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The Arab Tomorrow

DAVID B. OTTAWAY

October 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.

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.

Islamism revisited

MAHA AZZAM

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 July 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

James 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.

Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime

JONATHAN GITHENS-MAZER

ROBERT LAMBERT MBE

The perils of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime threaten to undermine basic human rights, fundamental aspects of citizenship and co-existing partnerships for Muslims and non- Muslims alike in contemporary Europe. Routine portrayals of Islam as a religion of hatred, violence and inherent intolerance have become key planks for the emergence of extremist nationalist, anti-immigration politics in Europe – planks which seek to exploit populist fears and which have the potential to lead to Muslim disempowerment in Europe. Sections of the media have created a situation where the one serves to heighten the unfounded claims and anxieties of the other – such that politicians from Austria to the Britain, and the Netherlands to Spain, feel comfortable in using terms like “Tsunamis of Muslim immigration”, and accuse Islam of being a fundamental threat to a “European way of life”. While in many cases, the traction of this populist approach reflects an ignorance of Islamic faith, practice and belief, there are many think-tanks which are currently engaged in promoting erroneous depictions of Islam and Muslim political beliefs through unsubstantiated and academically baseless studies, and a reliance on techniques such as ‘junk-polling’. Prior to researching Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime in London, we worked with Muslim Londoners to research the contested notion of what is widely termed by academics and policy makers as “violent radicalisation” (Githens-Mazer, 2010, Lambert 2010). To a large extent it was that prior research experience that persuaded us to embark on this new project. That is to say, there is an important link between the two areas
of work which we should explain at the outset. Since 9/11 Muslim Londoners, no less than Muslims in towns and cities across Europe, have often been unfairly stigmatised as subversive threats to state security and social cohesion, sometimes characterised as a fifth column (Cox and Marks 2006, Gove 2006, Mayer and Frampton 2009). We do not suggest that this stigmatisation did not exist before 9/11, still less do we argue that it revolves solely around the issues of security and social cohesion, but we do claim that the response to 9/11 – ‘the war on terror’ – and much of the rhetoric that has surrounded it has played a significant part in increasing the public perception of European Muslims as potential enemies rather than potential partners and neighbours.

Roots Of Nationalism In The Muslim World

Shabir Ahmed

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.
Furthermore, the Muslims identify themselves as Turkish, Arab, 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.

Democracy in Islamic Political Thought

Azzam S. Tamimi

Democracy has preoccupied Arab political thinkers since the dawn of the modern Arab renaissance about two centuries ago. Since then, the concept of democracy has changed and developed under the influence of a variety of social and political developments.The discussion of democracy in Arab Islamic literature can be traced back to Rifa’a Tahtawi, the father of Egyptian democracy according to Lewis Awad,[3] who shortly after his return to Cairo from Paris published his first book, Takhlis Al-Ibriz Ila Talkhis Bariz, in 1834. The book summarized his observations of the manners and customs of the modern French,[4] and praised the concept of democracy as he saw it in France and as he witnessed its defence and reassertion through the 1830 Revolution against King Charles X.[5] Tahtawi tried to show that the democratic concept he was explaining to his readers was compatible with the law of Islam. He compared political pluralism to forms of ideological and jurisprudential pluralism that existed in the Islamic experience:
Religious freedom is the freedom of belief, of opinion and of sect, provided it does not contradict the fundamentals of religion . . . The same would apply to the freedom of political practice and opinion by leading administrators, who endeavour to interpret and apply rules and provisions in accordance with the laws of their own countries. Kings and ministers are licensed in the realm of politics to pursue various routes that in the end serve one purpose: good administration and justice.[6] One important landmark in this regard was the contribution of Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1810- 99), leader of the 19th-century reform movement in Tunisia, who, in 1867, formulated a general plan for reform in a book entitled Aqwam Al-Masalik Fi Taqwim Al- Mamalik (The Straight Path to Reforming Governments). The main preoccupation of the book was in tackling the question of political reform in the Arab world. While appealing to politicians and scholars of his time to seek all possible means in order to improve the status of the
community and develop its civility, he warned the general Muslim public against shunning the experiences of other nations on the basis of the misconception that all the writings, inventions, experiences or attitudes of non-Muslims should be rejected or disregarded.
Khairuddin further called for an end to absolutist rule, which he blamed for the oppression of nations and the destruction of civilizations.

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Price

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

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

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

Islam on politics across eight nations.

ISLAMIC FAITH in AMERICA

JAMES A. BEVERLEY

AMERICA BEGINS A NEW MILLENNIUM AS ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY diverse nations of all time. Nowhere else in the world do so many people—offered a choice free from government influence—identify with such a wide range of religious and spiritual communities. Nowhere else has the human search for meaning been so varied. In America today, there are communities and centers for worship representing all of the world’s religions.
The American landscape is dotted with churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques. Zen Buddhist zendos sit next to Pentecostal tabernacles. Hasidic Jews walk the streets with Hindu swamis. Most amazing of all, relatively little conflict has occurred among religions in America. This fact, combined with a high level of tolerance of each other’s beliefs and practices, has let America produce people of goodwill ready to try to resolve any tensions that might emerge. The Faith in America series celebrates America’s diverse religious heritage.
People of faith and ideals who longed for a better world have created a unique society where freedom of religious expression is a keynote of culture. The freedom that America offers to people of faith means that not only have ancient religions found a home
here, but that newer ways of expressing spirituality have also taken root. From huge churches in large cities to small spiritual communities in towns and villages, faith in America has never been stronger. The paths that different religions have taken through
American history is just one of the stories readers will find in this series. Like anything people create, religion is far from perfect. However, its contribution to the culture and its ability to help people are impressive, and these accomplishments will be found in all the books in the series. Meanwhile, awareness and tolerance of the different paths our neighbors take to the spiritual life has become an increasingly important part of citizenship in America.
Today, more than ever, America as a whole puts its faith in freedom—the freedom to believe.

Islamist Parties : going back to the origins

Husain Haqqani

Hillel Fradkin

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

German Converts to Islam and Their Ambivalent Relations with Immigrant Muslims

Esra Özyürek

“I would never have become a Muslim if I had met Muslims before I met Islam.” I heard these words over and over again during my yearlong ethnographic research among ethnic German converts to Islam in Berlin.1 The first time, it was uttered by a self-declared German imam who had converted to Islam while trying to convert Arabs and Turks to Christianity. The second time, the speaker was a twenty-five-year-old former East German woman who came to Islam through her Bosnian boyfriend, whose family never accepted her. The third time, the comment was made by a fifty-year-old man who converted to Islam about thirty years ago after meeting Iranians who came to Europe to collect money and organize for the Iranian revolution. After that I stopped counting. Although all of the several dozen German converts I talked to (and the dozens of converts whose narratives I read on the internet) claim that they embraced Islam in a context of significant personal relationships with Muslims,2 a substantial portion of German Muslims are quite discontented with born Muslims, especially those of immigrant backgrounds. This paper is an attempt to comprehend the paradoxical feelings of love and hate for Islam and Muslims that many German Muslims experience. My aim in exploring this issue is to understand what it takes to be a (supposed) Islamophile in a political and social context that is highly Islamophobic.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY ON ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY

Saliba Sarsar

Alexander Keller

Democracy is highly promoted and sought these days but its principles are hard to practice and protect. Once secured, however, it generates real life in human communities. Its sunrises provide energy to freedom and growth to civil society and culture, while its sunsets store energy to sustain deliberative citizenship and liberty and bridge past accomplishments to future aspirations.
However, what do we mean by democracy? Are there perfect democratic societies around the world? Are democracy’s rays likely to shine on all landscapes? Is Muslim culture hospitable to deepening democracy’s impact? Do Muslims have a different understanding of democracy? If democracy is the preferred goal, how can democracy’s supporters move democratization forward in Muslim countries?
What we know is that no “one model fits all environments” exists. The journey of democracy is a “generational initiative” that must carefully consider internal and external dynamics. If Muslims, like others, wish to promote democracy, then they can detect their country’s place on the democratic terrain and determine how best to improve their practices and standing at home and abroad given their culture, historical experiences, resources, and vision for the future.
This select bibliography is designed to help all those interested in understanding the link between Islam and Muslims on the one hand and democracy on the other. It consists of over 100 entries, divided among books, articles, presentations, and reports; government sources; and institutes and organizations.

Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan

The Islamic movement in Jordan came to international attention in thewake of the April 1989 disturbances and the subsequent November 1989 parliamentary elections. These developments highlighted the movement’s political clout and raised the spectre in the West of an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in Jordan, fuelled by radical Islamic movements such as those of Egypt and the Maghrib. While various political trends competed for influence during the months prior to the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood had a clear advantage; its infrastructure in the mosques, the Qur’anicschools and the universities gave it a ready-made political base. The leftistand pro-regime groups, on the other hand, had to create de facto politicalparties—still legally banned—and to build their organizational base almostex nihilo, or to transform a clandestine infrastructure into an overt politicalone. There should have been very little surprise, therefore, when the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist candidates won a windfall of 32 of the 80seats in Parliament.Politicization of Islam is not new in Jordan.1 Since the foundation of the Emirate of Trans jordan by ‘Abdallah, Islam has served as one of the building blocks of regime legitimacy and of nation-building. The genealogy of the Hashemite family as scions of the Prophet’s tribe was an important source of legitimacy for its rule in Syria, Iraq and Jordan, as it had been inthe Hijaz. The ideology of the “Great Arab Revolt” was no less Islamic than it was Arab, and the control of Jerusalem after 1948 was interpretedby the regime as an Islamic responsibility and not only an Arab one.2King ‘Abdallah and his grandson Hussein, took care to present themselvesas believing Muslims, appearing at rituals and prayers, performing the pilgrimage to Mecca and embellishing their speeches with Islamic motifs.3The status of Islam in the Kingdom was also formalized in the Jordanian constitution (1952) by stipulating that Islam is the religion of the kingdom and that the king must be a Muslim and of Muslim parents. Islamic law(Shari‘a) is defined in the constitution as one of the pillars of legislation in the kingdom, while family law is in the exclusive hands of the Shari‘a courts.

Claiming the Center: Political Islam in Transition

John L. Esposito

In the 1990s political Islam, what some callIslamic fundamentalism,” remains a major presence in government and in oppositional politics from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Political Islam in power and in politics has raised many issues and questions: “Is Islam antithetical to modernization?,” “Are Islam and democracy incompatible?,” “What are the implications of an Islamic government for pluralism, minority and women’s rights,” “How representative are Islamists,” “Are there Islamic moderates?,” “Should the West fear a transnational Islamic threat or clash of civilizations?” Contemporary Islamic Revivalism The landscape of the Muslim world today reveals the emergence of new Islamic republics (Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan), the proliferation of Islamic movements that function as major political and social actors within existing systems, and the confrontational politics of radical violent extremists._ In contrast to the 1980s when political Islam was simply equated with revolutionary Iran or clandestine groups with names like Islamic jihad or the Army of God, the Muslim world in the 1990s is one in which Islamists have participated in the electoral process and are visible as prime ministers, cabinet officers, speakers of national assemblies, parliamentarians, and mayors in countries as diverse as Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Israel/Palestine. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, political Islam continues to be a major force for order and disorder in global politics, one that participates in the political process but also in acts of terrorism, a challenge to the Muslim world and to the West. Understanding the nature of political Islam today, and in particular the issues and questions that have emerged from the experience of the recent past, remains critical for governments, policymakers, and students of international politics alike.

THE RISE OF “MUSLIM DEMOCRACY

Vali Nasr

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, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan (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.

MUSLIM INSTITUTIONS AND POLITICAL MOBILIZATION

SARA SILVESTRI

In Europe, and most of the Western world, Muslim presence in the publicsphere is a recent phenomenon that characterised the last decade of the 20thcentury and has deeply marked the beginning of the 21st. This visiblepresence, which amounts to something between 15 and 20 millionindividuals, can best be analysed if dissected into a number of components.The first part of this chapter illustrates where, when and why organisedMuslim voices and institutions have emerged in Europe, and which actorshave been involved. The second part is more schematic and analytical, inthat it seeks to identify from these dynamics the process through whichMuslims become political actors and how they relate to other, often incompeting political forces and priorities. It does so by observing theobjectives and the variety of strategies that Muslims have adopted in orderto articulate their concerns vis-à-vis different contexts and interlocutors.The conclusions offer an initial evaluation of the impact and of theconsequences of Muslim mobilisation and institution-formation forEuropean society and policy-making.