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Article Examines Reasons for Fearing for the Islamists From Authority
Al-Dustur Online
Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Article by Husayn al-Rawashidah: "Seven reasons for fearing for the Islamists from the authority."

I am not haunted by "fears" of the Islamists assuming power, but I fear for our brothers who imagine that assuming power is an end in itself or the way to solve the problems of societies and the nation. I am even more fearful when I see some of them become deeply engulfed in the scene and go along with it and are in a rush to convince us that the key to the riddle is "in heir hand" and that with the "touch" of a button they can return us to the days of the Orthodox Caliphate, the "justice" of (Umar) Al-Khattab, the piety of (Umar) Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, the cunningness of Bani Umayyah and the renaissance of Bani Al-Abbas.

I have sufficient reasons for such "fear" but I hope that my talk will not be construed as though the Islamists do not have the right to engage in the experience, that they are like the others and subsequently we do not expect anything new from them or that the peoples who chose them of their free will did so out of "frustration" or ignorance, God forbid. This is because they deserve to try and no one can deny their struggles, contributions and the integrity of the majority of them. Also, the people who voted for them were naturally biased in favor of their project and they also returned their greeting with a better one. If I added all these considerations which I have mentioned to the reasons which I will mention later on, I am even more "fearful" for the experience and its owners. I am eager to remind the Islamists that they face a difficult test and that successfully passing this test would require more wisdom, patience and honesty, not to mention incessant work and liberation from all the diseases which marred their experiences in the past.

If you ask me about the reasons that make the experience of the Islamists in their political and governance battles "an adventure" laden with dangers and challenges, I have seven such reasons.

First- Our brothers have inherited a burdensome legacy of corruption, despotism, "destroyed" economy and oppressed peoples. They were not partners in manufacturing this legacy but they must now bear the responsibility for overcoming it. Add to that the fact their project which carried "the Islamic project" title was not present in the scene during the past decades and was subjected to exclusion and ban. Thus, "building" for it today on the ruins of "counter" project for it would require something of a miracle.

Second- There is no detailed constitutional "figh" (jurisprudence) in our Islamic thinking pertaining to the building of the state and practicing governance. Although some of it is present in the Islamic "literature," it has not been put to the test and practice at least since the post national independence stage. Subsequently, proposing it on the ground today would require a long time and testing it would require even longer.

Third- The Islamists have not created the revolutions and transformations alone, although they have contributed to them, but the outcome has been in their favor. Subsequently, they, like the others, were surprised by the scene and were not prepared for it and hesitated in dealing with it. However, after deciding to participate in it, they discovered that the "questions" it was asking were more difficult than they had expected.

Fourth- The hopes the people pin on them (whether they chose them or not) seem greater than their capabilities and the circumstances and climates in which they move. It is true that they have contributed to making the people raise and exaggerate in their "hope," but they are dealing with a different "reality" now and they are supposed to deal with it as it is away from the classifications of "poles" and also away from the dreams of the "Virtuous City."

Fifth- The Islamists are the product of a society which has been distorted and tamed for many long centuries (do not ask how). Subsequently, they are a part of this society and if they differ from the others, it is a difference in the degree and not in kind. I cannot here dispel from my mind the idea that the "Islamic" despotism is completely identical to the pan-Arab and secular "despotism."

Sixth- The Islamists who have assumed power are being subjected to two stifling sieges: The first is the siege of time and all it entails in terms of clashes, conflicts, hopes for change and popular aspirations for overcoming the "disaster." The second is the siege of the adversaries, both from inside and outside.

Seventh- This pertains to the past experiences of the Islamists in power. This is because these experiences in the main are not only discouraging (stay away from the experience of the Turks) (during the Ottoman rule), but the Arab memory continues to have negative impressions about that experience and fear its repetition.

Naturally, I have other reasons. Some of these reasons pertain to the Islamists in general and some pertain specifically to each group of them and the places in which they are present. These other reasons also pertain to their special characteristics whether at the level of their political rhetoric, their relationship with the others, both local and foreign, and their internal disputes or, at the level of the nature of "their national project" and the extent of its connection to the Islamic project, etc. However, I will only mention reasons and I hope from the bottom of my that these fears will not prematurely condemn the experience to failure as much as acting a "motivation" for self-criticism, consideration, benefiting from past mistakes and truncating the present and shock of the surprise.

(Description of Source: Amman Al-Dustur Online in Arabic -- Website of Al-Dustur, major Jordanian daily of wide circulation, partially owned by government; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Saudi Writer Ponders Islamists` Rise to Power in Egypt
Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online
Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Article by Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid: “Is this the time of the Islamists?”

In some Gulf states, as well as many other Arab states, Islamists are endeavouring to play a larger political role, believing that this is the time of the Islamists, or rather the time of “political Islam.” At this point, we must clarify that when we use the term “Islam” in this instance, we are not talking about Islam as a religion or Muslims in general, but rather the political groups that use Islam as a name, in the same manner that some people incorporate the term “nationalism” or “liberalism” in the name of their political parties. However this is nothing more than a name being used by political groups, and does not mean that others are infidels, traitors or slaves. The name is just an attractive slogan whose objective is to garner popularity, legitimacy, immunity and power for the political groups in question.

The problem is not the Islamists` right to the presidency should they win the elections, as has happened in Egypt and prior to this Tunisia. The real problem lies in the present interpretation of history. When Muhammad Mursi won the presidency of Egypt and took the oath of office before the Supreme Constitutional Court, this victory was echoed throughout our region not because he had won the elections but rather because he had taken power! Some people were confused about what this moment actually meant. Some Islamists, as well as their opponents, considered it to be the beginning of a rule that is no different than the military rule. They believe that Mursi and his companions will remain in power for another 60 years until they too are forcibly removed. Whilst the Islamists considered this to be their crowning moment in history, and senior Muslim Brotherhood member, Safwat Hijazi, joyously proclaimed: “This is the time of the United Islamist States.”

Some people believe that the new system regarding the transition of power will be precisely the same as the old, namely that rule is to be plundered. This is also the opinion of those who are angry over the victory of the Islamists and want to deny them the right to rule.

I have an opinion on this matter, and this is not a new one. I believe that contemporary Islamists are important for the development of the concept of the state. They can contribute to the building of a system of rule that will achieve stability and progress. The reason behind the failure of Egypt was that the revolution of 1952 - which brought the military to power - annulled all other powers including the Al-Wafd Party and the Islamists. This is also because some of the Islamists understanding of the concept of the state emanated from their conflict with Mubarak and the presidents that came before him. They have therefore been unable to absorb the concept of the civil state, namely a state not based on religion or the military. If the Islamists learn to understand and appreciate the civil state, they will have better luck in government than their opponents, particularly as Mursi came to power via the ballot boxes. However if they turn their back on the civil state like Hamas did in Gaza, they will lose all the gains they have made and Egypt will enter an endless state of conflict.

I do not imagine that the Egyptians, who got rid of totalitarian military rule, will succumb to a similar form of religious rule. It is not true that people will accept anybody who raises the slogan of Islam. The Al Qaeda organization has attempted to use the motto of Islam and failed. The rulers in Sudan raised the banner of Islam and also failed. Iran is the best example of a country that uses Islam as a cover, and it also has failed. The Iranian rule is using the name of Islam, whilst in reality it possess all the shortcomings of Mubarak`s rule in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, in terms of corruption, oppression and administrative failure.

We must also not forget that what is happening in Egypt is a liberal democratic change, not the imposition of an Islamic caliphate. After much deliberation, the Islamists of Egypt named themselves the Freedom and Justice Party. This is a liberal name, expressing the Islamists understanding of the new political culture. It also demonstrates the Islamists awareness that the majority of those who risked their lives and got rid of Mubarak were university students, studying at Cairo University and the American University in Cairo, rather than al-Azhar University. These students, who were among the first to take to the streets against Mubarak, did not vote for Mursi during the recently-concluded presidential elections. Whilst it is true that their candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, did not win, they nevertheless remain a large proportion of Egyptian society, just less than half of all eligible voters. As for the current political system in Tunisia, this is a liberal one, just like the political system in Egypt, despite the fact that the rulers in both countries are Islamists.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in English -- Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance; URL: )

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Jordanian Article Says Islamists Get `US Green Light` To Share Power
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Article by Salamah al-Ukur: “US Green Light for Muslim Brotherhood”

In reply to a question by Al-Ra`y Online, Karl Duckworth, the US Embassy spokesman in Amman, revealed that there is communication between embassy staff members and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Movement in Jordan.

Contacts between the two sides are not new -- sometimes on a high level on both sides. But the communication these days entails new implications and objectives, particularly with the Arab spring bringing the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia and Egypt to the helm of power after public flirtation, this time, before the general elections. The current US Administration has given the green light to the Islamic movements in Arab countries, announcing that it has no objections to the Islamists` participation in governance. The Islamic Movement in Jordan might be among these movements; in other words, it is not excluded from this new American trend. WikiLeaks documents have revealed meetings that brought together Muslim Brotherhood members in Jordan with US officials, where they discussed election policies and US relations with Islamic groups. This means that the current US Administration welcomes Jordan`s Brotherhood in reaching power.

The Muslim Brotherhood had achieved this important gain throughout its history in Jordan. It participated in the three branches of authority, and, in 1989, it won significant seats in the legislative and executive branches. Throughout Jordan`s life of governance, it was the only organization permitted to publicly operate until the Political Parties Law was issued. The Brotherhood is expected to win a substantial number of seats in the next legislative elections. It might be designated to form a government in partnership with other forces in the House of Representatives. In other words, it might engage in power on a broader scale. This is when the truth of its positions on domestic issues and problems, as well its visions in facing and solving them, will appear. The truth of its positions on Jordan`s regional and international relations will also surface, including Jordan`s agreements with brotherly and foreign countries, such as the Wadi al-Arabah Treaty (Jordan-Israel peace treaty), for example.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Action Front -- which are actually one party -- will depart from the position of opposition to the place of loyalty. That is when it will become clear to the world how they will deal with the opposition forces, and whether they will adhere to political pluralism, respect for the other opinion, and transfer of power, instead of the slogan or principle of “Islam is the solution!”

Will they continue to exercise their convictions in power as they did in the opposition? Or will they inch their positions to intersect with what the internal and external conditions dictate?

The parliamentary elections will be held this year, the Muslim Brotherhood`s winning of a large number of seats will be welcomed, and it might form a parliamentary government. The snow will melt, revealing what lies in the meadow.

(Description of Source: Amman Al-Ra`y in Arabic -- Jordanian daily of widest circulation; partially owned by government. Internet version also available at:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Saudi: Writer `Advises` Islamists to Abandon Confrontation, Seeking Power
Al-Sharq al-Awsat
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Article by A`id al-Qarni: “Political Islam Is in a Dilemma”

By God, I believe that Islam is the solution as a creed, as a government, and as a way of life, but according to the way of our Prophet, God`s prayer and peace be upon him. Today, I will be brave to the extent of sounding a voice of advice to my Islamist brethren in the Islamist movement. I will set courtesy aside until I finish writing the article.

I say: Have we not had enough of the bloody sorrowful experiences and incidents that have been the product of confrontations and bloody clashes with rulers without any understanding of the laws of history or the realities? Why have the subscribers to political Islam moved from reforming the individual and the nation to seeking government and clinging to the seats of power at any cost in order to rule “poor and feeble” peoples that are ignorant of religion? Why do we make the establishment of the Caliphate one of the most important demands of religion and aims of the creed, as the Shiites said about the imamate? The most important demands of religion is to believe in God alone, not to worship anyone other than God, to follow the example of His Messenger, God`s prayer and peace be upon him, and to obey Him; therefore, why are we so committed to assuming the posts rejected by those who are more pious, more knowledgeable, and more honorable than us, such as Al-Thawri, Ibn-al-Musayib, Al-Hasan al-Basri, Malik, Al-Shafi`i, Abu-Hanifah, Ahmad, and all the imams of Islam? What is this sharp escalation in the address, challenging for duels, and commitment to confrontation? Do we want more tortures, more of our sons to be killed, more of our homes to be demolished, and more of our women to be homeless?

I say this as my heart bleeds for our brethren in Palestine as they live through siege, killing, destruction, restrictions, even famine and incursions by a giant evil enemy who was given opportunities by all sides to go on the rampage and shed the blood of Muslims.

I do not ask the Islamists to resort to the policies of some of the Arab regimes that opted for humiliation, subjugation, and subordination to the occupation. I ask the Islamists to follow the policy of our Prophet, God`s prayer and peace be upon him, who is the imam and role model. At the time of weakness, the Prophet preferred not to go for confrontation, as he did with the polytheists in Mecca, and he focused on reforming the people, and educating them until he brought up a rational ideal generation, and then he established a state that was the greatest and fairest state known in history.

The brethren in Palestine, and in the other Muslim countries, should not rely much on the useless sentimental verbal stances, which always end up with a letter of sympathy and solidarity signed by a thousand Muslim ulema. By God, if a petition is written without financial and military support, and was signed by a hundred Muslim ulema, and was relayed 99 times by the most famous satellite channel, this petition would not feed the sons of the Palestinian people bread from the “grocery shop,” or provide them with a single glass of water.

What have we gained from the bloody confrontations with the regimes in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, and Tunisia other than imprisonment, killing, turning the children into orphans, wasting the families, banning the Islamic call, and encroaching upon the ulema?

Some Islamists consider that man will not go to Paradise until he is imprisoned, his back gets torn in the prison cell, and then he is slaughtered and skinned. However, we ask God to forgive us and to grant us health; the Hadith includes: “Do not wish for meeting the enemy, but ask God to grant you health.” Ibn-Khaldun said in his Introduction: “Whenever a group considered to be ulema is dependent on a Sultan, whether just or unjust, it will eventually perish, because it disregarded the Prophet`s way stipulated in the Hadith: He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith.”

These Islamist movements, rather than following the Prophet`s call by reforming the nation and educating the new generation, they want to jump to the top of the pyramid, disregard the grassroots, and confront regimes, which even if corrupt, they possess military columns, police armies, squadrons of aircraft, and convoys of tanks, while the Islamists have 10 summer centers, and 100 boy-scouts` tents.

Let us consider the Islamists in Algeria. I know that the regime wronged them when they won the elections; however, their method in Islamic call was immature. They were required to educate the brave Algerian people about faith, because this people came out of the colonialist era ignorant of their religion and creed, and needed rational Islamic education. However, they left all this, and went for emotional, fiery, rhetorical speeches calling for fighting and confrontation without knowledge or deliberation. The demonstrations were staged, and then there were confrontations, killing, and destruction, followed by tearing up the Algerian people, and killing quarter of a million Muslims whose blood was proscribed. Did the Islamists know that the Algerian Government has half a million heavily-armed army soldiers, quarter of a million gendarmes armed with grenades, and depots of equipment, while the Islamists had nothing other than 1,000 books, 100 mosques, and one newspaper? Can you find 10 prominent shari`ah ulema in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, or any other country?

O Islamists, wake up and follow the example of the policy of the Prophet, God`s prayer and peace be upon him, in studying the stages, recognizing the situation, and understanding the message of Islam and aims of shari`ah. Reform the people, and restore the people to the belief in God and the way of the Prophet, God`s prayer and peace be upon him. Let us abandon the empty rhetoric and anger that never even killed a fly, but brought us suffering, detention camps, and crises.

By the way, I salute the Islamic Justice and Development Party in Turkey. I have visited Turkey three times, and I have found out that the party educates the people according to the correct teachings of Islam, and that it has wisdom, patience, intelligence, diplomacy, understanding of the reality, and mastery of international climate.

O Islamists, learn, and revise your reading. This is an advice from a brother who loves you, “I only desire (your) betterment to the best of my power; and my success (in my task) can only come from God. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look (Surah Hud, from Verse 88).”

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat (Internet Version-WWW) in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy. URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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