding the matter, is that Islam and

democracy are indeed compatible, provided that certain necessary religious

reforms are made. The propensity to deliver on such reforms is what

I see as lacking in political Islam. My own avowed interest—as an Arab-

Muslim prodemocracy theorist and practitioner—is to promote the establishment

of secular democracy within the ambit of Islamic civilization.

In order to help clear away the confusion that all too often surrounds

this topic, I will lay out several basic points to bear in mind. The first is

that, so far, Western practices vis-`a-vis political Islam have been faulty

because they have lacked the underpinning of a well-founded assessment.

Unless blind luck intervenes, no policy can be better than the assessment

upon which it is based. Proper assessment is the beginning of

all practical wisdom.

Islamist Parties : going back to the origins

Husain Haqqani

Хилел Фрадкин

How should we understand the emergence and the nature of Islamist parties? Can they reasonably be expected not just to participate in democratic politics but even to respect the norms of liberal democracy? These questions lie at the heart of the issues that we have been asked to address.
In our view, any response that is historically and thus practically relevant must begin with the following observation: Until very recently, even the idea of an Islamist party (let alone a democratic Islamist party) would have seemed, from the perspective of Islamism itself, a paradox if not a contradiction in terms. Islamism’s original conception of a healthy Islamic political life made no room for—indeed rejected—any role for parties of any sort. Islamist groups described themselves as the vanguard of Islamic revival, claiming that they represented the essence of Islam and reflected the aspiration of the global umma (community of believers) for an Islamic polity. Pluralism, which is a precondition for the operation of political parties, was rejected by most Islamist political
thinkers as a foreign idea.
As should be more or less obvious, the novelty not only of actually existing Islamist parties but of the very idea of such parties makes it exceptionally difficult to assess their democratic bona fides. But this difficulty merely adds another level of complication to a problem that stems from the very origins of Islamism and its conception of the true meaning of Islam and of Islam’s relationship to political life

Islamist parties : Three kinds of movements

Тамара Кофман

Between 1991 и 2001, the world of political Islam became significantly more diverse. Today, the term “Islamist”—used to describe a political perspective centrally informed by a set of religious interpretations and commitments—can be applied to such a wide array of groups as to be almost meaningless. It encompasses everyone from the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center to peacefully elected legislators in Kuwait who have voted in favor of women’s suffrage.
Nonetheless, the prominence of Islamist movements—legal and illegal, violent and peaceful—in the ranks of political oppositions across the Arab world makes the necessity of drawing relevant distinctions obvious. The religious discourse of the Islamists is now unavoidably central to Arab politics. Conventional policy discussions label Islamists either “moderate” or “radical,” generally categorizing them according to two rather loose and unhelpful criteria. The first is violence: Radicals use it and moderates do not. This begs the question of how to classify groups that do not themselves engage in violence but who condone, justify, or even actively support the violence of others. A second, only somewhat more restrictive criterion is whether the groups or individuals in question
accept the rules of the democratic electoral game. Popular sovereignty is no small concession for traditional Islamists, many of whom reject democratically elected governments as usurpers of God’s sovereignty.
Yet commitment to the procedural rules of democratic elections is not the same as commitment to democratic politics or governance.

Political Islam: Ready for Engagement?

Емад ел-дин шахин

The voluminous literature on reform and democratization in the Middle East region reveals a number of facts: a main obstacle to reform is the incumbent regimes that have been trying to resist and circumvent genuine democratic transformations; political reform cannot be credible without integrating moderate Islamists in the process; and external actors (mainly the US and the EU) have not yet formulated a coherent approach to reform that could simultaneously achieve stability and democracy in the region. This paper explores the possibilities and implications of a European engagement with moderate Islamists on democracy promotion in the region. It argues that the EU approach to political reform in the Middle East region needs to be enhanced and linked to realities on the ground. Political reform cannot be effective without the integration of non-violent Islamic groups in a gradual, multifaceted process. It should be highlighted that the process of engagement is a risky one for both the EU and the Islamists, yet both stand to gain from a systematic dialogue on democracy. To reduce the risks, the engagement with political Islam should come within a broader EU strategy for democracy promotion in the region. In fact, what the Islamists would expect from Europe is to maintain a
consistent and assertive stand on political reforms that would allow for a genuine representation of the popular will through peaceful means.
In this regard, a number of questions seem pertinent. Does the EU really need to engage political Islam in democratic reforms? Is political Islam ready for engagement and will it be willing to engage? How can an engagement policy be formulated on the basis of plausible implementation with minimal risks to the interests of the parties involved?

It’s the Policy, Stupid

John L. Esposito

US foreign policy and political Islam today are deeply intertwined. Every US president since Jimmy Carter has had to deal with political Islam; none has been so challenged as George W. Буш. 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. However, 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, тероризъм, 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. Thus, 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?


The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Уилям Томасон

Is Islam a religion of violence? Is the widely applied stereotype that all Muslims are violently opposed to “infidel” Western cultures accurate? Today’s world is confronted with two opposing faces of Islam; one being a peaceful, adaptive, modernized Islam, and the other strictly fundamentalist and against all things un-Islamic or that may corrupt Islamic culture. Both specimens, though seemingly opposed, mingle and inter-relate, and are the roots of the confusion over modern Islam’s true identity. Islam’s vastness makes it difficult to analyze, but one can focus on a particular Islamic region and learn much about Islam as a whole. Indeed, one may do this with Egypt, particularly the relationship between the Fundamentalist society known as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian government and population. The two opposing faces of Islam are presented in Egypt in a manageable portion, offering a smaller model of the general multi-national struggle of today’s Islam. In an effort to exemplify the role of Islamic Fundamentalists, and their relationship with Islamic society as a whole in the current debate over what Islam is, this essay will offer a history of the Society of Muslim Brothers, a description of how the organization originated, functioned, and was organized, and a summary of the Brother’s activities and influences on Egyptian culture. Certainly, by doing so, one may gain a deeper understanding of how Islamic Fundamentalists interpret Islam