Egypt: A New Secularism?

by Andrew Flores
published in MER153

Arab political and social thought in the 1960s was dominated by secular conceptions, including Arab nationalism, Arab socialism and Marxism. Even after the 1967 war, when the attraction of these ideologies began to wane, the immediate “self-criticism after the defeat” (to cite the title of Sadiq al-Azm’s famous book) maintained a militantly secular and revolutionary stance. [1] The emerging Palestinian resistance movement put forward slogans of armed struggle and people’s war.

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"How can a Muslim live in this era?"

An Interview with Shaikh Hamid al-Nayfar

by
published in MER153

Shaikh Hamid al-Nayfar is a leading figure in Tunisia’s Islamist movement. Francois Burgat, who interviewed him in Tunis in 1985, works at the Centre de Recherches et d'Etudes sur les Societes Mediterraneennes (CRESM) in Aix-en-Provence, France.

 

What is the meaning of the name of your magazine, 15/21?

The basis of our project is to ask how one can be simultaneously a Muslim and live in this era -- how to be a Muslim today. Fifteen stands for the fifteenth century of the hegira, the beginning of the Islamic community. Twenty-one signifies the fact that we are living now on the edge of the twenty-first century, with all the problems that poses for the world community.

 

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"Deficiencies in the Islamic movement"

by
published in MER153

Rachid al-Ghannouchi: "Deficiencies in the Islamic movement"

Although the Islamist movement has realized great accomplishments in its attempts to liberate the Islamic community from the legacy of decay and the remnants of destructive Western invasions, it is still far from realizing its ultimate goal -- the establishment of the shar‘a of God on Earth…

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Portrait of Rachid al-Ghannouchi

by Linda G. Jones
published in MER153

Late last September, in the sweltering, heavily guarded State Security Court in Tunis, all eyes were fixed on Shaikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi as he concluded his impassioned defense:

If God wishes me to become the martyr of the mosques, then let it be so. But I tell you that my death will not be in vain, and that from my blood, Islamic flowers will grow.

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Turkey's Tarikats

by Erkan Akin , Ömer Karasapan
published in MER153

Tarikats are religious orders established to “search for divine truth.” They have been part of Turkish cultural and social life for centuries. The groups discussed here are Sunni. Turkey’s Shi‘a do have their own religious orders, but as a result of the persecution they suffered during Ottoman rule and later at the hands of rightwing forces in the 1970s, they support secular principles and are generally non-political.

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The Rabita Affair

by Erkan Akin , Ömer Karasapan
published in MER153

The Rabita affair underlines the extent to which the post-1980 regime in Turkey has turned to Islam as a bulwark against the left. “Rabita” -- the Saudi-based Rabit’at al-Alam al-Islami (World Islamic League) -- advocates the establishment of a pan-Islamic federation based on the shari‘a. One would have expected it to be among the last allies sought by Turkey’s Atatürkist generals, since it promotes a political system anathema to the military and funds publications which denounce Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his secular policies.

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The Political Uses of Islam in Turkey

by Ronnie Margulies , Ergin Yildizoğlu
published in MER153

For the past several years, the Turkish press has seemed obsessed with irtica, a word of Arabic origin meaning religious reaction and obscurantism. The media has reported incident after incident in which hoca and imam urged their followers not to stray from the path of true Islam, where men and women were not allowed to sit in the same classrooms, where secularism and Atatürk came under explicit attack.

An Islamic State?

The Case of Iran

by Sami Zubaida
published in MER153

How applicable are the classic concepts of “state” and “politics” to the world of Islam? The current prominence of Islamic politics and the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran poses this question anew.

Muslim Women and Fundamentalism

by Fatima Mernissi
published in MER153

When analyzing the dynamics of the Muslim world, one has to discriminate between two distinct dimensions: what people actually do, the decisions they make, the aspirations they secretly entertain or display through their patterns of consumption, and the discourses they develop about themselves, more specifically the ones they use to articulate their political claims. The first dimension is about reality and its harsh time-bound laws, and how people adapt to pitilessly rapid change; the second is about self-presentation and identity building. And you know as well as I do that whenever one has to define oneself to others, whenever one has to define one’s identity, one is on the shaky ground of self-indulging justifications.

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Establishment Mursi

by Joshua Stacher
published in MER265

On June 29, 12 days after he was elected president of Egypt, Muhammad Mursi ascended a Tahrir Square stage and issued a dramatic pledge to guard the revolution launched there the preceding spring. Mursi opened his jacket, revealing that he wore no bulletproof vest, thumped his chest and yelled, “I fear no one but God!”

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