RSSΌλες οι εγγραφές με ετικέτα με: "το πολιτικό Ισλάμ"

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, Δημοκρατία, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Τιμή

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.

Political Islam in the Middle East

είναι Knudsen

This report provides an introduction to selected aspects of the phenomenon commonly

referred to as “political Islam”. The report gives special emphasis to the Middle East, in

particular the Levantine countries, and outlines two aspects of the Islamist movement that may

be considered polar opposites: democracy and political violence. In the third section the report

reviews some of the main theories used to explain the Islamic resurgence in the Middle East

(Figure 1). In brief, the report shows that Islam need not be incompatible with democracy and

that there is a tendency to neglect the fact that many Middle Eastern countries have been

engaged in a brutal suppression of Islamist movements, causing them, some argue, to take up

arms against the state, and more rarely, foreign countries. The use of political violence is

widespread in the Middle East, but is neither illogical nor irrational. In many cases even

Islamist groups known for their use of violence have been transformed into peaceful political

parties successfully contesting municipal and national elections. Nonetheless, the Islamist

revival in the Middle East remains in part unexplained despite a number of theories seeking to

account for its growth and popular appeal. In general, most theories hold that Islamism is a

reaction to relative deprivation, especially social inequality and political oppression. Alternative

theories seek the answer to the Islamist revival within the confines of religion itself and the

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

The conclusion argues in favour of moving beyond the “gloom and doom” approach that

portrays Islamism as an illegitimate political expression and a potential threat to the West (“Old

Islamism”), and of a more nuanced understanding of the current democratisation of the Islamist

movement that is now taking place throughout the Middle East (“New Islamism”). This

importance of understanding the ideological roots of the “New Islamism” is foregrounded

along with the need for thorough first-hand knowledge of Islamist movements and their

adherents. As social movements, its is argued that more emphasis needs to be placed on

understanding the ways in which they have been capable of harnessing the aspirations not only

of the poorer sections of society but also of the middle class.

Islamist Parties : why they can’t be democratic

Bassam Tibi

Noting Islamism’s growing appeal and strength on the ground, many

Western scholars and officials have been grasping for some way to take

an inclusionary approach toward it. In keeping with this desire, it has

become fashionable contemptuously to dismiss the idea of insisting on

clear and rigorous distinctions as “academic.” When it comes to Islam

and democracy, this deplorable fashion has been fraught with unfortunate

consequences.

Intelligent discussion of Islamism, democracy, and Islam requires

clear and accurate definitions. Without them, analysis will collapse into

confusion and policy making will suffer. My own view, formed after

thirty years of study and reflection regarding the matter, is that Islam and

democracy are indeed compatible, provided that certain necessary religious

reforms are made. The propensity to deliver on such reforms is what

I see as lacking in political Islam. My own avowed interest—as an Arab-

Muslim prodemocracy theorist and practitioner—is to promote the establishment

of secular democracy within the ambit of Islamic civilization.

In order to help clear away the confusion that all too often surrounds

this topic, I will lay out several basic points to bear in mind. The first is

that, so far, Western practices vis-`a-vis political Islam have been faulty

because they have lacked the underpinning of a well-founded assessment.

Unless blind luck intervenes, no policy can be better than the assessment

upon which it is based. Proper assessment is the beginning of

all practical wisdom.

The Mismeasure of Political Islam

Martin Kramer

Perhaps no development of the last decade of the twentieth century has caused as much confusion in the West as the emergence of political Islam. Just what does it portend? Is it against modernity, or is it an effect of modernity? Is it against nationalism, or is it a
form of nationalism? Is it a striving for freedom, or a revolt against freedom?
One would think that these are difficult questions to answer, and that they would inspire deep debates. Yet over the past few years, a surprisingly broad consensus has emerged within academe about the way political Islam should be measured. This consensus has
begun to spread into parts of government as well, especially in the U.S. and Europe. A paradigm has been built, and its builders claim that its reliability and validity are beyond question.
This now-dominant paradigm runs as follows. The Arab Middle East and North Africa are stirring. The peoples in these lands are still under varieties of authoritarian or despotic rule. But they are moved by the same universal yearning for democracy that transformed Eastern Europe and Latin America. True, there are no movements we would easily recognize as democracy movements. But for historical and cultural reasons, this universal yearning has taken the form of Islamist protest movements. If these do not look
like democracy movements, it is only a consequence of our own age-old bias against Islam. When the veil of prejudice is lifted, one will see Islamist movements for what they are: the functional equivalents of democratic reform movements. True, on the edges of these movements are groups that are atavistic and authoritarian. Some of their members are prone to violence. These are theextremists.” But the mainstream movements are essentially open, pluralistic, and nonviolent, led bymoderatesorreformists.” Thesemoderatescan be strengthened if they are made partners in the political process, and an initial step must be dialogue. But ultimately, the most effective way to domesticate the Islamists is to permit them to share or possess power. There is no threat here unless the West creates it, by supporting acts of state repression that would deny Islamists access to participation or power.

Islam and the West

Preface

John J. DeGioia

The remarkable feeling of proximity between people and nations is the unmistakable reality of our globalized world. Encounters with other peoples’ ways oflife, current affairs, politics, welfare and faithsare more frequent than ever. We are not onlyable to see other cultures more clearly, butalso to see our differences more sharply. The information intensity of modern life has madethis diversity of nations part of our every dayconsciousness and has led to the centrality ofculture in discerning our individual and collectiveviews of the world.Our challenges have also become global.The destinies of nations have become deeply interconnected. No matter where in the world we live, we are touched by the successes and failures of today’s global order. Yet our responses to global problems remain vastly different, not only as a result of rivalry and competing interests,but largely because our cultural difference is the lens through which we see these global challenges.Cultural diversity is not necessarily a source of clashes and conflict. In fact, the proximity and cross-cultural encounters very often bring about creative change – a change that is made possible by well-organized social collaboration.Collaboration across borders is growing primarily in the area of business and economic activity. Collaborative networks for innovation,production and distribution are emerging as the single most powerful shaper of the global economy.

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, αρχαιρεσίες,
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.

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 (Ιράν, Sudan, Αφγανιστάν), 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, Τουρκία, Ιράν, Λίβανος, Kuwait, Yemen, Ιορδανία, Πακιστάν, Bangladesh, Μαλαισία, Ινδονησία, 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 History of the Muslim Brotherhood

Michelle Paison

We in the West !nd it incomprehensible that theological ideas still iname the minds of men, stirring up messianic passions that can leave societies in ruin. We had assumed that this was no longer possible,that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that political theology died in 16h-century Europe. We were wrong.1Islam is no longer exclusively a religion, but an ideology that provides a total framework for all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life in the Muslim world. Although Islam has continuously demonstrated the theme of resurgence throughout its history in response to the internal and external forces that challenge Muslim faith and society, the assertion of Islamism has strongly reemerged. Discontent is evident through the gradual movement towards Islamist ideology, whether or not the idea ofIslam strongly resonates among the populous. Individuals, despondentfrom the suppression of alternatives from oppressive regimes, look towards change. Organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, provide clear examples of the greater trend developing throughout the region ofthe Middle East and North Africa. #e political power and social inuenceheld by the Brotherhood capitalizes on the Arab Republic of Egypt’s failureto support its peoples. Subsequently the dissatis!ed population turns to a movement that has the ability to provide the necessary services for survival;ισλαμισμός. #is increasing development is pushing moderate, mainstream Islam into the realm of radicalism through means of desperation.Part of the emergence of neorevivalism, the Muslim Brotherhood,established by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, saw the Islamic community at a critical crossroads and insisted that Muslims would !nd strength in the totalself-su$ciency of Islam.

ισλαμικό Κίνημα: Political Freedom & Δημοκρατία

Dr.Yusuf al-Qaradawi

It is the duty of the (Ισλαμικής) Movement in the coming phase tostand firm against totalitarian and dictatorial rule, political despotism and usurpation of people’s rights. The Movement should always stand by political freedom, as represented by true,not false, democracy. It should flatly declare it refusal of tyrantsand steer clear of all dictators, even if some tyrant appears to havegood intentions towards it for some gain and for a time that is usually short, as has been shown by experience.The Prophet (SAWS) said, “ When you see my Nation fall victim to fear and does not say to a wrong –doer, “You are wrong”, thenyou may lose hope in them.” So how about a regime that forces people to say to a conceited wrongdoer, “How just, how great you are. O our hero, our savior and our liberator!”The Quran denounces tyrants such as Numrudh, Pharaoh, Haman and others, but it also dispraises those who follow tyrants andobey their orders. This is why Allah dispraises the people of Noahby saying, “ But they follow (m en) whose wealth and childrengive them no increase but only loss.” [Surat Nuh; 21]Allah also says of Ad, people of Hud, “ And followed thecommand of every powerful, obstinate transgressor”. [Surat Hud:59]See also what the Quran says about the people of Pharaoh, “ Butthey followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command ofPharaoh was not rightly guided.[Surat Hud: 97] “Thus he made fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly they were a people rebellious (against Allah). [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 54]A closer look at the history of the Muslim Nation and the IslamicMovement in modern times should show clearly that the Islamicidea, the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening have never flourished or borne fruit unless in an atmosphere ofdemocracy and freedom, and have withered and become barren only at the times of oppression and tyranny that trod over the willof the peoples which clung to Islam. Such oppressive regimesimposed their secularism, socialism or communism on their peoples by force and coercion, using covert torture and publicexecutions, and employing those devilish tools that tore flesh,shed blood, crushed bone and destroyed the soul.We saw these practices in many Muslim countries, including Turkey, Αίγυπτος, Συρία, Ιράκ, (the former) South Yemen, Somaliaand northern African States for varying periods of time, depending on the age or reign of the dictator in each country.On the other hand, we saw the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening bear fruit and flourish at the times of freedom and democracy, and in the wake of the collapse of imperial regimes that ruled peoples with fear and oppression.Therefore, I would not imagine that the Islamic Movement could support anything other than political freedom and democracy.The tyrants allowed every voice to be raised, except the voice ofIslam, and let every trend express itself in the form of a politicalparty or body of some sort, except the Islamic current which is theonly trend that actually speaks for this Nation and expresses it screed, values, essence and very existence.

Resolving America’s Islamist Dilemma

Shadi Χαμίντ

ΜΑΣ. 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 and 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. However, 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, and, 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.

Political Transitions in the Arab World

στην Shehata

The year 2007 marked the end of a brief interval of political liberalization in the Arab world which began shortly after the occupation of Iraq and which resulted primarily from external pressures on Arab regimes to reform and democratize. External pressures during the 2003-2006 period created a political opening which activists across the region used to press for longstanding demands for political and constitutional reform.Faced with a combination of growing external and internal pressures to reform, Arab regimes were forced to make some concessions to their challengers.In Egypt, upon the request of the President, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to allowfor direct competitive presidential elections. In September2005, Egypt witnessed its first competitive presidential election ever and as expected Mubarak was elected for a fifth term with 87%of the vote. Moreover,during the November 2005 parliamentary elections,which were freer than previous elections, the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition movement in Egypt, won 88 seats. This was the largest number of seats won by an opposition group in Egypt since the 1952 revolution.Similarly, in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a majority of the seats.Hamas was thereby able to establish control over the Palestinian Legislative Council which had been dominated by Fatah since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. Στο Λίβανο, in the wake of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri on 14th February2005, a coalition of pro-Hariri political forces was ablet hrough broad-based mass mobilization and external support to force Syrian troops to pull out from Lebanon and the pro-Syrian Government to resign. Elections were held, and the 14th February coalition was able to win a plurality of the votes and to form a new government.In Morocco, King Mohamed VI oversaw the establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee which sought to address the grievances of those who had been abused under the reign of his father.The Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) also under took some important reforms during the 2003-2006 period. In 2003 Qatar promulgated a written constitution for the first time in its history. In 2005,Saudi Arabia convened municipal elections for the firsttime in five decades. And in 2006, Bahrain held parliamentaryelections in which the Shiite society of AlWefaqwon 40%of the seats. Subsequently, the first Shiitedeputy prime minister in Bahrain was appointed.Theses events, which came to be known as ‘the Arab Spring,’ led some optimists to believe that the Arabworld was on the brink of a democratic transformation similar to those experienced in Latin American and Eastern and Central Europe during the 1980s and1990s. However, in 2007, as political liberalization gave way to heightened polarization and to renewed repression,these hopes were dispelled. The failure ofthe openings of the 2003-2006 period to create a sustained momentum towards democratization can beat tributed to a number of factors. The deteriorating security situation in Iraq and the failure of the United States to create a stable and democratic regime dampened support for democracy promotion efforts within the American administration and reinforced the views ofthose who held that security and stability must come before democracy. Moreover, the electoral successes of Islamists in Egypt and in Palestine further dampened Western support for democracy promotion efforts in the region since the principals of thesemovements were perceived to be at odds with the interestsof theWest.

Ισλάμ, Political Islam and America

Αραβικά Insight

although the factors accounting for the deterioration of America’s reputationin the Arab and Muslim world after Sept. 11 are numerous, the U.S. positionvis-à-vis political Islam remains an important factor in reinforcing the negativeview of America. An important issue that has driven much of the anti-Americanismwe observe in the region today pertains to an evident contradiction between U.S.discourse on democratization and political reform on one hand, and its negativeresponse to the electoral gains made by groups like Hamas in the Palestinian Territoriesor the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. As a result of this discrepancy, manyobservers have proposed alternative ways for Washington to advance the cause ofdemocracy in the Arab world. One of the proposed ideas involves holding-off oncalling for immediate elections, and focusing instead on promoting other prerequisitesof political reform. Others suggested employing new strategies that wouldguarantee the defeat of political Islamists at ballot boxes.Undoubtedly, there is a soaring need for a better understanding of Islamistmovements in the region, given the fundamental differences among such groups.Moreover, many Islamist movements are experiencing a process of change thatwarrants a revision of the existing conventional wisdom about political Islam. Notonly that, but many of those groups remain unknown in Western, particularlyAmerican, discussions of Islamist movements. Therefore, formulating a constructiveand effective American policy toward Islam in a broad sense, but more specificallytoward political Islam, will require a new and a more nuanced intellectualmapping of contemporary Islam and political Islam in the region.Given these various demands, the editorial team of Arab Insight took the initiativeto shed light on the topic of American policies toward both Islam and politicalIslam. The topic is presented in two sections:Section I presents several Arab responses to American policy toward Islamists.


Democratization and Islamic Politics:

YOKOTA Takayuki�

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.

ISLAMIC MODERNITIES: FETHULLAH GULEN and CONTEMPORARY ISLAM

Φέργκιουσον Caki

The Nurju movement1, being the oldest moderate Islamist movement which is probably peculiar to Modern Turkey, was broken into several groups since Said Nursi, the founder of the movement, passed away in 1960. At the present time, there are more than ten nurcu groups with different agendas and strategies. Despite all their differences, today the Nurju groups seem to acknowledge each other’s identity and try to keep a certain level of solidarity. Theplace of the Fethullah Gulen group within the Nurju movement, however, seems to be a bit shaky.Fethullah Gulen (b.1938) split himself, at least in appearance, from the overall Nurju movement in 1972 and succeeded in establishing his own group with a strong organizational structure in the 1980’s and the 90’s. Due to the development of its broad school network both in Turkey and abroad2, his group attracted attention. Those schools fascinated not only Islamist businessmen and middle classes but also a large number of secularist intellectuals and politicians. Although it originally emerged out of the overall Nurju movement, some believe that the number of the followers of the Fethullah Gulen group is much larger than that of the total of the rest of the nurju groups. Yet, there seems to be enough reason to think that there was a price to pay for this success: alienation from other Islamist groups as well as from the overall Nurju movement of which the Fethullah Gulen group3 itself is supposed to be a part.

WORKING PAPERS

Ο Μουσταφά Kamel Al-Σαγίντ

Since September 11, the entire world has been acutely aware of the violent, terrorist face of political Islam. the network of organizations we most frequently think of as al-Qaeda represents a serious threat to the United States, other Western countries, governments of Muslim countries, and ordinary Muslims who abhor violence and would like to pursue their lives in peace. Because of the horrors violent Islamist groups have perpetrated and are unfortunately likely to continue perpetrating, there can be no debate about how the world should deal with them. they need to be tracked down and dismantled and their members brought to justice. To be sure, this will not be easy in practice, but it is clear what the world must strive to do.It is much less obvious how the international community should deal with the other face of the Islamist movement, the nonviolent face that Mustapha Kamal Al-Sayyid discusses in this working paper. this side is represented by political movements that acknowledge that they are inspired by Islamic principles and yet claim that they want to attain their goals by peaceful means, competing for power democratically with non-Islamist political parties. this side of the Islamist movements is often ignored in current debates, but it is important and becoming ever more so. the electoral victory by the Justice and Development Party in Turkey in November 2002 is one sign of the growing importance of this face of Islamism; so is the open repudiation of violence by one of Egypt’s most important and heretofore most radical Islamist movements. the reasons for this repudiation are explained in four recently published and as yet untranslated books that Mustapha Al-Sayyid discusses in this paper.this more moderate face of the Islamist movements poses a major policy dilemma for the international community. Should the claims of nonviolence by these movements be believed and thus the movements be accepted as legitimate participants in democratic politics? Have such groups really changed their goals, abandoned the idea of building an Islamic state ruled by shari’a, and accepted democracy? Or are they simply seeking to take advantage of the democratic political space that exists in some Muslim countries to win power and then impose a political system that denies democracy and the respect of human rights? In other words, have such movements simply embraced democracy as a tactic for obtaining power, or are they truly willing to accept pluralism and the protection of individual human rights as a permanent feature of the political system?Like the similar questions that were once asked about Communist parties that appeared to abandon their revolutionary agenda in favor of democratic politics, these are issues that can never be settled once and for all in the abstract but can only be answered as organizations continue to evolve in response to political circumstances. Mustapha Al-Sayyid’s paper cannot tell us how far these Islamist groups now embracing nonviolence and democratic politics will go in their transformation. It does tell us, however, about the changes taking place in some Islamist movements and about the growing importance of the other face of Islamism.