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Феминизмот помеѓу секуларизмот и исламот: СЛУЧАЈОТ на Палестина

Dr, Islah Jad

Legislative elections held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 2006 brought to power the Islamist movement Hamas, which went on to form the majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council and also the first majority Hamas government. These elections resulted in the appointment of the first female Hamas minister, who became the Minister of Women’s Affairs. Between March 2006 and June 2007, two different female Hamas ministers assumed this post, but both found it difficult to manage the Ministry since most of its employees were not Hamas members but belonged to other political parties, and most were members of Fatah, the dominant movement controlling most Palestinian Authority institutions. A tense period of struggle between the women of Hamas in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the female members of Fatah came to an end following Hamas’ takeover of power in the Gaza Strip and the resultant fall of its government in the West Bank – a struggle which sometimes took a violent turn. One reason later cited to explain this struggle was the difference between secular feminist discourse and Islamist discourse on women’s issues. In the Palestinian context this disagreement took on a dangerous nature as it was used to justify perpetuating the bloody political struggle, the removal of Hamas women from their positions or posts, and the political and geographical divides prevailing at the time in both the West Bank and the occupied Gaza Strip.
This struggle raises a number of important questions: should we punish the Islamist movement which has come to power, or should we consider the reasons which led to Fateh’s failure in the political arena? Can feminism offer a comprehensive framework for women, regardless of their social and ideological affiliations? Can a discourse of a shared common ground for women help them to realize and agree upon their common goals? Is paternalism only present in Islamist ideology, and not in nationalism and patriotism? What do we mean by feminism? Is there only one feminism, or several feminisms? What do we mean by Islamis it the movement known by this name or the religion, the philosophy, or the legal system? We need to go to the bottom of these issues and consider them carefully, and we must agree upon them so that we can later decide, as feminists, if our criticism of paternalism should be directed at religion (вера), which should be confined to the heart of the believer and not be allowed to take control of the world at large, or the jurisprudence, which relates to different schools of faith which explain the legal system contained in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophetthe Sunnah.

Assessing the Islamist mainstream in Egypt and Malaysia

Beyond ‘Terrorism’ and ‘StateHegemony’: assessing the Islamistmainstream in Egypt and Malaysia

јануари STRONGMalaysia-Islamists

International networks of Islamic ‘terrorism’ have served as themost popular explanation to describe the phenomenon of political Islam sincethe 11 September attacks.

This paper argues that both the self-proclaimeddoctrinal Islam of the militants and Western perceptions of a homogeneousIslamist threat need to be deconstructed in order to discover the oftenambiguous manifestations of ‘official’ and ‘opposition’ Islam, of modernity andconservatism.

As a comparison of two Islamic countries, Egypt and Malaysia,which both claim a leading role in their respective regions, shows, moderateIslamic groups have had a considerable impact on processes of democratisationand the emergence of civil society during the quarter century since the ‘Islamicresurgence’.

Shared experiences like coalition building and active participationwithin the political system demonstrate the influence and importance of groupssuch as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) or the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS).

These groups haveshaped the political landscape to a much larger extent than the current pre-occupation with the ‘terrorist threat’ suggests. The gradual development of a‘culture of dialogue’ has rather revealed new approaches towards politicalparticipation and democracy at the grassroots level.

Islamic Movements in the Middle East: Egypt as a case study

ÖZLEM TÜR KAVLİ

Akef

The Islamic challenge remains a central issue within the ongoing debate on the nature of Middle East
politics. As the main opposition to government policies, the Islamic movements enjoy widespread
popularity, especially among the lower echelons of those populations —people who are
economically or politically alienated. Egypt has been a pioneer of Arab countries in many aspects of
economic, political and cultural development. It has also been the pioneer in the rise of Islamic
movements and the state’s fight with these groups. The aim of this paper is to look at Egypt as a case
study in Middle East’s Islamist movements in general.
The first part of this paper looks briefly at nineteenth century Islamic reformers who had an impact
on the development of modern Islamic movements. In the second part, the focus will be on the
formation of the Islamic movements and their cadres and main ideologies. The third part looks at
contemporary movements and their position in Egyptian society.
ISLAMIC REFORMISTS
Islamic reformism is a modern movement that came into the scene in the nineteenth century as a
reaction to European supremacy and expansion. It was during this period that Muslim religious
leaders and politicians began to realise that their state of affairs was inferior to that of Europe and
was in steady decline. Although Islam has suffered many defeats by Europeans, it was in the
nineteenth century that Muslims felt for the first time their weakness and decline and the need to
borrow from their ‘enemy’. This painful awareness made Muslim intellectuals think about the
defects and the weaknesses they were suffering from and they started to search for a remedy.1 On the
one hand, Islamic reformists embarked on studies of Europe’s pre-industrial phase in order to trace
ways of building a strong state and economy. On the other, they sought viable cultural paradigms
capable of checking the dominance of Europe. The Islamic reformist movement was an urban
movement and tried to establish strategies for the development of the Muslim world. The frustration
of the early reformists with the status quo did not entail a demonising of the West or even a rejection
of modernisation per se. In their quest for progress, Jamal Al-Din Al-Afghani and Mohammad
Abduh looked upon the West both as a model and as a rival. They perceived the challenge the
Umma, the Muslim community, was facing as shaped by a need to readjust their worldview to the
realities of the approaching new age. The Muslim people were given priority as citizens, whereas
Islam as a normative system “assumed the role of a defensive weapon that had to be restored in order
to stop deterioration and check the decline”.2 Rashid Rida had more radical views about society as
being corrupt and the heads of Arab states as being the apostates of Islam and he supported the
implementation of Koranic punishments. These three reformists desired to bring back the glory of
Islam by embracing ijtihad, rejecting the superstitions of popular religion and the stagnant thinking
of the ulama. They aimed at “creating a synthesis of Islam and the modern West rather than a
purified society constructed primarily along Islamic lines”.3 It is ironic that these reformists became
the founding ideologues of the Islamic movements that demand strictly purified Islamic
communities.

The Islamic challenge remains a central issue within the ongoing debate on the nature of Middle East politics. As the main opposition to government policies, the Islamic movements enjoy widespread popularity, especially among the lower echelons of those populations —people who are economically or politically alienated.

Egypt has been a pioneer of Arab countries in many aspects of economic, political and cultural development. It has also been the pioneer in the rise of Islamic movements and the state’s fight with these groups. The aim of this paper is to look at Egypt as a case study in Middle East’s Islamist movements in general.

The first part of this paper looks briefly at nineteenth century Islamic reformers who had an impact on the development of modern Islamic movements. In the second part, the focus will be on the formation of the Islamic movements and their cadres and main ideologies. The third part looks at contemporary movements and their position in Egyptian society.

ISLAMIC REFORMISTS

Islamic reformism is a modern movement that came into the scene in the nineteenth century as a reaction to European supremacy and expansion.

It was during this period that Muslim religious leaders and politicians began to realise that their state of affairs was inferior to that of Europe and was in steady decline. Although Islam has suffered many defeats by Europeans, it was in the nineteenth century that Muslims felt for the first time their weakness and decline and the need to borrow from their ‘enemy’.

This painful awareness made Muslim intellectuals think about the defects and the weaknesses they were suffering from and they started to search for a remedy.On the one hand, Islamic reformists embarked on studies of Europe’s pre-industrial phase in order to trace ways of building a strong state and economy. On the other, they sought viable cultural paradigms capable of checking the dominance of Europe.

The Islamic reformist movement was an urban movement and tried to establish strategies for the development of the Muslim world. The frustration of the early reformists with the status quo did not entail a demonising of the West or even a rejection of modernisation per se.

In their quest for progress, Jamal Al-Din Al-Afghani and Mohammad Abduh looked upon the West both as a model and as a rival. They perceived the challenge the Umma, the Muslim community, was facing as shaped by a need to readjust their worldview to the realities of the approaching new age.

The Muslim people were given priority as citizens, whereas Islam as a normative system “assumed the role of a defensive weapon that had to be restored in order to stop deterioration and check the decline”. Rashid Rida had more radical views about society as being corrupt and the heads of Arab states as being the apostates of Islam and he supported the implementation of Koranic punishments.

These three reformists desired to bring back the glory of Islam by embracing ijtihad, rejecting the superstitions of popular religion and the stagnant thinking of the ulama. They aimed at “creating a synthesis of Islam and the modern West rather than a purified society constructed primarily along Islamic lines”.

It is ironic that these reformists became the founding ideologues of the Islamic movements that demand strictly purified Islamic communities.