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Total number of comments: 13 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:30)


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  • South Carolina & Gingrich, Egypt & the Muslim Brotherhood
    • Yes, I agree with you but even well intentioned scholars like Prof. Cole will not admit 1) Division of religion state is not the ideal and Muslims can protect human rights through shari'ah (or Islamic law) and 2) that people vote for MB or specifically Hamas knowing very well that they propagate an Islamic agenda. The fact that they are identified with less corruption, etc. is icing on the cake.

  • Majid: Why America Matters to Muslims
    • While I staunchly support good relations with the west, and utterly recject the "clash of civilizations" theory, I feel the rehtoric in this piece is apologetic. Once and only once the west looses control and stops intervening in the Muslim world will we be able to achieve some of the things you speak about. Once the US gets off of our necks we will be able to solve our problems with clarity of mind. In the meantime the west has nothing over us as long as it does not practice at home what it preaches abroad.

  • Why the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Victory at the Polls May not be Decisive
    • Prof. Cole:

      You already know my view on this but I will summarize. While there are basic human rights all human beings share, current debate of the subject of “human rights” reveals a double standard in application vis-à-vis Islam and the west. The west moves the marker and changes the standard as it goes, forcing the Muslim world to always play catch up. However, when you measure the extent of each in practice you find the west has visited much more of man’s in humanity to man on others. For Muslims it’s simple; since God created us He best knows our nature. Therefore, the shari’ah is not inferior to anything the west has come up with in theory or practice.

      I responded to your questions but I guess the post was too long to be published

    • Arnold:

      Yes I agree this helps to understand the motives of some, not necessarily Prof. Cole of course. BTW, Saudi Arabia is not a theocracy either but certainly their implementation of Islam is more prevalent than most Muslim societies. It is actually a marriage between the House of Saud (the ruling class) and the religious scholars and descendants of Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab. The scholars legitimize the rule of the House of Saud and the House of Saud applies shari'ah on the weak and the poor and allow the scholars to propagate their teachings.

    • Dear Prof. Cole:

      A more apt title would have been “Why the Egyptian MB’s Victory at the Polls May not Translate into an Immediate Consolidation of Power” or something to that effect. (They clearly won a decisive victory and I will explain that later) Yet, you give four reasons why the MB victory does not mean Egypt will become another Iran. Outside of western fear mongering, and “anti-Islamic” trends in the Arab world, no one believes that Egypt will become another Iran. There are many reasons for this but the most important is that the Sunni current found in the political ideology of the MB does not believe that the implementation of Islamic governance is the role of the scholars. Furthermore, unlike sh’ite historical political development, there are no formal clergy, much less clerical rule in Sunni Islam. I humbly challenge you to name one Sunni scholar that is equivalent to a Khameani, Sistant, Sadr or Nasrallah. Even if you say Qaradawi it would establish my point. He is prominent only because he is close to the MB and has been given political asylum by Qatar. There are literally thousands of scholars like him throughout the Muslim world but don’t enjoy the same prominence because they don’t have the same political cover.

      I will go further to say that most non-Muslims and many Muslims don’t understand the concept of Shari’ah (or Islamic rule). Ruling by Islam or the Qur’an does not equate to a theocracy. As you know Islam is a way of life not merely a religion. No one questions the right of westerners to choose “democracy” as their “way of life” or form of rule. Why should anyone question the right of Muslims to be ruled by their chosen way of life and form of government? It is arrogance (the west has had a difficult interaction between “religion and state” over the last two millennium) that views “democracy” as superior to Shari’ah or an Islamic form of governance. Nevertheless for many other reasons, such as the way the revolution came about, Egypt will not resemble Iran in terms of the outcome of its revolution.

      Having said this I also have some issues with your four points:

      1.Even if the MB and Nur do not form a coalition government, when it comes to Islam being the basis for the Egyptian constitution there will be no differences between them on the Islamic theme of the document. Egypt’s constitution is already predicated on Islam. The issue will be whether Nur will embed a more formal wording to the “Islamization” of the constitution and whether liberal groups will carve out a clear a bill of rights for individual freedoms. In Tunisia Elnahda saw no choice but to form a coalition with the secular parties. The MB in Egypt does not want to rule alone even though it could have likely mustered a clear majority in the parliament.

      2.Unless the MB and Nur back separate candidates no president can win without an MB endorsement and this includes Amr Moussa. As for the status quo that is what’s at issue. The stronger the MB gets with popular support the more it will be able to confront the SCAF on its powers. And this point of yours is not a reason why Egypt will not be like Iran but why the MB will not immediately realize all of its goals until the role of the military is clearly defined in the future.

      3.Similarly the situation with the military is fluid and can change relatively quickly. If you noticed the MB chose its battles carefully but when they did not like a SCAF position they made it clear and prevailed, which leads to

      4.The SCAF has backtracked on this issue after the MB sent its supporters to the streets when this was announced in November. The MB and Nur will not accept to be sidelined after winning a clear mandate. While Egyptians will hold the MB to a very high standard as far as security and the economy go they will see through any plots seeking their failure. The Hamas experience is a case and point. Hamas is stronger now that it has been at any time since its election in 2006. Preventing the Islamists from ruling is bad policy.

      The MB did not contest every single seat in parliament. In fact in the last round it only contested something like 134 of 168 seats available. Similarly in the first two rounds the MB did not contest every individual seat available to independents which make up a third of the parliament. In addition, 10 seats are appointed and not elected. The point is that if the MB absolutely chose to contest every single seat they may have won not just a plurality but an outright majority. Another point to consider is that the MB and the Nur (which is a coalition of Islamic parties) are not the only Islamists in parliament. The liberal wasat party (which broke off from the MB many years ago) won 4% of the vote. Similarly true independents who won individual seats may caucus with the MB on many issues. Given this I just can’t see how the MB victory is not completely decisive.

      Finally, Prof. Cole I humbly suggest that light is shed on how the MB model can succeed in Egypt not on how they maybe prevented “…from instituting a theocracy”.

  • Post-American Iraq by the Numbers
    • This is what Collin Powell meant by "you break it, you own it". While Sunnies and Shias fought each other it cannot begin to explain the statistics pointed out here. This is due to the American invasion of a country that did not represent a military threat to the United States.

  • Washington Actions on Palestine don't Differ from Gingrich's Words
    • Prof. Cole:

      While Israeli propaganda has couched the debate as "disputed territories", under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory. The French translation in UN resolutions left out the definite article allowing the Zionists to make it sound like there is a genuine dispute. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of nations refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Similarly the same international majority recognizes east Jerusalem as occupied Arab territory.

    • Quite frankly I am surprised that some still make these outdated arguments in thoughtful intellectual debates. In the last 50 or 60 years it was the rhetoric of propagandists backed by a powerful state of Israel. However, times are changing. It matters nothing to me that Gingrich claims we don't exist. Just consider those ineffectual rockets landing in southern Israel as falling debris from the sky.

      What I would like to know is what makes a "Jew" a Jew that they can claim a state based on religious identity but don't have to believe in God or that Moses exists, etc. If, for secular Jews, the claim is not based on God giving the land to the Children of Israel, then what is the claim based on?

      If you find you argument gravitating towards "we won a war, tough luck" then be prepared for the next 10 to 20 years when the balance of power will shift to the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.

      Finally, you say militias were formed to protect themselves. Why did they come to Palestine in the first place in huge numbers to displace (and ethnically cleanse) the indigenous population?

  • Theocratic Dominance of the New Egypt may be Exaggerated
    • Prof. Cole:

      Your advise is taken even though my "pronouncements" reflect my optimism. Also keep in mind that the Brotherhood has decided not to contest all 498 seats of the lower house so that they will achieve a strong showing but not a majority. However, this indicates that they could have gotten more seats if they ran party lists and candidates for all of them.

    • Some of the most liberal districts were represented in this first round, including Cairo. The fact that the Brotherhood did so well is an indicator that they will do just as well if not better in other governates that are more conservative and represent the countryside. Yes it may be difficult for the Brotherhood and the Salafis to united as a coalition nevertheless they will coalesce around sharia as the basis of law in Egypt and that is what's most important. Also a few months ago the Brotherhood fought, and won, to allow parties to run individuals in the one third allocated to independents.

  • Israeli Ads against Marriage with American Jews are Part of a Population War
    • The ads are part of a growing sense of fear over the future of the Zionist project and the isolation of Israel. And I agree with the demographic issues Dr. Cole raised, not to mention the issues of water rights and the rise of Muslim identity in the region that will affect the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. I have said it many times that there is one thing Muslims (not just Arabs or Palestinians)can ensure Jews and that is the right to live freely between the Nile and the Euphrates in peace and security, but not as usurpers. I know its difficult for Israelis, who are still politically, militarily and economically powerful to accept, but I see no alternative.

  • FBI Using "Community Outreach" events to Spy on Americans
    • My guess is since this information was obtained through FOIA it is but the tip of the iceberg. I have followed how the FBI has attempted to isolate an effective organization like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)while conducting aggressive "outreach" programs with organizations like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) and willing mosques. The law abiding Muslim community stands to loose by exposing its constitutionally protected rights to assembly, speech and religion to government abuse.

  • Army vs. People in Egypt
    • Among many in the Middle East Egypt is considered "the heart of the Arab world". What happens now is very important. There is no doubt that the revolution is not over until Egyptians are free to choose their own form of government and determine their national interests. An unfortunate aspect of the "Arab Spring", especially in Egypt, is foreign intervention. I strongly believe, in general, that Muslims left alone will ultimately come to terms with each other. However, I should caution against making comparisons between past revolutions in the West and the Muslim world today. While America's influence has waned for obvious reasons, its long standing relationship and financial interests with the military establishment is the biggest impediment to a peaceful transition from the Mubarak era. Finally, while many in the west feel obliged to champion secular "liberal" and "democratic" forces in Egypt it is detrimental in the sense that it unnecessarily prolongs the inevitable, i.e. an Islamic form of government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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