RSSTous les articles taggés avec: "Hamas"

The Arab Tomorrow

DAVID B. OTTAWAY

octobre 6, 1981, was meant to be a day of celebration in Egypt. It marked the anniversary of Egypt’s grandest moment of victory in three Arab-Israeli conflicts, when the country’s underdog army thrust across the Suez Canal in the opening days ofthe 1973 Yom Kippur War and sent Israeli troops reeling in retreat. On a cool, cloudless morning, the Cairo stadium was packed with Egyptian families that had come to see the military strut its hardware.On the reviewing stand, President Anwar el-Sadat,the war’s architect, watched with satisfaction as men and machines paraded before him. I was nearby, a newly arrived foreign correspondent.Suddenly, one of the army trucks halted directly in front of the reviewing stand just as six Mirage jets roared overhead in an acrobatic performance, painting the sky with long trails of red, yellow, purple,and green smoke. Sadat stood up, apparently preparing to exchange salutes with yet another contingent of Egyptian troops. He made himself a perfect target for four Islamist assassins who jumped from the truck, stormed the podium, and riddled his body with bullets.As the killers continued for what seemed an eternity to spray the stand with their deadly fire, I considered for an instant whether to hit the ground and risk being trampled to death by panicked spectators or remain afoot and risk taking a stray bullet. Instinct told me to stay on my feet, and my sense of journalistic duty impelled me to go find out whether Sadat was alive or dead.

ISLAMIST WOMEN’S ACTIVISM IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE

Interviews by Khaled Amayreh

Interview with Sameera Al-Halayka

Sameera Al-Halayka is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She was

born in the village of Shoyoukh near Hebron in 1964. She has a BA in Sharia (Islamique

Jurisprudence) from Hebron University. She worked as a journalist from 1996 à 2006 when

she entered the Palestinian Legislative Council as an elected member in the 2006 élections.

She is married and has seven children.

Q: There is a general impression in some western countries that women receive

inferior treatment within Islamic resistance groups, such as Hamas. Is this true?

How are women activists treated in Hamas?
Rights and duties of Muslim women emanate first and foremost from Islamic Sharia or law.

They are not voluntary or charitable acts or gestures we receive from Hamas or anyone

else. Thus, as far as political involvement and activism is concerned, women generally have

the same rights and duties as men. After all, women make up at least 50 per cent of

society. In a certain sense, they are the entire society because they give birth to, and raise,

the new generation.

Par conséquent, I can say that the status of women within Hamas is in full conformity with her

status in Islam itself. This means that she is a full partner at all levels. En effet, it would be

unfair and unjust for an Islamic (or Islamist if you prefer) woman to be partner in suffering

while she is excluded from the decision-making process. This is why the woman’s role in

Hamas has always been pioneering.

Q: Do you feel that the emergence of women’s political activism within Hamas is

a natural development that is compatible with classical Islamic concepts

regarding the status and role of women, or is it merely a necessary response to

pressures of modernity and requirements of political action and of the continued

Israeli occupation?

There is no text in Islamic jurisprudence nor in Hamas’ charter which impedes women from

political participation. I believe the opposite is truethere are numerous Quranic verses

and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed urging women to be active in politics and public

issues affecting Muslims. But it is also true that for women, as it is for men, political activism

is not compulsory but voluntary, and is largely decided in light of each woman’s abilities,

qualifications and individual circumstances. None the less, showing concern for public

matters is mandatory upon each and every Muslim man and woman. The Prophet

Muhammed said: “He who doesn’t show concern for the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.”

En outre, Palestinian Islamist women have to take all objective factors on the ground into

account when deciding whether to join politics or get involved in political activism.


Profession, Colonialisme, Apartheid?

The Human Sciences Research Council

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa commissioned this study to test the hypothesis posed by Professor John Dugard in the report he presented to the UN Human Rights Council in January 2007, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel (namely, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, et
Gaz, hereafter OPT). Professor Dugard posed the question: Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. À la fois, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?
In order to consider these consequences, this study set out to examine legally the premises of Professor Dugard’s question: is Israel the occupant of the OPT, et, if so, do elements of its occupation of these territories amount to colonialism or apartheid? South Africa has an obvious interest in these questions given its bitter history of apartheid, which entailed the denial of selfdetermination
to its majority population and, during its occupation of Namibia, the extension of apartheid to that territory which South Africa effectively sought to colonise. These unlawful practices must not be replicated elsewhere: other peoples must not suffer in the way the populations of South Africa and Namibia have suffered.
To explore these issues, an international team of scholars was assembled. The aim of this project was to scrutinise the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric. This study is the outcome of a fifteen-month collaborative process of intensive research, consultation, writing and review. It concludes and, it is to be hoped, persuasively argues and clearly demonstrates that Israel, depuis 1967, has been the belligerent Occupying Power in the OPT, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid. Belligerent occupation in itself is not an unlawful situation: it is accepted as a possible consequence of armed conflict. À la fois, under the law of armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law), occupation is intended to be only a temporary state of affairs. International law prohibits the unilateral annexation or permanent acquisition of territory as a result of the threat or use of force: should this occur, no State may recognise or support the resulting unlawful situation. In contrast to occupation, both colonialism and apartheid are always unlawful and indeed are considered to be particularly serious breaches of international law because they are fundamentally contrary to core values of the international legal order. Colonialism violates the principle of self-determination,
which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has affirmed as ‘one of the essential principles of contemporary international law’. All States have a duty to respect and promote self-determination. Apartheid is an aggravated case of racial discrimination, which is constituted according to the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973,
hereafter ‘Apartheid Convention’) by ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’. The practice of apartheid, moreover, is an international crime.
Professor Dugard in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007 suggested that an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s conduct should be sought from the ICJ. This advisory opinion would undoubtedly complement the opinion that the ICJ delivered in 2004 on the Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territories (hereafter ‘the Wall advisory opinion’). This course of legal action does not exhaust the options open to the international community, nor indeed the duties of third States and international organisations when they are appraised that another State is engaged in the practices of colonialism or apartheid.

US Hamas policy blocks Middle East peace

Henry Siegman


Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions. Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the “road map” and other previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed. Israel’s government believes that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance. What hope there is for the bilateral talks that resume in Washington DC on September 2 depends entirely on President Obama proving that belief to be wrong, and on whether the “bridging proposals” he has promised, should the talks reach an impasse, are a euphemism for the submission of American parameters. Such a US initiative must offer Israel iron-clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time must make it clear these assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza. This paper focuses on the other major obstacle to a permanent status agreement: the absence of an effective Palestinian interlocutor. Addressing Hamas’ legitimate grievances – and as noted in a recent CENTCOM report, Hamas has legitimate grievances – could lead to its return to a Palestinian coalition government that would provide Israel with a credible peace partner. If that outreach fails because of Hamas’ rejectionism, the organization’s ability to prevent a reasonable accord negotiated by other Palestinian political parties will have been significantly impeded. If the Obama administration will not lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation, Europe must do so, and hope America will follow. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can guarantee the goal of “two states living side by side in peace and security.”
But President Obama’s present course absolutely precludes it.

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 (Guerre contre le terrorisme)? 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; et (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.

Démocratie, Les élections et les Frères musulmans égyptiens

Israël Elad-Altman

La campagne de réforme et de démocratisation menée par les Américains au Moyen-Orient au cours des deux dernières années a contribué à façonner une nouvelle réalité politique en Égypte. Des opportunités se sont ouvertes à la dissidence. Avec nous. et soutien européen, les groupes d'opposition locaux ont pu prendre des initiatives, faire avancer leurs causes et arracher des concessions à l'État. Le mouvement des Frères musulmans égyptiens (MB), qui a été officiellement interdite en tant qu'organisation politique, fait désormais partie des groupes confrontés à ces deux nouvelles opportunités
et de nouveaux risques.
Gouvernements occidentaux, y compris le gouvernement des États-Unis, considèrent le MB et d'autres groupes «islamistes modérés» comme des partenaires potentiels pour aider à faire progresser la démocratie dans leur pays, et peut-être aussi pour éradiquer le terrorisme islamiste. Le MB égyptien pourrait-il remplir ce rôle? Pourrait-il suivre la voie du Parti turc de la justice et du développement (AKP) et le Parti indonésien de la justice prospère (MCC), deux partis islamistes qui, selon certains analystes, s'adaptent avec succès aux règles de la démocratie libérale et conduisent leurs pays vers une plus grande intégration avec, respectivement, L'Europe et une Asie «païenne»?
Cet article examine comment le MB a répondu à la nouvelle réalité, comment il a géré les défis et dilemmes idéologiques et pratiques qui se sont posés au cours des deux dernières années. Dans quelle mesure le mouvement a-t-il adapté ses perspectives aux nouvelles circonstances?? Quels sont ses objectifs et sa vision de l'ordre politique? Comment a-t-il réagi aux États-Unis. ouvertures et à la campagne de réforme et de démocratisation?
Comment a-t-il navigué dans ses relations avec le régime égyptien d'une part, et d'autres forces d'opposition de l'autre, alors que le pays se dirige vers deux élections dramatiques à l'automne 2005? Dans quelle mesure le MB peut-il être considéré comme une force qui pourrait conduire l'Égypte
vers la démocratie libérale?

FRÈRES MUSULMANS ÉGYPTE: CONFRONTATION OU INTÉGRATION?

Rechercher

Le succès de la Society of Muslim Brothers en novembre-décembre 2005 les élections à l’Assemblée du peuple ont provoqué une onde de choc dans le système politique égyptien. En réponse, le régime a réprimé le mouvement, harcelé d'autres rivaux potentiels et annulé son processus de réforme naissant. C'est dangereusement myope. Il y a lieu de s'inquiéter du programme politique des Frères musulmans, et ils doivent au peuple de véritables clarifications sur plusieurs de ses aspects. Mais le national démocrate au pouvoir
Fête (NPD) le refus de desserrer son emprise risque d'exacerber les tensions à la fois dans une période d'incertitude politique entourant la succession présidentielle et de graves troubles socio-économiques. Bien que ce soit probablement un, processus graduel, le régime devrait prendre des mesures préliminaires pour normaliser la participation des Frères musulmans à la vie politique. Les Frères musulmans, dont les activités sociales ont longtemps été tolérées mais dont le rôle dans la politique formelle est strictement limité, a remporté un sans précédent 20 pour cent des sièges parlementaires au 2005 élections. Ils l'ont fait malgré la compétition pour seulement un tiers des sièges disponibles et malgré des obstacles considérables, y compris la répression policière et la fraude électorale. Ce succès a confirmé leur position de force politique extrêmement bien organisée et profondément enracinée. À la fois, il a souligné les faiblesses de l'opposition légale et du parti au pouvoir. Le régime aurait bien pu parier qu’une augmentation modeste de la représentation parlementaire des Frères musulmans pourrait être utilisée pour attiser les craintes d’une prise de contrôle islamiste et servir ainsi de raison pour bloquer la réforme.. Le cas échéant, la stratégie risque fort de se retourner contre vous.

Islam et Démocratie

ITAC

Si l'on lit la presse ou écoute des commentateurs sur les affaires internationales, on dit souvent - et encore plus souvent sous-entendu mais pas dit - que l'islam n'est pas compatible avec la démocratie. Dans les années 90, Samuel Huntington a déclenché une tempête intellectuelle en publiant The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, dans lequel il présente ses prévisions pour le monde - en gros. Dans le domaine politique, il note que si la Turquie et le Pakistan peuvent prétendre à une «légitimité démocratique», tous les autres «… les pays musulmans étaient majoritairement non démocratiques: monarchies, systèmes à un seul parti, régimes militaires, dictatures personnelles ou une combinaison de celles-ci, reposant généralement sur une famille limitée, clan, ou base tribale ». La prémisse sur laquelle se fonde son argument est qu’ils ne sont pas seulement «pas comme nous», ils sont en fait opposés à nos valeurs démocratiques essentielles. Il croit, comme les autres, que tandis que l'idée de démocratisation occidentale est combattue dans d'autres parties du monde, la confrontation est la plus notable dans les régions où l'islam est la religion dominante.
L'argument a également été avancé de l'autre côté. Un érudit religieux iranien, réflexion sur une crise constitutionnelle du début du XXe siècle dans son pays, a déclaré que l'islam et la démocratie ne sont pas compatibles parce que les gens ne sont pas égaux et qu'un organe législatif n'est pas nécessaire en raison de la nature inclusive de la loi religieuse islamique. Une position similaire a été prise plus récemment par Ali Belhadj, un professeur de lycée algérien, prédicateur et (dans ce contexte) leader du FIS, lorsqu'il a déclaré que «la démocratie n'était pas un concept islamique». La déclaration la plus dramatique à cet effet est peut-être celle d'Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, chef des insurgés sunnites en Irak qui, face à la perspective d'une élection, a dénoncé la démocratie comme «un principe diabolique».
Mais selon certains érudits musulmans, la démocratie reste un idéal important de l'islam, avec la mise en garde qu'il est toujours soumis à la loi religieuse. L'accent mis sur la place primordiale de la charia est un élément de presque tous les commentaires islamiques sur la gouvernance, modéré ou extrémiste. Seulement si la règle, qui reçoit son autorité de Dieu, limite ses actions à la «supervision de l’administration de la charia» est-il à obéir. S'il fait autre chose que ça, il est un non-croyant et les musulmans engagés doivent se rebeller contre lui. C'est là que réside la justification d'une grande partie de la violence qui a frappé le monde musulman dans des luttes telles que celle qui prévalait en Algérie dans les années 90.

Continuité organisationnelle dans les Frères musulmans d’Égypte

Eisenhart Lee Tess

En tant que mouvement d’opposition le plus ancien et le plus important d’Égypte, la Société de

Frères musulmans, al-ikhwan al-muslimeen, a longtemps posé un défi aux séculiers successifs
régimes en offrant une vision globale d'un État islamique et
Services sociaux. Depuis sa fondation en 1928, la fraternité (Ikhwan) a prospéré dans un
secteur parallèle des services religieux et sociaux, évitant généralement la confrontation directe avec
régimes en place.1 Plus récemment au cours des deux dernières décennies, cependant, la Fraternité a
touché à la partisanerie dans le domaine politique formel. Cette expérience a abouti à
l’élection des quatre-vingt-huit Frères à l’Assemblée du peuple en 2005 - la plus importante
bloc d'opposition dans l'histoire égyptienne moderne - et les arrestations subséquentes de près de
1,000 Frères.2 L'avancée électorale dans la politique dominante fournit un
pour que les érudits testent des théories et fassent des prédictions sur l'avenir de l'Égyptien
régime: tombera-t-il aux mains de l'opposition islamiste ou restera-t-il un phare de la laïcité
monde arabe?
Cette thèse évite de faire de telles spéculations. Plutôt, il explore

la mesure dans laquelle les Frères musulmans se sont adaptés en tant qu'organisation dans le passé
décennie.

Hizbollah’s Political Manifesto 2009

Following World War II, the United States became the centre of polarization and hegemony in the world; as such a project witnessed tremendous development on the levels of domination and subjugation that is unprecedented in history, making use and taking advantage of the multifaceted achievements on the several levels of knowledge, culture, La technologie, economy as well as the military level- that are supported by an economic-political system that only views the world as markets that have to abide by the American view.
The most dangerous aspect in the western hegemony-the American one precisely- is that they consider themselves as owners of the world and therefore, this expandin strategy along with the economic-capitalist project has become awestern expanding strategythat turned to be an international scheme of limitless greed. Savage capitalism forces- embodied mainly in international monopoly networks o fcompanies that cross the nations and continents, networks of various international establishments especially the financial ones backed by superior military force have led to more contradictions and conflicts of which not less important are the conflicts of identities, des cultures, civilizations, in addition to the conflicts of poverty and wealth. These savage capitalism forces have turned into mechanisms of sowing dissension and destroying identities as well as imposing the most dangerous type of cultural,
national, economic as well as social theft .

The Lives of Hasan al Banna & Syed Qutb.

Les Frères musulmans (Ikhwan al Muslimeen) was founded by Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949) in the Egyptian town of al- Isma’iliyyah in 1928. The son of an Azharite scholar, who earned his livelihood by repairing watches, Hasan al-Banna showed from his early
school-days an inclination and great zeal for calling people to Islamic values and traditions. His strong sense of religiosity and spiritual awareness drove him to join the Hasafiyyah tariqah, one of many Sufi tariqahs that were widespread in Egypt at that time. Even though he was not formally associated with this tariqah after he founded the Ikhwan, he, nevertheless, maintained a good relation with it, as indeed with other Islamic organizations and religious personalities, and persisted in reciting the litanies (awrad, pl. of wird) of this tariqah until his last days. Though Hasan al-Banna joined a modern-type school of education, he promised his father that he would continue to memorize the Qur’an, which he did, in fact later, at the age of twelve. While at school, he took part in the activities of some religious associations and clubs which were promoting it and calling for the observance of Islamic teachings .

Les partis islamistes : pourquoi ils ne peuvent pas être démocratique

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, la démocratie, 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

cette, 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 : Three kinds of movements

Tamara Cofman

Between 1991 et 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.

ISLAMIST MOVEMENTS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE ARAB WORLD: Exploring the Gray Zones

Nathan J. Brun, Amr Hamzawy,

Marina Ottaway

During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. Th ey have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Other parties,
by and large, have failed on all accounts.
Th e public in the West and, in particular, the United States, has only become aware of the importance of Islamist movements after dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. Attention has been far more sustained since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, Islamist movements are widely regarded as dangerous and hostile. While such a characterization is accurate regarding organizations at the radical end of the Islamist spectrum, which are dangerous because of their willingness to resort to indiscriminate violence in pursuing their goals, it is not an accurate characterization of the many groups that have renounced or avoided violence. Because terrorist organizations pose an immediate
threat, cependant, policy makers in all countries have paid disproportionate attention to the violent organizations.
It is the mainstream Islamist organizations, not the radical ones, that will have the greatest impact on the future political evolution of the Middle East. Th e radicals’ grandiose goals of re-establishing a caliphate uniting the entire Arab world, or even of imposing on individual Arab countries laws and social customs inspired by a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam are simply too far removed from today’s reality to be realized. Th is does not mean that terrorist groups are not dangerous—they could cause great loss of life even in the pursuit of impossible goals—but that they are unlikely to change the face of the Middle East. Mainstream Islamist organizations are generally a diff erent matter. Th ey already have had a powerful impact on social customs in many countries, halting and reversing secularist trends and changing the way many Arabs dress and behave. And their immediate political goal, to become a powerful force by participating in the normal politics of their country, is not an impossible one. It is already being realized in countries such as Morocco, Jordanie, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Politique, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

Les partis islamistes , ARE THEY DEMOCRATS? DOES it matter ?

Tarek Masoud

Driven by a sense that “the Islamists are coming,” journalists and policy makers have been engaged of late in fevered speculation over whether Islamist parties such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Palestine’s Hamas really believe in democracy. While I attempt to outline the boundaries of the Islamist democratic commitment, I think that peering into the Islamist soul is a misuse of energies. The Islamists are not coming. En outre, as Adam Przeworski and others have argued, commitments to democracy are more often born of environmental constraints than of true belief. Instead of worrying whether Islamists are real democrats,
our goal should be to help fortify democratic and liberal institutions and actors so that no group—Islamist or otherwise—can subvert them.
But what is this movement over whose democratic bona fides we worry? Islamism is a slippery concept. Par exemple, if we label as Islamist those parties that call for the application of shari‘a, we must exclude Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (which is widely considered Islamist) and include Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (which actively represses Islamists). Instead of becoming mired in definitional issues, we would do better to focus on a set of political parties that have grown from the same historical roots, derive many of their goals and positions from the same body of ideas, and maintain organizational ties to one another—that is, those parties that spring from the international MB. These include the Egyptian mother organization (founded in 1928), but also Hamas, Jordan’s Islamic Action Front, Algeria’s Movement for a Peaceful Society, the Iraqi Islamic Party, Lebanon’s Islamic Group, and others.

ISLAMIC RULINGS ON WARFARE

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, l'histoire,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.