By Bulent Aras and Omer Caha
The Turkish Islamist movement of Fethullah Gulen is one of the most interesting examples of liberal Islamist thinking in the Middle East. Gulen and his followers have tried to produce a religious-political movement favoring modernism, Turkish nationalism, tolerance, and democracy without sacrificing religious precepts. The structure and philosophy of this movement and its leader have been manifested in many groups and educational institutions. Part of the Turkish secularist elite views Gulen as a progressive development, though others see him as a threat in moderate garb (…) Continue reading


Turkey and the EU: A Survey on Turkish MPs’ EU Vision

Kudret Bulbul

Even though Turkey’s dream for being a member of European Union (EU) dates back to late 1950s, it can be said that this process has gained its momentum since the governing period of Justice and Development Party, which is shortly called AK party or AKP in Turkish. When compared with earlier periods, the enormous accomplishments during the AK party’s rule are recognized by domestic and European authorities alike. In the parallel of gigantic steps towards the European membership, which is now a real possibility for Turkey, there have been increasing debates about this process. While some European authorities generate policies over Cyprus issue against Turkey’s membership, some others mainly lead by German Christian Democrats propose a privileged status rather than full membership. Continue reading


Islam and the West

Annual Report on the State of Dialogue

Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue is a project of the World Economic Forum Community of West and Islam Dialogue (C-100). The Forum, a not-for-profit foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the global community of the formost business, political, faith, media and thought leaders addressing global challenges. The Community of West and Islam Dialogue (C-100) brings together Forum members and partners working together to promote dialogue and understanding across segments of society. Continue reading


Rethinking International Relations Theory in Islam: Toward a More Adequate Approach

Mohammad Abo-Kazleh
The legal foundation of foreign relations in Islam is based on Sharīy’ah. The original sources of Sharīy’ah are the Quran and the Prophetic traditions (Sunnah). Derived from Sharīy’ah is the Fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence which covers the myriad of problems and issues that arise in the course of man’s life. (al-Mawdūdī, 2002) Among the main issues which the contemporary Islamic jurisprudence attempt to deal with are foreign relations in Islam. Muslim jurists have developed different opinions about the organizing principle of foreign relations in Islam.

Some  (hereafter referred to as traditionalists) who were influenced by the realistic tendency of Islamic state, particularly during the periods of Conquest, believe that foreign relations in Islam originally depend on the attitude of non- Muslim groups or states toward Islam and Muslims. Continue reading


Quantitative World System Studies Contradict Current Islamophobia

World Political Cycles, Global Terrorism, and World Development

Arno Tausch*
In this article, we draw some optimistic, socio-liberal conclusions about Islam in the world system. Countering some alarmist voices in the West, neither migration nor Muslim culture are to be blamed for the contemporary crisis, but the very nature of unequal capitalist accumulation and dependency that is at the core of the world capitalist system.
For one, our analysis is based on current thinking on Kondratiev waves of world political development inherent in recent work by IIASA and the NATO Institute for Advanced Studies. First we present a rigorous re-analysis of United States Department of State data on acts of global terrorism in the framework of Kondratiev cycle waves. Continue reading




Amnesty International

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The Securitisation of Islam in Europe

Jocelyne Cesari
This paper summarises the main hypotheses and results of the research on the securitisation of Islam. It posits that the securitisation of Islam is not only a speech act but also a policymaking process that affects the making of immigration laws, multicultural policies, antidiscrimination measures and security policies. The paper deconstructs and analyses the premises of such policies as well as their consequences on the civic and political participation of Muslims. The behaviour of Muslims was studied through 50 focus groups conducted in Paris, London, Berlin and Amsterdam over the year 2007-08. The results show a great discrepancy between the assumptions of policy-makers and the political and social reality of Muslims across Europe. The paper presents recommendations to facilitate the greater inclusion of Muslims within European public spheres. Continue reading


Pour une critique politique du terrorisme

Bernard Ravenel

La condamnation du terrorisme ne naît pas seulement de considérations politiques contingentes ou changeantes. Le point de départ est la conviction que la fin ne justifie pas les moyens, qu’il y a des moyens inacceptables en toute circonstance. Telle est la limite qu’il faut imposer à la barbarie de ceux qui croient que des objectifs politiques acceptables peuvent nous faire accepter des gestes inacceptables. Le terrorisme islamique est inacceptable quand il frappe des innocents sans distinction parce qu’il pratique l’homicide comme une politique. Il est brutal, inhumain, sans circonstance atténuante. La terreur exercée par l’armée israélienne n’est pas qualitativement différente mais avec une énorme disproportion de forces : une bien étrange démocratie qui se permet une politique d’exécutions sommaires tandis que trois millions de Palestiniens sont réduits à l’état de prisonniers par un terrorisme d’Etat arbitraire qui les soumet à une répression monstrueuse. Chaque soldat est libre d’humilier, frapper ou tuer quiconque. Personne ne le condamne dans l’Etat de droit le plus démocratique du Moyen-Orient. Qu’ils soient des civils palestiniens ou israéliens, les morts ont la même sacralité. Continue reading


The New Middle East

Marina Ottaway, Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy, Karim Sadjadpour,  Paul Salem

Carnegie Endowment

After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched an ambitious policy to forge a new Middle East, with intervention in Iraq as the driver of the transformation. “The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution,” declared President Bush on November 7, 2003. In speech after speech, Bush administration officials made it abundantly clear that they would not pursue a policy directed at managing and containing existing crises, intending instead to leapfrog over them by creating a new region of democracy and peace in which old disputes would become irrelevant. Continue reading


Conceptualizing the sunni-shi’i Encounter in the modern period

Dr. Neguin Yavari

The separation of church and state in Islam, or rather the lack of it, appears as an axiomatic truth in current political discourse. It is part and parcel of the frequently posed question: What is wrong with Islam? The formulation and the diagnosis are not just facile, but also disingenuous. Much of the discourse on the separation of church and state confuses description with prescription in attempting to account for the political in religious thought and to find ways to explain it. The notion itself is not an enlightenment value that, meteorlike, abruptly fell to Earth in Europe in the 18th century. It has its roots in almost 1,500 years of Christian political writing. The separation of church and state is also not the only way one can account for political thought endemic to religions. The biblical narrative of Exodus, for instance, has determined to a very large extent the general framework of contractual governance in European political thought from the 17th century onwards. It would be hard to find a separation of church and state in that account… Continue reading


Nietzsche and Islam: Embracing the religious and secular worlds

In this book, Roy Jackson sets out to determine:

* Why did Nietzsche feel inclined to be so generous towards the Islamic tradition yet so critical of Western Christianity?
* How important was religion for Nietzsche’s views on such matters as moral and political philosophy and how does this help us to understand the Islamic response to modernity?
* How does Nietzsche’s distinctive outlook and methodology help us to understand such key Islamic paradigms as the Qurâan, the Prophet, and the “Rightly-Guideded” Caliphs?

Nietzsche and Islam provides an original and fresh insight into Nietzsche’s views on religion and shows that his philosophy can make an important contribution to what is considered to be Islam’s key paradigms. As such it will be of interest to a diverse readership and will provide useful material for researchers when thinking about religion, Islam and the future.

Here is a review of the book:

Continue reading


الإسلام الأوروبي في العلوم الإجتماعية

د. هشام القروي  (باريس) 

ما هو في مجال العلوم الاجتماعية الخطاب حول الإسلام الأوروبي؟ هل الحالة الراهنة لمعارفنا ، تتيح لنا التوصل إلى استنتاجات خاصة بالقواعد العامة التي تتحكم بالمجتمع المسلم وبالأقلية المسلمة؟[1]

بحوث العلوم الاجتماعية المتعلقة بالإسلام الأوروبي حديثة العهد نسبيا. في بداياتها الخجولة والمترددة،  طرحت بعض الإشكاليات بشأن كيفية التصدي لهذا الواقع الجديد. في فرنسا مثلا، نجد علماء الاجتماع المتخصصين بقضايا الهجرة، يهملون أحيانا كثيرة التعرض للبعد الديني في وجود المسلمين. أما علماء الاجتماع المتخصصين بالدين، إذا ما استثنينا عددا قليلا منهم، فقد كان جل اهتمامهم منصبا بالخصوص على تحليل الدين المسيحي. بقي المستشرقون. فهم فقط الذين شعروا، بحكم التدريب الذي تلقوه،  بأنهم مدعوون إلى توضيح بعض الأشياء لجمهور لا يعرف حتى الآن الكثير عن كلمات مثل “الشيعة” و “السنة” ، “الجهاد” ، و”الأمة ” ، الخ . لكن من الناحية المنهجية، فإن المستشرقين والباحثين المتخصصين بالدراسات الإسلامية، لم تتوفر لديهم المناهج والمفاهيم من أجل التحليل التجريبي (ألمخبري) للإسلام. لقد اقتصرت خبرتهم على الإسلام “النظري”،  أي النصي.. وأما علماء السياسة والحقوقيون، فإنهم شعروا، بصفتهم شهود عيان على هذا الواقع الجديد المتحرك على الساحة الأوروبية، بالحاجة إلى إدراجه في الفضاء المعرفي للدولة.  غير أن اهتمامهم كان ينصب أساسا على استراتيجيات الجماعات والقادة ، وهذا ما يقلص الإسلام الى دائرة السياسي والإيديولوجي.

لا شك أن هذه المقاربات مهمة. ولكن تجربة  مسلمي أوروبا ليست نظرية مجردة و/أو سياسية. فهي كذلك اقتصادية واجتماعية وثقافية.. وهي تهم الفرد كما تهم المجموعة والأسرة. و هي تنتج هويات محلية ، ومسارات حياتية، وتجارب اندماج ناجحة ، و إخفاقات،  وردود أفعال، وتفاعلات ، الخ. Continue reading


A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe 2007-2009


2009 – Dr Irfan Al-Alawi * Stephen Suleyman Schwartz *Kamal Hasani * Veli Sirin * Daut Dauti * Qanta Ahmed, MD

Prefatory Note ii
Five Principles For Study of Shariah in Western Europe iii
Glossary of Main Organisations and Acronyms v
1. CIP and its Role Investigating Shariah in the West 1
2. Methodology 2
3. Shariah Defined 5
4. Case Study: Britain 23
Appendix: Islamist Ideology at the British Bedside 56 Continue reading



An Historical Survey

by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (Published in the USA in 2009 by the Center for Islamic Pluralism)

The present study is mainly concerned with relations between international Communism and the Islamic umma, or global community, rather than Moscow’s policies toward Soviet Muslims. The former topic has been neglected by historians and experts, while the latter has been treated in considerable detail. As in Christianity and Judaism, communistic, millenarian, radical-political, and revolutionary socialist movements have a notable presence in the

history of Islam. Typical examples of each phenomenon may be cited. The legacy of pre-Islamic Iranian religious communism – the movement known as Mazdakism, a variant of Manichæism which briefly flourished in the 6th
century C.E. – is reflected in aspects of Iranian Shi’ism. Mazdakism adopted social collectivism and principles of public welfare.

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September 2008 Center for Islamic Pluralism Washington, DC – London

Black America, Prisons and Radical Islam is a scholarly work of great merit by the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), highlighting a national security need which deserves urgent attention. The disproportional number of African American young, discontented, and often repeated offenders in the U.S. correctional system provides a captive audience for the Wahhabi ideology of radical Islam, with its alleged universal appeal and sense of brotherhood. Continue reading


Memory for Forgetfulness

Memory for Forgetfulness darwish

August, Beirut, 1982

Mahmoud Darwish Translated, with an Introduction by Ibrahim Muhawi

Berkeley · Los Angeles · London ( 1995 The Regents of the University of California)

In the Arab world Mahmoud Darwish is acknowledged as one of the greatest living poets. He has been awarded a number of international literary prizes, and has read his poetry to audiences in many countries around the world. When he gives a reading in any Arab country today, his audience runs into the thousands, with many people turned away for lack of space. He has so far published fourteen volumes of poetry, the first of which, Olive Leaves, appeared in 1964, and the latest, Eleven Planets, in 1993. Continue reading


The Diwan of Abu’l-Ala

by Henry Baerlein [1909]

“There is no God save Allah!”—that is true,
Nor is there any prophet save the mind
Of man who wanders through the dark to find
The Paradise that is in me and you.–LXXXI

Abu al-‘Alā Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sulaimān al-Tanūkhī al-Ma’arri (b. 973, d. 1057) was a blind poet and philosopher. Born in Syria, he lost his sight at an early age due to smallpox. Although he spent most of his life in Syria in his hometown of Ma’arrat al-Numan, he also taught in Baghdad.

He was a skeptic and a rationalist, a keen observer of the human condition, and an advocate for the poor and lowly. Modern doctrinaire Muslims may not find this kind of critical thinking to their taste. But Abu’l-Ala stands out as one of the best thinkers of medieval Islam, and deserves to be better known. This work is composed of selections from his two collections of poetry, The Tinder Spark, and Unnecessary Necessity. Continue reading