Tagged with Islamism

Islamism: Contextualist or Essentialist? Or Both?

Islamism: Contextualist or Essentialist? Or Both?

My new article for Providence Magazine. In an excellent review of Shadi Hamid and Will McCants’ Rethinking Political Islam, Olivier Roy says there are generally two ways to think about Islamism. Writing in Foreign Affairs, he first briefly introduces three important shockwaves—the Arab Spring, the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the emergence … Continue reading

Islamists Elsewhere

Islamists Elsewhere

The Atlantic has an insightful piece on the history of American engagement with political Islam. It is written by authors previously recommended as scholars of the movement. The whole is worth reading, but here is an excerpt describing non-Arab Islamist success — outside of the political process. It is often assumed politics and governance is … Continue reading

Rethinking Political Islam, but then What?

Rethinking Political Islam, but then What?

The first part of the title is the name of a very good explanatory piece in The Islamic Monthly. It also is the name of a new book by Shadi Hamid and Will McCants, collecting analysis from Islamists published individually at Brookings. The trouble is, this article leaves me with more questions. First the good stuff: In … Continue reading

Why the Carnage in Pakistan?

Why the Carnage in Pakistan?

At least 69 people are dead in the Pakistani city of Lahore, many of them from Christian families celebrating Easter in a public park. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility, stating it directly targeted Christians and promises further attacks in the future. From Lapido Media, an anonymous British NGO worker provides a first-hand account: A … Continue reading

Fear and Islamism in Egypt

Fear and Islamism in Egypt

Is the Muslim Brotherhood really Qutbist? Are frustrated members inclined toward the Islamic State? In an interview with Ahram Online, political commentator Wahid Abdel Maguid both reconsiders assumptions and reminds of reality: Abdel-Meguid, a member of the Constituency Assembly of Egypt since 2012, is reluctant to endorse alarm concerning a supposed nationwide infiltration of militant … Continue reading

A Regime-Islamist Reconciliation?

A Regime-Islamist Reconciliation?

Very important but under-reported news in this article from al-Ahram Weekly: Recent developments suggest the possibility of a thaw in relations between the state and political Islam. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi recently met with three members of the Dissident Muslim Brothers, a breakaway group from the Muslim Brotherhood. There is also a reconciliation initiative, proposed by … Continue reading

The Implications of Charlie for Political Islam

The Implications of Charlie for Political Islam

What is the message of Charlie Hebdo concerning political Islam? It must be allowed to compete and win power, lest these tragedies be repeated. Of course, the political messages made out of terrorism are many. Some say greater security measures are needed. Others call for limitations on Muslim immigration. Some call for curbs on freedom … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: National List

Friday Prayers for Egypt: National List

God, What value is there in praying over the squabbling of politicians? President Sisi gathered representatives of the political parties and asked them to agree on one national list to present to the people for upcoming parliamentary elections. Many have met to discuss, but so far they have fully failed. But does it matter to … Continue reading

Islamism or Jihadism: A False Choice

Islamism or Jihadism: A False Choice

In the year 1321 Muslim mobs, with tacit allowance from the Mamluk Sultan, destroyed 60 churches in Egypt and openly attacked Copts on the roads and in their homes. Incitement included accusations Christians supported the invading Mongols in their ‘coup’ attempt against the state. According to UK-based Fadel Soliman, these days may soon return. Coptic … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blame and Impose

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blame and Impose

God, The last three years in Egypt have been troublesome. Find a culprit, and force your way. An early culprit was Mubarak. Today he faces a verdict that may exonerate him. The current culprit is the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a national fact-finding investigation into the post-June 30 violence. They initiated the violence in the … Continue reading

Nour’s Quiet Dissenters

From the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a lucid article explaining the current situation of the Salafi Nour Party. Having backed the popularly-led military overthrow of President Morsi, the party ensured at least its short- to mid-term survival, and did not go the way of the Brotherhood. But in doing so they have fractured their … Continue reading

How Salafis Supported the Constitution in Upper Egypt

How Salafis Supported the Constitution in Upper Egypt

Post-Morsi, some say, the Salafi Nour Party was pushed into a corner. Others say they played their cards perfectly. In any case they supported the 2014 constitution despite its removal of religious provisions they largely orchestrated only two years earlier. While the Muslim Brotherhood and most other non-Nour Salafis railed against what they called the … Continue reading

Building Democratic Polity in the Face of Islamism

From The Immanent Frame, an article describing where democracy went wrong in Egypt, and doesn’t blame the Islamists. The author draws on James Madison’s assertion that factionalism cannot be destroyed without destroying freedom, and that the only path is to create democratic governmental mechanisms that prevent a certain faction from taking over the state. This, … Continue reading

Why the Muslim Brotherhood has a Double Discourse

This excerpt is from the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, published by the American University in Cairo, and authored by a former Muslim Brotherhood member. It is a very long, scholarly, and essential summary of the history of Islamism in Egypt since the revolution. My brief reflection follows: Another major factor that will affect the … Continue reading

Islamists on the Demise of Islamism

From the Hudson Institute, a very long but very worthy survey of Islamist reflection on current events in Egypt and the fall of Morsi. In addition, it translates in full three current articles on the subject by leading non-Egyptian Islamists, and here is an excerpt from Tunisia’s Rashid al-Ghannouchi: What is called “political Islam” is … Continue reading

Churches Burn, Christians Sing

This video – with transliterated subtitles – was produced by a church choir in Minya, Upper Egypt, a region which witnessed several severe church burnings. They stand within one church’s charred remains, and sing about love and forgiveness. May they truly live these words. Many Christians have spoken that if these heinous attacks are the … Continue reading

Recruitment Compared: The Brotherhood vs. Salafis

From an older article at the Hudson Institute, with a very thorough description of how one becomes a Muslim Brother or a Salafi: First, the Brotherhood uses a rigid process of internal promotion to ensure its members’ commitment to the gama’a and its cause.  The process begins at recruitment, when specially designated Muslim Brothers scout … Continue reading