Islam y Mundo Árabe

The burial of Aftab Hussein in Albuquerque. He was one of four Muslim men who have been killed in the area since last November. Chancey Bush/The Albuquerque Journal, via Associated Press

In the past few weeks, most Muslims I know, including me, have felt a growing sense of dread about the news of the killings of four Muslims since November — Aftab Hussein, 41; Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62; and Naeem Hussain, 25 — in the Albuquerque area.

Their deaths didn’t feel random or unconnected. We learned that three of the four men were Shiite Muslims.

Last week, when authorities announced the arrest of a man in connection with two of the killings, we breathed a sigh of relief. But his name, Muhammad Syed, was a gut punch. We knew there was a possibility that the killings were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment — but few of us expected that a Muslim would be arrested.…  Seguir leyendo »

La libertad dentro del velo

La más reciente controversia sobre el hiyab, el pañuelo que usan las mujeres musulmanas, estalló a finales de octubre. Irónicamente, el detonante fue una campaña contra la discriminación lanzada por el Consejo de Europa.

El Consejo publicó en sus redes sociales un breve video compuesto por una serie de imágenes divididas por la mitad. Un lado de la imagen muestra a una mujer con un hiyab, y el otro muestra a la misma mujer sin cubrirse la cabeza. Al final del video, aparece el texto “La belleza está en la diversidad, de la misma forma que la libertad está en el hiyab”, y a continuación se muestran los hashtags #celebratediversity y #JOYinHIJAB.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid greets United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on June 29. (Shlomi Amsalem/AP)

If you want to understand what Islamist militancy today is really about, pay attention to this statement by the Taliban’s spokesman last week: “China is our most important partner, and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us.”

Let me remind you that China is credibly accused of massive and pervasive persecution of its Muslim population — including mass incarceration, systematic “reeducation,” 24/7 surveillance and, in some cases, forced sterilization. In other words, the world’s most ideologically committed Islamist government has said that its closest ally will be a nation engaged in what many observers call cultural genocide against Muslims. Lesson: The Islamist militant movement has always been more about power than about religion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le siège de la Ligue arabe au Caire. Archives AFP

Dans nombre de pays arabes, dictature, oligarchie et corruption soulignent l’absence d’un État de droit et mènent à un divorce prononcé entre les aspirations des peuples arabes et les pratiques de leurs gouvernants. Dans ces conditions, trois notions doivent être impérativement revisitées pour revivifier le monde arabe en lui ouvrant des voies d’avenir et pour le progrès de la civilisation humaine en général: l’arabité, le panarabisme et le droit naturel. Soutenant la première sans se confondre avec elle, la deuxième (le panarabisme) n’est pas morte, mais son renouvellement est crucial face aux changements socio-politiques régionaux et internationaux, tout en tirant les leçons des échecs du passé et des erreurs qui ont été et qui continuent à être commises en son nom.…  Seguir leyendo »

Times of strain often lead to explosions of religiosity, as people turn to faith as a balm against misfortune. The coronavirus pandemic, with more than 2.8 million lives lost to date, certainly qualifies as one of the most cataclysmic events in recent memory. Faced with the major disruptions of the past year, did people turn to faith, or do we instead see evidence of a “religious recession”?

To find out, we conducted a unique study on the effects of the pandemic in the Muslim world. Our data reinforces the assumption that religion does indeed serve an important function in times of hardship.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wave flags in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of the popular uprising that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (Amr Nabil/AP)

Ten years ago, we rocked Cairo’s Tahrir Square with acts of freedom, defied a culture of apathy and conservatism, broke a brutal security apparatus and ousted its leader, forcing the political space open in an unprecedented way. Above all, we filled Egyptians with pride and optimism instead of fear and resentment. We did all that and more before we were resolutely defeated.

Since then, all those who took part in the Tahrir Square protests have been evicted from the scene, along with the hope for the Arab world they had generated. In their place, old and new authoritarian rulers stand vindicated.…  Seguir leyendo »

La eterna promesa de la Primavera Árabe

La Primavera Árabe, que estalló hace una década, fue una cruzada por la dignidad humana cuyos protagonistas trataron de superar décadas de represión, pobreza y desigualdad. Ocurrió en dos olas, la primera se formó en Túnez, Egipto, Libia, Siria y Yemen; la segunda, en 2019-20 en Argelia, Sudán y Líbano.

Lamentablemente, ninguna de ellas concretó totalmente los objetivos de los manifestantes. En lugar de experimentar una transición genuina hacia la libertad y la justicia social, casi todos los países de la Primavera Árabe regresaron a diversas combinaciones de autocracia y varios niveles de pobreza y violencia. Excepto por Túnez, en cierto grado, la mayoría de las sociedades árabes están actualmente más polarizadas y fragmentadas que nunca.…  Seguir leyendo »

Primaveras de esperanza árabe eternas

La Primavera Árabe que comenzó el 17 de diciembre de 2010 es un tema un tanto incómodo diez años después. Rara vez un enorme estallido de esperanza resultó en tanta desilusión –y en una confusión tan profunda sobre lo que depara el futuro.

En 2002, el Informe de Desarrollo Humano Árabe patrocinado por las Naciones Unidas pronunció sus crudas conclusiones iniciales, revelando una región que estaba rezagada respecto del resto del mundo y donde las aspiraciones de los jóvenes y educados ya no se podían cumplir. Una reforma era obviamente necesaria, pero no sería inminente. Ocho años más tarde, las condiciones estaban dadas para una revolución.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Primavera Árabe, diez años después

Cuando Mohamed Bouazizi, un vendedor ambulante que estaba pasando dificultades, se prendió fuego en Sidi Bouzid, Túnez, el 17 de diciembre de 2010, no tenía manera de saber cuál fundamental resultaría su desesperada protesta. Mohamed desató una ola de malestar social en todo el mundo árabe e inició así la transformación más profunda en la región desde la descolonización.

Primero estalló la Revolución del Jazmín en Túnez, que terminó con la expulsión de quien fuera presidente del país durante mucho tiempo, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Las protestas rápidamente envolvieron a otros países árabes y derrocaron a más déspotas —a saber, Hosni Mubarak en Egipto, el Gadafi en Libia y Alí Abdalá Salé en Yemen—.…  Seguir leyendo »

La noción de una renta básica universal (RBU) proporcionada por el gobierno ha estado ganando fuerza a lo largo de todo el mundo desarrollado. Si bien las políticas relacionadas a una RBU se enfrentan a importantes obstáculos políticos y fiscales en Occidente, la idea se está imponiendo en una región donde las condiciones para introducir un sistema universal de subvenciones en efectivo son más favorables: la acaudalada Península Arábiga, que es una región exportadora de petróleo.

Las monarquías petroleras del Golfo, si bien en gran medida son autoritarias, ya brindan a sus ciudadanos beneficios muy generosos, entre ellos: educación y atención médica gratuitas, energía barata y, lo más importante, una garantía implícita de empleo público.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Imam reads a poem ‘For the Republique’ as a homily to French Muslims in support of the laws of the French Republique during Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in Paris on 30 October 2020 in Paris, France. Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images.

Following a resurgence of Islamist terrorism over the past five years, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the reform of Islam in France. He wants to build an ‘Islam of Enlightenment’, a project which would include training for imams that combines knowledge about Islam with the values of the Enlightenment, as well as in-depth teaching of progressive Muslim thinkers such as Averroes and Ibn Khaldun from the 12th and 14th centuries. The French government’s plan also coincides with calls for reform of the Islamic tradition in Muslim societies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Underpinning these calls is the argument that reforming Islam is necessary to fight violent extremism.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Demonstrations against France’s supposed ‘anti-Islamic’ stance erupted in Bangladesh, Qatar, Lebanon, and other majority Muslim countries.’ A Palestinian protester with a poster of Emmanuel Macron. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, minced no words in his recent diatribe against his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron. “Macron needs mental treatment,” Erdoğan said. This blast from Ankara came in response to Macron’s announcement of a series of measures intended to “reform” the practice of Islam in France and end “Islamic separatism” – proof, to Erdoğan, that Macron had “a problem with Islam”.

Then, just five days later, on 29 October, a newly arrived Tunisian immigrant killed three Christians at prayer in Nice. France had yet again been the victim of “an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron proclaimed. He did not need to remind his countrymen of the beheading of schoolteacher Samuel Paty by another immigrant, this one of Chechen descent, in broad daylight two weeks earlier, or of the prior stabbing of two people outside the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Sept. 15, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel formally signed the “Abraham Accords,” establishing normal diplomatic relations. Supporters like President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the agreement as an unprecedented step toward peace.

Not everyone agrees. A number of prominent public figures and civil society groups argue the move is aimed at pressuring Palestinians to accept a state without sovereignty, while granting authoritarian Arab Persian Gulf nations international legitimacy and greater access to new technologies for repression.

What do ordinary Arabs think? The 2019-2020 polling data of the Arab Opinion Index suggests that many Arabs are at odds with their governments on the question of Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Libertad religiosa para infieles

Tomarte una cerveza fría en una terraza o una copa de vino en un restaurante. Comer jamón bien cortado o un mixto o un cochinillo segoviano o unos torreznos. Beber durante el día cuando es ramadán. Salir a la calle mostrando tu cabello, tus brazos. Llevar pantalones ajustados o falda corta. Amar a un hombre sin circuncidar y que no esté obligado a convertirse a la religión de tus padres para que os podáis amar. Amar sin matrimonio. Tener relaciones sexuales sin matrimonio. Escoger libremente con quién intercambiar fluidos, pasiones o afectos. Amar a una mujer. No decir “en nombre de Dios” a cada momento, olvidarte de Alá y de Mahoma.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Taliban need to spell out their ideas about the role of Islam in society and governance. Credit Hussein Sayed/Associated Press

As the major warring parties in Afghanistan sit down for peace talks in Doha, Qatar, an old, unresolved debate is emerging as the central question: What should be the role of Islam in Afghanistan? A humid seaside resort on the Persian Gulf, where the delegates are gathered, has become the unlikely venue for a search for answers acceptable to most Afghans.

The Taliban, who fought for decades to establish an Islamic political system, struck a deal with the United States in February that calls for American troop withdrawals conditioned on the Taliban engaging in peace talks and promising not to allow the country to be used by transnational terrorists.…  Seguir leyendo »

Es normal que los países con profundos desacuerdos de todos modos mantengan relaciones diplomáticas, mercantiles y comerciales. Sin embargo, también hay circunstancias en las que se considera que esas relaciones carecen de sentido. Por cierto, ése es el caso de la mayoría de los países frente a Corea del Norte, pero también describe la postura previa de Estados Unidos con Cuba, y ahora con Venezuela, así como la política de Israel con Irán, la de Arabia Saudita con Qatar y la de gran parte del mundo árabe con Israel.

Dada la importancia del diálogo entre los países, siempre se plantea el interrogante de cuándo perseguir o terminar relaciones normales con un actor “malo”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on Friday. Credit Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The recent decision by the Turkish government to reconvert the majestic Hagia Sophia, which was once the world’s greatest cathedral, from a museum back to a mosque has been bad news for Christians around the world. They include Pope Francis, who said he was “pained” by the move, and the spiritual leader of Eastern Christianity, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who said he was “saddened and shaken.” When contrasted with the joy of Turkey’s conservative Muslims, all this may seem like a new episode in an old story: Islam vs. Christianity.

But some Muslims, including myself, are not fully comfortable with this historic step, and for a good reason: forced conversion of shrines, which has occurred too many times in human history in all directions, can be questioned even from a purely Islamic point of view.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema

La pandemia del COVID-19 está sacudiendo a los países árabes con fuerza. Aquí se analiza el contexto regional, las respuestas de los gobiernos, las posibles implicaciones económicas y sociales, la forma en que esto puede afectar a los regímenes políticos y los riesgos para los países vecinos, así como algunas oportunidades que pueden surgir para resolver problemas y conflictos que recorren esa compleja región.

Resumen

La pandemia del COVID-19 se ha extendido por el mundo en un momento en el que la región árabe se encuentra sometida a grandes presiones de diversa índole. Las respuestas de los Estados árabes ante la amenaza del nuevo coronavirus, sumadas al contexto internacional que está generando la pandemia, tienen el potencial de acentuar algunos de los problemas ya existentes, convirtiendo retos socioeconómicos en crisis políticas y agudizando las demandas de cambio que se extienden por diversos países de Oriente Medio y el Magreb.…  Seguir leyendo »

A sign says “Racism Kills” during a march in Hanau, Germany, after a gunman killed nine people there on Feb. 19. Credit Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

We live in a time of Islamophobia.

In February, two violent attacks on Muslims in Europe, one in Hanau in Germany, the other in London, took place within 24 hours of each other. Though the circumstances were different — the attacker in Hanau left a “manifesto” full of far-right conspiracy theories, while the motivations of the London attacker were less certain — the target was the same: Muslims.

The two events add to a growing list of violent attacks on Muslims across Europe. In 2018 alone, France saw an increase of 52 percent of Islamophobic incidents; in Austria there was a rise of approximately 74 percent, with 540 cases.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week is a test for peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban have an historic opportunity to show that they have the will and the ability to reduce violence. This would pave the way for negotiations among Afghans for a comprehensive peace agreement.

NATO fully supports the efforts of the United States to find a peaceful solution. These efforts have brought us closer than ever before to an end to decades of conflict in Afghanistan.

Our engagement in Afghanistan is the direct consequence of 9/11, when we triggered our collective defense clause, Article 5, for the first time in history -- in support of the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »