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Speech of Dr,MUHAMMAD BADIE

Dr,Muhammad Badie

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate Praise be to Allah and Blessing on His messenger, companions and followers
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you with the Islamic greeting; Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings;
It is the will of Allah that I undertake this huge responsibility which Allah has chosen for me and a request from the MB Movement which I respond to with the support of Allah. With the support of my Muslim Brothers I look forward to achieving the great goals, we devoted ourselves to, solely for the sake of Allah.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the outset of my speech I would like to address our teacher, older brother, and distinguished leader Mr. Mohamed Mahdy Akef, the seventh leader of the MB group a strong, dedicated and enthusiastic person who led the group’s journey amid storms and surpassed all its obstacles, thus providing this unique and outstanding model to all leaders and senior officials in the government, associations and other parties by fulfilling his promise and handing over the leadership after only one term, words are not enough to express our feelings to this great leader and guide and we can only sayMay Allah reward you all the best”.
We say to our beloved Muslim brothers who are spread around the globe, it is unfortunate for us to have this big event happening while you are not among us for reasons beyond our control, however we feel that your souls are with us sending honest and sincere smiles and vibes.
As for the beloved ones who are behind the bars of tyranny and oppression for no just reason other than reiterating Allah is our God, and for seeking the dignity, pride and development of their country, we sincerely applaud and salute them for their patience, steadfastness and sacrifices which we are sure will not be without gain. We pray that those tyrants and oppressors salvage their conscience and that we see you again in our midst supporting our cause, may Allah bless and protect you all.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As you are aware, the main goal of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MB) is comprehensive modification, which deals with all kinds of corruption through reform and change. “I only desire (your) betterment to the best of my power; and my success (in my task) can only come from Allah.” (Hud-88) and through cooperation with all powers of the nation and those with high spirits who are sincere to their religion and nation.
The MB believes that Allah has placed all the foundations necessary for the development and welfare of nations in the great Islam; therefore, Islam is their reference towards reform, which starts from the disciplining and training of the souls of individuals, followed by regulating families and societies by strengthening them, preceded by bringing justice to it and the continuous jihad to liberate the nation from any foreign dominance or intellectual, spiritual, cultural hegemony and economic, political or military colonialism, as well as leading the nation to development, prosperity and assuming its appropriate place in the world.

Islamic Political Culture, Demokrati, and Human Rights

Daniel E. Pris

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

tjänstemän pekar ofta på "islamisk fundamentalism" som nästa

ideologiskt hot mot liberala demokratier. This view, dock, baseras i första hand

om analys av texter, Islamic political theory, och ad hoc-studier

enskilda länder, som inte tar hänsyn till andra faktorer. Det är mitt påstående

att islams texter och traditioner, som andra religioner,

kan användas för att stödja en mängd olika politiska system och politik. Land

specifika och beskrivande studier hjälper oss inte att hitta mönster som hjälper

vi förklarar de olika relationerna mellan islam och politik över hela världen

länder i den muslimska världen. Därmed, ett nytt tillvägagångssätt för att studera

koppling mellan islam och politik efterfrågas.
jag föreslår, genom en rigorös utvärdering av relationen mellan islam,

demokrati, och mänskliga rättigheter på gränsöverskridande nivå, det för mycket

betoning läggs på islams makt som politisk kraft. jag först

använda jämförande fallstudier, som fokuserar på faktorer relaterade till samspelet

mellan islamiska grupper och regimer, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, att förklara variansen i påverkan av

Islam om politik i åtta nationer.

Europe’s Engagement with Moderate Islamists

Kristina Kausch

Direct engagement1 with Islamist political movements has typically been a no-go for European governments. In recent years, dock, the limits of the European Union’s (USA) stability-oriented approach towards cooperation with authoritarian rulers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to defend EU strategic interests in the region have become increasingly obvious. Incumbent MENA rulers’ attempts to portray the European choice of interlocutors in the region as either stabilising governments or de-stabilising Islamists are increasingly perceived as short-sighted and contradictory. Recent debates suggest that the search for viable alternative policy approaches is leading to a shift in European policy makers’ attitude towards moderate2 Islamist actors.
There is no shortage of incentives to redirect the course of EU policies in the region. Preventing the
radicalisation of Islamist movements in the region is an integral part of the EU’s counter-terrorism strategy. It
has become common wisdom that substantial political reform will only happen through effective pressure from
within. Non-violent, non-revolutionary Islamist parties that aspire to take power by means of a democratic
process have therefore often been portrayed as potential reform actors that carry the hopes of a volatile region
for genuine democratic development and long-term stability

Hamas och politiska reformer i Mellanöstern

David Mepham

Lärdomen av Palestinas val är att det internationella samfundet borde bli mer seriöst och sofistikerat när det gäller politiska reformer i Mellanöstern, säger David Mepham från Institutet för forskning om offentlig politik.
Hamas fantastiska seger i 25 Valet till det palestinska lagstiftande rådet i januari väcker tre kritiska frågor för internationella beslutsfattare:
• varför hände det – att en organisation stämplad som “terrorist” av israelerna, Europeiska unionen och USA lyckas vinna stöd från en majoritet av palestinska väljarna?
• hur ska det internationella samfundet nu reagera?
• var lämnar Hamas seger orsaken till politiska reformer och demokratisering i Mellanöstern?
Hamas uppkomst
Mycket av de omedelbara internationella kommentarerna om valresultatet har fokuserat på Fatahs misslyckanden under det decennium då rörelsen hade makten i den palestinska myndigheten (PA) – inklusive den skenande korruptionen av höga Fatah-tjänstemän och bristen på meningsfull demokrati inom PA. Det var också en betydande positiv röst för Hamas. Organisationen ses av många palestinier som obefläckad av korruption, och, till skillnad från PA, den har en bra meritlista för att ge hälsa, utbildning och andra tjänster.
Den andra delen av förklaringen till Hamas-segern – mindre diskuterad i internationella medier – har varit misslyckandet av “fredsprocessen” och de radikaliserande och utarmande effekterna av den israeliska ockupationen. Under premiärskap av Ariel Sharon sedan dess 2001, Israel har nästan förstört den palestinska myndighetens infrastruktur. Israel har också fortsatt sin politik för illegal bosättningsexpansion på den ockuperade Västbanken och östra Jerusalem, och det håller på att bygga en “separationsbarriär”.
Israel bygger inte barriären på sin gräns före ockupationen före 1967 (vilket den skulle få göra enligt internationell rätt). Snarare planerar man att bygga 80% av barriären inom israeliskt ockuperat palestinskt territorium. Detta innebär att de viktigaste israeliska bosättningsblocken införlivas, samt att ta över palestinsk jordbruksmark och vattenresurser. Detta begränsar den palestinska rörelsefriheten, och gör det mycket svårare för palestinier att komma åt sina skolor, hälsoinrättningar och jobb.
Denna politik är förtryckande och förödmjukande; de får också katastrofala ekonomiska konsekvenser. FN uppskattar att fattigdomsnivåerna har mer än tredubblats under de senaste fem åren, den där 60% av palestinierna lever nu i fattigdom, och att arbetslösheten är runt 30%. Dessa förhållanden har gett mycket bördig jord för radikaliseringen av den palestinska opinionen och för Hamas framväxt.
Den kortsiktiga utmaningen
Hamas valseger ställer det internationella samfundet inför en verklig gåta.
Å ena sidan, de “Kvartett” (Förenta staterna, europeiska unionen, Ryssland och FN) har rätt att säga att fullskaliga fredsförhandlingar med Hamas kommer att kräva betydande rörelser från Hamas sida. Hamas erkänner inte staten Israel. Det stödjer också våld, inklusive attacker mot civila israeler, som en del av dess strategi för palestinsk nationell befrielse. Alla som förväntar sig en omedelbar och formell förändring av Hamas politik i dessa frågor kommer sannolikt att bli besviken.
Men intelligent internationell diplomati kan fortfarande göra skillnad. Medan de är ovilliga att formellt proklamera det, det finns bevis för att vissa höga Hamas-ledare accepterar Israels verklighet inom dess gränser före 1967. Dessutom, i frågan om våld har Hamas i stort sett upprätthållit en ensidig vapenvila (tahdi'a) för det senaste året. Förlänger denna vapenvila, och arbetar för en omfattande israelisk-palestinsk vapenvila, bör vara det omedelbara fokus för internationell diplomati gentemot Hamas, vid behov genom tredje parts mellanhänder.
Det andra kritiska internationella målet borde vara att undvika den palestinska myndighetens kollaps. Fatahs misskötsel och de katastrofala konsekvenserna av israelisk ockupation och stängningar har lämnat PA i en desperat tillstånd och helt beroende av givarfinansiering för att hålla sig flytande. I 2005, EU gav 338 miljoner pund, medan USA bidrog med 225 miljoner pund. Att skära ned den hjälpen över en natt skulle sänka tiotusentals palestinier i akut fattigdom, utlöser social implosion och anarki. Men givarna är med rätta oroliga för att överföra resurser till en regering som domineras av Hamas.
En möjlighet skulle vara att trycka på för en regering av palestinska teknokrater, utan höga Hamas-figurer på viktiga ministerposter, och att förlita sig på Mahmoud Abbas, den direktvalda palestinske presidenten, som den främsta samtalspartnern för det internationella samfundet. Något i den stilen verkar ge stöd bland kvartetten. Om den omedelbara ekonomiska situationen kan stabiliseras, då finns det åtminstone en möjlighet att uppmuntra Hamas att gå i en politisk riktning genom en gradvis politik, villkorligt engagemang. Tryck på Israel att leva upp till sina skyldigheter enligt internationell rätt, till exempel genom att avsluta illegal bosättningsverksamhet, skulle också hjälpa: övertyga en skeptisk palestinsk allmänhet att världen bryr sig om deras svåra situation och är engagerad i en tvåstatslösning.
Den regionala utsikten
Medan Hamas seger har fokuserat uppmärksamheten på den omedelbara krisen i de palestinska områdena, det väcker vidare frågor om processen för politiska reformer och demokratisering i det bredare Mellanöstern, en process som så offentligt förespråkas av Bushadministrationen. Det är ironiskt, minst sagt, att Hamas – en grupp som USA vägrar att handla med – bör dra nytta av ett fritt och rättvist val som uppmuntras av USA:s politik. Vissa kommer av detta att dra slutsatsen att demokratiska reformer i Mellanöstern är ett hopplöst missriktat företag och ett företag som omedelbart bör överges. Små “c” konservativa, på alla sidor av det politiska spektrumet, kommer att känna sig berättigad i att lyfta fram riskerna med snabba politiska förändringar och genom att påpeka stabilitetens fördelar.
Det är sant att politisk förändring medför risker, inklusive risken att radikala islamister som Hamas kommer att vara de största gynnade av politisk liberalisering. Även om detta är en rimlig oro, de som lyfter fram det tenderar att förbise mångfalden av politiska islamister i regionen, de speciella omständigheterna som förklarar Hamas framväxt, och i vilken utsträckning vissa islamister har modererat sina ståndpunkter de senaste åren. Till skillnad från Hamas, muslimska brödraskapet i Egypten, Islamic Action Front i Jordanien och Rättvisan & Utvecklingspartiet i Marocko avvisar alla våld och har förbundit sig till pluralistisk politik.
Inte heller föreslår kritikerna ett bättre alternativ för att ta itu med fenomenet politisk islamism i hela regionen än islamisters försök att engagera sig i den politiska processen. Förtryck av islamister och deras systematiska uteslutning från politiska institutioner har varit ett recept för instabilitet och extremism, inte moderering.
Det finns uppenbarligen en stark kritik att framföra av Bushadministrationens försök att främja politisk förändring i Mellanöstern, inte minst de många bristerna i dess politik i Irak. Mer allmänt, USA saknar trovärdighet i regionen som en kraft för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter på grund av dess i stort sett okritiska stöd till Israel, och dess militär, diplomatiskt och ofta ekonomiskt stöd för många av de mer auktoritära regimerna i regionen. Även när det är särskilt uttalat om behovet av ökad demokrati, till exempel i dess nyliga affärer med Egyptens president Mubarak, administrationens antiterroragenda överträffar konsekvent dess politiska reformmål.
Men att avslöja dårskapen och ineffektiviteten i USA:s politik är en sak; Att avstå från åtagandet om politiska reformer i Mellanöstern är en helt annan. Det internationella samfundet måste stärka inte försvaga sitt engagemang för ansvarsfull regering och mänskliga rättigheter i regionen. När man tänker på politisk förändring i Mellanöstern – där idén om en demokratisk kultur ofta är mycket svag – måste internationella aktörer lägga lika stor vikt vid “konstitutionalism” vad gäller val, även om val är viktiga. I detta sammanhang, konstitutionalism betyder maktbalans, inklusive kontroller av den verkställande makten, en rättvis och oberoende rättsprocess, en fri press och media, och skyddet av minoriteters rättigheter.
Det är också viktigt för internationella aktörer att vara realistiska om vad som kan uppnås i vissa länder och över vissa tidsskalor. I vissa fall, stöd för politiska reformer kan innebära att man nu pressar hårt för verkligt fria val. I andra fall, en högre kortsiktig prioritet för politiska reformer kan vara att uppmuntra ett utökat utrymme där oppositionsgrupper eller civilsamhället kan fungera, större frihet för pressen, stöd till utbildningsreformer och kulturutbyten, och främja en mer inkluderande ekonomisk utveckling.
Det är också viktigt att tänka mer fantasifullt om att skapa incitament för politiska reformer i Mellanöstern. Det finns en särskild roll för Europeiska unionen här. Erfarenheterna av politiska förändringar i andra delar av världen tyder på att länder kan övertalas att genomföra mycket betydande politiska och ekonomiska reformer om detta är en del av en process som ger verkliga fördelar för den härskande eliten och samhället i stort.. Det sätt på vilket utsikterna till EU-medlemskap har använts för att åstadkomma långtgående förändringar i östra och centrala Europa är ett bra exempel på detta. Processen för Turkiets anslutning till EU kan ses på liknande sätt.
En kritisk fråga är om en sådan process kan användas mer brett för att stimulera politiska reformer i Mellanöstern, genom initiativ som den europeiska grannskapspolitiken (ENP). ENP kommer att ge deltagande stater i Mellanöstern en andel i EU:s institutioner, särskilt den inre marknaden, ger ett kraftfullt incitament för reformer. Det gör det också möjligt för EU att belöna länder som gör snabbare framsteg mot överenskomna riktmärken för politiska reformer.
Det finns inga enkla svar på de nuvarande problemen som drabbar Mellanöstern. Men lärdomen som kan dras av Hamas-resultatet är med eftertryck inte att det internationella samfundet bör ge upp saken för politiska reformer i regionen. Det borde snarare bli mer seriöst och sofistikerat att hjälpa till att stödja det.

High noon in Egypt

Devika Parashar

F. Andy Messing


The parallels between President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the deposed shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran, are attention-getting. I 1979, prior to the notorious Islamic Revolution, which was instigated and controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the shah wielded personal and authoritarian power in a manner comparable to the dictators of the time: Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, and earlier, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. These rulers brandished their power with little restraint, unencumbered by the rule of law and basically insensitive to the needs of their populace. Unfortunately, Hosni Mubarak alarmingly resembles these former dictators in social, political, economic and security issues. He is inadvertently pushing his country towards an Islamic revolution. As an earlier example, the shah of Iran slowly strangled his country by reigning with a heavy-hand through his unfettered security force. He narrowed the sociopolitical base of his government and distorted the economy by monopolistic actions. This modus operandi reflects Mr. Mubarak’s current regime, whose survival depends on his ability to reverse these trends. Accordingly, Mr. Mubarak uses hisCentral Security Force,” that now consists of more than half of his entire military, to impose a measure of censorship on the mass media and ban most forms of political organization, activities and literary expression. Like the shah, he has established control over physical action, selectively executing opposition, imprisoning and exiling thousands of people who oppose his policies. Recently, the leading English language newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly reported an upsurge in deaths due to police brutality. Another Arab news source reported the barring of human-rights groups from attending secret military trials. Economically, Mr. Mubarak monopolistically privatizes the highly regulated Egyptian economy, fostering creation of an exclusive industrial bourgeoisie. He invites only pro-Mubarak businesses to work within his development schemes. Like the shah, he has alienated large sections of the public and private sectors, thus suppressing any real economic growth. Politically, Mr. Mubarak cracks down on civil participation, essentially repressing political opposition; while his lack of government transparency practically guarantees rife corruption throughout the 4 million strong bureaucracy. Equally important, is the lack of government response to crises. Al-Ahram Weekly reported 20 train crashes between 1995 and August 2006. In each case, the government formed an ineffectual and disorganized crisis-management council that failed to correct
the problem. As the government failed to meet the needs of its people, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan) filled a void by establishing social services, such as health clinics and youth programs, to effectively respond to various situations. The first and best-known example of this was their mobilization after the 1992 earthquake struck Southern Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood provided disaster relief then, and continues to do so, thereby enhancing its traction. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood has nonviolently taken control of 15 percent of major professional associations that form the greater part of Egypt’s middle class. In the most recent parliamentary election in 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood presented the largest threat to Mr. Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, securing an unprecedented 34 out of 454 seats. They demonstrated their ability to draw support despite government opposition. Mr. Mubarak unwittingly nurtured the regrowth of the essentially Fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood by alienating segments of the Egyptian populace and eliminating soft-line opposition (such as the secular Wafd and al-Ghad parties). He must seek more innovative methods to remain in power. Till exempel, Chile managed to open the economy and encourage free enterprise under Augusto Pinochet, even though his government was considered authoritarian. Mr. Mubarak must tap into the tremendous energy of the Egyptian people by increasing the pace of capitalization and democratization, thereby improving their standard of living. If he succeeds, Mr. Mubarak could eventually create a legacy for himself as an Arab leader who effectively modernized and democratized thiskeystonenation. In doing so, he would secure major assets such as the Suez Canal, Egypt’s oil production and tourism, for not only his country but for the global economy, while providing a positive example for the entire Muslim world. Furthermore, US. ability to deal with Egypt will be enhanced, and our aid to that country will become completely justified. But if Mr. Mubarak fails, his regime will fall to the same type of radical elements that claimed the shah’s government in 1979, creating compounded turmoil for Egypt and the world. Devika Parashar spent eight months in Egypt into 2007 and is a research assistant at the National Defense Council Foundation. F. Andy Messing, a retired Special Forces officer, is NDCF’s executive director and met with a Muslim Brotherhood Representative in Cairo in 1994. He has been to 27 conflict areas worldwide.


Resolving America’s Islamist Dilemma

Shadi Hamid

US. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East have long been paralyzed by the “Islamist dilemma”: in theory, we want democracy, but, in practice, fear that Islamist parties will be the prime beneficiaries of any political opening. The most tragic manifestation of this was the Algerian debacle of 1991 och 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, och, 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

i 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. Dessutom,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. In Lebanon, 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. I 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. Dessutom, 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.

egypten: Background and U.S. Relations

jeremy M. Skarp

In the last year, Egyptian foreign policy, particularly its relationship with the United States, hasbenefitted substantially from both a change in U.S. policy and from events on the ground. TheObama Administration, as evident in the President’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, has elevatedEgypt’s importance to U.S. foreign policy in the region, as U.S. policymakers work to revive theArab-Israeli peace process. In choosing Cairo as a venue for the President’s signature address tothe Muslim world, Egyptians feel that the United States has shown their country respectcommensurate with its perceived stature in the Arab world.At the same time, continuing tensions with Iran and Hamas have bolstered Egypt’s position as amoderating force in the region and demonstrated the country’s diplomatic utility to U.S. foreignpolicy. Based on its own interests, Egypt has opposed Iranian meddling in the Levant and in Gazaand has recently expanded military cooperation with Israel in order to demonstrate resolve againstfurther Iranian provocations, such as arming Hamas or allowing Hezbollah to operate on Egyptiansoil. Furthermore, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (december 2008 to January 2009) highlighted theneed to moderate Hamas’s behavior, attain Palestinian unity, and reach a long-term Israel-Hamascease-fire/prisoner exchange, goals which Egypt has been working toward, albeit with limitedsuccess so far.Indications of an improved bilateral relationship have been clearly evident. Over the last sixmonths, there has been a flurry of diplomatic exchanges, culminating in President Obama’s June2009 visit to Egypt and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trip to Washington in August 2009,his first visit to the United States in over five years. Following President Obama’s June visit, thetwo governments held their annual strategic dialogue. Several months earlier, the United Statespledged to expand trade and investment in Egypt.Despite the appearance of a more positive atmosphere, inherent tensions and contradictions inU.S.-Egyptian relations remain. For U.S. policymakers and Members of Congress, the question ofhow to simultaneously maintain the U.S.-Egyptian strategic relationship born out of the CampDavid Accords and the 1979 peace treaty while promoting human rights and democracy in Egyptis a major challenge with no clear path. As Egyptian opposition figures have grown more vocal inrecent years over issues such as leadership succession, corruption, and economic inequality, andthe regime has subsequently grown more repressive in its response to increased calls for reform,activists have demanded that the United States pressure Egypt to create more breathing space fordissent. The Egyptian government has resisted any U.S. attempts to interfere in its domesticpolitics and has responded harshly to overt U.S. calls for political reform. At the same time, as theIsraeli-Palestinian situation has further deteriorated, Egypt’s role as a mediator has provedinvaluable to U.S. foreign policy in the region. Egypt has secured cease-fire agreements andmediated negotiations with Hamas over prisoner releases, cease-fire arrangements, and otherissues. Since Hamas is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and calls forIsrael’s destruction, neither Israel nor the United States government directly negotiates with itsofficials, using Egypt instead as a go-between. With the Obama Administration committed topursuing Middle East peace, there is concern that U.S. officials may give a higher priority toEgypt’s regional role at the expense of human rights and democratic reforms.

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, dock, 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: demokrati, 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.

Arab reform bulletin

Arab reform bulletin

Ibrahim al-Houdaiby

Muslim Brotherhood Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef’s decision to step down at the end of his first term in January 2009 is an important milestone for the largest opposition group in Egypt for two reasons. First, whoever the successor is, he will not enjoy the same historical legitimacy as Akef, who joined the Brotherhood at an early stage and worked with its founder, Hassan al-Banna. All of the potential replacements belong to another generation and lack the gravitas of Akef and his predecessors, which helped them resolve or at least postpone some organizational disputes. The second reason is that Akef, who presided over a major political opening of the group in which its various intellectual orientations were clearly manifested, has the ability to manage diversity. This has been clear in his relations with leaders of the organization’s different currents and generations and his ability to bridge gaps between them. No candidate for the post seems to possess this skill, except perhaps Deputy Guide Khairat al-Shater, whose chances seem nil because he is currently imprisoned.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Initiative as a Reform Program

Sayed Mahmoud Al-Qumni
On March 3, 2004, Mr. Mahdi Akef, the leader and guide of the Muslim Brotherhood launched the Brotherhood’s Initiative to Participate in Awaited Democratic Reform, presenting the Brotherhood as a political faction that deems itself competent to participate. The Brotherhood presented itselfnaturallyin the best possible light, which is everyone’s right. And on May 8, 2004, Dr. Essam Aryan, a Brotherhood luminary well known due to his appearances on the local Egyptian satellite station, Dream TV, said this initiative is a comprehensive, complete program for soon converting the Brotherhood into a political party.
Demokrati, in its liberal sense, means rule by the people, legislating laws for themselves according to their conditions. It doesn’t just mean elections. More importantly, and to lay the foundations for elections, democracy is a pluralistic political system that guarantees citizenspublic and private freedoms, especially freedom of expression and opinion. It also guarantees their human rights, especially freedom of religion. These are absolute freedoms, without any limitation or monitoring. The democratic system allows peaceful change of power in society and is based on a separation of powers. The judicial branch, especially, must be totally independent. Democracies adopt the free market economy that is based on competition, and that encourages individual initiatives. Democracies are based on channels of dialgoue and peaceful understanding among citizens. In dealing with local and international conflicts, they avoid military options as much as possible. Along with those who believe in democracy, it confronts the mentality of terrorism and violent fundamentalist dogmatism. Democracies oppose absolutist ideas that claim to own the absolute truth, and defend relativistic and pluralistic principles. By doing so, they provide all religions the right to be active safely, except opinions that aim to confiscate freedoms or impose themselves on other parties by force or violence. So democracies are concerned with freeing religion from the monopoly of one interpretation or one sect.
In summary, democracy is a group of regulatory and legal measures for society that humankind has reached after a long history of conflict to refine authorities where religious figures cannot impose their will. Religious authorities were disengaged from the
authorities of the state, to guarantee the state’s neutrality toward all religions. This is what allows for freedom of religion and opinion, and freedom of worship for all in total freedom and equality. This prevents conflict in the name of religion, which leads to the security of the state and its citizens.

On March 3, 2004, Mr. Mahdi Akef, the leader and guide of the Muslim Brotherhood launched the Brotherhood’s Initiative to Participate in Awaited Democratic Reform, presenting the Brotherhood as a political faction that deems itself competent to participate. The Brotherhood presented itselfnaturallyin the best possible light, which is everyone’s right. And on May 8, 2004, Dr. Essam Aryan, a Brotherhood luminary well known due to his appearances on the local Egyptian satellite station, Dream TV, said this initiative is a comprehensive, complete program for soon converting the Brotherhood into a political party.Democracy, in its liberal sense, means rule by the people, legislating laws for themselves according to their conditions. It doesn’t just mean elections. More importantly, and to lay the foundations for elections, democracy is a pluralistic political system that guarantees citizenspublic and private freedoms, especially freedom of expression and opinion. It also guarantees their human rights, especially freedom of religion. These are absolute freedoms, without any limitation or monitoring. The democratic system allows peaceful change of power in society and is based on a separation of powers. The judicial branch, especially, must be totally independent. Democracies adopt the free market economy that is based on competition, and that encourages individual initiatives. Democracies are based on channels of dialgoue and peaceful understanding among citizens. In dealing with local and international conflicts, they avoid military options as much as possible. Along with those who believe in democracy, it confronts the mentality of terrorism and violent fundamentalist dogmatism. Democracies oppose absolutist ideas that claim to own the absolute truth, and defend relativistic and pluralistic principles. By doing so, they provide all religions the right to be active safely, except opinions that aim to confiscate freedoms or impose themselves on other parties by force or violence. So democracies are concerned with freeing religion from the monopoly of one interpretation or one sect.In summary, democracy is a group of regulatory and legal measures for society that humankind has reached after a long history of conflict to refine authorities where religious figures cannot impose their will. Religious authorities were disengaged from theauthorities of the state, to guarantee the state’s neutrality toward all religions. This is what allows for freedom of religion and opinion, and freedom of worship for all in total freedom and equality. This prevents conflict in the name of religion, which leads to the security of the state and its citizens.

Dissent and Reform in Egypt: Challenges to Democratization

Ayat M. Abul-Futouh

Over the last two years, Egypt has witnessed large demonstrations led by newdemocratic civil society movements, including Kefaya (Arabic for “enough”), the JudgesClub of Egypt, journalist advocacy groups, civil society coalitions, and other human rightsactivists.These groups have championed a number of causes including an independentjudiciary, contested presidential elections, presidential term limits, and the annulment ofemergency law. While most of these demands have yet to be met, some gains, asexemplified by the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections, have been made.However, it remains to be seen whether or not this surge of democratic fervor willsucceed in pressuring President Hosni Mubarak’s regime to take meaningful steps towardopening the system and allowing for broader democratic participation. Egypt’s rulers havenot been seriously challenged by a domestic opposition for over five decades. Behind afortress of restrictive laws, the regime has managed to undermine nascent political partiesand keep them weak, fragmented, and unable to develop any constituency among thepeople. Civil society is likewise shackled by laws that have constrained their formation andactivities.Since the late 1970s, following Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, the Egyptiangovernment has received unwavering financial and moral support from Westerndemocracies—particularly the United States. Egypt is seen as a staunch ally in the region, apartner in managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Arab-Israeli relations, och, after the9/11 attacks, a valuable source of intelligence in the war on terror. The regime has usedthis support to maintain its suffocating grip on political activity.Then, starting in 2004, it seemed a new day had dawned for Egyptian reformers.Calls by the United States for Arab governments to democratize resonated strongly withincivil society, rapidly escalating domestic demands for radical political reforms. PresidentBush has often cited Egypt as an example of a developing democracy in the region. But theEgyptian regime is a hybrid of deeply rooted authoritarian elements and pluralistic andliberal aspects. There are strong state security forces, but also an outspoken oppositionpress and an active, albeit constrained, civil society. In short, Egypt is the perfect model of a“semi-authoritarian” state, rather than a “transitional democracy.”President Mubarak’s government continues to proclaim its commitment to liberaldemocracy, pointing to a vast array of formal democratic institutions. The reality, dock,is that these institutions are highly deficient. The ruling elite maintains an absolutemonopoly over political power. President Hosni Mubarak was elected last September for afifth six-year term in office. In order for democratic reforms to advance in Egypt,substantial institutional and legal changes must be made.