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Islam und dem Making of State Power

Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr

In 1979 General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, die militärischen Herrscher von Pakistan, erklärt, dass Pakistan würde ein islamischer Staat werden. Islamische Werte und Normen würde als Grundlage der nationalen Identität dienen, Gesetz, Wirtschaft, und soziale Beziehungen, und würde inspirieren alle politischen Entscheidungen. In 1980 Mahathir Muhammad, the new prime minister of Malaysia, introduced a similar broad-based plan to anchor state policy making in Islamic values, and to bring his country’s laws and economic practices in line with the teachings of Islam. Why did these rulers choose the path of “Islamization” for their countries? And how did one-time secular postcolonial states become the agents of Islamization and the harbinger of the “true” Islamic state?
Malaysia and Pakistan have since the late 1970s–early 1980s followed a unique path to development that diverges from the experiences of other Third World states. In these two countries religious identity was integrated into state ideology to inform the goal and process of development with Islamic values.
This undertaking has also presented a very different picture of the relation between Islam and politics in Muslim societies. In Malaysia and Pakistan, it has been state institutions rather than Islamist activists (those who advocate a political reading of Islam; also known as revivalists or fundamentalists) that have been the guardians of Islam and the defenders of its interests. This suggests a
very different dynamic in the ebbs and flow of Islamic politics—in the least pointing to the importance of the state in the vicissitudes of this phenomenon.
What to make of secular states that turn Islamic? What does such a transformation mean for the state as well as for Islamic politics?
This book grapples with these questions. This is not a comprehensive account of Malaysia’s or Pakistan’s politics, nor does it cover all aspects of Islam’s role in their societies and politics, although the analytical narrative dwells on these issues considerably. This book is rather a social scientific inquiry into the phenomenon of secular postcolonial states becoming agents of Islamization, and more broadly how culture and religion serve the needs of state power and development. The analysis here relies on theoretical discussions
in the social sciences of state behavior and the role of culture and religion therein. More important, it draws inferences from the cases under examination to make broader conclusions of interest to the disciplines.

Beheben von America's islamistischen Dilemma: Lehren aus Süd-und Südostasien

Shadi Hamid
US-. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East have long been paralyzed by the “Islamist dilemma”: in theory, we want democracy, but, in practice, fear that Islamist parties will be the prime beneficiaries of any political opening. The most tragic manifestation of this was the Algerian debacle of 1991 und 1992, when the United States stood silently while the staunchly secular military canceled elections after an Islamist party won a parliamentary majority. More recently, the Bush administration backed away from its “freedom agenda” after Islamists did surprisingly well in elections throughout region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
But even our fear of Islamist parties—and the resulting refusal to engage with them—has itself been inconsistent, holding true for some countries but not others. The more that a country is seen as vital to American national security interests, the less willing the United States has been to accept Islamist groups having a prominent political role there. Aber, in countries seen as less strategically relevant, and where less is at stake, the United States has occasionally taken a more nuanced approach. But it is precisely where more is at stake that recognizing a role for nonviolent Islamists is most important, und, here, American policy continues to fall short.
Throughout the region, the United States has actively supported autocratic regimes and given the green light for campaigns of repression against groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most influential political movement in the region. In March 2008, during what many observers consider to be the worst period of anti-Brotherhood repression since the 1960s, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waived a $100 million congressionally mandated reduction of military aid to Egypt. The situation in Jordan is similar. The Bush administration and the Democratic congress have hailed the country as a “model” of Arab reform at precisely the same time that it has been devising new ways to manipulate the electoral process to limit Islamist representation, and just as it held elections plagued by widespread allegations of outright fraud
and rigging.1 This is not a coincidence. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel. Moreover, they are seen as crucial to U.S. efforts to counter Iran, stabilize Iraq, and combat terrorism.

POLICY AND PRACTICE NOTES

Kenneth Roth

Today, virtually every government wants to be seen as a democracy, but many resist allowing the basic human rights that would make democracy meaningful because that might jeopardize their grasp on power. Instead, governments use a variety of subterfuges to manage or undermine the electoral process. Their task is facilitated by the lack of a broadly accepted definition of ‘democracy’ akin to the detailed rules of international human rights law. But much of the problem lies in the fact that, because of commercial or strategic interests, the world’s established democracies often close their eyes to electoral manipulation, making it easier for sham democrats to pass themselves off as the real thing. That acquiescence undermines the efforts to promote human rights because it can be more difficult for human rights organizations to stigmatize a government for its human rights violations when that government can hold itself up as an accepted ‘democracy.’ The challenge facing the human rights movement is to highlight the ploys used by dictatorial regimes to feign democratic rule and to build pressure on the established democracies to refuse to admit these pretenders into the club of democracies on the cheap. Keywords: civil society, democracy promotion, dictatorship, Wahlen,
electoral manipulation, political violence Rarely has democracy been so acclaimed yet so breached, so promoted yet so disrespected, so important yet so disappointing. Democracy has become the key to legitimacy. Few governments want to be seen as undemocratic. Yet the credentials of the claimants have not kept pace with democracy’s
growing popularity. These days, even overt dictators aspire to the status conferred by the democracy label. Determined not to let mere facts stand in their way, these rulers have mastered the art of democratic rhetoric which bears
little relationship to their practice of governing.
This growing tendency poses an enormous challenge to the human rights movement. Human rights groups can hardly oppose the promotion of democracy, but they must be wary that the embrace of democracy not become a subterfuge for avoiding the more demanding standards of international human rights law. Human rights groups must especially insist that their natural governmental allies – the established democracies – not allow competing interests and short-sighted strategies to stand in the way of their
embrace of a richer, more meaningful concept of democracy.

Die Bewertung der islamistischen Mainstream in Ägypten und Malaysia

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

Januar 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.