Foreign Affairs: The Rise of Political Islam in the West

The latest issue of the US journal Foreign Affairs contains an article by Marc Lynch entitled ‘Veiled Truths: The rise of political Islam in the West’.

The intro to the article reads:

‘In The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman argues that it is not violent Islamists who pose the greatest danger to liberal societies in the West but rather their so-called moderate cousins, such as Tariq Ramadan.

‘Such a reading of contemporary Islamism, however, misses the many nuances of the movement and the real battles between reformers and Salafists.’

Will try and read it later today…Berman is often described as a ‘liberal hawk’ and was a supporter of the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a particular hero of Zionist extremists like Melanie Phillips and the Hasbara merchants over at Harry’s Place, so it will be interesting to read what Marc Lynch says about him.

Hat-tip to Islamophobia Watch for spotting this.

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2 Responses to Foreign Affairs: The Rise of Political Islam in the West

  1. G says:

    You won’t like what you find when you read the article, I’m afraid. It talks a lot about how ‘moderate’ Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood types – you know, the ‘Islamic Movement’ within the MCB) are a long term problem, even if they can be used in the short term to defeat al-Qaeda.

  2. G: Did you read the same article as me? It was a superb piece and contrary to your claim contained the following very important passages:

    ‘The Salafists, meanwhile, want women at home and strictly segregated from men. True liberals should prefer Ramadan because he offers a model for Muslims of integration as full citizens at a time when powerful forces are instead pushing for isolation and literalism.’

    ‘Those, such as Berman, who see Islamism as flat and uniform claim that Islamists of all varieties — despite differences over the use of violence or the value of democratic participation — ultimately share a commitment to achieving an Islamic state. But this is misleading. There is a vast and important gap between the Salafi vision of enforced social uniformity and the moderate Islamist vision of a democratic state, with civil institutions and the rule of law, populated by devout Muslims. The gap is so great as to render meaningless the notion that all Islamists share a common strategic objective. Ramadan stands on the correct side of this gap, and by extension, he stands on the right side of the most important battle within Islamism today: he is a defender of pragmatism and flexibility, of participation in society, and of Muslims’ becoming full citizens within liberal societies.’

    ‘Ramadan may not be a liberal, but he offers a realistic vision of full participation in public life that counters the rejectionist one posed by the ascendant corps of Salafi extremists.’

    ‘…nonviolent Islamists are among the most effective rivals of al Qaeda and similar organizations…In this sense, moderate Islamic political movements can serve as a firewall against radicalization, capturing the pious with a disciplined and nonviolent organization and fighting off more extremist challengers.’

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