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Democracy, Freedom, and Imposition PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Louay Safi   
Dec 06, 2004 at 02:00 PM

How Best Can the US Effect Democratization in the Middle East

Democratization of the Middle East is now the official policy of the Bush Administration. This is a welcome departure from the “stability” approach that characterized US policy toward the region throughout the better part of the last century. Although never clearly and openly stated, the Bush Administration has finally recognized the intimate connection between global terrorism and the authoritarian regime system of the Middle East, and decided to make “democracy” and “freedom” the cornerstone of its policy towards the Middle East. The words “freedom” and “democracy” are most dominant terms used by President Bush and his advisors and lieutenants. Fighting terrorism and advancing freedom and democracy are the main declared objectives of the US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Islam and the Secular State PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Louay Safi   
May 12, 2001 at 09:00 PM

The secular state emerged in modern times in response to religious infighting that plagued Europe for over a century, and put social life on a self-destructing path. The Hundred Year War posed a serious threat to the then emerging modern Europe, underscoring the need to keep the state and church at a comfortable distance.

 

While the secular state was designed to prevent organized religion from controlling public institutions, it did not necessarily aim at undermining religiosity per se, or alienating religious communities. Rather, it was perceived as multi-religious society’s best defense against the imposition of the religious values and worldview of one community on another.

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Shura and Democracy: Similarities and Differences* PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Louay Safi   
Nov 06, 1999 at 09:00 PM

Let met state at the outset the conclusion to which this presentation is supposed to lead: democracy and shura share the ideal of egalitarian politics and popular political participation, but differ significantly in relating participatory government to the overall purposes of social organization and political action.

In saying this I am mindful of the fact that the ideal of democracy has been expressed in various forms, and is being implemented today through different models. It is therefore quite appropriate for one to speak of shura as a framework for an Islamic democracy.

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Nationalism and the Multinational State PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Louay Safi   
Sep 09, 1991 at 07:00 PM

We live in a world of nation-states where national cohesiveness constitutes the legitimizing ground for political unity. In such a world, multinational political units are considered to be peculiar entities whose existence is either taken as an exception to the rule or is considered to be transient and therefore destined to collapse into its national units.

 

A product of Europe’s historical experience, nationalism found its way to the Muslim world and gained many adherents and advocates in its ethnic (i.e., Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish) and religious (i.e., Pakistani, Iranian) forms. The nationalistic mindset has become an intrinsic part of the political thinking of many Muslim individuals and groups. As a result of the discontinuity in historical political thinking and practice effected by the European cultural and political domination of Muslim life for the last two centuries, many Muslims are unaware of the much superior political structures which existed—albeit in rudimentary, distorted, or compromised forms—before Western penetration.

In this paper, I will discuss the origin and development of the concept of nationalism, underscore its defects, and point out some of its devastating consequences, especially in regions rich in ethnic and religious minorities. I argue that nationalism is a European phenomenon invented by German intellectuals and employed by Prussia in order to bring about a united German state. I contend that a national government tends to suppress minority groups and is therefore inappropriate to societies with heterogeneous and diverse populations. I conclude by discussing, in general terms, the model of communal pluralism that flourished under the khilafah system.

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The Islamic State: A Conceptual Framework PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Louay Safi   
Mar 06, 1991 at 08:01 AM

The purpose of this paper is to delineate the basic elements involved in the concept of the Islamic state and to clarify the basis and scope of political power. More specifically, discussions will focus on the purpose of the Islamic state, the source of political legitimacy, and the scope of state power. I will contend that a clear distinction should be made between the role and purpose of the state and those of the ummah, for only through the separation of the responsibilities and objectives of the two can the injunctions of the Shari‘ah and the principles of revelation be properly observed.

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The Qur'anic Narrative
The Qur'anic Narrative


Leading with Compassion
Leading with Compassion



Palestine
Palestine



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Tensions and Transitions
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Peace and the Limits of War


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The Challenge of Modernity 


Blaming

Blaming Islam


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Foundation of Knowledge



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