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  • 1. Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror' A report by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
  • 2. 3 Hizb ut-Tahrir (meaning The Party of Liberation) is a global Islamic political party that was established in 1953 under the lead- ership of its founder - the scholar, political thinker and judge in the Court of Appeals in al-Quds (Jerusalem), Taqiuddin an- Nabhani. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s global leadership is currently headed by Ata’ abu Rishta. In the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir works at all levels of society to bring the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life under the shade of the Khilafah (Caliphate) State following an exclusively political method. Hizb ut-Tahrir adopts the methodology employed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he established the first Islamic State in Madinah. The Prophet Muhammad limited his struggle for the establishment of the Islamic State to intellectual and political work. He established this Islamic state without resorting to violence. He worked to mobilise public opinion in favour of Islam and endeavoured to sway the political and intellectual elites of the time. Despite the persecution and boycott of the Prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims, they never resorted to violence. Hence, its commitment not to be involved in any violent or militant activity is based on its faith and understanding of the revelation of God. No person can join Hizb ut-Tahrir until he or she adopts this political and intellectual methodology and approach. The party is therefore proactive in disseminating the Islamic intellectual and political thoughts widely in Muslim societies so as to challenge the oppressive and declined situation that exists there. The party presents Islam as a comprehensive way of life that is capable of managing the affairs of state and society, as well as expressing its views on political events and analyses them from an Islamic perspective. It disseminates its thoughts through discussion with the masses, study circles, lectures, seminars, leaflet distribution, publishing books and magazines and via the Internet, actively encouraging people to attend our demonstrations, marches, conferences and vigils. In the West, Hizb ut-Tahrir does not work to change the system of government, but works within the boundaries of the system to encourage the Muslim community to live by Islam in thought and deed, adhering to the rules of Islam and preserving a strong Islamic identity. It argues that this is the most productive and sound basis for Muslims to engage outside of their own communi- ties. The party also works to project a positive image of Islam to Western society and engages in dialogue with Western thinkers, poli- cymakers and academics. Western governments, under the banner of the War on Terror, are currently working to present Islam as an ‘evil ideology’. At the heart of their campaign is the effort to malign the Islamic ideology as an alternative to Western liberal capitalism in the Muslim world. Because of this propaganda aspect to the War on Terror, Hizb ut-Tahrir works to counter negative propaganda about Islam in the Western countries, and present Islam’s beliefs and also its political ideas as an alternative for the Muslim world. Email: press@hizb.org.uk Web: www.hizb.org.uk
  • 3. 4 - Contents Contents Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Section 1 - Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Part I: The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Language in the Politics of Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Part II: Politicisation not 'Radicalisation' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence Against Islam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Part I: Decoupling Political Violence from Islam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Part II: Poll Evidence Refutes the Alleged Link between Islam's Political Tenets and Violence as a Means of Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Part III: Ends do not Justify Means, but Means do not Invalidate Ends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Part I: Maligning a Popular & Orthodox Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Part II: The Significance of the Caliphate at the Time of its Demise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Part III: The Caliphate will Bring Stability to the Muslim World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Part IV: The Caliphate is an Islamic System of Governance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Part I: The Failure of Calls for a 'Moderate', Reformed Islam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Part II: Understanding the Causes of the Political Crises in the Muslim World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Part III: Allowing the Muslim World to Shape its own Political Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
  • 4. Forward - 5 Forward It is often said that the first casualty in war is the truth. In the case of the global War on Terror it is its central premise that was the first lie - the claim that this is a war in defence of security. It is impossible to imagine that any government would not develop some type of security response to the attacks such as those in New York in September 2001 or the bombs in London in July 2005. This is what happened in the case of terrorism related to Northern Ireland. There, we also saw, after many years, the development of a political response. But the launch of a 'war' upon a premise for which there is no agreed definition has made many in the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, uncomfortable. The construct of the case for war started after the attacks in New York, arguing that those behind the perpetrators were in Afghanistan. Other similar international crises - for example the Lockerbie bombing of a Pan Am aircraft - led to diplomatic pressure to secure an extradition. In the case of the 9/11 attacks, what followed was the invasion and occupation of the country said to be hosting the perpetrators, retrospective excuses generated to add to the case for invasion and large scale illegal detention and torture in Bagram airbase, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Other states started to claim their own 'terrorism' problems; most notably dicta- tors in the Muslim world, Israel and authoritarian regimes such as those in Russia and Central Asia. The violations of basic norms and rights committed in these places in the name of the War on Terror were recognised as an excuse to undertake otherwise unac- ceptable actions. Surprisingly, however, similar scrutiny was not applied to the actions of the UK or US until much later. In the US, the Patriot Act gave the administration unprecedented powers. In Britain draconian anti-terror laws were introduced and strengthened at every opportunity, even causing conflict between the judiciary and the government. It was perhaps the illegal war in Iraq, unpopular amongst a sceptical domestic audience, exposed as being founded upon lies and more to do with regime change than security, that became the single biggest factor that made increasing numbers of people uncomfortable about what was being done in their name. The lies underpinning the Iraq occupation were compounded by humanitarian abuses, the continued support for tyrants every bit as bad as Saddam Hussein and the worsening security threat and community cohesion in the West due to the war. In this report we expose how the narrative of the War on Terror has many inconsistencies and manipulates understandable security fears to attack political ideas that carry considerable support in the Muslim world. We do this by: 1. Exposing the statements of politicians that show it is not the violent means that is their only concern, but the legitimate polit- ical ends that an overwhelming majority in the Muslim world subscribe to. In keeping with its colonial history, Western governments have constructed a case for intervention to secure their economic and political interests in the Muslim world, with little regard for the consequences on the people in that part of the world. 2. Illustrating the way that language and arguments are manipulated to make the false claim that Islamic political ideas are the root cause of the problem. 3. Providing evidence from credible research which contradicts the Bush-Blair argument that Islam's political ideas inherently cause violence and insecurity. 4. Decoupling these myths of violence from the Caliphate and other Islamic political ideas y explaining exactly what these ideas represent. 5. Mapping a way forward, out of the mess and growing chaos created by the War on Terror. It is difficult to deny that the War on Terror has greatly exacerbated the chaos and instability caused by the chronic political problems in the Muslim world. Furthermore, a declaration of war against political ideas held by over 70 per cent of people in the Muslim world will be perennial, ceaseless and destabilising. There is an urgent need to engage in dialogue to explain Islam, the Caliphate and Shariah to people in Britain and the West, who hear these aspirations for the Muslim world continually demonised as part of the propaganda in the War on Terror.Given the current climate of suspicion and fear it is necessary that now more than ever people try to understand the legitimate political aspi- rations of many in the Muslim world, rather than simply falling for a reductionist Manichean dialectic, that paints everyone who seeks Islamic change in that region as extremists and supporters of terrorism. We urge everyone to study our report and realise that there is an urgent need to discuss and understand these ideas, as well under- stand the political feeling in the Muslim world. There is a need to understand the Caliphate, not only the fact that it is not linked to violence as alleged by the leaders of the War on Terror, but also how it will be a powerful force for bringing stability to the Muslim world. In the corridors of Washington and Westminster, Islam's political ideas are seen as a potential threat - not to security - but to the control, exploitation and interference that has continued for decades. Yet on the 'Muslim street' these ideas mean liberation from tyranny and oppression, a connection to their beliefs and history and the ability to shape their own political destiny. Abdul Wahid Chairman UK Executive Committee Hizb ut-Tahrir July 2007
  • 5. 6 - Introduction - The ‘War on Terror’: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Introduction The 'War on Terror': Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace A Monumental Change Draws Closer State Department, the British Foreign Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is their Office and American and British intelli- plan. They have said so. We make a It is not often the opportunity arises to gence agencies study intently develop- terrible mistake if we fail to listen and witness monumental political changes ments in a world they have come to learn". on the scale of the fall of the Berlin wall yield great influence over. Both and the collapse of Communism or the measures of public opinion indicate the Tony Blair after 7/7 also referred to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Yet return of an Islamic state, or Caliphate. need to confront an "an evil ideology" these have occurred in our generation's The National Intelligence Council of the that included "the establishment of lifetime. Now an even greater political CIA issued a planning report in effectively Taliban States and Shari'ah change is creeping ever closer in the December 2004 setting out options for a law in the Arab world en route to one Muslim world. The dismantling of years resurgent China and a potentially strong Caliphate of all Muslim nations". Most of oppressive rule presided over by Caliphate by the year 2020. recently General David Petraeus, when foreign hegemons is slowly but surely asked about his priorities in the 'surge' unravelling. For decades movements Constructing New Enemies: operation, in an interview with the have called for the re-establishment of Demonising the Caliphate & Islamic Times published on June 20th 2007, the Islamic political system, the politics said: "It is to disrupt al-Qaeda and its Caliphate, such that it now represents ability to conduct sensational attacks the only credible alternative to the Senior politicians, however, including and to try to continue the cycle of tyrannies and dictatorships that litter George Bush are now 'warning' of the violence, which they have been trying to the Muslims world. False arguments and consequences of its re-establishment. do all along. In addition, they are distortions have attempted to cast a Bush, in a speech to the American attempting try establish a real al-Qaeda shadow over the Islamic political nation on the 8th of October 2005 sanctuary in Iraq, a caliphate." system, but these attempts have been in stated: vain. There is growing evidence of a These arguments, amongst numerous widespread public opinion for the "The militants believe that controlling other arguments, have been forwarded return to the rule of law under Islam. one country will rally the Muslim in an attempt to discredit and divert Despite the unwelcome attention of masses, enabling them to overthrow all efforts towards the re-establishment of a those wishing to maintain an appalling moderate governments in the region, Caliphate, particularly through seeking status quo in the Muslim world, an and establish a radical Islamic empire to associate it exclusively with terrorism. inescapable momentum has been that spans from Spain to Indonesia." The effort has been extended to malign established for the return of the the goals of Islamic politics more gener- Caliphate. On December 5th 2005, the then US ally, as Blair did after 7/7 by attempting Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld to move the focus away from the acts of Certainly a global political movement in remarks pertaining to the future of terror to an 'evil ideology'. Such such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, active in over 40 Iraq at John Hopkins University said attempts have failed to convince countries, touching all corners of the Muslims and are met with scepticism by globe has a good finger on the pulse of "Iraq would serve as the base of a new the world more generally, given the US Muslim public opinion and develop- Islamic Caliphate to extend throughout and Britain's track record in forwarding ment of the call for political change in the Middle East and which would false claims in the War on Terror, such the Muslim world. Similarly, the US threaten the legitimate governments in as over Iraq.
  • 6. Introduction - The ‘War on Terror’: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace - 7 Our report deconstructs such false asso- ” six years on, the battle for the hearts and minds of ciations between the Caliphate and Islamic politics and violence in sections 2 and 3. But more importantly, it also argues that the anxiety expressed over “ Muslims has been lost the establishment of the Caliphate has forces had just occupied, saying: As our report will go on to highlight in nothing to do with terrorism or security. "Our armies do not come into your section 3, opinion surveys too are It is a perceived threat to their cities and lands as conquerors or overwhelmingly pointing to support hegemony and primacy over a region of enemies, but as liberators. Your wealth for the return of Islamic rule. The the world that former Director of the has been stripped of you by unjust Center for Strategic Studies at the US State Department's Policy Planning men... The people of Baghdad shall University of Jordan undertook a Division, George Kennan, wrote after flourish under institutions which are in comprehensive survey of the key WWII in reference to the oil wealth of consonance with their sacred laws". Middle Eastern countries in a 2005 the Middle East: "that the United States report, finding that two thirds of had just acquired the greatest material He went on to say, "…your lands have respondents in central Arab countries prize in world history". been subject to the tyranny of strangers, felt that Shariah should be the sole your palaces have fallen into ruins, your source for legislation (a key require- Rebirth of a Colonial Age gardens have sunk in desolation, and ment for an Islamic State) and the your forefathers and yourselves have remaining third felt that Shariah should Indeed, current foreign policy towards groaned in bondage." Within three be a source of law. A recent study by the Muslim world, including the occu- years of the invasion, over ten thousand the University of Maryland published pation of Iraq, invasion of Afghanistan, had died in an Iraqi uprising against the in April 2007 also confirmed this trend support for unrepresentative tyrants, British, a conflict in which 'Bomber' towards Shariah, with the report and pressure towards Iran and Syria Harris referred to dropping "a bomb in stating: "Large majorities in most coun- amongst other actions by the US and every village that speaks out of turn" tries support the goals of requiring a Britain, cannot be considered recent or and Winston Churchill encouraged the strict application of sharia, keeping out isolated actions. They must be use of mustard gas admitting, "there is Western values, and even unifying all observed as part of a colonial tradition no doubt that we are a very cruel Islamic countries into a single Islamic of occupation, intervention and regime people". On the eve of the 2003 state." Interestingly, in addition to change. invasion of Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel greater than 70 per cent support for Tim Collins echoed Maude in a speech Shariah and a unifying Caliphate the The former British Foreign Secretary to British troops, saying "We go to respondents overwhelmingly rejected Lord Curzon remarked in almost liberate, not to conquer". The colossal that the change would come via jubilant tones at the end of the Caliphate loss of life and destruction in the after- violence: "Large majorities in all coun- in 1924 that, "The situation now is that math has exposed this neo-colonial tries oppose attacks against civilians for Turkey is dead and will never rise again, myth. political purposes and see them as because we have destroyed its moral contrary to Islam. Attacks on civilians strength, the Caliphate and Islam". But Replacing the Muslim World's Failed are seen as hardly ever effective. he also warned that the chapter of Political Architecture Politically motivated attacks against Islamic rule was not completely closed civilian infrastructure are also rejected when he stated "we must put an end to Meyrav Wurmser, the Director of as not justified". anything which brings about any Islamic Middle East Studies at the Hudson unity between the sons of the Muslims". Institute, characterised the Muslim Responding to Changes in the Muslim Curzon's remarks were recently echoed world as having failing or failed autoc- World and reaffirmed by the then British racies, repression, weak and deteriorat- Home Secretary Charles Clarke in a ing economies and double-digit unem- Of great interest will be how Western speech to the Heritage Foundation on ployment. The problems, Wurmser governments respond to these political October 6 2005 when he said: cited, are the regimes in the region - changes as they evolve in the Muslim unpopular with their own populations world. Despite posturing for domestic "...there can be no negotiation about the and viewed as backed by Western acceptance citing WMD, and then re-creation of the Caliphate; there can powers. The alternative to this failed regime change, Tony Blair finally be no negotiation about the imposition political architecture has increasingly admitted that the war in Iraq was all of Sharia (Islamic) law..." Muslims have centred on a greater role for Islam in about changing values. That values are been warned not to go down that path the politics of the Muslim world. not changing in the Muslim world again. Elections in the Muslim world now brings new challenges to Western invariably go to Islamic parties, despite thinking not least of which is the wide- The parallels with Iraq are equally perti- constitutions and other obstacles to spread opposition in the UK to the nent. Almost ninety years ago, the Islamic political representation, like the aggressive imposition of values which British commander Lieutenant General overt restrictions the Mubarak regime are poorly defined and for which there Stanley Maude issued a proclamation to in Egypt placed on Islamic parties such is little trust in the politicians suppos- the people of Baghdad, whose city his as arrests and strict quotas. edly leading the charge.
  • 7. 8 - Introduction - The ‘War on Terror’: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Despite the unwelcome The key point to note is that the Blair In 2002, Lieutenant Colonel Jack R. “ attention of those wishing to maintain an appalling status quo in narrative of simply changing a few unpopular governments and setting out a vision for effectively sidelining Islam via 'religious tolerance' within a secular framework completely lacks credibility MacClanahan Jr of the United States Army wrote a paper for the US Army War College about 'Winning Hearts and Minds in the Muslim World.' At that time, a mere six months after the onset the Muslim world, an in the Muslim world. The other plank of of the global War on Terrorism, he this policy which attempts to equate the wrote that: "The US may win the inescapable momentum has Caliphate and the desire for political military fight on terrorism but is thus far been established for the change with terrorism, lacks intellectual losing the public opinion fight in credibility when measured against the Muslim countries." return of the Caliphate public opinion that poll after poll are indicating. In fact the war mongering is Former British Prime Minister Tony on the other foot. The long war which Blair also remarked after the attacks that Bush/Blair have attempted to set up will rocked London in July 2005: "It is not a "Large majorities in most be a perpetual war if they think that clash of civilisations -- all civilized they can so easily change the core beliefs people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion countries support the goals of and aspirations of more than 70 per cent at it. But it is a global struggle. It is a requiring a strict application of of the Muslim world. Yet Muslims are battle of ideas and hearts and minds, still tarnished as the aggressors when it both within Islam and outside." sharia, keeping out Western is only a tiny element that have used values, and even unifying all violence against civilians; a violence Even the Conservative leader David which has been nothing like the shock Cameron jumped on the band wagon in Islamic countries into a single and awe tactics of Bush/Blair and is also November 2006, saying, "We must Islamic state." without the support of Muslim public remember that we are engaged in a opinion. battle for the hearts and minds of all (University of Maryland, 2007) Muslims in our country." ” The 'Battle for Hearts and Minds' More recently in January 2007, Blair's The West's Cold War experience and successor as Prime Minister, Gordon defeat of communism has shaped much Brown said in regards to the Iraq war of the rhetoric and policy regarding the and 'terrorism': "But you will not win Muslim world, particularly the success against extreme terrorist activities and credited to the cultural dimension of the particularly the propaganda activities, Cold War. The US think tank the RAND unless you have this battle of hearts and Corporation, for example, in its most minds that is won. And that makes me recent report about the Muslim world, think of the same cultural war that had 'Building Moderate Muslim Networks', to be fought against communism from describes how, "the propaganda and the 1940s and 50s onwards, is in a sense cultural-infiltration efforts of the United the model for what we've got to do States and Britain during the early years here." of the Cold War hold valuable lessons for the Global War on Terrorism". The Brown acknowledged the need for prop- perceived success of these "cultural-infil- aganda when, on 1st July 2007, he said: tration efforts" has fostered the belief that a battle for hearts and minds must "And that's why the cultural effort - be fought alongside the War on Terror almost similar to what happened in the to bring Muslims on side. Cold War in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when we had to mount a propaganda Under the banner of this cultural war, a effort, if you like, to explain to people suite of McCarthyite labels such as that our values represented the best of 'extremist', 'radical', 'fanatic' and commitments to individual dignity, to 'militant' have become common liberty and to human life being taken currency. Their definitions are danger- seriously. And I think that's what we are ously loose and ever-broadening and going to have to talk about in the next manipulate the fact that there is no few years". consensus on the definition of terrorism to brand Muslims as more violence However, the Cold War propaganda prone. This use of language is exten- effort was not only about explaining sively explored in Section 1 of our Western values but also about denigrat- report. ing the Soviet Union and creating an
  • 8. Introduction - The ‘War on Terror’: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace - 9 atmosphere of suspicion and threat. The Indeed, the policies of Western govern- The killing, torture and Cold War was, as much as for anything else, used as an excuse by Western governments to further their interests around the world. ments in the War on Terror have been so brutal and unprincipled that they have struggled to win over their own populations. Ironically, the real battle for hearts and minds is with ordinary “ abuse of people in the name of spreading democracy and liberalism to a part of the However, six years on, the battle for the people in the West, who have been world plagued by instability and hearts and minds of Muslims has been repeatedly lied to by their political lost. Very few believe that the War on leaders. As discredited politicians each tyranny has overshadowed any Terror, or any related domestic or try to convince their people that Iraq attempts at intellectual foreign policy, is premised on a sincere and Afghanistan simply need more or legitimate desire to maintain Britain's troops or more time, the general public persuasion security. The killing, torture and abuse becomes ever wearier with failed of people in the name of spreading policies. Furthermore, although the Iraq democracy and liberalism to a part of war proved that the justifications for the the world plagued by instability and War on Terror were riddled with falla- The Caliphate may soon tyranny has overshadowed any attempts cies and inaccuracies, there has been no at intellectual persuasion. Western states effective explanation to the public for become the defining debate of have today lost their moral authority. In why Western countries have been our age; the emerging prospect 1989, when the Berlin Wall collapsed, plunged into these conflicts by their Western states had not needed to fire a leaders. of its arrival must be met with shot in anger and were considered shiny a willingness to understand a beacons by the oppressed citizens of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Eastern Europe. Today, in the aftermath system that would undoubtedly of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, torture, What Charles Beard described as usher in a new era of stability 'extraordinary rendition' (or illegal Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, the ” kidnapping and torture), secret deten- title of Gore Vidal's most recent book is for the Muslim world tion facilities, the genocide of 650,000 an oxymoron that will never work, civilians in Iraq, the wanton use of except as a lie to keep civilian popula- white phosphorous and depleted tions from realising the reality of uranium and the reversal of Habeas shameful corporate-driven government Corpus through draconian security policies. There will be neither a wide- legislation, Western nations are consid- spread values change nor peace from ered more a part of the problem than carpet bombing, Guantanamo or part of the solution. The West's foreign Fallujah. Values driven more by corpo- policy has illustrated not just the unac- rate greed and strategic positioning will ceptable face of Western imperialism never win out over creedal principles but the true face of Western states with and the yearning for a return to a civili- the indomitable pursuit of profits, raw sation which led the world in tolerance materials and cheap labour driving the and personal and societal development inhumane policies of debt and political within a strong and consistent rule of support for dictators and tyrants around law. The Caliphate may soon become the world. the defining debate of our age; the emerging prospect of its arrival must be A recent Zogby/University of Maryland met with a willingness to understand a poll of citizens in six Middle Eastern system that would undoubtedly usher in states found that finding oil (76%), a new era of stability for the Muslim protecting Israel (68%), domination of world. the region (63%) and weakening the Muslim world (59%) were cited as the main objectives of America in the Middle East by respondents, compared to only 6% who agreed with President Bush and former Prime Minister Blair's view that their objectives are to merely spread human rights and democracy. This distrust is not confined to the Muslim world but is found globally from Caracas to Beijing with people in all continents looking at new models of governance and rule.
  • 9. 10 - Section 1 - Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ Section 1 Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ The Muslim community in Britain has • The view that there is a process 'radicalised', subject to 'extremism' and been under a continuous spotlight since leading to violence because of the under the growing influence of the events of 7/7. The bombings trig- association of Islam and politics is 'Islamism'. These terms suffer from an gered a wide-ranging debate that sought wrong and is built on a false charac- inherent ambiguity that allows them to to understand the processes at work terisation of the relationship between be used in a number of different ways within the Muslim community, map its Islam and politics often with only a tenuous connection changes, scrutinise the influences it is with their dictionary meanings. As a subject to and identify events in its • There has, over many years, been a result, the political climate post 7/7 has recent history that may explain why process of a general politicisation of most influenced the use of these terms Muslim British citizens would want to the Muslim community and subse- and allowed them to become danger- turn on Britain. quent Islamicisation of Muslim ously broad in the behaviours they politics in Britain rather than 'radical- capture and label. For example, John This post 7/7 debate has blamed a isation' Esposito in his forthcoming book 'Who number of different factors for Speaks for Islam?' defines a 'political contributing to this heightened terror radical' as someone who believes "the threat, but has been offset by sensation- Part I 9/11 attacks were completely morally alist claims and alarmist comments that The Use, Misuse and Abuse of justified", whilst a report by the Policy have only acted to obscure an accurate Language in the Politics of Terrorism Exchange titled 'Living Apart Together' picture and to entrench stereotypes in equates 'radical' Islam with a desire for an already polarised debate. It has an Islam-based society, an idea that sought to discredit legitimate Islamic The language used post 7/7 has fostered actually carries mainstream support political ideas by suggesting they the belief that the Muslim community is amongst Muslims. increase the Muslim community's changing in a way that is de facto prob- susceptibility to using violence. To date, lematic and that the growing influence Historically, however varied their appli- the debate has lacked an honest, dispas- of Islam has been detrimental and is to cation, these terms have been consis- sionate assessment of the forces at play be treated with suspicion. It has created tently used to discredit political ideals within the Muslim community, the the false premise that such changes and goals through associating them with impact of which has been dangerous made 7/7 inevitable and, as a result, are violence or irrationality. There has been characterisations of Islam and the studied as if they are the cause of little responsibility to ensure the Muslim community, misinformed public violence and terrorism. This has phenomena they are used to describe fear and misguided government policy. spawned a phenomenon in which ideas actually fit the terms, but instead they themselves are treated as the key suspect have been used to declare as beyond the In this section, we argue that: in what are essentially security matters. pale, legitimate non-violent political ideas and goals. • The language used in the security The Political Manipulation of debate has become politicised to Terminology For example, the suggestion that counter dissenting voices and falsely 'extremist' and 'radical' appropriately brand the Muslim community as The predominant narrative has describe the views taking root within more violence prone described a community increasingly the Muslim community demonstrates a
  • 10. Section 1 - Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ - 11 failure to understand ideas that rest tion' of Islam, as opposed to Islam being To date, the debate has outside of the prevailing political assumptions. Calls for Shariah, Islamic education, dress, and other social and political beliefs that break with the accepted secular liberal order and are inherently political, and an aberration because it employs Islam beyond its natural role as a personalised religion. Confronting the Myths: 'Islamism' and “ lacked an honest, dispassionate assessment of the forces at play within the Muslim community, the impact increasingly used to characterise the 'Political Islam' demands of extremists and radicals, as of which has been dangerous highlighted in the conclusions of the To such distinctions, a report by the Policy Exchange report. But although International Crisis Group, entitled characterisations of Islam and different to the west's secular tradition, 'Understanding Islamism', challenges the the Muslim community, they articulate orthodox and longstand- failure of commentators to understand ing, not marginal, Islamic beliefs. These the relationship between Islam and misinformed public fear and ideas may be unfamiliar to a secular politics. It refers to the: misguided government policy west but instead of considering them alternative approaches, they are often "…dichotomy, often taken for granted considered problematic and, as a result, by Western leaders, between on the one the suggestion that 'extremist' are addressed through a security frame- hand, Islam qua religion and its adher- and 'radical' appropriately work and new security legislation rather ents - 'ordinary decent Muslims' for than through engagement. This reflects whom 'Islam' is a matter of personal describe the views taking root a failure to understand Islam and there- piety, not political commitment - and, within the Muslim community fore to position its ideas within a secular on the other hand, 'Islamism' or 'politi- political system. The depiction has a cal Islam' - by implication an affair of a demonstrates a failure to profound impact on assessing the minority of agitators exploiting the faith understand ideas that rest Muslim community and subsequently of their fellow-Muslims for political suggesting their vulnerability to the use ends, stirring up resentment, constitut- outside of the prevailing of violence. ing a problem for Western interests and political assumptions 'friendly' Muslim states alike. This The Failure to Understand the dichotomy is misleading for several Relationship Between Islam and reasons…" "…the conception of 'political Politics Islam' inherent in this The distinction is born out of an impo- At the heart of much of the problem sition of a secular framework on Islam. dichotomy is unhistorical as with the current debate has been how An honest assessment of orthodox well as self-serving... In fact, Western commentators have chosen to Islamic literature demonstrates this understand Islam's relationship with distinction is false and that Islam natu- Islam had been a highly politics and the role this has played in rally forms the basis of political life as it politicised religion for subsequently supporting the belief that a does moral and spiritual. Islamic history generations before 1979. It only threatening radicalising undercurrent is too is dominated by the role of Islam in alive in the Muslim community. As politics, with the Caliphate - the Islamic appeared to have become Islam plays a greater role in the politics political system - ending only at the apolitical in the historically of both the Muslim community in beginning of the twentieth century in Britain and the wider Muslim world, 1924 after thirteen centuries, dominat- specific and short-lived heyday Western commentators have chosen to ing some 94 per cent of Islamic history. of secular Arab nationalism describe this as abnormal and a manipu- Even since its demise, political debates lation of Islam. in the Muslim world have strongly between 1945 and 1970" featured Islam in all but a few decades. (International Crisis Group) The term 'Islamism' has been used to The ICG's report goes on to describe encapsulate this view. The Policy how: Exchange report referred to earlier "the much laboured distinction describes 'Islam' as "a religion practiced "…the conception of 'political Islam' between 'moderates' and by Muslims worldwide" but 'Islamism' as inherent in this dichotomy is unhistori- "a political ideology that aims to create a cal as well as self-serving. The term 'Islamists' ... tends to get state and society in strict conformity 'political Islam' is an American coinage translated into the distinction with religious doctrine." A report titled which came into circulation in the wake 'The West, Islam and Islamism' by the of the Iranian revolution. It implied or between those who are think-tank Civitas, describes how the presupposed that an 'apolitical Islam' susceptible to co-optation and Latin suffix 'ism' refers to the politicisa- had been the norm until Khomeini those who take their beliefs in tion of its prefix, in this case 'Islam'. The turned things upside down. In fact, term is therefore used to imply that the Islam had been a highly politicised earnest". (International use of Islam in politics is a 'politicisa- religion for generations before 1979. It Crisis Group) ”
  • 11. 12 - Section 1 - Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ the trigger has not - as some have alleged - been organisa- “ only appeared to have become apolitical in the historically specific and short- lived heyday of secular Arab national- tions falsely sensationalising...events, but images of western ism between 1945 and 1970". interference, injustice and double standards in the Muslim world and the failure of leaderships in both the West and the Muslim Labelling Views that Challenge the Interests of Western Governments, 'Extremist' Maintaining a false distinction between world to act against these perceived injustices. but is essentially academic. It is born out of a distinction that lacks credibility in religious identity. In the period that ” followed, a litany of crises in the Muslim Islam and Islamic politics has served political purposes by attempting to the phenomena it is describing. A trend world were marked by the first Gulf War isolate elements of Muslim society that towards using Islam in politics is consis- in Iraq, the persecution of Muslims in are assumed to threaten western inter- tent with Islamic orthodoxy and not an Bosnia, Somalia, the impact of sanctions ests. The ICG report describes how "the aberration. The terms construct false on Iraq, a number of confrontations concept of 'political Islam' and its defini- milestones on a path to 'radicalisation'. between the West and the Muslim tion as a problem only occurred when It has acted to inflate the belief that world, to current hostilities in Islamic politics began to articulate anti- Muslims are becoming more radical. Afghanistan and Iraq following the Western or, more specifically, anti- onset of the War on Terror. These all American attitudes" and that "'Islam' The question that needs to be asked is impacted Muslim thinking in Britain, was only seen to be political when it was whether such terms are appropriate in but how? seen to be a threat." Likewise, the much describing events and changes taking laboured distinction between 'moder- place in the Muslim community, or if These events have acted to awaken a ates' and 'Islamists' that follows from they are tenuous extrapolations that consciousness in the Muslim commu- this distinction "usually boils down to loosely use events to conjure up a false nity, triggering concerns about Muslims distinguishing between those with picture of the processes at work. These from either their countries of origin or whom Western governments feel they terms are sufficiently vague and are those to whom they have a sense of reli- can 'do business' (the moderates) and liable to expand in their meaning to gious affiliation. However, the trigger those with whom they cannot or will provide false evidence that orthodox has not - as some have alleged - been not. This tends to get translated into the Islamic changes in the Muslim commu- organisations falsely sensationalising distinction between those who are nity represent threatening undercur- these events, but images of western susceptible to co-optation and those rents. It is important to pierce through interference, injustice and double stan- who take their beliefs in earnest". the terms to understand the underlying dards in the Muslim world and the events, not to understand them through failure of leaderships in both the West Furthermore, a Gallup poll taken in the prism of the current language. and the Muslim world to act against November 2006 of nine Muslim coun- these perceived injustices. The prolifera- tries, featured in John Esposito's book A Brief History of Political Change tion of information through the globali- referred to earlier, found that the impor- Amongst Britain's Muslims sation of the media has been instrumen- tance of religion and attendance of reli- tal in bringing these events to the atten- gious service was near identical between The Muslim community in Britain is tion of both Muslim and non-Muslim so-called 'moderates' and 'political changing and has been for a while, but audiences and with it alternative and radicals', if not slightly more so in the when this process started, why and what uncensored news streams that have case of moderates. it represents is widely contested. challenged state sponsored and tradi- Importantly, we must ask if it is accurate tional media reporting. to use 'radicalisation' to describe those Part II changes. An Awakening Political Consciousness Politicisation not 'Radicalisation' For some, the process started during the This heightened sense of concern has furore that surrounded the publication not determined the nature of the subse- How Best to Describe Changes in the of the Satanic Verses. The subsequent quent response from the Muslim Muslim Community? response from Britain's Muslim commu- community. In fact, responses have been nity and mosque elders, from book in a multitude of different directions not The insistence of some commentators to burning to large-scale demonstrations, all of which have been religious or maintain a distinction between Islam demonstrated, it is argued, the first signs Islamic. and politics has provided false evidence of a mobilised Muslim mass in defence of Muslims becoming 'radical': as of religion. This mobilisation repre- Overall, it led to an increasingly politi- Muslims move from benign religious sented a departure from a predominant cally active Muslim community. For practice to using Islam in their politics, Asian identity with which Muslims had some, it involved involvement with according to these terms, they move associated during the waves of immigra- more conventional British politics such from Islam to Islamism. This trend is tion of the 60s/70s, to a religious as with the Labour party, the Left or described as one towards radicalisation distinction and increasingly assertive organisations fighting for social justice,
  • 12. Section 1 - Challenging the Narrative: Radicalisation, Extremism & ‘Islamism’ - 13 particularly amongst university it is essential that Western commentators and policymakers educated Muslims. This was not only for pragmatic reasons but also through assimilating more generally into the ideology of these organisations, as it saw “ revisit their attitude towards Islam and politics. ” a widening of the campaigns with which practice, affiliation with and member- sic to Islam, honest and forthright they associated as not restricted to the ship of Islamic organisations, from local engagement becomes a possibility and Muslim world, taking up causes in Latin mosque associations to global Islamic presents an opportunity for a more America or the Third World more political parties, to more vocal demands, constructive relationship. generally. all of which now stand at record levels amongst second and third generation Taking Account of Globalisation and Likewise, some assessed the issues as Muslims in the UK. Impact of Western Policies in the having a particular Muslim bearing. Muslim world With talk of a green menace replacing On the whole, therefore, the processes the Soviet threat, a clash of civilisations have responded to a heightened sense of More broadly, a discussion on Muslims and the depiction of Muslims and Islam political injustice through first 'politici- in the UK should be understood in the being the common denominator of sation' and subsequent 'Islamicisation' of context of the Muslim world. The most of the key global crises following the Muslim community. Politicians and changes experienced within the UK the fall of the Berlin wall, a number of some commentators have instead mirror changes occurring more gener- Muslims mobilised around defending preferred to use 'radicalisation' to ally in the Muslim world that predated Muslim interests, Islamic values or describe these changes and trend the Salman Rushdie affair, particularly responding to injustices specifically towards Islam, in an attempt to malign the move away from secular, nationalis- perpetrated against Muslims. them at the outset. tic politics to Islamically based political activity. The advent of globalisation In the first instance therefore, the Revisiting Thinking on particularly through the movement of change in the Muslim community was a 'Radicalisation' information and human populations has growing politicisation, both religious made it less possible to understand and non-religious. The trend towards greater Islamic politi- trends purely in the boundaries of cal practice is consistent with Islamic national borders; globalisation has orthodoxy and a long-standing histori- brought changes occurring in the responding to or cal Islamic political experience that has Muslim world to the shores of Britain's “ understanding processes at work within the Muslim community in the UK will lasted centuries. It represents a legiti- mate non-violent political approach that may contrast with secular politics, but cannot be equated with a violent threat Muslim community and it is unlikely to be divorceable as the world continues to shrink. As a result, responding to or understanding processes at work within for merely being so. Radicalisation, the Muslim community in the UK will continue to require a more extremism and other similar terms, continue to require a more astute under- astute understanding of the amongst them militant, fundamentalist standing of the processes at work within processes at work within the and fanatic, denigrate Islamic political the Muslim world more generally. change through mere labelling, but Muslim world more more importantly fail to explain events To this end, it is naïve to ignore the generally. An Islamic Revival ” accurately. This would have only been of academic interest if it hadn't resulted in the growing polarisation between communities in Britain through prolif- impact of Britain's engagement in the Muslim world on attitudes of Muslims in this country, information about which can no longer be tightly erating ignorance about Islam and the controlled given the rise of alternative Over time, this politicisation has moved Muslim community. international news agencies, such as to take on a more Islamic form and those which broadcast from the Muslim represents what one may describe as a In taking this debate forward, it is world, or the huge networks of informa- subsequent 'Islamicisation' of Muslim essential that Western commentators tion made possible through the internet. politics. Flirtations with various political and policymakers revisit their attitude experiments, movements and associa- towards Islam and politics. If they It is important to note also that Western tions has changed over time either continue to insist they are separate and policies in the Muslim world have had a because of a failure of these movements structure policies on this assumption, similar impact in terms of politicisation to respond adequately to the perceived they will simply encourage what will be on many non-Muslims in the Arab problems or because the sense of the perceived as more extreme measures world. We highlight later in the report problem as having a particular Muslim towards the Muslim community because how polls conducted of non-Muslim or Islamic bearing has developed. This Muslims simply consider themselves opinion in the Muslim world also show increasing 'Islamicisation' of Muslim moving to a more orthodox not extreme heightened politicisation and opposition politics or Islamic political practice can form of Islam. If on the other hand they to Western policies in the Muslim be perceived through levels of religious acknowledge this relationship is intrin- world.
  • 13. 14 - Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam Section 2 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam As discussed in the previous section, argument is extended to include the political violence demonstrates that it is some commentators have asserted that possibility of violence. cross-cultural, cross religion and the trend towards greater Islamic ideology and is driven by a number of practice combined with political In this section, we argue that: factors often born out of a sense of concerns over events in the Muslim political injustice, occupation or world has made the Muslim community • The trend towards greater Islamic invasion. An academic study by more vulnerable to the use of violence political practice, far from being a Professor Robert Pape, an Associate to counteract perceived injustices. precursor for violence, often provides Professor at Chicago University, people with an alternative. published in his book 'Dying to Win: The Policy Exchange report describes The Logic of Suicide Terrorism', how "Islamism is not only a security • Politically motivated violence is a demonstrates that the advent of suicide problem…" implying that it is at least wider issue most often occurring as a bombers is not unique to Muslims but that. Tony Blair's recent announcement response to political oppression and is rather a generic cross-human to make Islamic studies 'strategically injustice rather than because of phenomena driven by a number of important' to the British national ideology or theology. Hence, the asso- political factors rather than theological interest, arguing it will help prevent ciation of Islam with political violence beliefs. 'violent' extremism, demonstrates that is misleading. the study of Islam by the Muslim The study included the first complete community is thought to be associated • There is little support for violence as a database of every suicide attack around with an increased threat from violence. means of change as demonstrated by the world from 1980 to early 2004 and As a result, the logic requires this recent polls of Muslim opinion, which conducted in native-language sources - Islamicisation of Muslim politics to be also show increasingly levels of Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and treated with suspicion and, at some support for Islamic politics. others - that allowed it to gather infor- level, stymied and prevented from mation not only from newspapers, but growing in influence. • It is important to separate goals from also from products of the perpetrating means so as to not to link widely held organisations . The study found that: It is important to reiterate that while in legitimate political ideas with a secular framework politicisation may violence. • The world leader in suicide attacks be supported, a growing awareness of was the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka - a Islam and its use in politics is seen by Marxist, secular group. some to stand at odds with secular, irre- Part I ligious politics. In this sense the trend is Decoupling Political Violence from Islam • Two thirds of Muslim 'suicide unconventional and outside the prevail- bombers' have been from countries ing political culture in the West which where US forces have or are still has led some to describe it with terms Violence is Driven by Political not maintaining military forces. that undermine their credibility. The Theological Factors terms 'radical' and 'extremist' misrepre- • The presence of US forces is creating sent the changes in the Muslim commu- Violence cannot be treated as an exten- suicide attackers in Iraq which was a nity, and misrepresent the phenomena sion of the trend towards greater country that had never previously of Islamicisation, but have a powerful Islamic political practice within the had a suicide attack in its history impact in the manner in which the Muslim community. The history of prior to the 2003 invasion.
  • 14. Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam - 15 Political injustice provides oxygen for ing the sense of political injustice and in do not advocate violence and have the proponents of such attacks to justify driving individuals to undertake acts of refused to endorse the attacks on civil- such actions. It is therefore crucial that political violence against those they ians in Western capitals. acts of political violence are analysed as perceive as aggressors, whether the a separate phenomena based upon the rhetoric of legitimisation is religious or Regarding the use of violence more individuals who choose to engage in otherwise, following the conclusions of generally, the ICG report on Islamism them, their justifications and the role that Professor Pape's study. This is particu- makes a clear distinction between local and foreign political injustice has in larly important given the Muslim world Islamic political activity and violence. providing oxygen to justify such acts. is a region already at the mercy of The report concludes that while hostility despotic rulers and tyrants. Rather than to Western policy is widespread this Foreign Policy and Political Injustice blame a whole community or its does not necessarily translate into leanings towards Islamic politics gener- support for violence: Regarding the July 2005 bombings in ally, it is important to understand the London, as is now common knowledge, political nature of the factors that drive "Suspicion of, if not opposition to, the the British government was forewarned such acts as opposed to solely attribut- behaviour of al-Qaeda and its imitators that its involvement in the catastrophic ing them to Islamic theology or ideas, is widespread within Islamist circles and US invasion of Iraq had increased which does not take account of the all but unanimous among political Britain's vulnerability to the threat of a history of political violence across Islamists…at the same time, hostility to retaliation attack. The leaked report cultures, religions and ideologies. Western and especially U.S. policy is from the UK's Joint Terrorism Analysis very widespread but does not translate Centre (JTAC), which predated the into support for, let alone participation attacks, warned: Islamic Politics is an Alternative to in, al-Qaeda's global jihad except for a Violence as a Means of Change tiny minority." "Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of The phenomenon of Muslims using terrorist related activity in the UK". violence on Western soil is a relatively Islamic Political Activism is an recent phenomenon and brought to the Alternative to Violent Expression In April 2005, a report drawn up by the fore by 9/11. Non-violent calls for a Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) political vision of a Muslim world Islamic political organisations have entitled "International Terrorism: governed by an Islamic political system played an influential role in directing Impact of Iraq" was even more explicit, - or Caliphate - have been heard ever Muslim concerns towards non-violent stating: since the Caliphate was formally abol- political activity. Some organisations ished at the beginning of the twentieth have chosen the democratic process, "We judge that the conflict in Iraq has century. These calls and this vision while others have advocated non-violent exacerbated the threat from interna- therefore predate this modern phenom- political expression outside of existing tional terrorism and will continue to enon by more than fifty years. Talk of political structures. have an impact in the long term. It has establishing an Islamic political system reinforced the determination of terror- has continued to feature across the For example, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been at ists who were already committed to spectrum of political debate in the the forefront of working for a Caliphate attacking the West and motivated others Muslim world even after its demise. in the Muslim world since 1953 through who were not." urging Muslims to engage in a non- For numerous organisations, the goal of violent political struggle against the Amongst numerous other voices, a returning Islam to state and society rulers of the Muslim world. Its literature report in July 2005 by the foreign affairs features at the root of their political and behaviour prepare its members only think-tank Chatham House, also effec- activity. The means they employ differ, with the political means for change. In tively expressed the view that the as does their vision of the Islamic politi- fact, globally, it remains a fact that large invasion of Iraq had made the world a cal system's exact workings. Some opt numbers of people who joined Hizb ut- more dangerous place. In their view, for a gradual reform of the political Tahrir left armed militancy after being there was "no doubt" that the invasion system using existing structures and convinced of Hizb ut-Tahrir's political of Iraq had: "given a boost to the al- mechanisms. Others encourage individ- methodology on the basis of Islamic Qaida network" in "propaganda, recruit- ual reform, whilst others, like the evidences. In Uzbekistan, for example, ment and fundraising". Also that "riding Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a pillion with a powerful ally has proved opt to operate through a different model group that has advocated armed struggle, costly in terms of British and US of political activity. Most such organisa- witnessed a large turnover from its ranks military lives, Iraqi lives, military expen- tions are non-violent, have not endorsed to Hizb ut-Tahrir. The commitment of diture and the damage caused to the attacks such as those in New York or Hizb ut-Tahrir not to be involved in any counter-terrorism campaign." London, and do not advocate violence violent activity is based on its faith and as a methodology for change. Indeed, understanding of the revelation of God, It is essential to understand and amongst those Islamic organisations which makes its involvement in any acknowledge therefore the role that that seek to establish a Shariah-based terrorist or violent activity impossible, foreign policy has played in exacerbat- government the overwhelming majority either in theory and practice. No person
  • 15. 16 - Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam “ Rather than blame a can join Hizb ut-Tahrir until he or she Islam in their countries - consistent adopts this political and intellectual with the goals of al Qaeda - but also whole community or its methodology and approach. express an openness to outside leanings towards Islamic cultural influences. Large majorities in politics generally, it is most countries support the goals of Part II requiring a strict application of sharia, important to understand the Poll Evidence Refutes the Alleged Link keeping out Western values, and even political nature of the factors between Islam's Political Tenets and unifying all Islamic countries into a Violence as a Means of Change single Islamic state." that drive such acts as opposed to solely attributing them to • "On the other hand, majorities in all The findings of a number of recent polls countries regard the increasing inter- Islamic theology or ideas, which conducted across the Muslim world connection of the world through trade does not take account of the refute the assertion that there is a neces- and communication as positive" history of political violence sary association between Islamic politi- cal ideas and violence as a means of • "Majorities or pluralities also reject across cultures, religions change or the argument that Islamic the idea that violent conflict between and ideologies political ideas inevitably lead to Muslim and Western culture is violence. The evidence from these polls inevitable and say that it is possible to shows that whilst support of Islamic find common ground." The findings of a number of political ideas - including a greater role recent polls conducted across for Shariah in the governance of their • "Large majorities in all countries countries - has steadily grown amongst opposes attacks against civilians for the Muslim world refute the Muslim populations, support for political purposes and see them as assertion that there is a violence and its use in political change contrary to Islam. Attacks on civilians has dropped. We are therefore presented are seen as hardly ever effective. necessary association between with an inverse relationship between Politically motivated attacks against Islamic political ideas and strengthening Islamic politics and the civilian infrastructure are also rejected violence as a means of change use of violence, rather than the direct as not justified" relationship some Western commenta- or the argument that Islamic tors and politicians propagate. • "Consistent with the opposition to political ideas inevitably lead attacks on civilians in principle, and in Of these polls, we will consider the contrast to the significant support for to violence findings of three of the most compre- attacks on US troops, majorities in all hensively conducted surveys carried out countries disapprove of attacks on “Large majorities in most by leading pollsters. civilians in the United States as well as civilians in Europe. Nearly as many countries support the goals of Program on International Policy disapprove of attacks on Americans requiring a strict application of Attitudes (PIPA), University of working for US companies in Islamic Maryland, April 2007 countries." sharia, keeping out Western values, and even unifying all The recently issued report by the Centre for Strategic Studies, University Islamic countries into a single University of Maryland entitled 'Muslim of Jordan, February 2005 Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on Islamic state” Civilians and al Qaeda' is one of the The Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) at (PIPA, University of Maryland, April 2007) most recent and revealing polls of the University of Jordan published a opinion in the Muslim world. The survey entitled "Revisiting the Arab report found strong support for estab- Street" in February 2005 in which they The vast majority of lishing a single Islamic state, keeping out interviewed numerous population respondents across Egypt, Western values, rejection of the notion samples (national representative sample, of inevitable violence between the university students, media elites and Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Muslim world and the West, and the business elites) in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon believed that Shariah rejection of attacks on civilians in the Palestine and Lebanon. The report was West or elsewhere. based on interviews conducted between should be a source of March and June of 2004. legislation, with a strong Some of the report's key references majority in many of the which illustrate these points are In addition to findings that showed summarised below: support for a greater role of the Shariah countries stating that it ” and Islamic scholars in the politics and should be the only source • "Most respondents express strong governance of their countries, the support for expanding the role of findings also suggested that hostility
  • 16. Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam - 17 towards the West was largely down to PEW Global Attitudes Project “Pew surveys found political reasons, such as the foreign policy of the US and Britain towards the Muslim world, rather than religious or theological arguments. Some of the report's findings were: A number of Pew Global Attitudes surveys undertaken over the past few years also support the findings of the above mentioned reports with regards to “ majorities of Muslims in nine of the 14 countries surveyed favored a "very large" the increasing support for the role of or "fairly large" role for Islam in • The vast majority of respondents Islam in politics and governance and a political life. In Pakistan, 86% across Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria strong decline in support for violence. and Lebanon believed that Shariah of Muslim respondents should be a source of legislation, with A Pew Global Attitudes Survey carried expressed that view, as did a strong majority in many of the out in February 2005 entitled ‘Iraqi Vote countries stating that it should be the Mirrors Desire for Democracy in the large majorities of Muslims in only source. Muslim World’ states: Indonesia (82%) and Jordan • Strong adherence to the precepts of • "…while Muslims are generally recep- (73%). In Turkey, however, far Islam was not found to necessarily tive to democracy and supportive of fewer Muslims (41%) think that equate with hostility or negativity basic freedoms, they also believe that toward the West. The tension between Islam should have a prominent role in Islam should play a major role the Arab world and the West is not politics. Pew surveys found majorities in the nation's political life” perceived in either religious or of Muslims in nine of the 14 countries (PEW Global Attitudes Project, 2005) cultural terms. surveyed favored a "very large" or "fairly large" role for Islam in political • Arabs believe that their societal values life. In Pakistan, 86% of Muslim The Centre for Strategic stand in sharp contrast to the West. respondents expressed that view, as They associate Western societies with did large majorities of Muslims in Studies...found that of those liberalism, individual liberty, democ- Indonesia (82%) and Jordan (73%). polled, most disagreed with the racy and technological progress, but In Turkey, however, far fewer Muslims also with increased levels of societal (41%) think that Islam should play a US definition of terrorism and problems. In contrast, they see their major role in the nation's political saw violence and the groups societies as maintaining stronger life." values of tradition and family, and as that engage in it as legitimate being less plagued with social • "Other surveys have shown that if they were part of a strategy problems. The exception to this is that Muslims take a nuanced view of Arabs believe financial and adminis- religion and politics. Shibley Telhami, to counter the perceived trative corruption is more prevalent in a professor at the University of occupation policies of the US Arab societies than in the West. Maryland, polled in six predomi- and Israel… Even 74 per cent nantly Muslim countries last June - • Arab reactions to Western, and most including Egypt and Saudi Arabia - of Lebanese Christians viewed specifically US, foreign policy in the and found that while most respon- Hezbollah as a resistance region were identified as being the dents favored a stronger role for the single most important factor influenc- ing Arab attitudes. When asked if the anti-American attitude was a result of American values or American policy in the Muslim world, 90 per cent of clergy in politics, few expressed admi- ration for religious leaders." It is important to highlight here that Pew have evaluated a desire for democ- organisation ” Egyptians, 79 per cent or Moroccans, racy by assessing support for ideals such 76 per cent of Jordanians and 80 per as allowing open criticism of govern- cent of Lebanese said that it was ment, greater participation in the politi- because of American policy. Most cal process and media reporting without believed that America and Britain were censorship. These all relate to empower- selfish and insincere in their foreign ing the citizenry with greater powers of policy and that America attempts to accountability notably absent in the dominate countries, violates human Muslim world, but such rights are not rights and rather than approach coun- exclusive to democracy. Within Islamic tries with dignity and respect tries to literature there are detailed discussions impose its policies on other countries. on the mechanisms for political partici- As the survey cites, these findings pation and accountability were not specific to the Arab world but were similar to findings in South A Pew Global Attitudes Survey Korea, Russia and Brazil. published in July 2005 entitled ‘Islamic
  • 17. 18 - Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam Pew have evaluated a desire for democracy by assessing “ remains elusive. Britain and the US have taken advantage of this ambiguity to support for ideals such as allowing open criticism of brand resistance to their military occu- government, greater participation in the political process and media pation by indigenous populations in Iraq and Afghanistan as terrorism, even reporting without censorship...such rights are not exclusive to though the right to resist foreign democracy. Within Islamic literature there are detailed discussions military occupation has broad support, historical precedent and is part of the ” on the mechanisms for political participation and accountability Geneva Convention (Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977, Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Extremism: Common Concern for modern society. But Muslims gener- Article 49, Point 4). Muslim and Western Publics’ states: ally disagree - including Muslims who live in major European countries." Attitudes Towards Violence Directed • "The balance of opinion in predomi- at Civilians: Comparing the US with nantly Muslim countries is that Islam • "In a similar vein, the Pew Global Iran is playing a greater role in politics - Attitudes survey asked people in five and most welcome that development. predominantly Muslim countries The Muslim world finds itself having to Turkey is a clear exception; the public whether or not they believe there is a repeatedly clarify its position on there is divided about whether a struggle between groups who want to violence because of the climate created greater role for Islam in the political modernize their country and Islamic by the War on Terror, whilst non- life of that country is desirable." fundamentalists. The responses are Muslim societies are spared such mixed. In Turkey, 58% say there is a scrutiny. A recent poll, however, • "The importance of Islam in the polit- struggle between modernizers and compares American and Iranian public ical life of many countries where it is Islamic fundamentalists, and nearly as opinion regarding attacks on civilians the predominant religion is under- many Indonesians (50%) agree. But and demonstrates how the obsession scored by the large percentages in solid majorities in Jordan and Egypt with Muslim opinion has allowed these countries saying that they think see no such struggle; in Pakistan, a dangerous attitudes in Western societies of themselves first as a Muslim, rather relatively large number (50%) to go overlooked. than as a citizen of their particular declined to offer an opinion." country." The poll, published in January 2007 by Attitudes Towards Terrorism and the Program on International Policy • "Large majorities of Muslims in most Legitimate Resistance Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of predominantly Muslim countries Maryland, compares attitudes among surveyed think that it is very impor- The Centre for Strategic Studies poll Iranians and Americans on a host of tant that Islam play a more important cited earlier found that of those polled, political issues. Participants in both and influential role in the world than most disagreed with the US definition of countries were asked whether bombing that religion now does. In Morocco, terrorism and saw violence and the and other attacks intentionally aimed at 84% of Muslims subscribe to this groups that engage in it as legitimate if civilians was often, sometimes, rarely or view, as do 73% in Jordan, 70% in they were part of a strategy to counter never justified. Pakistan and 64% in Indonesia. Even the perceived occupation policies of the in Lebanon and Turkey, where fewer US and Israel. Actions against these In response 80 per cent of the Iranian among the Muslim population place nations are largely seen as legitimate participants said that violence targeting high importance on a larger global resistance and acts committed by Israel civilians is never justified, while only 46 role for Islam, pluralities in both and America are viewed as true acts of per cent of American expressed similar countries do so." terrorism. Most considered attacks opposition to such attacks. 11 per cent against US troops in Iraq or against of Iranians supported violent, deliberate A Pew Global Attitudes Survey Israeli settlements as not being terrorist attacks on civilians, with 3 per cent published in June 2006 entitled ‘The acts. Most viewed organisations like saying that such violence is often justi- Great Divide: How Westerners and Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah as fied and 8 per cent arguing that it is Muslims View Each Other’ highlights legitimate resistance organisations. Even sometimes justified. In sharp contrast, that the supposed conflict between 74 per cent of Lebanese Christians twenty four per cent of American modernisers and fundamentalists the viewed Hezbollah as a resistance organi- participants supported violent, deliber- west eagerly promote, is a narrative that sation. ate attacks on civilians, with 5 per cent has very low traction in the Muslim saying deliberate attacks on civilians world. The report states: The War on Terror has manipulated the were often justified and 19 per cent said fact that there is no consensus on the they were sometimes justified. The poll • "In most Western countries, the definition of terrorism. The issue has appears to suggest that there is a much prevailing view among non-Muslims been debated nationally and interna- greater willingness among Americans to is that there is a conflict between tionally, including attempts at the countenance the use of violence against being a devout Muslim and living in a United Nations, but an agreed definition civilians to achieve political goals.
  • 18. Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam - 19 Whether it is the bombing and subse- some of the most celebrated historical quent occupation of Iraq in 2003, or the events in the West should be recast as More acutely, if the years of sanctions that preceded it, Americans seem to have become accus- tomed to their government employing extreme violence in the name of lofty political goals, and may partly contribute to explaining these statistics. triumphs for political violence. The founding pillars of the 'enlightenment' should be held responsible for motivat- ing violent upheaval on the continent of Europe and North America and thus should remain under the shadow of - “ juxtaposition of means and goals promoted by the likes of Blair is credible, the ideas of the enlightenment must be and scarred by - the means of terror. deemed inherently violent, for Part III More acutely, if the juxtaposition of they represented the ideals of Ends Do not Justify Means, but Means means and goals promoted by the likes the violent and bloody struggles do not Invalidate Ends of Blair is credible, the ideas of the enlightenment must be deemed inher- that were the French and It is important to separate goals from means so as to not to tarnish legitimate political grievances and goals with violence. The polls referred to previ- ously reflect the fact that whilst Muslims ently violent, for they represented the ideals of the violent and bloody strug- gles that were the French and American revolutions. John Locke, one of the most prominent American revolutions B) National Liberation Struggles ” Equally, national liberation struggles may share concerns about political figures in the Enlightenment, advanced that used violence as a means should injustices, occupation and invasion of the case that a violent uprising against render the goal of independence from the Muslim world, they have on the tyranny was necessary and just, only to foreign control violent and immoral. whole rejected the use of violence as a correct the imbalance in natural affairs However this is a far cry from the means to achieve their political goals. created by that oppression. As he glowing endorsements they selectively explained in ‘Two Treatises of received from Western powers. On the Despite this, some Western commenta- Government’, by indulging in tyranny, Afghan effort to force out the Soviets, tors and politicians have continued to despots were "liable to be destroyed by former US President Ronald Reagan insist that the goals of Islamic politics the injured person and the rest of commented, are inherently linked to violence. In the mankind, that will join with him in the aftermath of 7/7 Tony Blair sought to execution of Justice, as any other wild "Self-determination, the right to freely discredit Islamic political goals as a beast, or noxious brute with whom choose one's own destiny, has been the natural extension of terror itself - refer- Mankind can have neither society nor central point of the Afghan struggle… ring to their "inherent" violence - and security". We are proud to have supported their attempted to intimately connect the brave struggle to regain their freedom, violence of 7/7 with a set of political Thomas Paine, the thinker whose and our support for this noble cause will goals that demanded a Middle East free writings assisted America's struggle for continue as long as it is needed". from Western occupation, the formation independence, articulated the case for of a Shariah-based political system - the an American revolution in his highly The struggle of the ANC against Caliphate - and an end to the occupation influential pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ apartheid represented a noble cause. of Palestine. Zeyno Baran, of the Hudson in a similar vein. "We view our enemies However, Nelson Mandela admitted in Institute, first suggested that the Islamic in the characters of Highwaymen and 1963 that "without violence there would political party Hizb ut-Tahrir was a Housebreakers, and having no defence be no way open to the African people to 'conveyor belt' to terrorism, but since for ourselves in the civil law; are succeed in their struggle" although he then the argument has been used more obliged to punish them by the military "planned it as a result of a calm and generally to tarnish those who engage one, and apply the sword, in the very sober assessment of the political situa- with Islamic political parties or politics. case, where you have before now, tion". None of this rendered the fight applied the halter". against racism in South Africa wrong Applying the Arguments used Against and Mandela eventually left prison, Islamic Politics to the West's Own Thomas Jefferson also acknowledged rebranded as a freedom fighter, to take Historical Experience that violence would feature in the path his place on the stage of international to America's independence, his words politics. A) The Enlightenment suggesting that although 'unfortunate' the focus should be on the bigger C) Contemporary Social and Political For those who insist on a supposed link picture: "It is unfortunate that the efforts Situations between means and goals, despite all the of mankind to recover the freedom of evidence to the contrary, it is necessary which they have been so long deprived, The use of violence to achieve a political to pose a broader question. Is it sound will be accompanied with violence, with end is still a point of debate in Western to discredit a set of political goals errors, and even with crimes. But while circles. Opinions range from those who because of the means employed by some we weep over the means, we must pray believe it is never justified to those who to achieve them? If this logic held true, for the end." believe that some situations necessitate
  • 19. 20 - Section 2 - 'Unspinning' the Accusations of Violence against Islam the goals of Islamic politics, particularly the demand for a Caliphate cannot be summarily “ dismissed by claiming that acts of violence are the sole means of achieving it. The Caliphate, for example, has a long track record of ruling quite diverse communities, ethnicities, regions and religions with success, bringing stability to previously war-ravaged territories, engaging populations and earning strong loyalties from the communities and religions it governed it. Gary Younge, a columnist for the Guardian, wrote regarding the rioting in Islamic Political Goals Cannot be Discredited Through False ” Paine goes on further to suggest "we have it in our power to begin the world Parisian suburbs last year that "in Associations over again. We are not insulting the certain conditions rioting is not just world with our fleets and armies, nor justified but may also be necessary, and The purpose here is not to justify the ravaging the globe for plunder. Beneath effective" because "when all non-violent, use of violence as a tool for political the shade of our own vines are we democratic means of achieving a just change. Rather, it is to demonstrate that attacked; in our own houses, and on our end are unavailable, redundant or the goals of Islamic politics, particularly own lands, is the violence committed exhausted, rioting is justifiable". Thomas the demand for a Caliphate cannot be against us." Paine's view that "having no defence for summarily dismissed by claiming that ourselves in the civil law; are obliged to acts of violence are the sole means of Though Paine was referring to the punish them by the military one" also achieving it. The Caliphate, for example, suffering of Americans under British moves to justify the use of violence has a long track record of ruling quite colonialism, Muslims in Fallujah, when no alternative is available. diverse communities, ethnicities, Baghdad, Najaf, Ramallah or Gaza could regions and religions with success, think that he was writing about them. The Oxford academic Timothy Garton- bringing stability to previously war- Had the conveyor belt existed at that Ash argues that, "We may want to ravaged territories, engaging popula- time then no doubt international uphold the universal principle 'no tions and earning strong loyalties from experts and law-enforcement agencies violence', but we all know that these are, the communities and religions it would have labelled his theories as such. in political fact and in moral content, governed. very different things, and some violent political actions are - shall we say - less Historic Parallels: Demonising unjustified than others". Other varia- Political Objectives and Ideas tions debate whether the maxim 'the end justifies the means' can pragmati- It has long been the case that the cally justify the use of political violence dissemination of any ideas of political to overcome an obstacle that obstructs change can be tarnished with the same critical human progress, as Jefferson's brush, whether or not their advocates earlier remarks on the American revolu- employ violence. Many political move- tion may lead one to conclude. ments of the twentieth century and many going even further back were accused of being a conveyor belt “ Though Paine was towards terrorism just by disseminating ideas that conflicted with the status quo. referring to the suffering of Americans under The American Independence struggle British colonialism, Muslims in itself was characterised in this way. Thomas Paine's pamphlet 'Common Fallujah, Baghdad, Najaf, Sense', published in January 1776, was Ramallah or Gaza could think labelled seditious. The British govern- ment viewed Paine as a traitor for the that he was writing about them. crime of calling for a declaration of Had the conveyor belt existed at independence based, not upon the privi- leges of land or birth, but upon that time then no doubt thoughts: international experts and law- enforcement agencies would "Can we but leave posterity with a settled form of government, an inde- have labelled his pendent constitution of its own; the theories as such ” purchase at any price will be cheap."
  • 20. Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence - 21 Section 3 The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence Many commentators on the War on tive US think-tank the Heritage how the Caliphate will be a stabilising Terror have failed to notice statements Foundation saying: force for the Muslim world. by senior politicians that effectively declare that a Caliphate and Shariah law "What drives these people on is ideas. in the Muslim world are unacceptable And, unlike the liberation movements Part I objectives. On September 5th, 2006 of the post-World War II era, these are Maligning a Popular & Orthodox Call President George W. Bush said, when not political ideas like national inde- referring to people that share the pendence from colonial rule, or ideology of al-Qaida: equality for all citizens without regard The propaganda of the War on Terror for race or creed, or freedom of expres- has taken a political vision that centred "They hope to establish a violent politi- sion without totalitarian repression. on the formation of a new Caliphate and cal utopia across the Middle East, which Such ambitions are, at least in principle, attempted to scar it with the horrors of they call caliphate, where all would be negotiable and in many cases have terrorism. The construct has sought to ruled according to their hateful actually been negotiated. However, construe the Caliphate as some violent ideology". there can be no negotiation about the throwback that would usher in a new re-creation of the Caliphate; there can dark age, characterised by sectarian President Bush's comments were be no negotiation about the imposition conflict, persecuted minorities and fear preceded by Tony Blair in the immedi- of Sharia law". because, the argument is, these are the ate aftermath of the attacks in London hallmarks of the terrorists' campaign to on 7/7. At a press conference on 16th Such pronouncements have attempted create it. Blair's post 7/7 thrust aimed to July 2005, he said that Britain must to discredit one of the central goals of weld terrorism onto the goal for a confront "an evil ideology", defining this current Islamic political activity in the Shariah-based political system, a as "their barbaric ideas." which Muslim world: the establishment of an construct that the US administration included, "the establishment of effec- independent Islamic political system in was equally eager to brandish: President tively Taliban States and Shari'ah law in the Muslim world, or Caliphate. Just as Bush also referred to confronting a the Arab world en route to one with Islamic politics more generally, a "violent political vision" which repre- Caliphate of all Muslim nations." Tony host of arguments have been forwarded sented "the establishment by terrorism, Blair sought to shift the focus away from to suggest that the Caliphate would be subversion and insurgency of a totalitar- the terrorists' methods to bring into an unwelcome prospect and that its ian empire that denies all political and focus the need to challenge a set of emergence should be opposed. Included religious freedom". The attempt has political goals that centred on the in this are attempts to link its reality been to cast the Caliphate as an al- formation of a new Caliphate in the with violence as some of the above state- Qaida preserve giving its mere mention Muslim world, saying this was “a battle ments attempt to do. an "almost instinctive fearful impact" in not just about the terrorist methods but the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, their views" In this section, we address failures in the President Jimmy Carter's national Western discourse of the Caliphate, the security adviser. In October 2005, the then British Home role of the Caliphate in Islamic ortho- Secretary, Charles Clarke, made a doxy, the Caliphate as a distinct and Remarks from senior US and British speech to the right wing neo-conserva- alternative political system, and discuss officials demonstrate the Caliphate is
  • 21. 22 - Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence also finding its way into the language of Reframing a Discussion on the “ the Islamic political system the Iraq conflict. American officials have Caliphate has its own independent referred to it as part of a pretext for configuration and a distinct continuing US involvement in Iraq. For A discussion on the Caliphate must lie Eric Edelman, US Under Secretary of in a broader context: there is a need for constellation of political Defence for Policy, "Iraq's future will alternatives to the failing political lead- principles and ideas either embolden terrorists and expand erships in the Muslim world. Autocratic, their reach and ability to re-establish a authoritarian regimes litter the Muslim Caliphate, or it will deal them a crip- world and represent the single biggest "The Imams (scholars of the pling blow. For us, failure in Iraq is just obstacle to progress. Consent is notori- not an option". ously absent from the processes that four schools of thought- Shafi'i, legitimated presidents, kings and Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali)- may Challenging the Campaign to Malign premiers. Staged elections have never Allah have mercy on them- the Caliphate changed this fact, conducted as they are in a climate of fear and intimidation agree that the Imamah Attempting to discredit a political vision preventing public expression of any (Leadership) is an obligation, for the Muslim world that challenges organised opposition. Ruling elites owe their own by using the language of their status to acts of foreign installa- and that the Muslims must terrorism fundamentally misconstrues tion and often represent striking depar- appoint an Imam who would Islamic politics and acts to malign tures from the demographics of the anyone associated with it. The strategy lands they govern. Joseph Lieberman, implement the deen's rites, and appears largely in vain however - an former Vice Presidential candidate for give the oppressed justice independent Shariah-based system now the US Democrat Party, once described features in the vision of most of the the Caliphate as a 'new evil empire'. But against the oppressors" largest and best supported organisations if it is of an evil empire that we should (Al-Jaziri) in the Muslim world that are neither fear, then surely the Muslim world’s violent nor part of al-Qaida, as high- current reality is it: entrenched primi- lighted earlier in the report. tive and thoroughly repressive political It can only be a stabilising force structures aggregated to represent one for the region to replace While recent polls go some way to of the most poorly governed regions in suggest a depth of feeling for Islam the world. unrepresentative, playing a greater role in the governance unaccountable rulers with a of the Muslim world this has not been Successive UN Arab Human mapped across in the current discussion Development Reports make similar political system that is neither, in the West about Islam. Unfortunately, observations regarding the failing politi- and which draws on strong this means discussion on Islam suffers cal architecture in the Arab world, the from pernicious attempts to frame crisis in governance, authoritarian and ideological commonalities with Islamic political aspirations in a new totalitarian government, the lack of its people. The Caliphate light, without a credible political transparency and accountability, repres- represents an alternative element and inherently linked to sion, corruption, and a broad crisis of violence. legitimacy that faces Arab govern- political vision for the Muslim ments. But repressive governments have world and a political system Efforts to malign the Caliphate must be long characterised the region and challenged with an understanding of significantly pre-date the report's that draws on a strong exactly what it would represent. findings. historical record, arguably the Equating it with, and making it insepa- rable from, the violence that has struck It is in mapping a way out of this home of a leading civilisation certain Western capitals is a false associ- malaise that the Caliphate is presented ” for many centuries ation that lacks historical, political and as an alternative political model for the intellectual credibility particularly in the Muslim world. For the authors of the Muslim world. It can only be a stabilis- AHDR, the template is a Western model, ing force for the region to replace unrep- democracy, liberty, and the institutions resentative, unaccountable rulers with a and assumptions that underpin the political system that is neither, and Western liberal political philosophy are which draws on strong ideological its benchmarks for reforming Arab commonalities with its people. The governments. To address the plight of Caliphate represents an alternative polit- Muslims living under repressive regimes, ical vision for the Muslim world and a however, the emergence of a Caliphate is political system that draws on a strong forwarded as an alternative to a cultur- historical record, arguably the home of a ally adjusted secular liberal democratic leading civilisation for many centuries. solution.
  • 22. Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence - 23 even a cursory look at the position of classical Islamic However, even a cursory look at the “ Scholars throughout the ages demonstrates that the Islamic political system has always been regarded as a vital matter for the Muslim community (Ummah) and its existence to be protected, position of classical Islamic Scholars throughout the ages demonstrates that the Islamic political system has always been regarded as a vital matter for the Muslim community (Ummah) and its ” even a pre-requisite for enacting numerous Islamic rulings existence to be protected, even a pre- requisite for enacting numerous Islamic rulings. Failings in the Current Discourse on original configurations of both. In this the Caliphate case, it merely highlights the lack of According to the Mufassir (exegete) Al- liberal ideas in Islamic politics - which Qurtubi, when referring to verse 30 The current consideration of the says no more than that they are different Chapter 2 of the Quran, "This Ayah Caliphate as an alternative political - but does not question whether liberal- (verse) is a source in the selection of an model to Western liberalism, however, ism should be taken as the norm; the Imaam, and a Khaleef (Caliph), he is suffers in too many ways, and is approach is relative and offers no listened to and he is obeyed, for the compounded by errors in Western universal merit to the discourse. word is united through him, and the discourse on Islam in general and Measuring through a filtered prism Ahkam (laws) of the Caliph are imple- Islamic political thinking in particular. obscures an objective picture of the mented through him, and there is no 'Orientalist' writers who draw on sociol- Islamic political system and miscon- difference regarding the obligation of ogist Max Weber's reading of Islam, for strues a thoroughly distinct assemblage that between the Ummah, nor between example, regard it as a pre-modern of political ideas. The Islamic political the Imams except what is narrated political system that collapsed because system must be understood according to about al-Asam, the Mu'tazzili." He also of the challenges of modernity. They its original texts and meanings, not in said: "The Khilafah (Caliphate) is the consider it a closed system, total in relation to the Western state. pillar upon which other pillars rest." nature; unable to address Europe's inno- vations in industry and political Increasing demands amongst Muslims For Imam an-Nawawi: "(The scholars) thought, and that it is the principle populations for the rule of law, transpar- consented that it is an obligation upon impediment to progress unless Islam is ent, accountable and representative the Muslims to select a Khalif ". able to reform; a primitive political government, and an independent and According to the Imam al-Ghazali, system whose literature on government efficient judiciary are often interpreted when writing of the potential conse- is concerned only with the piety of ruler by Western commentators as a call for quences of losing the Caliphate, "The and subject. democracy. These provisions are not the judges will be suspended, the Wilayaat monopoly of liberal political philosophy, (provinces) will be nullified, ... the Apart from their particular critique of however; the Islamic political system decrees of those in authority will not be Islam, these - among many other - addresses each of these but through a executed and all the people will be on Western writings are premised on the model that understands society, the the verge of Haraam (commiting belief that the liberal political model is individual, the goal of government and unlawful acts)". For the reputed Jurist built on a series of values deemed the role of the state differently. The on Islamic governance Imam al- universal, and currently provides the Islamic political system - rather than Mawardi: "The contract of the Imamah most economically efficient and ethically inherently deficient - is characterised by (leadership) for whoever is standing desirable form of governance. This its own relationship between ruler and with it, is an obligation by Ijmaa'a assumption creates the problematic subject, authority and sovereignty, law, (consensus)". framework in which the Caliphate is property and power. studied because the approach typically One of the founders of the four major follows the route of comparison, one that The Caliphate's Position in Orthodox schools of Sunni thought, Imam Ahmed takes as its norm the Western state and Islam ibn Hanbal, said; "The Fitna (mischief its form of politics, and measures against and tribulations) occurs when there is provisions in the liberal political model. Amongst the attempts to malign the no Imaam established over the affairs of Caliphate have been those which have the people". Al-Jaziri, an expert on the Where such comparisons fall short is argued the Caliphate is not an instru- Fiqh of the four great schools of the failure to acknowledge that the mental part of Islam, but rather a histor- thought said regarding the four Imams: Islamic political system has its own ical institution whose usefulness in the "The Imams (scholars of the four independent configuration and a twenty-first century has been invented schools of thought- Shafi'i, Hanafi, distinct constellation of political princi- by the imagination and idealism of Maliki, Hanbali)- may Allah have ples and ideas. While overlooking this twentieth century political Islamists. mercy on them- agree that the Imamah distinct and different configuration of Such arguments have attempted to (Leadership) is an obligation, and that politics, comparisons that impose one foster the belief that the Caliphate is in the Muslims must appoint an Imam system as the norm act only to highlight fact an aberration of Islam itself and its who would implement the deen's rites, differences between the two systems call largely a modern phenomena born and give the oppressed justice against without, importantly, questioning the out of a reaction to colonialism. the oppressors".
  • 23. 24 - Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence “ “…based on public The subject of the Caliphate has also There was disagreement only as to which been addressed in numerous, detailed person should assume responsibility for opinion surveys and works throughout Islamic history and by government and head the state. recent elections in the Arab some of the most eminent jurists. Government, therefore, was established Amongst such writings are those that after the Prophet, both in the time of the world, the advent of democracy detail only aspects, such as Mohammed caliphs and in that of the Commander of there seems likely to produce al-Shaybani's works on international the Faithful; an apparatus of government relations (Kitab as-Siyar), Qadi Abu came into existence with administrative new Islamist governments that Yusuf 's works on taxation (Kitab al- and executive organs." would be much less willing to Kharaj), and Imaam Abu Ubayd al- cooperate with the United Qaasim bin Salaam's works on state funds (al-Amwaal), through to more Part II States than are the current comprehensive works that address the The Significance of the Caliphate at the authoritarian rulers” system as a whole, such as Imam Time of its Demise Mawardi's treatise on Islamic rule (al- (F. Gregory Gause III, associate professor Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah) and works by of political science at the University Imam Aamidi (al-Imamah). The twenti- The words of Lord Curzon, the British eth century's most elaborate works on Foreign Minister at the time of the of Vermont) the Caliphate are arguably those by Taqi Caliphate's end, appear to have best ud-Din an-Nabhani (d. 1977), in his caught the Caliphate's significance when Nidham al-Hukm fil Islam (the Ruling he announced to the House of Commons: "It is difficult to anticipate the System in Islam) and Shaksiyyah exact effect the 'abolition' of Islamiyyah volume 2 (the Islamic "We must put an end to anything which Personality), who also went on to brings about any Islamic unity between the Caliphate will have on the the sons of the Muslims. As we have publish a draft constitution for an minds of the Muslims of India. Islamic state, with detailed explanations already succeeded in finishing off the But so much I can safely affirm of each article, in his book Nidham al- Caliphate, so we must ensure that there Islam (the System of Islam) in the 1950s. will never arise again unity for the - that it will prove a disaster to Muslims, whether it be intellectual or both Islam and civilisation. The For the Shi'a too, who have broadly been cultural unity" historically quietist in a political sense suppression of the time since the onset of the ghaybah (occulta- The fall of the Caliphate in 1924 was an honoured institution, which was tion of the twelfth Imam), calls for event of monumental significance for Islamic governance have gained promi- Muslims as it represented the end of a throughout the Moslem world nence following the decline of Islam in 1350 year-old institution that had regarded as the symbol of the political sphere. The formulation of existed since the time of the Prophet the concept 'Wilayat al-Faqih' - the Muhammad himself. Albert Hourani Islamic Unity, will cause the governance of the jurist - amongst Shi'a describes how its loss had a "deep effect disintegration of Islam as a scholars is now extensively taught in the on the way in which politically moral force. It had knit together schools of Qom, in Iran. In the words of conscious Arabs thought of themselves". one Shi'a marjah, "The ratio of Qur'anic In the immediate aftermath, individuals over 250 million of the verses concerned with the affairs of and movements from all quarters of the followers of the faith belonging society to those concerned with ritual Islamic political spectrum emerged, worship is greater than a hundred to one. advocating the restoration of some form to the Sunni communion by one Of the approximately fifty sections of the of Shariah-based political system. common ideal." corpus of had?th containing all the ordi- Demands were not restricted to Turkey, nances of Islam, not more than three or though it was the last home of the (Syed Ameer Ali, Aligarh Muslim four sections relate to matters of ritual Caliphate and then subject to harsh, University and Muslim League, Times worship and the duties of man toward anti-religious Kemalist policies. his Creator and Sustainer. A few more newspaper, 5th March 1924) are concerned with questions of ethics, In Egypt, even prominent reformists led ” and all the rest are concerned with social, calls for its immediate re-establishment. economic, legal, and political questions- For example, in the magazine 'al-Manar' in short, the gestation of society". Also, Rashid Rida wrote: "All Muslims will that, "after the death of the Most Noble remain in a state of sin until they select Messenger, none of the Muslims doubted another caliph and pledge allegiance to the necessity for government. No one him" and by 1928 a populist Islamic said: 'We no longer need a government'. movement had emerged which held No one was heard to say anything of the Islamic government as a central goal. kind. There was unanimous agreement Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim concerning the necessity for government. Brotherhood said:
  • 24. Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence - 25 The Caliphate ... “ "When asked what is it that you call, to answer that question. Undoubtedly, reply that it is Islam, the message of some argued there must be no such Muhammad, the religion that contains thing. The reformer Ali Abdul Razaq for engages voices of within it a government". example challenged the likes of Rashid dissent through the political Rida by demanding a separation of In its dying days, attempts to salvage it religion from state, saying of the system by providing extensive where directed from as far away as Caliphate "In reality, the religion of channels for accounting all India by such likes as the Khilafat Islam is innocent of the Caliphate which Movement, a movement which left a Muslims have come to know". parts of the states' apparatus significant and lasting impact on as well as a consultative Muslim political thought throughout Clearly, a branch of the post-Caliphate assembly made-up of elected the subcontinent, forming the ideologi- debate did not reference Islam, driven cal underpinnings of later demands for by other ideological drifts. But after representatives with significant a separate Muslim homeland - Pakistan. failed experiments with nationalism - powers. According to Syed Ameer Ali, of the Arab or otherwise - communism, Aligarh Muslim University and Muslim socialism during the 50s and 60s, secu- League, in the Times newspaper on the larism and bitter experiences with Accountability lays firstly in the 5th March 1924: regimes that forcibly kept religion out of sight, not just out of government, organ- general right - and sometimes "It is difficult to anticipate the exact isations seeking to introduce Shariah obligation when the excess is effect the 'abolition' of the Caliphate will and Islam into the political system are have on the minds of the Muslims of now arguably the biggest force in the flagrant - of every citizen to India. But so much I can safely affirm - Muslim world. take the state to task, secondly that it will prove a disaster to both Islam in institutions that guarantee and civilisation. The suppression of the Any opening in the authoritarian archi- time honoured institution, which was tecture of the Muslim world is now the process of accountability throughout the Moslem world regarded likely to yield Islamic government. F. continuously takes place, and as the symbol of Islamic Unity, will Gregory Gause III, associate professor of cause the disintegration of Islam as a political science at the University of thirdly in a general requirement moral force. It had knit together over Vermont and director of its Middle East for political parties 250 million of the followers of the faith studies program, points to the increas- belonging to the Sunni communion by ing paradox of democratising the one common ideal." Middle East for US policymakers in Unlike monarchies and Foreign Affairs in October 2005: authoritarian governments who Even those who had conspired to destroy it, such as Hussein of Mecca "…based on public opinion surveys and place a monarch or premier who fought the Ottomans with British recent elections in the Arab world, the beyond the constitution with support, tried to assume its title advent of democracy there seems likely knowing the regard it held in the to produce new Islamist governments the sole right to interpret or Muslim world. Other political leaders that would be much less willing to coop- alter it, no individual in the also tried to take advantage. King Fouad erate with the United States than are the Islamic state's apparatus, from I of Egypt, for example, "set his sights on current authoritarian rulers" the lofty religious position that had been clerk to Caliph, is above the law vacated in Istanbul after Turkey abol- Lord Curzon's warnings that "we must ished the Caliphate in 1924" according put an end to anything which brings to Egypt's al-Ahram newspaper in 1925. about any Islamic unity between the Older orientalist writing may This is not to mention conferences held sons of the Muslims" where appended sometimes have distorted in Cairo in 1926 and throughout India by his remarks about the end of the during the early 1920s that addressed Caliphate: "The situation now is that Islam, but Islam was not various questions of support for the Turkey is dead and will never rise again, recreated in the image of Caliphate. because we have destroyed its moral secularism. Whether praising or strength, the Caliphate and Islam". After the Caliphate: Debating The fact that less than eight decades condemning Islam, orientalists Governance in the Muslim world after the British government announced made the political nature of its death, demands for the Caliphate's Since the furore that followed the re-establishment clearly challenges Lord Islam the theme of discussion ” demise of the Caliphate, the question of Curzon's forecasts bringing his warnings Islam in politics and Shariah-based to the fore. The growing prospect of the government has arguably confronted Caliphate's re-emergence is likely to every Islamic movement in the Muslim become one of the defining debates of world, regardless of how they resolved our time and must therefore be met with
  • 25. 26 - Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence a willingness to understand a system and all other facets of governance. The “ that would undoubtedly mark a new era With this natural wealth, issue of accountability features very for the Muslim world. it is clear that the Muslim prominently in the Shariah. Ruling is world could become regarded as a form of guardianship (riayah) and a trust (amanah), and the Part III economically independent and causing of oppression (dhulm) by the The Caliphate will Bring Stability the challenge pernicious economic head of state a grave crime - the corpus Muslim World of Islamic texts refers to each of these in policies it has had to suffer at an unequivocally serious manner. the hands of inept leaderships Accountability lays firstly in the general Contrary to the prophecies of doom right - and sometimes obligation when and the developed world ” Washington and London are so eager to the excess is flagrant - of every citizen to forward, the Caliphate will be a stabilis- take the state to task, secondly in insti- ing force for the Muslim world. Few tutions that guarantee the process of doubt that it will threaten foreign inter- requires them to appoint a head of state accountability continuously takes place, ests in the lands it governs if those inter- to do so on their behalf and so the head and thirdly in a general requirement for ests resemble current behaviour towards of state is legitimate only through political parties. the Muslim world. That may partly popular consent. The process of direct explain why the West is so eager to elections or an election by a representa- Additionally, an independent judiciary malign it. But asserting independence tive assembly consisting of individuals monitors the Caliph's legal adoptions does not render a state unstable. Indeed, elected to their respective positions can with the power to demand revocation. part of the Caliphate's appeal for be utilised to evaluate popular consent. The principle institution dedicated to Muslims is that it will stand up to Men and women over the age of fifteen the task of accounting the state is a foreign aggression and wrestle back are granted the right to vote and the special component of the state's inde- what they believe is rightfully theirs. process can be supported with the use of pendent judiciary: the 'Court of Unjust The Caliphate will bring stability to the any complimentary technologies, Acts' (Mahkamat al-Mudhaalim). It is Muslim world in numerous ways. whether internet, mobile or postal presided over by only the most eminent voting, provided their merit in improv- and qualified judges in the state and The Caliphate is an Accountable, ing efficiency is proven. Once elected, granted extensive powers by the Representative Political System the head of state is bound to an agree- Shariah. It has the power to remove any ment with the people through the bayah official of state regardless of their role or Firstly, the Caliphate is a political system contract. It stipulates a number of rank, including, most importantly, the whose head is only legitimised through conditions for his leadership of the state, head of state if he persists in pursuing a popular consent. It will, therefore, be including the condition that he manages path that lies outside of the terms of the most unlike the regimes that currently the affairs of the people on their behalf, contract with the people. Citizens who litter the Muslim world, which are both to do so exclusively according to the have a complaint against the state unrepresentative and unaccountable, Islamic sources of legislation, and the register it with the Court, which has and inherently fragile and unstable as a non-violation of the criterion of leader- wide-ranging powers of investigation result. With no means of recourse ship. Authority is at no point transferred that extend to all organs of the state's within these regimes and no channels to to the head of state through the bayah machinery. Importantly however, the express dissent or criticism, peoples' contract and remains permanently with Court does not rely on a plaintiff to concerns have become threatening the people. Thus, if the head of state register a complaint before problems are political undercurrents, even threats of violates any of the terms of the bayah investigated because it is tasked with the rebellion and overthrow, a reality exas- contract, the people can demand, permanent and continuous responsibil- perated by the widespread use of brutal- through the independent judiciary, that ity of scrutinising state conduct. In ity by security services to deal with he vacate his post. addition to the Court of the Unjust Acts, opposition. The Caliphate, in striking the 'People's Assembly' (Majlis al- contrast, engages voices of dissent Following on from the discussion on Ummah) is another important institu- through the political system by provid- authority in Islamic political discourse, tion that forms part of the Caliphate's ing extensive channels for accounting all is the ability to ensure the head of state accountability architecture. It is a repre- parts of the states' apparatus as well as a will not violate the terms of the bayah to sentative assembly whose members are consultative assembly made-up of which he is contracted by the people; in elected directly by citizens and can be elected representatives with significant short, architecture for effective account- from any ethnicity, creed or gender. The powers. ability (muhasabah). The Islamic politi- assembly provides extensive consulta- cal system enshrines mechanisms for tion (shura) on issues of state and public The concept that ‘the authority lies with binding the Caliph to his agreement and policy but, importantly, it has the power the Ummah’ is a core principle of the protecting citizens from state violations to scrutinise practically all matters Islamic ruling system. The Shariah and oppression (dhulm), and provides related to the state; it can oblige the places the original authority for direct and transparent channels for Caliph in key areas such as in the managing the affairs of the people in the accounting the executive, any state removal of state officials, regional budg- hands of the people themselves, but official, policy, conduct, administration etary control and matters of public
  • 26. Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence - 27 interest through consultation; and can The Caliphate was the only institution able to provide credible scrutinise every cannon issued by the Caliph and, in some cases, reject them, once again binding the Caliph. “ leadership on Islamic issues and which can hold a convincing Islamic debate that denounces weak or erroneous understandings ” The Caliphate, however, does not rely that threaten both Western and Muslim populations on institutions alone to provide inherent checks and balances but depends upon the politicisation of its citizenry as its alter it, no individual in the Islamic Muslim world could become economi- fundamental layer. Holding the rulers to state's apparatus, from clerk to Caliph, is cally independent and challenge perni- account is a duty - an obligation even - above the law. cious economic policies it has had to upon every Muslim, and citizens are suffer at the hands of inept leaderships encouraged to do so in a direct and The Caliphate is Built on Values and the developed world. In the Islamic open manner. Examples from the Consistent With the People of the economic system, ownership of natural Caliphs that immediately followed the Muslim World resources belongs to the people and Prophet Muhammad - whose consensus therefore revenues generated from their (ijma) is a source of Islamic law - Secondly, the Caliphate system is consis- sale would be used to develop vital demonstrate that they proactively tent with - not alien to - the values of infrastructure and facilitate economic encouraged forthright accountability. the people in the Muslim world. While growth. This is derived from the words This obligation is not restricted to the the Caliphate is a representative body of the Prophet Muhammad: "The people individual, but stipulates a requirement and authority rests with the people who are partners in three things: water, for the permanent existence of political exercise it through electing a head of pastures and fire [energy]." parties tasked with 'enjoining the good state, the law originates exclusively from and forbidding the wrong', a political the sources of Shariah. This provides it Today, foreign aid has stifled economic activity designed to challenge error and deep roots and a better chance at growth in many states through the incompetence. These civil bodies under- working in partnership with its popula- imposition of conditions that include take activities without interference from tions because it engages them on a mass privatisation, as well as other the state and, as the Islamic political common point of reference and for liberal secular reform. The Islamic system has no concept of a 'ruling common goals. But it also means the economic system has a defined frame- party', neither do they have any associa- Caliphate acts as a guarantor for values work and set of guidelines that govern tion with the state; their purpose is considered most at threat since its economic policy, which are not subject principally to highlight inadequacies in demise by Muslim peoples. The secular, to pernicious materialistic influences. state conduct and in the condition of autocratic, even atheistic regimes that The huge resource and wealth in the society. While various schools within emerged in the Caliphate's wake signifi- Muslim world is clearly better used if Western political theory have long cantly curtailed Islamic practice and invested in education, health and infra- struggled with the question of justifying engineered new readings of Islamic structure than to service interest 'political obligation' - whether the utili- values and history. They often imposed payments on foreign debt. Unlike capi- tarians, social contract theorists or views that broke with orthodoxy to talist economics, which does not make a others - Islamic obligations such as demand loyalty to divisive and failed distinction between basic and luxurious 'enjoining the good and forbidding the ideologies from Arabism to commu- needs when distributing wealth, the wrong' take on a unique dimension for nism, or combinations of both. The Islamic economy not only makes a the Muslim citizen: they are considered import of foreign value systems too is distinction but also sets priorities in good in their own right and an act of often associated with the threat of solving the needs of the people by worship, not measured by their expedi- eroding deeply held Islamic values. ensuring all the basic needs of the people ency or purely by the effect they yield. Values deemed 'Western', for example, are met. The Prophet Muhammad said: are tarnished by perceptions, rightly or "The son of Adam has no better right From institutions, through political wrongly, of Western moral and sexual than that he would have a house wherein parties to individuals, the mechanisms decadence. A political system that he may live and a piece of cloth whereby for accountability in the Caliphate credibly protects and promotes Islamic he may cover his nakedness and a piece provide the backbone to what is a values is key to securing public confi- of bread and some water." considerably rule-based society. The dence and partnership. Caliph is not beyond the law nor If this were central to economic protected by special exemption that The Caliphate will Address Poverty as thinking, millions would not be suffer- provides him immunity from prosecu- a One of its Highest Priorities ing from malnutrition or starvation. tion; if he commits a crime he will be The free market does not distinguish punished, if he transgresses the terms of Thirdly, the Caliphate will aggressively between the needs of the people and the bayah he will be eligible for address the problem of poverty in the neither does it ensure that the basic removal. Unlike monarchies and Muslim world that exists despite the needs of people are satisfied, rather it authoritarian governments who place a Muslim world possessing colossal leaves these to the forces of the market. monarch or premier beyond the consti- reserves of natural resources. With this To date, the problem of world poverty tution with the sole right to interpret or natural wealth, it is clear that the has not been adequately resolved and is
  • 27. 28 - Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence “ There is a tendency for The continual call for the need for Islam Part IV to modernise or undergo a reformation Western writers to equate and The Caliphate is an Islamic System of is an implicit accusation that its political impose upon the Muslim world Governance values are part of an unreconstructed pre-enlightenment interpretation of a the political paradigms religion, resistant to a transition into emanating from their Islam is the antithesis to secularism; it is modernity. ” a political phenomenon that draws its Christian history life from the spiritual and moral. George Older orientalist writing may sometimes Bernard Shaw once, writing quite some have distorted Islam, but Islam was not likely to be one of the major causes of time before the sharp polarisation of recreated in the image of secularism. conflict and instability in the twenty thinking post 9/11, made a challenging Whether praising or condemning Islam, first century. prediction about Islam: orientalists made the political nature of Islam the theme of discussion. The The Caliphate will Provide Credible “I have prophesied about the faith of political perception of Islam is clear, for Leadership for the Muslim World Muhammad that it would be acceptable example, in Shaw's writing: Islam 'is the to the Europe of tomorrow as it is only religion which appears to me to Fourthly, the loss of the Caliphate beginning to be acceptable to the possess that assimilating capacity to the brought with it an unprecedented loss of Europe of today.” changing phase of existence which can authority and leadership on Islamic make itself appeal to every age', and issues. The resulting vacuum allowed The world has changed drastically since about Muhammad he said: individuals to become global figure- these words were written. The commu- heads for merely speaking the rhetoric nist bloc has collapsed; the West has “I believe that if a man like him were to of anti-colonialism and standing-up to assumed an unrivalled ascendancy and assume the dictatorship of the modern perceived aggressors. Conferences like a new challenger to that ascendancy has world, he would succeed in solving its those held in the Jordanian capital been named: Islam. Now that Islam is in problems in a way that would bring it Amman in July 2005 which gathered the spotlight Shaw's prediction for Islam the much needed peace and happiness.” scholars from around the Muslim world to be 'acceptable' to Europe and the to denounce what they labelled extrem- West has never looked more misplaced, Some idea of the Prophet Muhammad's ist thought carry little weight or credi- when factions in the political arena do statesmanship in addressing the bility, organised under the auspices of a not even consider it an option for the problems of his own day can be gained Jordanian monarchy created on the Muslim world. from observing the terms of the treaty ashes of the Caliphate and which to this he made with the tribes who came day celebrates the Arab revolt, consid- The political aspects of Islam that under his political authority in the early ered by most a treacherous collusion attracted some older writers, such as days of the Islamic state that he estab- with British colonisers. The same is true Shaw, are often abstracted from the lished. One of the articles of this treaty for declarations made by the OIC whose discussion about Islam and placed in the states: “The Jews of the tribe of Auf, conferences are characterised by useless category of mere 'militant' offshoots or who are a party to this agreement and gestures and by ostentatious hospitality anti-Western cultural interpretations of are the supporters of the Muslims, shall that isolates them from the suffering of Islam. With politics conveniently adhere to their religion and the Muslims their own people. This crisis in leader- excised from the modern Western defi- to theirs. Excepting religious matters, ship after the Caliphate dangerously nition, Islam might be viewed as an the Muslims and Jews shall be regarded allowed its functions to be dismembered irrelevance to societal discussions, were as belonging to a single party.” and claimed by virtually anyone who it not for the surging tide of political was willing to take them on, from tax expression voiced by Muslims through- Reconciling Religion with State collection, to defending Muslim terri- out the world. This level of support in tory (including deciding when and the Arab and Muslim world has not To admit the possibility of a state of how), to defining the relationship prevented others from continuing to conflict with a religion as a whole is between Islam and other peoples. argue that these political aspirations are problematic for the West in a way that in someway illegitimate or even just conflict with another ideology, such as The Caliphate was the only institution misplaced in the scheme of human communism, never was. This is because able to provide credible leadership on development. Blair's speech to the Los secularism's claim to success is that it Islamic issues and which can hold a Angeles World Affairs Council in 2006 allows full religious expression in the convincing Islamic debate that boldly stated: realm of both individual and social denounces weak or erroneous under- activity without conceding any political standings that threaten both Western “It's about modernisation within Islam authority to religion. The outcome of and Muslim populations. The post- and out of it. It's about whether our this in the West is that Catholics and Caliphate period generated deficits of value system can be shown to be suffi- Protestants, after religious wars had legitimacy and of accountability that ciently robust, true, principled and plagued Europe for centuries, generally still exist today with little potential for appealing that it beats theirs.” came to accept this secular arrangement resolution. and live in peace with each other. The
  • 28. Section 3 - The Caliphate, Islamic Governance & the Myth of Violence - 29 collapse of the former communist block, [Islam’s] political appeal Muslims, who do not share the same which had crudely tried, and failed, to obliterate religion entirely, further added to the sense of moral ascendancy in the West on account of Western liberal secular democracy. The West “ ... goes far deeper than its antidote to the ills of Western neo-colonialism. It is a way of life that past as their Western counterparts are puzzled that it is the spiritual basis to Islamic polity, more than Islamic polity itself, which is the cause for secular concern. Islam's political philosophy therefore perceived their strength to lie and its detailed systems of ruling and in neither affirming nor denying reli- successfully harmonised economy are a major theme of writing gious faith: to do so would be an today, but what of Islam's spiritual and unpalatable contradiction. For this between the spiritual and moral bases? The following injunctions reason there is a motive to deny that a temporal spheres of of the Prophet Muhammad are worthy ” popular religion, with over a billion human social activity of consideration: adherents, could pose a sustainable ideological and political challenge to "You should be humble so that no-one Western political philosophy. authority. The temporal authority is also boasts over his neighbour nor anyone 'from amongst you' meaning amongst oppresses his neighbour" At this point it may be worthwhile those who believe and not any authority, making a distinction between Islam and such as that of the biblical Roman army "Allah is not merciful to he who is not the religion that secular Europe has had of occupation, and this authority has a merciful to people" most experience with; Christianity. specific character in that it must imple- There is a tendency for Western writers ment the Islamic systems of life. Islam is "Charity is due upon every limb of a to equate and impose upon the Muslim a whole body of thoughts, ideas, rulings human being on each day that the sun world the political paradigms emanating and more and its political element cannot rises. To act justly between two people is from their Christian history. The inade- be separated from it just as its moral charity. To help a man with his riding quacy of the comparison can be illus- element cannot be eliminated from it beast, or to load his provisions on it or trated if we consider the religious texts either. Just as Muslims are told “he is lift them up for him is charity. A good that define the dynamic between the not of us who has no compassion for word is charity. Every step going to temporal and sacral for each. The first is our little ones and does not honour our prayer is charity. Removing from the the Biblical verse to "...render unto old ones” Muslims are also told to “Rule road what causes harm is charity." Caesar what is Caesars and unto God by what Allah revealed”. The moral and what is God's". The second is the spiritual basis of Islam forms an integral The sentiments expressed in these reli- Quranic injunction: whole with its political viewpoint. gious texts can be found in other reli- gions, but what distinguished Islam "Oh you who believe, obey Allah and This understanding formed the basis of from them is the existence of a detailed obey the messenger and those in Muslim political life since the establish- system of governance that preserved authority amongst yourselves". ment of the ruling system by the these values for the good of mixed Prophet Muhammad in the city-state of communities comprising both Muslims At first sight both could appear passive Medina in the year 622CE until the and non-Muslims from many different and non-committal as regards politics. destruction of the state in 1924. While races. Islam was not, as Daniel Pipes On closer inspection, while the former the racial or tribal identity of its leaders, once declared, a mere “host” to “one of has come to be seen by a majority of and the titles attributed to them the world's great civilisations”; it was the Christians today as ample justification (Khalifah, Sultan or Amir) changed basis of a civilisation, that was rigid for accepting the secular creed of many times and was sometimes the enough to maintain its character over adhering to spiritual matters and leaving subject of passionate disagreement, the thirteen centuries and flexible enough to politics to the temporal authorities of political philosophy and the general maintain its relevance, as G B Shaw said, the day, the latter is widely understood structure of the state's apparatus was not to the “changing phase of existence” in by Muslims as demonstrating the subor- a point of variance. “every age”. Its political appeal to dination of the temporal authorities to Muslims today goes far deeper than its the divine authority of Allah and the Spiritual Basis to Islamic Polity antidote to the ills of Western neo-colo- Prophet Muhammad. nialism. It is a way of life that success- Should the political nature of Islam fully harmonised between the spiritual For Muslims the temporal authority is arouse fear, and could Islam even be a and temporal spheres of human social subsumed and dependent upon obedi- source of hope? To answer such a activity where the West historically ence to Allah. It works in two ways: first question it is necessary to accept from failed. Our pasts are indeed foreign to the Muslim is obliged to obey the divine the aspirations of Muslims, thirteen each other. In order to avoid perpetual authority, second the Muslim is obliged centuries of history and a wealth of reli- suspicion and stereotyping it is essential to obey the temporal authority, third the gious texts, that Islam is political in that the people in the West better order of the obedience as well as the nature. From this starting point Western understand the fears and hopes of the omission of the word 'obey' for the thinkers can make their own studies and Muslim world, and their historical and temporal authority means it owes its draw the conclusions that they believe ideological basis. legitimacy to obedience to the divine to be valid.
  • 29. 30 - Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward Section 4 Mapping a Way Forward In the preceding sections, this report traction amongst Muslims. Islamic society. We are told that there is nothing has sought to address the failure by Orthodoxy, not modernism, has won to discuss with these 'extremists'. numerous commentators and politicians the opinion in the Muslim world to understand Islam, attitudes and Traditional Muslim thinkers, scholars changes in the Muslim community and • Western Colonialism not Islam has and leaders have found the Western support for Islamic political ideals. been at the heart of the political insta- press and politicians eager to label them These failures have underpinned talk of bility and crises of the Muslim world. homophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynists a way forward and have subsequently The onset of colonisation also and supporters of terrorists and suicide resulted in measures that have only disrupted indigenous efforts at bombers. Whether or not this is a delib- widened the growing chasm between modernising the Muslim world erate policy is a debatable point, but the the Muslim world and the West. These net result is to intimidate and frighten measures have extended from anarchic • Islam played a historic role in traditional Muslims from speaking and draconian security measures; preventing political excess, tyranny publicly. changes to the way Islam is taught, and totalitarianism in the Muslim promoting fringe groups who promote world and its absence has allowed Some Western intellectuals argue that ideas that lack credibility and support, these to go unchecked there is no place for Muslim orthodoxy through to calls for a reformation of and traditions in today's world, because Islam itself. • The Muslim world should be allowed it intellectually underpins the behaviour to determine its own political future, of Muslims fighting in Iraq, Palestine It is important that Western commenta- not the West and Chechnya; it keeps Muslims from tors challenge how they continue to accepting their place in modernity. understand events in the Muslim Commentators such as Melanie Phillips community and wider Muslim world if Part I and Michael Gove frequently assert that they are to understand why numerous The Failure of Calls for a 'Moderate', non-violent Islamists should be viewed Western-sponsored measures have Reformed Islam as individuals who are engaged in meta- gained little traction or acted only to physical struggle with the West because exacerbate the divide. they hate the values and culture of Refusing to Dialogue with Orthodox Western civilisation. To conclude this report, we address Islam some of these key campaigns and The group of people deemed acceptable provide insight into their continued If many media commentators and to engage with has become smaller and failures. Simultaneously, we outline why politicians are to be believed then we are smaller excluding even those organisa- indigenous processes, institutions and engaged in a struggle to the death with tions previously promoted by the values in the Muslim world are best Islamic fascists and nihilists who hate government. Media criticism has been placed to lift the Muslim world out of its Western societies for their freedoms and heaped on Foreign Office officials who intellectual, technological and political who will not be satisfied until they have attempted to engage in political dialogue malaise. To this end, we argue in this destroyed Western civilisation. Others with Islamists. Martin Bright's Policy section that: claim that Islamic radicals want to drag Exchange pamphlet, 'When Progressives Muslim societies back to medieval times Treat with Reactionaries', is as Bright • Attempts at reforming Islam itself, by returning them to the imagined acknowledged "dedicated to a Foreign have been discredited and gained little purity of a seventh century Islamic Office whistleblower whose courageous
  • 30. Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward - 31 “ What those who call for the reformation of Islam for the whole Muslim world are actions have allowed me to expose attempting is without precedent. the Prophet Muhammad - and were in ” stages of defeat'. Turks reached Vienna Whitehall's love affair with Islamism". close agreement on most doctrinal and in 1683 but got no farther. When the The British Government is now openly legal issues. The five most influential rampant West expanded its empires, telling Muslim organisations in the UK schools of Islamic thought (madhahib) - European ideas penetrated, dominated, that if they don't become 'progressive Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki and Jafari and dislocated the Muslim world. It and spiritual', address the 'false griev- - named after their founding scholars, was deeply humiliating for Muslims to ances' of the Muslim community and were established on this approach and be humbled by inferior Christians and take a 'pro-active' role in the fight defined much of the body of Islamic Jews ("Crusaders" and "Zionists" in against extremism they will no longer interpretations and opinion over many modern parlance). Traditional ways, receive government funding. This has centuries, and still do so today. which had produced so much glory in left only a handful of marginal groups Although some have termed this attach- the past, were eroded and often that commentators and politicians have ment 'traditionalism', ultimately it has destroyed by ill-considered experi- been willing to engage with, but who been this approach that has won the ments with Marxism, fascism, and carry little credibility or support in the argument in the sphere of Muslim national socialism. Out of political and Muslim community and reflect opinions public opinion. cultural failure came this Muslim rage, largely rejected by the Muslim commu- directed against the West, the historical nity. Drawing False Battle Lines source of humiliation, and out of this rage came the violent attempts to estab- Calls for a Reformation of Islam have What those who call for the reformation lish a new caliphate through religious not Convinced Muslims of Islam for the whole Muslim world are revolution." attempting is without precedent. One of Such premises and assumptions lead the most influential contemporary In relation to the attacks of September many Western thinkers to conclude that advocates of the radical idea to reform 11th 2001 on the US, Lewis said: "I have a reformation of Islam itself is required, Islam has been the Middle East expert no doubt that September 11th was the so that Muslims will eventually leave Bernard Lewis. His fifty years of study opening salvo of the final battle…" It is their outdated traditions and values. On and scholarship led him to the conclu- clear that Lewis has been influential in the eve of the US invasion of Iraq in sion that the West-which used to be shaping how George W Bush's adminis- 2003, it was reported that the then US known as Christendom-is now in the tration views the Muslim world. He is Deputy Defence Secretary Paul last stages of a centuries-old struggle for close to Vice President Dick Cheney; Wolfowitz said that "We need an Islamic dominance and prestige with Islamic has been invited to speak at the White reformation", and later in the same civilisation. It was Bernard Lewis who House; his best-selling book entitled statement he mentioned that he thought coined the phrase the 'Clash of 'What Went Wrong?', which examines "there is real hope for one". Daniel Pipes Civilisations' in a September 1990 the decline of Muslim civilisation, has of the Philadelphia based Middle East Atlantic Monthly article on 'The Roots been regarded in that circle as a kind of Forum who President Bush appointed of Muslim Rage' in which he painted handbook in the war against Islamic him to the board of directors of the US Islam as engaged in a fourteen century terrorism. Institute of Peace in June 2003, stated in long war against Christianity. This was July 2004 that the "ultimate goal" of the three years before Samuel Huntington Turkey - A False Model War on Terrorism had to be Islam's published his famous article on the modernisation, or as he put it, "religion- ‘Clash of Civilizations’ in Foreign The example of a moderate Muslim building". Affairs. Ian Buruma summarised Lewis' country for Lewis and his neo-con argument in an article in the New followers is Turkey. In the 1920s There have been changes amongst some Yorker as the following: Mustafa Kemal demolished the Muslims in their interpretation of Islam Ottoman Caliphate and replaced it with over the last fourteen centuries. For "…The clash between Christendom his vision of a modern secular Western example, when Muslims came into and Islam has been going on since the society. Religious schools were closed, contact with people with differing tradi- Muslims conquered Syria, North the wearing of the Hijab was forbidden tions and philosophies such as the Africa, and Spain. Muslims, at the in government offices and universities, Greeks, Persians or Indians, some height of their glory, in tenth-century many religious scholars were impris- Muslims tried to integrate the best of Cairo, thirteenth-century Tehran, or oned or killed and the Arabic language the local philosophies and traditions sixteenth-century Istanbul, thought of was replaced with Turkish. Mustafa into their understanding of Islam. But themselves as far superior to the Kemal was not a believer in "govern- throughout the centuries, the majority Christians and Jews among them, who ment of the people, by the people, for of Muslims have maintained an attach- were tolerated as second-class citizens. the people…" but was more influenced ment to a common set of reference Since then, however, as Lewis puts it, by fascism of the 1920s and followed a points - the Qur'an and the traditions of 'the Muslim has suffered successive style of ruling characterised in his own
  • 31. 32 - Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward “ It follows that Turkey is words as "government for the people - ism is increasing in strength and gaining despite the people". From his position of influence in Turkish society. The force not really a moderate authority, he dictated his views on the that prevents Islam from coming to Muslim society in the way that society since he was convinced he knew power is the secular army that feels duty what was best for it. bound to defend Kemalism. Lewis, Bush and Wolfowitz understand the term 'moderate'. More than eighty years on it is still ques- The Failure of Calls for Reforming tionable whether Kemal has been Islam Rather it represents the failure successful in his forcible secularisation to replace by force a culture of a Muslim society. Undoubtedly, in Despite fifty years of scholarship Lewis that was home grown and Turkey there are groups of people who failed to predict how Muslims would are European in their behaviour, atti- respond to an American occupation of present for several centuries tudes and values and do not see them- Muslim land. In 2001 he said that public with a foreign one selves as Muslim other than in their opinion in Iraq and Iran was so pro- names; but they represent a small American that both peoples would minority of that society. In the same rejoice if the US army liberated them. A cities where there are very secular year later, he repeated the message that Muslims, there are also many more "if we succeed in overthrowing the This state of affairs cannot be traditional and conservative Islamic regimes of what President Bush has put at the door of Islamic communities, and in much of rural rightly called the 'Axis of Evil' the Turkey, the values and attitudes of scenes of rejoicing in their cities would orthodoxy, since Islamic people have not changed much in the even exceed those that followed the institutions and traditions have last two hundred years. Today, the politi- liberation of Kabul." Perhaps there was a been marginalised for most of cal party that enjoys the clear support of sense of relief felt by many Iraqis when the majority of the Turkish population is the Saddam Hussein government was the last century in the Muslim the Islamic Justice and Development removed but a sense of occupation has world. Rather the last century Party (AK). Its leader, Prime Minister driven many ordinary Iraqis to take up Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once banned arms against the US army. Although the has been one in which most from public service after reciting a poem reality of the Iraq war has largely Muslim countries have first that said "the mosques are our barracks, discredited the ideas of Bernard Lewis the domes our helmets, the minarets our and his neo-conservative followers, been colonised and then bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers". Western intellectuals persist in arguing inherited political, economic for ways to moderate or reform Islam. A As we see today it is the institution of recently published RAND report, and social institutions that the the Turkish army that prevents the 'Building Moderate Muslim Networks', colonialists left them ” government from bringing Islam back makes the case for the West to support into public life. When the AK party networks of 'moderate' Muslims in proposed Foreign Minister Abdullah order to counter, what they argue are, Gul to be the new President the army the radical and dogmatic interpretations responded with concern about the of Islam that are gaining ground in the election and stated: "It should not be Muslim world. forgotten that the Turkish armed forces are a side in this debate and are a staunch defender of secularism." Part II Understanding the Causes of the It follows that Turkey is not really a Political Crises in the Muslim World moderate Muslim society in the way that Lewis, Bush and Wolfowitz understand the term 'moderate'. Rather it represents Today, many if not most of the Muslim the failure to replace by force a culture countries are dysfunctional. Politically that was home grown and present for the governments in many Muslim states several centuries with a foreign one. As a are dictatorships based on monarchs, military supported ruler, Mustafa Kemal military rulers or life-long Presidents. faced no restrictions when he went The 2002 Arab Human Development about removing from Turkey its Islamic Report (AHDR), written by a group of heritage. Many Islamic scholars were Arab scholars from the United Nations killed or imprisoned, religious schools Development Programme (UNDP), were closed down and people were described the region as not developing forced to behave in accordance with as fast or as fully as other comparable Western values. Yet even after eighty regions. The most striking weakness years of Kemalism, Islamic traditional- identified in the report and one which
  • 32. Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward - 33 the authors suggest lies behind all other often supported by outside powers ... in the Muslim world, problems is a lack of democracy, which leads to poor governance. They described that the attitude of Arab governments towards civil societies ranged from opposition to manipula- assumed power. For example, there was the 1947 coup led by Colonel Husni Al- Za'im in Syria, the 1952 coup led by General Neguib in Egypt, the 1953 CIA sponsored coup that ended the rule of “ the institutions that exist are not home grown or organically developed, they do tion to "freedom under surveillance". Prime Minister Mossadeq, the 1958 not reflect the historical The 2003 AHDR discussed the chal- coup led by General Ayub Khan in lenges of developing a Knowledge Based Pakistan, and the 1960 coup led by experience of people and do Society in the Arab world and General Cemal Gürsel in Turkey. not connect with their traditions concluded that the major obstacles were or values political. The writers of the 2004 AHDR Institutions in the Muslim World are examined the constraints on freedom Imported, not Home-Grown that prevent good governance in the Looking back...it is very likely Arab world, and the last published In comparison the Western countries AHDR report in 2005 examined the have largely not suffered from this type that if Muslims had been left to challenges of empowering Arab women of political instability during the last their own devices, a social in societies where the institutions of hundred years. What differentiates civil society don't really exist. Western political institutions from those consensus would have been in the Muslim world is that they devel- developed in the Muslim world Colonisation, not Islam, is at the Root oped organically over a number of of the Muslim World's Political centuries, adapted themselves to differ- as to what form this change Problems ent realities over time and represent an should have taken ... However effective social consensus on how these occupation by foreign powers This state of affairs cannot be put at the societies go about solving their door of Islamic orthodoxy, since Islamic problems. For example, the operation of and colonisation led to an institutions and traditions have been and the relationship between the British interruption of this natural marginalised for most of the last century Houses of Parliament, the Judiciary, the in the Muslim world. Rather the last Monarchy, the Army and the Civil process century has been one in which most Service has been defined over a number Muslim countries have first been of years, as the British state found itself colonised and then inherited political, in different situations and with different “The collectivity of religious economic and social institutions that the problems. Even today, it is still adapting scholars acted at least colonialists left them. Even the concept to new realities. For example the role of theoretically as a countervailing of many independent countries in the the House of Lords is being redefined in Muslim world was new. During the early light of the fact that aristocracy is no force against tyranny. You had part of the twentieth century the French longer as powerful as big business inter- the implicit notion that if Islam and the British governments agreed ests and it is difficult to justify why between themselves as to who would get hereditary peers should participate in is pushed out of the public which part of the dominions of the the legislative process. There is a social sphere, tyranny will increase, Ottoman state. The task of negotiations consensus over the role of these institu- and if that happens, people will was delegated to Georges Picot of tions. It is not possible that a small France and Sir Mark Sykes of Britain clique of people - generals or otherwise look to Islam to redress the and the resulting Sykes-Picot agreement - could undertake a coup in Britain and tyranny” led to the division of the Ottoman state such that France's mandate corre- sponded to the future states of Syria and Lebanon and Britain's mandate corre- sponded to Iraq and Transjordan. start making the laws themselves; the rest of society would just not accept it. However in the Muslim world, the insti- tutions that exist are not home grown or (Richard Bulliet, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Columbia University) ” France ended up with direct control of organically developed, they do not Mediterranean coastal regions whilst reflect the historical experience of Britain ended up controlling the people and do not connect with their provinces of Basra and Baghdad and traditions or values. What this means is maintained an exclusive relationship that there is very little social consensus with the Arab Gulf Sheikhdoms. on these systems, meaning they have very limited legitimacy and there is little Where independence brought multi- or no reaction from people when a party democracies, they were soon to general undertakes a coup. In addition, disappear. Most Muslim countries were Muslim countries tend to have very characterised by one coup after another influential Westernised elites, who have as different political or military factions usually studied abroad and are often
  • 33. 34 - Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward compass no longer available and with “ With the old well established moral compass no longer social and political institutions that were available and with social and political institutions that were French or British in origin and lacking in French or British in origin and lacking in social consensus, it is not social consensus, it is not surprising that the Muslim world is blighted by instabil- surprising that the Muslim world is blighted by instability, coups, ity, coups, tyranny and totalitarianism. ” tyranny and totalitarianism A Lack of Islam in the Politics of the Muslim World has Created wealthy. They are usually ignorant of the adoption of some Western concepts Totalitarianism and Tyranny their own history and traditions and which they thought would bring their wealth allows them to live very Muslim progress. There were many such The institutional role that Islamic detached lives from the rest of society. modernising scholars, but two of the culture has historically played in Because of their situation and attitudes most famous ones were Jamal al-Din al- Muslim societies has been recognised by they are unable to comprehend why the Afghani (1838-97) and Muhammad some Western experts. Richard Bulliet, rest of society behaves in the way it does Abduh (1849-1905). At this time the the Columbia Professor of Middle and they come to look down upon the need for change was evident to many Eastern Studies, argued in his book - masses. thinkers, but the nature of this change 'The Case for Islamo-Christian and the path to achieving it was poorly Civilization' - that comparative stability Colonial Interference Stalled defined. prevailed in the Islamic world not Indigenous Attempts at Modernising because of the Ottomans' success but the Muslim World Towards the end of the nineteenth because Islam was playing its traditional century the desire for change was very role of constraining tyranny. Prior to the colonisation of the Muslim strong in the Muslim world. It was self world, many Muslim politicians and evident to most of the political elites, "The collectivity of religious scholars thinkers had seen modernisation and intellectuals, Muslim scholars and acted at least theoretically as a counter- industrialisation take place in Western educated people that something needed vailing force against tyranny. You had nations and had come to the conclusion to be done; the status quo was unaccept- the implicit notion that if Islam is that the Muslim world was backward able. They had concluded that in many pushed out of the public sphere, tyranny and needed to be reformed. This was a respects Muslims were far behind the will increase, and if that happens, people natural situation as there was much West and needed to catch up. Looking will look to Islam to redress the interaction and trade between the back to this time it is very likely that if tyranny." Muslim and non-Muslim world. The Muslims had been left to their own debate had started and there were a devices, a social consensus would have This began to play out during the variety of opinions as to how Muslims been developed in the Muslim world as period. Instead of modernisation, what should 'modernise' themselves. Iranian to what form this change should have ensued was what Muslim clerics had intellectuals Mulkum Khan (1833-1908) taken. The social consensus may have long feared: tyranny. What the Arab and Agha Khan Kermani (1853-96) taken several decades to occur but it world should have seen was "not an urged Iranians to acquire a Western would have been home grown, would increase in modernisation so much as education and replace the Shariah (the have happened organically and would an increase in tyranny. By the 1960s, religious legal code) with a modern have adapted the Muslim world to new that prophecy was fulfilled. You had secular legal code. Some of the Ottoman realities. However occupation by foreign dictatorships in most of the Islamic sultans pursued new models of industri- powers and colonisation led to an inter- world." Egypt's Gamel Nasser, Syria's alisation and modernisation of their ruption of this natural process. When Hafez Assad and others came in the own accord. For example, Sultan the foreign powers finally departed what guise of Arab nationalists, but they were Mahmud II inaugurated the Tanzimat they left behind was a medley of coun- nothing more than tyrants. (Regulation) in 1826 which abolished tries; many of which may have looked the Janissaries (the highly dedicated elite good on a map when the French and Some Muslims put the blame for the corps of troops organised in the four- British planners created them, but in tyranny and the totalitarianism prac- teenth century), modernised the army reality they were completely artificial ticed in the Muslim world and the lack and introduced new technology. In 1839 and did not represent peoples that had of a role for Islam in Muslim societies Sultan Abdul Hamid issued the Gulhane been bound together by a common and on Western interference. There is little decree which made his rule dependent shared history and set of values. In doubt that historically Western nations upon a contractual relationship with his addition, the institutions that Muslims have a share in the responsibility for subjects and looked forward to major inherited were based on French or bringing the Muslim world to where it reform of the Caliphate's institutions. British models. By the time the colonial is; they occupied it, created artificial Some Muslim scholars took an approach powers left there was no public role for entities and left the conditions for of re-interpreting Islam so that it was Islam to play in society, Islamic law and tyranny to arise. However, arguably the more conformant to Western models; education had been devalued and Muslim rulers who practice tyranny they wanted to maintain some Islamic Islamic scholars had been marginalised. upon the Muslim masses and the values and principles whilst justifying With the old well established moral Muslim elites who support them also
  • 34. Section 4 - Mapping a Way Forward - 35 have a share of the blame. However, Even though orthodox Islam has not Western politicians and only a few from amongst this viewpoint place all the blame on the West for the current situation of the Muslims and then seek to attack the West so that Westerners also taste the pain of what played a public role in most Muslim societies for the last century and Islamic scholars and teachings were margin- alised, in many Muslim societies a revival in Islamic practice and teachings “ thinkers must find a constructive way of dealing with Muslims and Islam based Muslims have been forced to suffer. is taking place. For more and more around the notion that Muslims Their aim, we are told, is to push for a Muslims, Islam is becoming a major civilisational war between the Western factor in shaping their attitudes, behav- must be left to define their own and Muslim worlds, one in which all iour and perspective. Many ideas such political destiny independently Muslims will be forced to join in from as Arab nationalism, secularism and the sidelines. The irony is that the socialism have been discredited in the Lewis-Bush doctrine in Iraq has done Muslim world by regimes that claimed far more to realise such an aim than any to be socialist, secular, or pan-Arabist Muslims need to be allowed to preachers from within the fold of Islam but brought totalitarianism and tyranny could have achieved. and little material progress. Today complete the transformation of however, the only public choices that are their societies without Western being presented to Muslims are chosen Part III by governments that are discredited and interference ... so that they too Allowing the Muslim World to Shape its there is a distinct lack of independent can find their place in the world Own Political Future voices - Islamic or otherwise - for of the twenty-first century with people to listen to. Those that exist operate under persecution. Given this a system that fairly represent The Implications of Silencing the lack of open political debate and the their own beliefs and Voice of Islam It is well known within Islamic scholar- ship that the deliberate targeting of civilians is prohibited irrespective of the victims religion of nationality. However sensation of Western armies occupying Muslim lands, with the blessing of many Muslim governments, it is unsurprising that many Muslims feel deeply alienated from their own governments. values ” values. If liberal and secular thinkers find they have strong disagreements in the tyrannies of the Muslim world, it Muslims Should be Allowed to with Muslims then they should try to is extremely difficult to start a debate Determine Their Own Political Destiny engage in thought provoking debate upon the correct response to Western with Muslims on the rights and wrongs imperialism using Islamic texts and There is a way of tackling chronic insta- of their beliefs and system. The principles. Islamic scholars in the bility in the Muslim world caused approach of the neo-conservatives and Muslim world are unable to debate this mainly by oppressive pro-Western dicta- intellectuals like Bernard Lewis or the or other social issues openly because the tors. Outside attempts to dictate a RAND Corporation who want to dictate current regimes in the Muslim world do secular Islam will fail and occupation of the reformation of Islam, import not tolerate such debate and discussion. Muslim lands by foreign armies is coun- American defined democracy upon the For this reason the public scholars, terproductive and will simply generate Muslim world and occupy large parts of appointed by the governments to preach more recruits for countering, by any it, will bring about a conflict that will a message of the governments choosing, means, the Western onslaught. last for many generations. To avoid this, lack credibility in their pronounce- Therefore, it is required that Western Western politicians and thinkers must ments. These governments view any politicians and intellectuals to accept find a constructive way of dealing with genuine Islamic debate as a threat and that Islam should be allowed to play its Muslims and Islam based around the they fear that once started it will be natural role in Muslim societies. They notion that Muslims must be left to directed towards them, exposing their should do this even if they disagree with define their own political destiny inde- own lack of legitimacy and their some of orthodox Islam's positions. pendently. ongoing tyranny. Whilst some Muslim There are too many Muslims in the scholars are co-opted by the regime, world for their beliefs and religion to be given government funded positions sidelined against their wishes. where they are only able to state the Globalisation means that we will be official government position, many affected by what happens in other parts others remain locked up in prisons of the world. Muslims need to be because in the past they have dared to allowed to complete the transformation criticise the actions and policies of of their societies without Western inter- Muslim governments. Other Islamic ference - a process that started in the scholars practice self censorship of the nineteenth century - so that they too subjects they will discuss because they can find their place in the world of the are afraid of the consequences of being twenty-first century with a system that seen to be critical of the government. fairly represent their own beliefs and
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  • 37. Notes
  • 38. Explaining the aims in the 'War on Terror' Challenging misconceptions about Radicalisation, Extremism and Political Violence Explaining Islam's Political Tenets Mapping a Way Forward

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