This Blog contains articles of interest to me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Democracy In the Middle East

Dear Ibrahim,

Hi, I am Wazhma Frogh, working in Afghanistan. I am studying social sciences/anthropology at the American University of Afghanistan... i read your article and really support most of your ideas in terms of democracy... but at the end of the day democracy too is a political discourse that has been created for a certain purpose of a certain group maybe... the main thing is how humanity is saved midst of all chaos and me being and living in a namely democractic country while nothing is actually democratic and sometimes i think it cant be this way.....


Ibrahim Uyar wrote:

Democracy in Middle East
Ibrahim Uyar
Political Science Student

Today, there are 22 Arab countries in the world, and yet the number of those countries with substantially and democratically elected governments is sadly zero. All of these countries are governed with various systems with democratic elements, but not one of them could be classified as a democracy. Some of these systems have formed authoritarian structures under the strict rule of a cult-like party leader, a monarchal leader, or an emir.
Historically, one of the main obstacles in democratization lies in lingering sentiments toward colonialism in the Arab world by Britain, France and Italy. During the time of colonialism, the majority of Arabs were seeking social justice, social unity, and ways to repel Western oppression. Most of Arab-Muslim intellectuals opted to completely refuse the West, and they looked to alternative institutions that are regrettably authoritarian in character. Another historically-rooted obstacle in the democratization process is the impact on the Arab world of the Iranian Revolution, which was to many an inspiring reference of success for Islamic movements.
The most powerful obstacle impeding peace efforts and democratization in the Middle East, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its repercussions in the rest of the world, Arab and non-Arab alike. Without solving this problem, peace and democracy are nearly impossible. In this conflict, there are many problems that need to be addressed:
The occupied territories and the many ramifications that accompany them.
Jerusalem and its future as a capital for either or both sides.
Refugees’ rights and the right to return.
Borders that must be fair and respectful to both sides.
The future statehood – binational or two-state.

In addition to the inherent problems in the conflict, tensions are fueled by America’s unfair foreign policy and treatment of the Middle East. If peace and democracy are truly desired in the Middle East and the rest of the world, America ought to dedicate itself modifying its approach to provide a more balanced position. It is almost impossible to think of a peaceful and democratic Middle East without first solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and America has the potential to help immensely to that end. With current Middle East policy, America’s hegemonic and potentially-imperial ambitions are alienating a great deal of credibility among Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in the world. This conflict simply allows authoritarian regimes to maintain their security and restrict freedom in the name of national security. Regrettably, secular parties then lose their legitimacy or become gatekeepers of authoritarian regimes in part due to American support of corrupted and despotic Arab regimes.
America should start reforming its policies toward the Saudi Arabian monarchy, and from there work toward Egypt ending its military dictatorship before it is too late. Authoritarian regimes are huge obstructions to attempts at democracy. The first step is removing the dictator in order to permit a more lawful and inherently more democratic society. America must use nonmilitary approaches, such as diplomatic pressure, foreign aid, expansion of international radio and television supply, and immediate assistance to indigenous pro-democracy elements. Additionally, it would be a mistake to prohibit Islamist parties on the assumption that they are fundamentally undemocratic or subject to violence. The best way to marginalize violent radicals is to create room for as extensive a range of nonviolent viewpoint as possible. At the same time, emphasis should be placed on strengthening representation of minorities’ rights.
Western democracies should be kind and fair in sharing their knowledge of such areas as improving education, fighting corruption and promoting investment. Democracy will definitely come to the Arab world and replace old fashion political system, but the above-mentioned actions must be taken immediately. It is also worth mentioning since the Arab and Muslim world is so intertwined that Islam is a religion that contains moral principles, which cannot be changed; democracy on the other hand is a political ideology that can be adapted and applied into a Muslim government without arguing and criticizing Islam’s moral principles. If other democracies are to be borne in the Middle East, America must first take steps toward solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in a way that incorporates rather than alienates all elements of society, even those who espouse Islamic beliefs and support an Islamic-based government.
Democracies like any form of government have both pros and cons that come along with it. The form of democracy that is trying to be installed in the West Bank and Gaza strip is particularly problematic. The dilemma facing democracy for the Palestinian people is legitimacy. The main opposition to democracy, an Islamic State, gains legitimacy much easier. An Islamic State gains its legitimacy from the Islamic faith; promising equality, justice, social welfare, and order. A democracy gains legitimacy from both the people it governs and from other nations. Palestinian democracy is failing in both these categories.
The Palestinian people do not have faith in their governing body to lead effectively and, this can best be seen in the recent elections, in which the fundamentalist group Hamas won 74 of 132 parliamentary seats. According to President Jimmy Carter, who was present for the elections, exit polling showed that only 1% of the people supported instituting Islamic Law, and 73% supported a two-state solution with Israel (Carter pg. 185). The vote for Hamas contradicts Hamas’s goals as an organization; a fundamentalist group like Hamas cannot accept the existence of Israel, and wishes for Islamic Law. But because the Palestinian people did not have faith in the Fatah lead Palestinian Authority they have moved to the polar opposite.
Democracies are only liable to their people, not foreign powers. In this sense Western and Israeli actions undermine Palestinian democracy greatly. Israeli control over the economy and Palestinian budget display foreign influence on what should be controlled by a complete democracy. In 2005 $849 million of the Palestinian $2.15 billion budget came from Israel; this is the payment of taxes collected by the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. With Hamas’s election the Israelis have withheld this money as a form of collective punishment (Brown pg. 6). Here lies another problem with this democracy, in any true democracy the people’s options can not be limited. The election of a group that would like to abolish the system that gives them power, like Hamas, is a threat to the democratic system. But, a democracy cannot act in an authoritarian manner, and dissolve a parliament, or change election days due to the election of an unwanted party.
Israeli control over Palestinian movement, resources, and security all take legitimacy away from the Palestinian Authority. Israel also controls the Palestinian market place, as President Abbas explained to President Carter.
“Israel had taken more control of the consumer and production sectors of the area’s [West Bank] economy, making it an exclusive market for many Israeli products even among the local Palestinian citizen, who could not sell their own products in Israel, Jordan, or other Places (Carter pg. 183).”

Governing bodies must have complete sovereignty, the ability to control an economy, borders, and taxation cannot be controlled by external forces; the democracy that is being installed in Palestine is setup for failure, because it is undermined by external forces.
The ability for democracy and the Islamic religion to coexist is an issue for many; fundamentalists believe it is impossible for democracy and Islam to coexist. Fundamentalists view Islam as all encompassing, and because Islam is derived from God it is perfect, unlike the easy corruptible and imperfect laws of man. Muqtedar Khan, Director of international studies at Adrian College in Michigan, believes that Islam and democracy are not totally incompatible. He looks to the Quran for his evidence and says,
“While sovereignty belongs to God, it has been delegated in the form of human agency (Quran 2:30). The political task is to reflect on how this God-given agency can be best employed in creating a society that will bring welfare and goodness to the population ... God is sovereign in all affairs, but God has exercised sovereignty by delegating some of it in the form of human agency. God cannot become an excuse for installing and legitimizing governments that are not accountable to their citizens and responsive to their needs (USIP, pg. 5).”

Khan’s does not believe that Islam and democracy are one in the same, but does not want people to believe that the two are as incompatible as fundamentalists would have people believe. Another example of unity between democracy and Islam can be found in the compact of Medina, referred to by some scholars as Dustur al-Madina (the Constitution of Medina). When the Profit Muhammad created his Islamic state he ruled as the political head, because of a compact that was signed by Muslims from Mecca and Medina; and Jews of Medina. Khan points out that this compact is not a modern constitution but can be viewed as a “guiding principle (USIP, pg. 5).” A true democracy would give power to the Palestinian people; but the form exported to the region is inefficient, lacks of legitimacy, and is viewed as an opposition to the Islamic faith.
As it is in the best interests of the world community, more powerful nations have played very significant roles in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the subsequent peace efforts. Since 1973, America has given about $1.6 trillion dollars to Israel in terms of economic and military support meanwhile economic support for Palestine has averaged around $55 million dollars a year. Despite accusations of human rights violations, America currently gives Israel $3 billion dollars a year in military aid, a sharp contrast with the $0 dollars given to the Palestinian Authority for military aid (Miller, pg. 132). Current President George W. Bush has not detoured from the road that past Presidents have followed in the support of Israel. The current government has advocated democracy in the Middle East, particularly in this region. In January 2005, upon President Abbas election as President of the Palestinian National Authority, President Bush lauded the democratic efforts of Palestine (he previously denounced Yasser Arafat). In 2002, President Bush announced a plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian called “The Road Map” which, as of this date, has yet to bear any results.
The European Union as a whole seems to differ with the United States in terms of supporting a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union tends to view Israel as an occupying state in the West Bank and Gaza strip, therefore making it responsible for the political and social human rights violations (Bassam Al-Salhi, pg. 15). The European Union is seen as the leader of financial aid to Palestine giving over $400 million to rebuild Palestine internally (Asmus, pg. 52). The EU supports peace and democracy in the region, but calls on more of an effort from Israel to ensure peace and democracy in the region in addition to President Bush’s “Road Map.”
The United Nations has been criticized by many of the Zionist movement for focusing too much on Human rights. In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their property and land in Israel and to ensure that the bodies responsible for distributing property, such as the Jewish National Fund, not discriminate against the Arab population (Dershowitz, pg. 71). The UN Security Council has made many attempts to halt Israeli military operations in certain areas (such as Gaza). One resolution halting such actions condemned “the military operations being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Gaza Strip, in particular the attack that took place in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006, which have caused loss of civilian life and extensive destruction of Palestinian property and vital infrastructure (Dershowitz, pg. 72).” The United States, a powerful member of the Security Council, vetoed this resolution.
There are three key issues of the major powers that are delaying the peace process in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. One of the key problems is the United States role in the peace process between Israel and Palestine and its inability to display diplomatic strength (Kurtzer, pg. 41). Similarly to the peace efforts made at Camp David by President Bill Clinton, President Bush’s “Road Map” came to an abrupt dead end when Hamas was elected into the Palestinian government. Instead of discontinuing the effort, The United States must pursue the process of peace by holding both Palestine and Israel equally accountable for any breaches of peaceful efforts. The United States seems too quick to denounce the actions of Palestine, while never quite fully holding Israel accountable for its actions.
The second key issue is the lack of uniformity. The European Union along with the United Nations differ from the United States in their ideologies to the handling of the situation between Israel and Palestine. One criticism from the EU towards the US is that the US has been too biased in regards to peace between Israel and Palestine (Bassam Al-Salhi, pg. 15). The idea of a possible induction of Israel into the EU to curb its policies and help persuade the United States to take more action seems to be becoming more of a viable option. Greater disparity between the major powers positions on the issue will not aid the progress of peace talks between Israel and Palestine. In order for there to be peace between Palestine and Israel, these major powers must come to a consensus on handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Finally, the third issue is the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine which has stalled peace and democratic efforts. Democracy can be effective in Palestine, but in order for it to be effective there must be an attempt to create peace between these two territories. It is not the flaws of democracy that lead to the problems in Palestine, but the inability of the government to be effective. Democracies represent the needs of the people, but in the case of Palestine, the people’s frustration with the government’s lack of action in dealing with the Israeli occupation has fostered violent behavior. The major necessity of the Palestinian people, which is to have a solution to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, can only be attained through a resolution of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.
Even with help from the West, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict contains many important aspects that must be addressed in order to attain the most democratic and peaceful results. Perhaps the most pressing of these problems – as without this, none of the other problems can be fully addressed – is the question of whether a unified binational state should emerge in Palestine, or if Israel should remain a Jewish state and a state of Palestine should emerge separately.
If democracy is to endure in the land of Palestine, all aspects of the peace process must be addressed in a democratic manner. Thus, it is important to strive for the solution that most Palestinians and Israelis support. In a March 2007 poll of roughly 1,200 Palestinians (in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), 46.7 percent preferred the idea of a two-state solution to that of a binational one. Only 26.5 preferred a binational state on all of historic Palestine, and the rest preferred other solutions by smaller margins. The idea of a binational state is in some ways more democratic than a two-state solution, primarily in that it would encourage unity and bargaining between Israelis and Palestinians since they would have to work together to maintain a government. However, it has always been the less popular of the two main options. The strongest opposition to the idea of a binational state comes from Israelis who realize in a single-state solution, they would no longer live in a “Jewish state.” They would be living in a combined Arab-Jewish state, and if population trends continue at current rates, Palestinians will already outnumber Jews in Israel and the occupied territories by roughly 2020, even if a solution is not attained. In that scenario, the Israeli government would be forced to decide if it would maintain its status as a Jewish state – and in so doing, basically become an apartheid state – or if it would accept a future as a non-Jewish state – and in so doing, become a fully democratic state. Thus, the idea of a two-state solution is more appealing to Israelis just as much as it is to Palestinians.
Since the two-state solution is popular with quite a mandate among both sides, and is in the best interests of all parties involved, the other details of peace are able to be negotiated later. Additionally, they can be negotiated in a democratic fashion by America acting as a third party negotiator and affording equal and fair treatment to both sides. If representatives from both sides of the conflict can be brought together and can agree on the idea of a two-state solution, the rest of the issues (refugees, borders, Jerusalem, etc.) can be discussed and solved in a mutually agreeable fashion.
Regardless of the long-term solution to the conflict, whether one-state or two-state, democracy will serve as an integral part of its success. In a one-state solution, democracy would be evident in the equal cooperation and incorporation of both Israelis and Palestinians into the governmental process. In a two-state solution, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine would become interdependent on one another in pursuing a lasting and prosperous peace. For much of history, democracies have demonstrated that there are peaceful and diplomatic ways to reconcile difference without resorting to violence and warfare. The overwhelming support on both sides for an amicable two-state solution to the conflict demonstrates that there is a willingness in the land of Palestine to strive toward a just and peaceful democracy. Furthermore, the successful solving of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would serve as a model for the rest of the Middle East and is the best possible chance of achieving peace and democracy in the rest of the area and even the rest of the world. The attainment of peace is part of the necessary groundwork for functioning democracies, and the democratic elements in both Israeli and Palestinian societies will in turn help foster stability and civil society.

Be a better Heartthrob. Get better relationship answers from someone who knows.
Yahoo! Answers - Check it out.


Actually, it appears that Martin Kramer is "senior Middle East advisor to the Giuliani campaign."JonOn Wed, Sep 12, 2007 04:05 PM, Mohammad Fadel wrote:
v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
st1\:*{behavior:url(#default#ieooui) }

Your post is excellent. I am coming to believe, unfortunately, that this is an extremely dangerous movement. Rudy Giulani, who may very well be the next President of the United States, has Horowitz as his national security adviser, and uses the term frequently. My suspicion is that his entire campaign will be about “Islamofascism.” Of course, Rudy himself displays many of the characteristics of the fascism you described in your post. We can only watch and pray.

Mohammad Fadel
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

(416) 946-0589 (office)
(416) 978-7899 (fax)
From: Section for the study of Islam, American Academy of Religion [mailto:ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Dr. G. MarranciSent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:58 PMTo: ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDUSubject: Re: [ISLAMAAR] David Horowitz "Declares" Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week on Campus

Dear all,I have tried to engage with a comment on my personal blog http://marranci.wordpress.com/ with Horowitz&Co. after three days they have not answered, commented or even tried to reply my questions. Coming from a family who lived Fascism from both the side (as oppressed and oppressors, see the post for more) I think that I needed to explain in a clear way my total opposition to the term Islamo-Fascism itself Ramadan Mubarak to all Gabriele
On 10/09/2007, James S. Pasto <jpasto@bu.edu > wrote:
This defination makes it worse in my view: it is too abstract, too broad, too personified. It sounds like "the Jews" or "Islam" or "the Orient" in other contexts, and, like these, it has shades of collective guilt and demonization. On top of it, you apply it selectively; but in the terms of the your descriptions we could also say that "the West" exploited European immigrant wage workers and busted miners unions in 1920s Virgina; "the West" put Italians and Italian Americans (yes, and some Germans) in concentration camps during WWII; "the West" colonized the Irish, shipped them to the United States, conscripted them into civil war, put them in eastern slumes, and then burned down their churches. Dosen't this sound ridiculous; it does to me. Where does "the West" end and the other demons start? Mind you: I don't defend any of the negative events you pointed out. I just don't think "the West" did them. Same goes for the positive things.
Let's try to think of another way of thinking and talking about these things.
I'm not part of any West; I'm from Southern Italy (smile).
Quoting Tugrul Keskin <tugrulk@VT.EDU>:> The argument about about Horowitz in reverse is an interesting one. However,> I should have been more clear regarding exactly what I meant by "the West."> My thoughts on the West are as follows:>> 'The West' to me is the broad entity that is responsible for occupying> Vietnam. In this context, the West killed 2 million Vietnamese and> permanently wounded more than 300,000 others with 30 per cent disability. At> the same time, there were half a million defective births as a result of> Agent Orange gas and another 3 million innocent people victims of Agent> Orange. 58,000 Americans died and 75,000 were severely disabled.>> The West is responsible for occupying Iraq a century ago in order to protect> Western interests, thus, creating this mess we have today in the Middle> East. The West supported the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein against> Iran, resulting in 500.000 deaths. The West also has produced 80% of the> world's total land mines (Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, the former> Soviet Union, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States) and many> millions of people have been killed or disabled, from Afghanistan to Africa.>> The West occupied Iraq in 2002 in order to install a so-called> democracy, like British did at the beginning of 20th century. But the real> meaning behind the occupation was not democracy, it was exploitation and> Colonialization. As a result of the occupation, according to Britain's most> respected medical journal, The Lancet in October 2006, 654,965 Iraqi> citizens had been killed (at least 392,979 and as many as 942,636). In June> 2007, these numbers totaled 785,957 Iraqi civilian deaths and 1,414,723> serious injuries.>> The West is responsible for failing to help the poor of New Orleans in the> aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Many poor people of New Orleans have sine> moved to Texas and have been staying in shelters following the disaster.>> The West is responsible for not helping the Rwandan people and the result> was more than half a million deaths. This is because the Rwandans did not> have oil and also because they are blacks. The West also supported the> South African apartheid regime for 30 years, and has supported Light Islam -> Ilimli Islam (a Green belt project by the CIA) against the Soviets in order> to create an Islamic resistance against atheist and anti-capitalist regimes.> The result has been the creation of its own enemy such as Dr. Jekyll and> Frankenstein; also similar to Al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden. This was an> unintended consequences of Western imperialism.>> The West is responsible for killing 6 million Jews and 600.000 gypsies under> the Third Reich. The West put Japanese-Americans into reservation camps> during WWII; on the other hand why they did not put German-Americans into> camps, perhaps because of race?>> The West is also responsible for having killed the democratically elected> Chilean President, Salvador Allende, in addition to overthrowing the> Mussadiq Regime in Iran and installing a puppet, the Shah; as is the case in> Iraq and Afghanistan today.>> The definition of the West can go on longer than you can imagine. The West> as I have tried to define it here is not a geographical location, but it is> rather an ideology or mentality of racism, imperialism and colonialism. This> can be in the East or in the West. To me, there is no difference between> people who are suffering under the occupation of Iraq and people in New> Orleans who have suffered from poverty and exclusion.>> I think the West is the empire as Negri defines it, or what Neil Smith> refers to as the American Empire or it may be Saddam Regime in the east or> Pol Pot in Cambodia.>> On the other hand, there is another West that is known to promote equality,> modernity, human rights and to do so without Orientalist and Imperialistic> interests. The West in this case is an entity to be admired, whom I enjoy> learning from; such as the Frankfurt school, the American Civil Liberty> Union, or such figureheads as Amy Goodman from www.democracynow.org or> Amnesty International, or Howard Zinn, Norman Finkelstein or Ward Churchill> or Marx or Hannah Arendt or Weber. The list goes on.>> Is this Horowitz in reverse? I don't think so. The mirror reflects the image> itself. I also consider myself as a Western-oriented person, but oriented> towards the ideal of the West not the West as it is in practice, as I have> tried to explain above.>> With peace, but not the Western-imposed peace on the Japanese at the end of> WW II.>> Which West do you consider yourselves to be a part of?>>> Best to all,>> tugrul>>>>>>> On 9/9/07 8:54 AM, "James Pasto" <jpasto@BU.EDU> wrote:>>> Dear Vernon,>>>> My post was general with respect to the post from Tugral Keshkin. Two quotes>> caught my attention:>>>> "Imperialism, Colonialism, Orientalism and the exclusion of others has been>> hidden within the culture of racism in the West.">>>> And (especially)>>>> "The new enemy is Islam and the next one might be China unless, racism as>> an ideology created in the West diminishes from people's minds and tolerance>> starts to flourish in its absence">>>> There was also the list of selective, exclusive Others - "niggers...dirty>> Mexicans...uncivilized Africans...and greedy Chinese," which are claimed to>> be equivalent to calling someone an "Islamofacist.">>>> I referred to this as essentializing and labeling. It recreates the colonial>> boundaries it claims to refute. It doesn't' change the subject with>> Horowitz; the subject was, for me, Horowitz in reverse.>>>> Peace,>>>> James>>>>>>>> -----Original Message----->> From: Section for the study of Islam, American Academy of Religion>> [mailto:ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Vernon Schubel>> Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 5:10 PM>> To: ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU>> Subject: Re: [ISLAMAAR] David Horowitz "Declares" Islamo-Fascism Awareness>> Week on Campus>>>> Dear Prof. Pasto:>>>> To whom is your post directed. I didn't hear anyone in this thread>> deny that only the West could be hegemonic. Intolerance is unfortunately>> everywhere. It is interesting to note that only "the West" came up with>> plantation slavery based on skin color. But intolerance has been>> everywhere at some point and to some degree. I don't see how that>> changes the subject from Horowitz.>>>> Selamlar,>>>> Vernon>>>>>>>> James Pasto wrote:>>> I have to be honest, here; it irks me when in rejecting (rightly)>>> Islamofacist and other essentializing practices, you fall right into more>>> essentializing and labeling.>>>>>> So, it is only in "the West," that labeling occurs or occurred? So is it>>> only these selected "Others" who are labeled? What about "Dagos" and>>> "Micks?" The Spanish Empire included southern Italy. The British Empire>>> included Ireland (and still does according to some people). The slave>> trade>>> went both ways. Did Hindus and Muslims never labeled conquered-others?>> Were>>> Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians "westerners" then?>>>>>> Are you really putting forth the idea that racism and intolerance are>>> products of "the West?">>>>>> This sounds like David Horowitz in reverse? And I thought he was "the>>> reverser.">>>>>> How on earth do we get out of this thinking the thinking is just like>> this?>>>>>> Peace,>>>>>> Jim Pasto>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -----Original Message----->>> From: Section for the study of Islam, American Academy of Religion>>> [mailto:ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Vernon Schubel>>> Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 11:00 PM>>> To: ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU>>> Subject: Re: [ISLAMAAR] David Horowitz "Declares" Islamo-Fascism Awareness>>> Week on Campus>>>>>> Friends,>>>>>> Mea Culpa. I thought I was sending this to the Sociology of Islam list>>> because>>> I saw Prof. Keskin's name. Sorry to have repeated some of my earlier>>> statements>>> on the AAR list.>>>>>> Selamlar again,>>>>>> Vernon>>>>>>>>>>>> Quoting Tugrul Keskin <tugrulk@VT.EDU>:>>>>>>>>>> First of all, the idea of 'Islamofascism' or the labeling of others is>> not>>>>>>> a>>>>>>> New phenomenon to the West. Imperialism, Colonialism, Orientalism and the>>>> exclusion of others has been hidden within the culture of racism in the>>>> West.>>>>>>>> For example, 'nigger' is a term that is not a different than calling>>>> others 'Islamofascist.' The definition of this word may be equated>>>> with nigger, or the 'macaca nation' (remember George Allen's comment>>>> regarding>>>> the Macaca nation), also similar to 'dirty Mexican,' or 'uncivilized>>>> Africans,'>>>> 'greedy Chinese' and a long list of others as a product of imperialist>> and>>>> racist thought.>>>>>>>> Secondly, lately in the US, some scholars are using the terms Liberal and>>>> Fundamentalist Islam to differentiate between 'good Islam' and 'bad>> Islam'>>>> -in order to define the interest of imperialism.>>>>>>>> Actually, to me it is more accurate to remove the first two words from>>>>>>> this>>>>>>> orientalistic (re-)definition and use only the word Islam. The text of>> the>>>> religion is the same in all cases, it is not different from in the>> Sahaba,>>>> Andulus or Ottoman period.>>>>>>>> Therefore, I do not think it is good idea to identify Islam as liberal or>>>> fundamentalist, these terms apply only to people, not to the religion>>>> itself.>>>> We may use progressive Muslims, not progressive Islam. Islam is what it>>>>>>> is.>>>>>>> Whether Islam is fundamentalist (bad Islam) or liberal (good Islam),>> Islam>>>> is>>>> a threat to Imperialism, because imperialism is based on the idea>>>> of the creating enemy in order to survive and exploit the people (like in>>>> Iraq today).>>>> The new enemy is Islam and the next one might be China unless, racism as>>>>>>> an>>>>>>> ideology>>>> created in the West diminishes from people's minds and tolerance starts>> to>>>> flourish>>>> in its absence. However, after listening to presidential candidate>>>>>>> Tancredo,>>>>>>> I am a>>>> little pessimistic about this artificial flourishing.>>>>>>>> I think we should all begin to celebrate the Islamofascism Awareness Week>>>>>>> at>>>>>>> the DePaul University where the tenure of Norman Finkelstein was denied.>>>>>>>> tugrul>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -->>>> Tugrul Keskin>>>>>>>> Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University>>>> Department of Sociology>>>> 560 McBryde Hall>>>> Blacksburg, VA 24061 - USA>>>> Cell:202-378-8606>>>> http://www.vt.edu>>>>>>>> " You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.>>>> Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.">>>>>>>> Malcolm X>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 9/6/07 10:56 AM, "Daniel Martin Varisco">> <Daniel.M.Varisco@HOFSTRA.EDU>>>>> wrote:>>>>>>>>>>>>> Mohammed,>>>>> Thank you for this eloquent rejoinder. The problem we face as>>>>>>>>> scholars>>>>>>>>> and or practitioners who know something about the historical and>>>>>>>>> contemporary>>>>>>>>> diversity of a religion-made-into-a-culture called "Islam" is that our>>>>>>>>> efforts>>>>>>>>> at showing nuance are anathema to those with an ideological agenda that>>>>>>>>> blinds>>>>>>>>> them to the dangers of their own fear-mongering. In my quite>>>>>>>> intentionally>>>>>>>> sarcastic Tabsir ( http://tabsir.net/?p=305) retort to the ludicrous>>>>>>>>> Horowitz>>>>>>>>> campus blitz to discredit Islam by reducing it to a form of fascism, I>>>>>>>>> became>>>>>>>>> the recipient of a flurry (at least for the blog) of negative comments>>>>>>>> from>>>>>>>> Spencer and Horowitz supporters who automatically equated criticism of a>>>>> loaded term like "Islamofascism" with either a defense of terrorist acts>>>>>>>> or>>>>>>> a>>>>>>>>> naivete that encourages a supposed global enemy. It is interesting>>>>>>>> (not>>>>>>> in a>>>>>>>>> very positive sense) to look at some of the comments to the post for>>>>>>>> their>>>>>>>> failure to distinguish between actions done by a few politically>>>>>>>> motivated>>>>>>>> individuals in the name of a religion (9/11 for example) and what the>>>>>>>> vast>>>>>>>> majority of Muslims believe and do, not to mention the widespread>>>>>>>>> condemnation>>>>>>>>> of such acts by Muslims. Fascism is fascism. There is nothing inherent>>>>>>>> in>>>>>>>> Islam that breeds terrorism any more than there has been in the>>>>>>>> progressive>>>>>>>> evolution of Judaism or Christianity or Hinduism or secularism. The St.>>>>> Bartholomew's Day massacre is hardly the essence of Catholic>>>>>>>> Christianity,>>>>>>> nor>>>>>>>>> for that matter the political motivations in the Crusades. And>>>>>>>> certainly>>>>>>>> oppression of women, a fundamental concern of every Women's Studies>>>>>>>> Program>>>>>>> I>>>>>>>>> know, is not confined to any specific culture or religion. Ideologues>>>>>>>> who>>>>>>>> live in societies with glass ceilings should not throw stones... Abuse>>>>>>>> is>>>>>>>> abuse, no matter how it is justified. Violence is violence, no matter>>>>>>>> how>>>>>>> it>>>>>>>>> is spun in anger and frustration and revenge. I categorically condemn>>>>>>>> it,>>>>>>> as>>>>>>>>> I suspect does just about everyone else on this list. This is an>>>>>>>> important>>>>>>>> issue, since Horowitz, Pipes and their allies seek to discredit scholars>>>>>>>>> who>>>>>>>>> do not share their agenda of hate and misinformation. So I invite>>>>>>>>> colleagues>>>>>>>>> to post their thoughts on all this somewhere (the blog Tabsir is open to>>>>>>>>> all>>>>>>>>> who have something informative to say).>>>>>>>>>> Dan>>>>>>>>>> Daniel Martin Varisco>>>>> Chair and Professor Anthropology>>>>> Hofstra University>>>>> Hempstead, NY 11549>>>>> Daniel.M.Varisco@hofstra.edu>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Sep 6, 2007, at 1:11 PM, Mohammad Fadel wrote:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thank you for forwarding this. The statement, however, does not seem>>>>>>>>> to>>>>>>> get>>>>>>>>>> us very far. How is one to distinguish between a ³believing² Muslim>>>>>>>>> and a>>>>>>>>> ³fundamentalist² Muslim when many accuse observant Muslims ­ because of>>>>>>>>>> their>>>>>>>>>> observance of historically orthodox Islamic norms ­ of being>>>>>> ³fundamentalists.² It is my general impression (although I am happy to>>>>>>>>> be>>>>>>>>> corrected) that Women Living under Muslim Laws falls into the same>>>>>>>>>> category>>>>>>>>>> of those who claim to distinguish between ³believing² Muslims and>>>>>> ³fundamentalists,² but in fact end up making no such distinction in>>>>>>>>>> practice>>>>>>>>>> other than to imply that outward manifestations of Islam, e.g. wearing>>>>>>>>> a>>>>>>>>> head-scarf in the case of woman, growing a beard in the case of a man,>>>>>>>>> or>>>>>>>>> observing daily prayers, especially in a mosque, are prima facie>>>>>>>>> evidence>>>>>>> of>>>>>>>>>> fundamentalism, and therefore can be legitimately repressed. Moreover,>>>>>> accepting the political rights of religiously-based groups within a>>>>>> constitutional framework does not constitute ³support² or ³endorsement²>>>>>>>>> of>>>>>>>>> that group¹s political agenda, merely recognition of their political>>>>>> membership in that society. That is surely what WIB meant when it>>>>>> recognized Hamas as the legitimate victor in Palestinian elections.>>>>>> Presumably, in any society in which ordinary ³believing² Muslims>>>>>>>>> exist,>>>>>>> one>>>>>>>>>> would expect that the expectations of such citizens would influence>>>>>>>>>> political>>>>>>>>>> outcomes. Yet, this statement seems to posit the existence of good>>>>>> ³believing² Muslims whose convictions are politically irrelevant and>>>>>>>>> evil>>>>>>>>> fundamentalists who conspire to seek political power. This very>>>>>>>>> dichotomy>>>>>>> is>>>>>>>>>> precisely that which supports the Islamo-fascist movement, hence her>>>>>> reticence in opposing it. In western democracies, no such dichotomy is>>>>>> assumed to exist in believers. Instead, what is at issue is the>>>>>>>>>> particular>>>>>>>>>> claims made by individual citizens, and whether those claims can be>>>>>> constitutionally accommodated. In other words, we do not attempt to>>>>>>>>>> condemn>>>>>>>>>> the religious right as ³Christo-fascists² and on that basis exclude>>>>>>>>> them>>>>>>> from>>>>>>>>>> the political process. Instead, we have a political and judicial>>>>>>>>> system>>>>>>> that>>>>>>>>>> operates to ensure (or tries to, sometimes more or less successfully)>>>>>>>>> to>>>>>>>>> limit political claims of religious groups to areas that are>>>>>>>>>> constitutionally>>>>>>>>>> permissible. There is no reason why precisely the same approach cannot>>>>>>>>> be>>>>>>>>> used with Muslim groups in the west. That, however, means recognizing>>>>>>>>>> their>>>>>>>>>> full rights to religious freedom on an equal basis as other groups,>>>>>>>>>> something>>>>>>>>>> that Horowitz (and perhaps Muslims Living under Muslim Laws) are>>>>>>>>> unwilling>>>>>>> to>>>>>>>>>> tolerate, albeit for different reasons. Both agree on the need to>>>>>>>>>> suppress>>>>>>>>>> public manifestations of Islam, and in that, they share many of the>>>>>>>>> same>>>>>>>>> views of Islam and Muslims. It is not surprising that they use the>>>>>>>>> same>>>>>>>>> rhetoric, as exhibited by the debate inCanada regarding use of Islamic>>>>>>>>> law>>>>>>> in>>>>>>>>>> the arbitration of family law disputes. Indeed, Daniel Pipes rejoiced>>>>>>>>> in>>>>>>> the>>>>>>>>>> outcome of that debate. So, forgive me if I am a little skeptical of>>>>>>>>>> their>>>>>>>>>> attempt to distance themselves from Horowitz et al.>>>>>>>>>>>> Best regards,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Mohammad Fadel>>>>>> Assistant Professor of Law>>>>>> University of Toronto Faculty of Law>>>>>> 78 Queen's Park>>>>>> Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5>>>>>> Canada>>>>>>>>>>>> (416) 946-0589 (office)>>>>>> (416) 978-7899 (fax)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: Section for the study of Islam, American Academy of Religion>>>>>> [mailto:ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Danielle Widmann Abraham>>>>>> Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 11:41 AM>>>>>> To: ISLAMAAR@LISTS.PSU.EDU>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ISLAMAAR] David Horowitz "Declares" Islamo-Fascism>>>>>>>>> Awareness>>>>>>>>> Week on Campus>>>>>>>>>>>> Concerning the "islamo-fascist awareness week" - below are some>>>>>>>>> thoughts>>>>>>>>> from Marieme Hélie-Lucas, long time>>>>>> coordinator of the European Bureau of Women Living Under Muslim Laws,>>>>>>>>> for>>>>>>>>> those of you who are interested in following this issu.>>>>>>>>>>>> [originally sent to Women In Black international list, and forwarded>>>>>>>>> with>>>>>>>>> Marieme's permission.]>>>>>>>>>>>> Danielle>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> _________________________________________________________________________>>>>>>>>> Dear friends in WIB,>>>>>>>>>>>> In response to the mail alerting us about this event against 'islamo>>>>>> fascism' led by conservative forces, I think there is a need for>>>>>> clarification from us, who lived under 'islamo fascism' :>>>>>>>>>>>> First of all, let me say that the term 'islamo fascism' has been>>>>>>>>> initially>>>>>>>>> coined by Algerian people struggling for democracy, against armed>>>>>> fundamentalist forces decimating people in our country, then later>>>>>>>>>> operating>>>>>>>>>> in Europe, where a number of us had taken refuge.>>>>>> For us, it has never been equated to Islam, but it points at>>>>>>>>>> fundamentalists>>>>>>>>>> only : i.e. at political forces working under the cover of religion in>>>>>>>>>> order>>>>>>>>>> to gain political power and to impose a theocracy ( The Law - singular>>>>>>>>> ->>>>>>> of>>>>>>>>>> God, unchangeable, a-historical, interpreted by self appointed old men)>>>>>> over democracy ( i.e. the laws - plural - voted by the people and>>>>>>>>>> changeable>>>>>>>>>> by the will of the people).>>>>>>>>>>>> For fundamentalists indeed are ideologically close to fascism/nazism.>>>>>>>>> Of>>>>>>>>> course one cannot equate Muslim fundamentalism to fascism because those>>>>>> phenomena happened in different times and history. However, there are>>>>>> similarities that should ring a bell to our ears : just like fascists,>>>>>> Muslim fundamentalists believe not in a superior race but in a superior>>>>>> creed, like nazis they believe that non believers or 'kofr' are>>>>>> 'untermensch' ( some of them even used this very term !) that should be>>>>>> physically eliminated ( and please please please remember that it is'>>>>>> Muslims' who do not adhere with their version of Islam that are first>>>>>> targeted by Muslim fundamentalists and are their first victims); like>>>>>> fascists they believe in a mythical past ( whether the Ancient Rome of>>>>>>>>> the>>>>>>>>> Golden Age of Islam) that justifies their superiority ; like fascists>>>>>>>>> they>>>>>>>>> are pro-capitalists; like fascists they put women in their place (>>>>>>>>> church,>>>>>>>>> kitchen and cradle); etc...>>>>>> This is why we called them 'islamo fascists'.>>>>>>>>>>>> The fact that this term has now been recuperated by the Right and even>>>>>>>>> the>>>>>>>>> Far Right, in order to express plain racism against supposedly>>>>>>>>> 'Muslim'>>>>>>>>> people is terrible and should of course be combatted.>>>>>> However we have seen over and over again in Europe well meaning people>>>>>> siding - de facto - with fundamentalists, in the name of defence of>>>>>> 'Muslims' or of 'Islam', and walking hand in hand with them in>>>>>> demonstrations.>>>>>> I therefore urge you to carefully plan how you are going to oppose the>>>>>> 'awareness week on islamo fascism,' in ways that will support the>>>>>>>>>> democratic>>>>>>>>>> forces and women within Muslim countries, and NOT reinforce the>>>>>> fundamentalist fascist forces.>>>>>> Please remember that fundamentalist forces are those who slaughter>>>>>>>>> women>>>>>>>>> everywhere in Muslim countries and communities, those who promote war>>>>>>>>> not>>>>>>>>> peace. You cannot support them in the name of anti racism and human>>>>>>>>> rights>>>>>>>>> without signing our own death penalty at the same time.>>>>>>>>>>>> If you demonstrate, as i hope you will, please>>>>>> - SUPPORT democratic anti fundamentalist forces in our countries, do>>>>>>>>> not>>>>>>> let>>>>>>>>>> fundamentalist forces manipulate you in the name of human rights.>>>>>> - Make a clear cut difference between 1. migrants from Muslim>>>>>>>>> countries,>>>>>>>>> 2.Muslim believers ( who are the only ones who should be called>>>>>>>>>> 'Muslims'),>>>>>>>>>> 3. Islam, and 4. fundamentalists: these are different categories that>>>>>> cannot be intermingled without playing into fundamentalists' game, and>>>>>> against women.>>>>>>>>>>>> I take this opportunity to let all of you know how hurt and angry i was>>>>>>>>>> when>>>>>>>>>> a statement was discussed at the end of the WIB meeting in Valencia,>>>>>>>>> that,>>>>>>>>> in its first paragraph, supported Hamas as the legitimate winner of the>>>>>> 'democratic' elections of 2006.>>>>>> It is one thing to say that western governments used a supposedly>>>>>> antifundamentalist stance to play their own game in the Middle Eats. It>>>>>>>>> is>>>>>>>>> one thing to say that Palestinian people have a right to self>>>>>>>>>> determination.>>>>>>>>>> But, as a women's organization, it is another thing to support Hamas.>>>>>>>>> As>>>>>>>>> women against war, it is another thing to equate a democratic process>>>>>>>>> with>>>>>>>>> democracy and ignore the consequences on women...>>>>>> Let me explain my point : 'democracy' has to meanings; 1. it describes>>>>>>>>> a>>>>>>>>> process of political representation through the vote of all citizens,>>>>>>>>> and>>>>>>> 2.>>>>>>>>>> it also represents an ideal of justice, equity and equality . So far>>>>>> parliamentary democracy ( i.e. the vote of all the people) is better,>>>>>>>>>> more>>>>>>>>>> just, more representative of the people, than monarchy ( the rule of>>>>>>>>> one>>>>>>>>> leader), or oligarchy ( the rule of a selected group), etc... But we>>>>>>>>>> should>>>>>>>>>> not confuse the means - elections - with the aim - a just society. Yes,>>>>>> elections are generally the imperfect but best way to come closer to a>>>>>>>>>> more>>>>>>>>>> just society - however sometimes the people make a very wrong choice>>>>>>>>> that>>>>>>>>> denies justice to a part of the people : one should remember that>>>>>>>>> Hitler>>>>>>> was>>>>>>>>>> legally elected . Despite the fact that the rule of electoral process>>>>>>>>> had>>>>>>>>> been respected, his reign in Germany cannot be counted as a phase of>>>>>> democracy i.e. more just society - definitely not for Jews, Gypsies,>>>>>>>>> gays,>>>>>>>>> disabled people, communists and political opponents in general.>>>>>> One of us in Valencia was a Palestinian lesbian citizen of Israel : you>>>>>> cannot pretend to igniore the fact that, had she lived under Hamas'>>>>>>>>> rule,>>>>>>>>> she would not have been with us, nor would have she been alive. To me,>>>>>>>>>> very>>>>>>>>>> clearly, signing a statement in favor of Hamas was signing her death>>>>>>>>>> penalty>>>>>>>>>> in the name of the rights of the Palestinian people, which we all stand>>>>>>>>>> for.>>>>>>>>>> How could WIB do that ? How could WIB agree to a hierarchy of rights>>>>>>>>> in>>>>>>>>> which people's rights, minority rights, religious rights, cultural>>>>>>>>> rights,>>>>>>>>> etc... supercede women's rights? in which women's rights are subsumed>>>>>>>>> to>>>>>>> all>>>>>>>>>> these other rights?>>>>>>>>>>>> We, women, have to invent ways to defend basic human rights and>>>>>>>>> democracy,>>>>>>>>> to combat racism and discrimination, without trading the rights and>>>>>>>>> often>>>>>>>>> the lives of our sisters in doing so.>>>>>> It is a complex task, no doubt. But i do hope that WIB will face the>>>>>> challenge.>>>>>> The opposition to this event in the USA that confuses a whole>>>>>>>>> population>>>>>>> of>>>>>>>>>> migrant descent with Muslim fundamentalists would be a good opportunity>>>>>>>>> to>>>>>>>>> design ways to face the challenge. Thanks in advance to all of those>>>>>>>>> who>>>>>>>>> will at least make the attempt !>>>>>>>>>>>> All the best to all of you>>>>>>>>>>>> marieme helie lucas>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 8/29/07, Daniel Martin Varisco <Daniel.M.Varisco@hofstra.edu>>>>>> Daniel.M.Varisco@hofstra.edu> > wrote:>>>>>>>>>>>> Colleagues,>>>>>>>>>>>> I take it as a good sign that Mr. Horowitz feels the need to>>>>>>>>> create>>>>>>> an>>>>>>>>>> Islamo-fascist awareness week and target Women's Studies Centers. I>>>>>>>>> had>>>>>>>>> naively assumed that the Islamophobic bias out there was so entrenched>>>>>>>>>> that>>>>>>>>>> such a week would be a waste of time. Maybe what we are doing is>>>>>>>>> having>>>>>>> an>>>>>>>>>> effect on campuses... At any rate, for those interested in a retort>>>>>>>>>> (which>>>>>>>>>> may be an exercise in equal inanity), I have posted about this slam>>>>>>>>> drunk>>>>>>>>> crusade on Tabsir today ( http://tabsir.net <http://tabsir.net> /).>>>>>>>>>> Comments>>>>>>>>>> invited on the blog.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dan>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Daniel Martin Varisco>>>>>>>>>>>> Chair and Professor Anthropology>>>>>>>>>>>> Hofstra University>>>>>>>>>>>> Hempstead, NY 11549>>>>>>>>>>>> Daniel.M.Varisco@hofstra.edu Daniel.M.Varisco@hofstra.edu>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Aug 29, 2007, at 6:54 AM, David Fideler wrote:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dear Friends,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Whether this makes you laugh or weep, or a combination of>>>>>>>>>>>> both, this is a must-read:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=59>>>>>>>>>> < http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=59>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As is a click through to the original web page.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> If only Michael Moore would make a film about this event.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> David Fideler>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -->>>> Tugrul Keskin>>>>>>>> Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University>>>> Department of Sociology>>>> 560 McBryde Hall>>>> Blacksburg, VA 24061 - USA>>>> Cell:202-378-8606>>>> http://www.vt.edu>>>>>>>> " You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.>>>> Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.">>>>>>>> Malcolm X>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --> Tugrul Keskin>> Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University> Department of Sociology> 560 McBryde Hall> Blacksburg, VA 24061 - USA> Cell:202-378-8606> http://www.vt.edu>> " You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.> Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.">> Malcolm X>
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dr. Gabriele Marranci Lecturer in the Anthropology of Religion College of Arts and Social Sciences School of Divinity, History and Philosophy University of Aberdeen, King's College Aberdeen, AB24 3UB. Office: +44 (0)1224-273112 Fax: +44 (0) 1224-273750 http://www.abdn.ac.uk/divinity/staff/details.php?id=g.marranci Founding Editor of Contemporary Islam: www.springer.com/journal/11562 Blog: http://www.tabsir.net/ *****************************Jonathan E. BrockoppDepartment of History and Religious StudiesPennsylvania State University406 Weaver BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802 Phone: 814-863-1338 Fax: 814-863-7840http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/e/jeb38/