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The Arab Tomorrow

DAVID B. OTTAWAY

اکتبر 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.

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

مصطفی Benhenda

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.

Islamism revisited

ماها اعظم

There is a political and security crisis surrounding what is referred to as Islamism, a crisis whose antecedents long precede 9/11. Over the past 25 years, there have been different emphases on how to explain and combat Islamism. Analysts and policymakers
in the 1980s and 1990s spoke of the root causes of Islamic militancy as being economic malaise and marginalization. More recently there has been a focus on political reform as a means of undermining the appeal of radicalism. Increasingly today, the ideological and religious aspects of Islamism need to be addressed because they have become features of a wider political and security debate. Whether in connection with Al-Qaeda terrorism, political reform in the Muslim world, the nuclear issue in Iran or areas of crisis such as Palestine or Lebanon, it has become commonplace to fi nd that ideology and religion are used by opposing parties as sources of legitimization, inspiration and enmity.
The situation is further complicated today by the growing antagonism towards and fear of Islam in the West because of terrorist attacks which in turn impinge on attitudes towards immigration, religion and culture. The boundaries of the umma or community of the faithful have stretched beyond Muslim states to European cities. The umma potentially exists wherever there are Muslim communities. The shared sense of belonging to a common faith increases in an environment where the sense of integration into the surrounding community is unclear and where discrimination may be apparent. The greater the rejection of the values of society,
whether in the West or even in a Muslim state, the greater the consolidation of the moral force of Islam as a cultural identity and value-system.
Following the bombings in London on 7 جولای 2005 it became more apparent that some young people were asserting religious commitment as a way of expressing ethnicity. The links between Muslims across the globe and their perception that Muslims are vulnerable have led many in very diff erent parts of the world to merge their own local predicaments into the wider Muslim one, having identifi ed culturally, either primarily or partially, with a broadly defi ned Islam.

Iraq and the Future of Political Islam

جیمز Piscatori

Sixty-five years ago one of the greatest scholars of modern Islam asked the simple question, “whither Islam?, where was the Islamic world going? It was a time of intense turmoil in both the Western and Muslim worlds – the demise of imperialism and crystallisation of a new state system outside Europe; the creation and testing of the neo- Wilsonian world order in the League of Nations; the emergence of European Fascism. Sir Hamilton Gibb recognised that Muslim societies, unable to avoid such world trends, were also faced with the equally inescapable penetration of nationalism, secularism, and Westernisation. While he prudently warned against making predictions – hazards for all of us interested in Middle Eastern and Islamic politics – he felt sure of two things:
(a) the Islamic world would move between the ideal of solidarity and the realities of division;
(b) the key to the future lay in leadership, or who speaks authoritatively for Islam.
Today Gibb’s prognostications may well have renewed relevance as we face a deepening crisis over Iraq, the unfolding of an expansive and controversial war on terror, and the continuing Palestinian problem. In this lecture I would like to look at the factors that may affect the course of Muslim politics in the present period and near-term future. Although the points I will raise are likely to have broader relevance, I will draw mainly on the case of the Arab world.
Assumptions about Political Islam There is no lack of predictions when it comes to a politicised Islam or Islamism. ‘Islamism’ is best understood as a sense that something has gone wrong with contemporary Muslim societies and that the solution must lie in a range of political action. Often used interchangeably with ‘fundamentalism’, Islamism is better equated with ‘political Islam’. Several commentators have proclaimed its demise and the advent of the post-Islamist era. They argue that the repressive apparatus of the state has proven more durable than the Islamic opposition and that the ideological incoherence of the Islamists has made them unsuitable to modern political competition. The events of September 11th seemed to contradict this prediction, yet, unshaken, they have argued that such spectacular, virtually anarchic acts only prove the bankruptcy of Islamist ideas and suggest that the radicals have abandoned any real hope of seizing power.

Egypt at the Tipping Point ?

دیوید B. Ottaway
In the early 1980s, I lived in Cairo as bureau chief of The Washington Post covering such historic events as the withdrawal of the last
Israeli forces from Egyptian territory occupied during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the assassination of President
Anwar Sadat by Islamic fanatics in October 1981.
The latter national drama, which I witnessed personally, had proven to be a wrenching milestone. It forced Sadat’s successor, حسنی مبارک, to turn inwards to deal with an Islamist challenge of unknown proportions and effectively ended Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world.
Mubarak immediately showed himself to be a highly cautious, unimaginative leader, maddeningly reactive rather than pro-active in dealing with the social and economic problems overwhelming his nation like its explosive population growth (1.2 million more Egyptians a year) and economic decline.
In a four-part Washington Post series written as I was departing in early 1985, I noted the new Egyptian leader was still pretty much
a total enigma to his own people, offering no vision and commanding what seemed a rudderless ship of state. The socialist economy
inherited from the era of President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1952 to 1970) was a mess. The country’s currency, the pound, was operating
on eight different exchange rates; its state-run factories were unproductive, uncompetitive and deep in debt; and the government was heading for bankruptcy partly because subsidies for food, electricity and gasoline were consuming one-third ($7 billion) of its budget. Cairo had sunk into a hopeless morass of gridlocked traffic and teeming humanity—12 million people squeezed into a narrow band of land bordering the Nile River, most living cheek by jowl in ramshackle tenements in the city’s ever-expanding slums.

Roots Of Nationalism In The Muslim World

شبیر احمد

The Muslim world has been characterised by failure, disunity, bloodshed, oppression and backwardness. At present, no Muslim country in the world can rightly claim to be a leader in any field of human activity. Indeed, the non-Muslims of the East and the West
now dictate the social, economic and political agenda for the Muslim Ummah.
علاوه بر این, the Muslims identify themselves as Turkish, عرب, African and Pakistani. If this is not enough, Muslims are further sub-divided within each country or continent. For example, in Pakistan people are classed as Punjabis, Sindhis, Balauchis and
Pathans. The Muslim Ummah was never faced with such a dilemma in the past during Islamic rule. They never suffered from disunity, widespread oppression, stagnation in science and technology and certainly not from the internal conflicts that we have witnessed this century like the Iran-Iraq war. So what has gone wrong with the Muslims this century? Why are there so many feuds between them and why are they seen to be fighting each other? What has caused their weakness and how will they ever recover from the present stagnation?
There are many factors that contributed to the present state of affairs, but the main ones are the abandoning of the Arabic language as the language of understanding Islam correctly and performing ijtihad, the absorption of foreign cultures such as the philosophies of the Greeks, Persian and the Hindus, the gradual loss of central authority over some of the provinces, and the rise of nationalism since the 19th Century.
This book focuses on the origins of nationalism in the Muslim world. Nationalism did not arise in the Muslim world naturally, nor did it came about in response to any hardships faced by the people, nor due to the frustration they felt when Europe started to dominate the world after the industrial revolution. Rather, nationalism was implanted in the minds of the Muslims through a well thought out scheme by the European powers, after their failure to destroy the Islamic State by force. The book also presents the Islamic verdict on nationalism and practical steps that can be taken to eradicate the disease of nationalism from the Muslim Ummah so as to restore it back to its former glory.

Islamic Political Culture, دموکراسی, and Human Rights

دانیل E. قیمت

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes
in Muslim nations. در نتیجه, عالمان, commentators, and government
officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next
ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, however, is based primarily
on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies
of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention
that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,
can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country
specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help
us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the
countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the
connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,
democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much
emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first
use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay
between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Islamist Opposition Parties and the Potential for EU Engagement

توبی آرچر

هایدی Huuhtanen

In light of the increasing importance of Islamist movements in the Muslim world and

the way that radicalisation has influenced global events since the turn of the century, it

is important for the EU to evaluate its policies towards actors within what can be loosely

termed the ‘Islamic world’. It is particularly important to ask whether and how to engage

with the various Islamist groups.

This remains controversial even within the EU. Some feel that the Islamic values that

lie behind Islamist parties are simply incompatible with western ideals of democracy and

حقوق بشر, while others see engagement as a realistic necessity due to the growing

domestic importance of Islamist parties and their increasing involvement in international

affairs. Another perspective is that democratisation in the Muslim world would increase

European security. The validity of these and other arguments over whether and how the

EU should engage can only be tested by studying the different Islamist movements and

their political circumstances, country by country.

Democratisation is a central theme of the EU’s common foreign policy actions, as laid

out in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union. Many of the states considered in this

report are not democratic, or not fully democratic. In most of these countries, Islamist

parties and movements constitute a significant opposition to the prevailing regimes, و

in some they form the largest opposition bloc. European democracies have long had to

deal with governing regimes that are authoritarian, but it is a new phenomenon to press

for democratic reform in states where the most likely beneficiaries might have, from the

EU’s point of view, different and sometimes problematic approaches to democracy and its

related values, such as minority and women’s rights and the rule of law. These charges are

often laid against Islamist movements, so it is important for European policy-makers to

have an accurate picture of the policies and philosophies of potential partners.

Experiences from different countries tends to suggest that the more freedom Islamist

parties are allowed, the more moderate they are in their actions and ideas. In many

cases Islamist parties and groups have long since shifted away from their original aim

of establishing an Islamic state governed by Islamic law, and have come to accept basic

democratic principles of electoral competition for power, the existence of other political

competitors, and political pluralism.

ISLAMIC RULINGS ON WARFARE

یوسف H. ابو-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, history,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.

THE RISE OF “MUSLIM DEMOCRACY

ولی نصر

A specter is haunting the Muslim world. This particular specter is notthe malign and much-discussed spirit of fundamentalist extremism, nor yet the phantom hope known as liberal Islam. Instead, the specter that I have in mind is a third force, a hopeful if still somewhat ambiguoustrend that I call—in a conscious evocation of the political tradition associated with the Christian Democratic parties of Europe—“Muslim Democracy.”The emergence and unfolding of Muslim Democracy as a “fact on the ground” over the last fifteen years has been impressive. This is so even though all its exponents have thus far eschewed that label1 and even though the lion’s share of scholarly and political attention has gone to the question of how to promote religious reform within Islam as a prelude to democratization.2 Since the early 1990s, political openings in anumber of Muslim-majority countries—all, admittedly, outside the Arabworld—have seen Islamic-oriented (but non-Islamist) parties vying successfullyfor votes in Bangladesh, اندونزی, مالزی, پاکستان (beforeits 1999 military coup), and Turkey.Unlike Islamists, with their visions of rule by shari‘a (Islamic law) oreven a restored caliphate, Muslim Democrats view political life with apragmatic eye. They reject or at least discount the classic Islamist claim that Islam commands the pursuit of a shari‘a state, and their main goaltends to be the more mundane one of crafting viable electoral platform sand stable governing coalitions to serve individual and collective interests—Islamic as well as secular—within a democratic arena whosebounds they respect, win or lose. Islamists view democracy not as something deeply legitimate, but at best as a tool or tactic that may be useful in gaining the power to build an Islamic state.

Hamas and political reform in the middle east

دیوید Mepham

The lesson of Palestine’s election is that the international community should become more serious and sophisticated about political reform in the middle east, says David Mepham of the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Hamas’s stunning victory in the 25 January elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council raises three critical questions for international policymakers:
• why did it happen – that an organisation labelled asterroristby the Israelis, the European Union and the United States manages to win the support of a majority of Palestinian voters?
• how should the international community now respond?
• where does Hamas’s victory leave the cause of political reform and democratisation in the middle east?
The rise of Hamas
Much of the immediate international commentary on the election result has focused on the failings of Fatah during the decade in which the movement held power in the Palestinian Authority (PA) – including the rampant corruption of senior Fatah officials and the lack of meaningful democracy within the PA. There was also a sizeable positive vote for Hamas. The organisation is seen by many Palestinians as untainted by corruption, و, unlike the PA, it has a good track record of providing health, education and other services.
The other part of the explanation for the Hamas victory – less discussed in the international media – has been the failure of thepeace processand the radicalising and impoverishing effects of the Israeli occupation. Under the premiership of Ariel Sharon since 2001, Israel has all but destroyed the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority. Israel has also continued its policy of illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, and it is in the process of building aseparation barrier”.
Israel is not building the barrier on its pre-1967 occupation border (which it would be allowed to do under international law). Rather it plans to build 80% of the barrier inside Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. This involves incorporating the main Israeli settlement blocs, as well as taking over Palestinian agricultural lands and water resources. This restricts Palestinian freedom of movement, and makes it much harder for Palestinians to access their schools, health facilities and jobs.
These policies are oppressive and humiliating; they also have disastrous economic consequences. The United Nations estimates that poverty levels have more than trebled in the last five years, that 60% of Palestinians are now living in poverty, and that unemployment is around 30%. These conditions have provided very fertile soil for the radicalisation of Palestinian opinion and for the rise of Hamas.
The short-term challenge
Hamas’s electoral victory presents the international community with a real conundrum.
On the one hand, theQuartet” (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations) is right to say that full-scale peace negotiations with Hamas will require significant movement on Hamas’s part. Hamas does not recognise the state of Israel. It also supports violence, including attacks on Israeli civilians, as part of its strategy for Palestinian national liberation. Anyone expecting an immediate and formal shift in Hamas policy on these issues is likely to be disappointed.
But intelligent international diplomacy can still make a difference. While they are reluctant to formally proclaim it, there is evidence that some senior Hamas leaders accept the reality of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. Moreover, on the question of violence Hamas has largely maintained a unilateral truce (tahdi’a) for the past year. Extending this truce, and working for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, should be the immediate focus of international diplomacy towards Hamas, if necessary through third-party intermediaries.
The other critical international objective should be to avoid the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Fatah’s mismanagement and the disastrous consequences of Israeli occupation and closures have left the PA in a desperate state and entirely dependent on donor funding to stay afloat. In 2005, the EU provided £338 million, while the US contributed £225 million. Cutting that assistance overnight would plunge tens of thousands of Palestinians into acute poverty, triggering social implosion and anarchy. But donors are rightly worried about transferring resources to a government dominated by Hamas.
One possibility would be to press for a government of Palestinian technocrats, without senior Hamas figures in key ministerial positions, and to rely on Mahmoud Abbas, the directly elected Palestinian president, as the main interlocutor for the international community. Something along these lines appears to command support amongst the Quartet. If the immediate economic situation can be stabilised, then there is at least a possibility of encouraging Hamas to move in a political direction through a policy of gradual, conditional engagement. Pressure on Israel to live up to its obligations under international law, for example by ending illegal settlement activity, would also help: persuading a sceptical Palestinian public that the world does care about their plight and is committed to a two-state solution.
The regional prospect
While Hamas’s victory has focused attention on the immediate crisis in the Palestinian territories, it raises wider questions about the process of political reform and democratisation in the broader middle east, a process advocated so publicly by the Bush administration. It is ironic, to say the least, that Hamas – a group with which the United States refuses to deal – should be the beneficiary of a free and fair election encouraged by US policy. Some will draw from this the conclusion that democratic reform in the middle east is a hopelessly misguided enterprise and one that should be abandoned forthwith. Smallcconservatives, on all sides of the political spectrum, will feel vindicated in highlighting the risks of rapid political change and in pointing out the virtues of stability.
It is true that political change carries risks, including the risk that radical Islamists like Hamas will be the major beneficiaries of political liberalisation. While this is a reasonable concern, those who highlight it tend to overlook the diversity of political Islamists in the region, the special circumstances that account for the rise of Hamas, and the extent to which some Islamists have moderated their positions in recent years. Unlike Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and the Justice & Development Party in Morocco all reject violence and have committed themselves to pluralistic politics.
Nor do the critics suggest a better alternative for addressing the phenomenon of political Islamism across the region than the attempted engagement of Islamists in the political process. Repression of Islamists and their systematic exclusion from political institutions has been a recipe for instability and extremism, not moderation.
There is obviously a strong critique to be made of the Bush administration’s attempts to promote political change in the middle east, not least the multiple failings of its policy in Iraq. More broadly, the US lacks credibility in the region as a force for democracy and human rights because of its largely uncritical support for Israel, and its military, diplomatic and often financial backing for many of the more authoritarian regimes in the region. Even when it is particularly outspoken on the need for greater democracy, for example in its recent dealings with President Mubarak of Egypt, the administration’s anti-terrorism agenda consistently trumps its political reform objectives.
But exposing the folly and ineffectiveness of US policy is one thing; ditching the commitment to political reform in the middle east is quite another. The international community needs to strengthen not weaken its commitment to accountable government and human rights in the region. In thinking about political change in the middle east – where the concept of a democratic culture is often very weak – international actors need to give as much emphasis toconstitutionalismas to elections, important though elections are. In this context, constitutionalism means a balance of powers, including checks on the executive, a fair and independent legal process, a free press and media, and the protection of the rights of minorities.
It is important too for international actors to be realistic about what can be achieved in particular countries and over particular timescales. In some cases, support for political reform might involve pushing hard now for genuinely free elections. In other cases, a higher short-term priority for political reform might be encouraging an enlarged space in which opposition groups or civil society can function, greater freedom for the press, support for educational reforms and cultural exchanges, and promoting more inclusive economic development.
It is also vital to think more imaginatively about creating incentives for political reform in the middle east. There is a particular role for the European Union here. The experience of political change in other parts of the world suggests that countries can be persuaded to undertake very significant political and economic reforms if this is part of a process that yields real benefits to the ruling elite and the wider society. The way in which the prospect of EU membership has been used to bring about far-reaching change in eastern and central Europe is a good example of this. The process of Turkey’s accession to the EU can be seen in a similar vein.
A critical question is whether such a process might be used more broadly to stimulate political reform across the middle east, through initiatives like the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The ENP will provide participating middle-eastern states with a stake in EU institutions, in particular the single market, providing a powerful incentive for reform. It also allows for the EU to reward countries that make faster progress against agreed benchmarks for political reform.
There are no simple answers to the current problems besetting the middle east. But the lesson to be drawn from the Hamas result is emphatically not that the international community should give up on the cause of political reform in the region. Rather it should become more serious and sophisticated about helping to support it.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

ویلیام توماسون

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


The Political Evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

استفان بنت

“Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Since its early days in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has created much controversy, as some argue that the organization advocates violence in the name of Islam. According to Dr. Mamoun Fandy of the James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy, jihadism and the activation of the views of the world of the house of Islam and the house of war are the ideas that emerged from the writings and the teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood” (Livesy, 2005). The primary evidence for this argument is notable member of the Brotherhood, Sayeed Qutb, who is credited with developing the revisionist and controversial interpretation of jihad that provided religious justifications for violence committed by offshoot organizations of the Brotherhood like al-jihad, al-Takfir wa al-Hijra, حماس, و al-Qaeda.

Yet that is still a debatable position, because despite being the ideological parent of these violent organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood itself has always maintained an official stance against violence and instead has promoted Islamic civil and social action at the grassroots level. Within the first twenty years of its existence the Muslim Brotherhood gained status as the most influential of all major groups in the Middle East through its popular activism. It also spread from Egypt into other nations throughout the region and served as the catalyst for many of the successful popular liberation movements against Western colonialism in the Middle East.

While it has retained most of its founding principles from its inception, the Muslim Brotherhood has made a dramatic transformation in some crucial aspects of its political ideology. Formerly denounced by many as a terrorist organization, as of late the Muslim Brotherhood has been labeled by most current scholars of the Middle East as politically “moderate”, “politically centrist”, and “accommodationist” to Egypt’s political and governmental structures (Abed-Kotob, 1995, p. 321-322). Sana Abed-Kotob also tells us that of the current Islamist opposition groups that exist today “the more ‘radical’ or militant of these groups insist upon revolutionary change that is to be imposed on the masses and political system, whereas… the new Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, call for gradual change that is to be undertaken from within the political system and with the enlistment of the Muslim masses”

Parting the Veil

shadi hamid

America’s post-September 11 project to promote democracy in the Middle East has proven a spectacular failure. Today,Arab autocrats are as emboldened as ever. مصر, اردن, تونس, and others are backsliding on reform. Opposition forces are being crushed. Three of the most democratic polities in the region, لبنان, عراق, and the Palestinian territories,are being torn apart by violence and sectarian conflict.Not long ago, it seemed an entirely different outcome was in the offing. Asrecently as late 2005, observers were hailing the “Arab spring,” an “autumn forautocrats,” and other seasonal formulations. They had cause for such optimism.On January 31, 2005, the world stood in collective awe as Iraqis braved terroristthreats to cast their ballots for the first time. That February, Egyptian PresidentHosni Mubarak announced multi-candidate presidential elections, another first.And that same month, after former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri wasshadi hamid is director of research at the Project on Middle East Democracyand an associate of the Truman National Security Project.Parting the Veil Now is no time to give up supporting democracy in the Muslim world.But to do so, the United States must embrace Islamist moderates.shadi hamiddemocracyjournal.org 39killed, Lebanon erupted in grief and then anger as nearly one million Lebanesetook to the streets of their war-torn capital, demanding self-determination. Notlong afterward, 50,000 Bahrainis—one-eighth of the country’s population—ralliedfor constitutional reform. The opposition was finally coming alive.But when the Arab spring really did come, the American response provide dample evidence that while Arabs were ready for democracy, the United States most certainly was not. Looking back, the failure of the Bush Administration’s efforts should not have been so surprising. Since the early 1990s, ایالات متحده قرار گرفت. policymakershave had two dueling and ultimately incompatible objectives in the Middle East: promoting Arab democracy on one hand, and curbing the power and appealof Islamist groups on the other. In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush declared that in supporting Arab democracy, our “vital interests and our deepest beliefs” were now one. The reality was more complicated.When Islamist groups throughout the region began making impressive gains at the ballot box, particularly in Egypt and in the Palestinian territories, the Bush Administration stumbled. With Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza high on the agendaand a deteriorating situation in Iraq, American priorities began to shift. Friendly dictators once again became an invaluable resource for an administration that found itself increasingly embattled both at home and abroad.The reason for this divergence in policy revolves around a critical question:What should the United States do when Islamists come to power through free elections? In a region where Islamist parties represent the only viable oppositionto secular dictatorships, this is the crux of the matter. In the MiddleEastern context, the question of democracy and the question of political Islamare inseparable. Without a well-defined policy of engagement toward politicalIslam, the United States will fall victim to the same pitfalls of the past. In many ways, it already has.

How to Promote Human Rights in Egypt

اول حقوق بشر

The United States’ relationship with Egypt is central toseveral policy challenges facing the new administration inthe Middle East. As the most populous Arab state, Egyptis a major regional power. Since signing a peace treatywith Israel in 1979, it has played a key role in negotiationsfor an Israeli-Palestinian and a broader Israeli-Arab peaceagreement. Egypt helped to mediate a tense ceasefirebetween Israel and Hamas that broke down with theoutbreak of conflict in the Gaza Strip at the end ofDecember 2008, and continues to serve as anintermediary between the warring parties in the Gazaconflict. Egypt is again at the center of renewed peacemaking efforts in the region launched by the Obamaadministration with the appointment of former SenatorGeorge Mitchell as Special Envoy in January 2009.In a part of the world where so many vital U.S. interestsare at stake, Egypt is a key partner for any U.S.administration. The Egyptian government can greatlyassist the United States in legitimizing and supporting thenew government in Iraq, for example, و, as the owner ofthe Suez Canal and as an oil producer, Egypt is vital tothe security of energy supplies from the region.Egypt is also a testing ground for U.S. human rightspromotion in the region, and was frequently the target ofexhortations to move forward with political reform anddemocratization during the Bush administration.Successive administrations have been encouraging theEgyptian government to reform for decades, but after the9/11 attacks, with the prominent involvement of Egyptianslike Mohamed Atta and Ayman al-Zawahiri, calls forreform took on greater centrality—and a new urgency—inU.S. policy. Human rights and democracy were no longerjust desirable; they became national security concernsand the subject of a new “Freedom Agenda.

Democratization and Islamic Politics:

یوکوتا تاکایوکی�

The aim of this article is to explore the often contradictory correlation between democratizationand Islamic politics in Egypt, focusing on a new Islamic political party, the Wasat Party (Ḥizbal-Wasaṭ).Theoretically, democratization and Islamic politics are not incompatible if Islamic politicalorganizations can and do operate within a legal and democratic framework. On the other hand,this requires democratic tolerance by governments for Islamic politics, as long as they continueto act within a legal framework. In the Middle East, however, Islamic political parties are oftensuspected of having undemocratic agendas, and governments have often used this suspicion as ajustification to curb democratization. This is also the case with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood(Jam‘īya al-Ikhwān al-Muslimīn) under the Ḥusnī Mubārak regime. Although the Brotherhood is amainstream Islamic movement in Egypt, operating publicly and enjoying considerable popularity,successive governments have never changed its illegal status for more than half a century. Someof the Brotherhood members decided to form the Wasat Party as its legal political organ in order tobreak this stalemate.There have been some studies on the Wasat Party. Stacher [2002] analyzes the “Platformof the Egyptian Wasat Party” [Ḥizb al-Wasaṭ al-Miṣrī 1998] and explains the basic principlesof the Wasat Party as follows: democracy, sharī‘a (Islamic law), rights of women, and Muslim-Christian relations. Baker [2003] regards the Wasat Party as one of the new Islamist groups thathave appeared in contemporary Egypt, and analyzes its ideology accordingly. Wickham [2004]discusses the moderation of Islamic movements in Egypt and the attempt to form the WasatParty from the perspective of comparative politics. Norton [2005] examines the ideology andactivities of the Wasat Party in connection with the Brotherhood’s political activities. As theseearlier studies are mainly concerned with the Wasat Party during the 1990s and the early 2000s,I will examine the ideology and activities of the Wasat Party till the rise of the democratizationmovement in Egypt in around 2005. I will do so on the basis of the Wasat Party’s documents, suchas the “Platform of the New Wasat Party” [Ḥizb al-Wasaṭ al-Jadīd 2004]1), and my interviews withits members.