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  • Author: Eric Trager
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Low Salafist turnout for this week's constitutional referendum could signal a broad base of support for growing jihadist violence against the post-Morsi government. The January 14-15 referendum on Egypt's draft constitution is being billed as a referendum on the military's July 3 ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Morsi. Yet the vote is unlikely to alter the country's short-term political trajectory: no matter the results, the military-backed government will continue repressing pro-Morsi forces, who will in turn continue resisting a process they view as illegitimate. The extent to which Salafists participate in the referendum may have longer-term implications, however. High Salafist turnout would suggest an embrace of the Nour Party's decision to participate in the post-Morsi process, whereas low turnout would reflect strong feelings of disenfranchisement that could lead more Salafists to embrace jihadism.
  • Topic: Religion, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Habib Sayah
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Tunisia's Islamists reaffirm their cohesiveness, the country's contentious politics have worn out many voters and dulled their interest in democratic participation, making abstention the most likely winner of this year's elections. Last week, 39,000 members of Tunisia's leading Islamist faction, Ennahda, took part in an internal referendum to decide whether to postpone their next national congress, where a new party executive board is typically chosen. More than 70 percent of the members agreed to maintain the party's cohesiveness in order to focus on winning the next round of legislative elections rather than risk exposing internal divisions. In contrast, the various parties in the secular opposition remain disorganized and divided by their ambitions -- months after helping to pressure the Ennahda-led governing coalition out of office and agreeing to a transitional roadmap, they are unable to unite, whether against their Islamist adversary or around a common political project. More important, Islamists and secularists alike face an uphill battle in convincing increasingly skeptical Tunisian voters that they are serious about addressing the country's social, economic, and security concerns instead of squabbling with each other.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Power Politics, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Haroon Ullah, Eric Trager, Vish Sakthivel
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A senior State Department advisor and two Washington Institute scholars discuss what lessons can -- and cannot -- be drawn from the Islamist political experience in Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco, and other countries.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Morocco
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The workshop "Democracies in the Making: Egypt at the Center of Arab Transitions" focused on the analysis of the current phase of the democractic transition in Egypt, dominated by a high level of polarisation. It was organised by EuroMeSco, the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and the Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). This was the last of a series of four workshops organised in the framework of a programme to strengthen the capacities of think tanks and research institutes in Mediterranean countries, mainly in light of the current democratisation processes and regional transformations.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Sarah Grebowski, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Recognition by Egypt's leading Jihadists that violence has failed to achieve political change and in fact has been counterproductive has led them to a remarkable change of course.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Omayma Abdel-Latif
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt released its first political party platform draft. Among the heavily criticized clauses was one that denied women (and Copts) the right to be head of state. “Duties and responsibilities assumed by the head of state, such as army commanding, are in contradiction with the socially acceptable roles for women,” the draft stated. In previous Brotherhood documents there was no specific mention of the position of head of state; rather, they declared that women were allowed to occupy all posts except for al-imama alkubra, the position of caliph, which is the equivalent of a head of state in modern times. Many were surprised that despite several progressive moves the Brotherhood had made in previous years to empower women, it ruled out women's right to the country's top position.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN in recent years about Islam and politics, Islam and democracy, and Islam's compatibility with the requirements of modernity. These debates cannot be settled conclusively by referring to the holy texts, because such texts lend themselves to conflicting interpretations. This paper, therefore, takes a different approach. Using Egypt as a case study, it focuses not on the relationship between Islam and politics in the abstract, but on the relationship between religious authority and political authority as it unfolds in practice. It outlines the motivations, interests, strategies, and agendas of the institutions that represent and speak for Islam and those that represent the state and act in its name. The interaction between them is a mix of complicity and rivalry that has profound effects on Egyptian society, the Egyptian state, and its relationship with the outside world.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Craig Charney, Nicole Yakatan
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Focus group research in Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia has shown that it is possible to improve the image of the United States in the Muslim world. Although many Muslims are angry at what they perceive America does, the right efforts to communicate can produce significant shifts in attitudes. Such efforts would involve listening more, speaking in a humbler tone, and focusing on bilateral aid and partnership, while tolerating disagreement on controversial policy issues. Fortunately, a window of opportunity has opened with the Iraqi elections, renewed hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace, tsunami relief, and developments in Lebanon and Egypt, as well as the start of a new administration in Washington. This moment, marked by an easing of tensions and the arrival of new actors on both sides, offers the possibility of a new beginning in America's dialogue with the Muslim world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Indonesia, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco
  • Author: Umej Bhatia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Egyptian Islamist ideologue Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) is a founding figure of modern Sunni militancy. The West knows Sayyid Qutb through the prism of his Milestones, the 1964 manifesto urging a Qur'anic revolution against illegitimate Muslim regimes. However, it was Qutb's commanding Qur'anic interpretation, In the Shade of the Qur'an, which provided the rich lodestone for Milestones. In the Muslim world, moderates and militants alike have found sanctuary In the Shade of the Qur'an, making it a unique work that cannot be ignored. Offered below is a detailed analysis of Qutb's work, focused primarily on juz amma (the last thirtieth) of the Qur'an, which is considered the key entree for Muslims who seek a return to faith. Sensitive yet uncompromising, In the Shade of the Qur'an adroitly rehearses at a personal and political level the combat between a pristine Islam and all other profane systems, with the final objective of establishing a supreme Islamic order.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Riaz Hassan
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Using the analytical framework developed by the Berkley research programme in religion and society, this paper will report findings from a comparative study of Muslim piety of over 6000 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. The findings show similarities as well as significant differences in patterns of religious commitments among the respondents in the study. This is probably the first attempt to compare and 'map out' Muslim religiosity in Muslim countries. The first part of the paper will report the findings and the analysis by gender, life cycle, education and social position. The second part of the paper will discuss the findings using analytical insights from Emile Durkheim and Mary Douglas' sociology of religion. In this section, the paper will also compare selected aspects of Christian and Muslim piety and offer sociological explanations of the significant differences in 'experiential religiosity' between Christians and Muslims. The Christian piety data will be drawn from primary and secondary sources. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the sociological implications of these findings for social political and religious trajectories of Muslim countries.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Egypt