US Policy Towards Political Islam

US Policy Towards Political Islam

  • 22 April 2002

From the perspective of the perpetrators of the September 11
attacks and their supporters, the attacks on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon can be regarded as a success as they
managed to strike a painful blow against a major power. On the
other hand, they can be regarded as a failure, as the perpetrators
of the attacks have caused the destruction of the country that
had sheltered them, and by doing so possibly destroyed their
own organization and raised opposition worldwide. To help
international anti-terrorism forces prevail, the United States
has to move beyond the first phase of the war in order to
focus on the deeper sources of violence and political terrorism
in the “Islamic” world today. The lecture indicated that the
importance of political Islam nowadays is attributed, among
other matters, to the fact that most regimes in the Arab world
banned outside political parties; however, Islamic parties are
the biggest beneficiary of this truth. Prohibition of all Islamic
parties is a mistake usually committed by most regimes because
such Islamic movements resort to working underground later
on. In this regard, the best method of controlling such parties
is to allow them to operate if they do not commit to violence.
A classic case of error in this respect is the Algerian mistake
of trying to isolate the non-violent Islamists from the political
system. Political Islam is growing in the Middle East and Asia
Minor while it continues to develop and expand. Today, we
find different interpretations of political Islam, violent and
non-violent, in addition to radical and moderate, traditional
and modern. Further, Islamic parties have matured as they
acquire political expertise as they face political facts to which
they have to adjust their policies. Islamic parties face the
necessity of mulling over the meaning of Islam in the modern
politics. In this regard, the question if “Islam and democracy are
harmonious” prevails in the current debate, and many Islamists
think that they are so. The speaker reckoned that Islamists
will lose support if they fail to provide new ideas. Currently,
Islamists are rivaled on the political front – whether they be
nationalists, leftists or liberals – however such groups may
reemerge in the future, and appropriate the Islamists’ popularity
if the Islamists fail to find new policies or ideas.

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LECTURER

Monday 22 April 2002

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Monday 22 April 2002

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