Islam y Mundo Árabe

Históricamente, la tarea de promover el multilateralismo en Oriente Medio ha estado en manos de dos instituciones: la Liga de Estados Árabes, una alianza amplia para la colaboración en cuestiones políticas, económicas y culturales, y el Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo (CCG), que se ocupa principalmente de asuntos económicos. A pesar de las diferencias en su historia, interés y afiliación, ambos organismos estaban destinados a servir como vehículos para garantizar la unidad árabe en cuestiones cruciales –como oponerse a Israel- y evitar el conflicto entre los estados miembro.

Durante décadas, el conflicto palestino-israelí reunió a los países árabes en torno a la causa común de respaldar al estado palestino.…  Seguir leyendo »

What the Arab Spring Cost Me

It was a cold and damp evening in February 2012 when my son Malik and I landed in Adana in southern Turkey. Our journey from Beirut had been long and we still had a two-hour drive to reach Antakya, a picturesque city near the border with Syria, where we were to meet my husband and Malik’s father, Anthony Shadid.

Until that day, I had been working in the Middle East as a journalist for almost a decade. They were some of the happiest and most rewarding years of my life. The Arab Spring that Anthony and I had been reporting on hadn’t yet achieved any of the changes I, along with millions of Arabs, had longed for, but many of us still believed that it would.…  Seguir leyendo »

Il n’est pas question d’interdire le burkini dans la loi française. Et encore moins au nom de la laïcité qui n’a rien à faire dans les piscines. Cela n’enlève rien à la légitimité de combattre ce vêtement pour ce qu’il est : de l’ingénierie textile mise au service du patriarcat arabo-musulman, qui fait du corps de la femme un organe génital total, un risque, l’arme et l’objet du crime. Il ne change pas de sens selon qu’il est porté dans les dictatures théocratiques ou dans les démocraties occidentales, selon qu’il est obligatoire ou non. Ici, les bonnes âmes et les islamistes le défendent au nom de la liberté des femmes à se vêtir comme bon leur semble, alors que dans les théocraties, le voilement est imposé au nom de leur statut second dans la société.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man praying at a mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Friday.CreditCreditIshara S. Kodikara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Two days after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, I met my greengrocer at the Colpetty market, a symbol of the cosmopolitan city that I call home. I have known Ashraff virtually all my life. He did not have his usual half-smile on his face, and when I went up to him to say goodbye, I could see he was troubled.

Eventually, shaking his head in sorrow, with tears in his eyes, he told me that the day before, someone he had known for 35 years, a man from Sri Lanka’s Sinhala majority, had said he could no longer be his friend.…  Seguir leyendo »

En un mundo de hombres, la pitufina es la única mujer. Ellos son la norma, ella es el retoque. Ellos definen a la comunidad, su historia y su código de valores. Ella sólo existe en el marco que ellos decidan, tiene un papel simbólico, el de realzar los estereotipos establecidos por ellos. Así es en los dibujos animados, así es muchas veces en el cine, y así también es en la vida real, cuando se trata de definir los rasgos de la comunidad. Lo hemos visto en Nueva Zelanda.

Sí. En un gesto de solidaridad con las víctimas del sangriento ataque contra los creyentes de la mezquita de Christchurch, las mujeres libres de Nueva Zelanda decidieron acicalarse y cubrir su melena con un velo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Activists In Italy demonstrating last week against the introduction of Shariah law in Brunei, which also provides for stoning for homosexuals. Credit Stefano Montesi — Corbis/Getty Images

At a time when Islam’s place in the modern world is a matter of global contention, Brunei, a small monarchy in Southeast Asia, has offered its two cents. By April 3, the nation, which is predominantly Muslim, had begun adhering to a new penal code with harsh corporal punishments. Accordingly, gay men or adulterers may be stoned to death, and lesbians may be flogged. Thieves will lose first their right hand, and then their left foot.

Understandably, these bits of news brought outcries from the United Nations, human rights organizations and celebrities like George Clooney. In return, the Brunei government dismissed all criticisms, reminding the world that the country is “sovereign” and “like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws.”

As a Muslim, I should first tell my coreligionists in Brunei that their argument is not very good.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators burn a picture of President Trump during a protest last May in response to his decision to pull out of the international nuclear deal and renew sanctions. Credit Vahid Salemi / Associated Press

Forty years after the 1979 revolution, Islamism is exhausting itself as a legitimizing force for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Studies sponsored by the Iranian government show that resentment toward the state’s religious symbols is at an all-time high.

According to the research arm of the Iranian parliament, around 70 percent of Iranian women do not strictly follow the official diktats for wearing a veil. Anticlerical sentiments have turned violent. Regardless of their ties to the government, clerics are routinely attacked and stabbed in the streets by angry anti-regime individuals.

Iran is responding by cautiously downplaying Islamism and emphasizing nationalism and foreign threats to win over disgruntled citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Suède, qui échappait il n’y a pas si longtemps encore aux amalgames sur l’islam, vient de voir une polémique éclater à propos du voile. L’objet du scandale est un cliché publié en ligne par la Confédération suédoise des sports. La photo montre un jeune homme allongé dans l’herbe, en train de s’essayer au tir à la carabine. A ses côtés, une jeune fille porte un foulard mauve pour couvrir sa chevelure. Certains y ont vu une « normalisation du voile », alors que le sport devrait promouvoir l’émancipation. Ce débat rappelle celui qui a récemment agité la France après la mise en vente d’un hidjab de course à pied par une chaîne de magasins.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algerian anti-riot police stand guard during a March 5 demonstration in the northern coastal city of Oran, against the ailing president's bid for a fifth term. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Last Friday, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Algeria, calling for an end to the 20-year presidency of 81-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In Sudan on the same day, President Omar al-Bashir stepped down as ruling party leader following months of protest against his almost 30-year rule. These events, alongside protests in the past few years in Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Iran and Tunisia, raise the question of whether the Middle East is undergoing a new wave of anti-regime protest.

Mass protests, uprisings against authoritarian rule, and even democratization often come in waves, spreading within countries and across borders. The 2011 uprisings left few Arab countries untouched and toppled four autocratic rulers in the most visible wave of mass protest since the anti-colonial movements of the mid-20th century.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algerians protest in massive, peaceful rallies against the fifth term of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. (Mohamed Messara/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The decision by the aged President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term in Algeria last week triggered some of the largest protests in the country’s recent history. The massive, peaceful rallies exceeded the expectations of most observers of Algeria and of the broader Middle East. The protests focused on rejecting a fifth term for Bouteflika but could easily evolve into wider demands.

Algeria’s unrest erupted in the shadow of long-lasting, highly consequential protests in Sudan against long-ruling President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. While initially understood as protests against food prices, Sudan’s protests quickly focused on political repression and Bashir’s decades of governance failure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranians march beneath Iranian national flag design bunting during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Tehran on Monday. (Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg News)

Many Americans remain wary, if not hostile, to the idea of democracy promotion in the Middle East. The Iraq War, which wasn’t launched to bring people power to Mesopotamia, is seen by most critics as the great catastrophe of Americans who wanted to export representative government. The failure of the “Arab Spring” to produce anything but bloodshed and continuing autocracy beyond Tunisia, where the region-wide revolt started in 2010 and democracy has held, has further reinforced the view that the United States really shouldn’t back a rootless, convulsive cause. The American right sees Muslims as a bad Enlightenment bet; the left is more critical of Middle Eastern tyrannies (except in Iran and the Palestinian territories) but is extremely averse to “nation-building” in Islamic lands.…  Seguir leyendo »

France Has Millions of Muslims. Why Does It Import Imams

What to do about Islam in France? Considering Islamist terrorist attacks, communalism and the international manipulation of Muslim communities, the matter is pressing. But it’s contentious, because managing Islam seems to go against laïcité, France’s staunch version of state secularism, and a 1905 law that mandates the separation of church and state.

Wouldn’t revising that law be an admission that secularism is bowing to Islamism? On the other hand, if the law isn’t revised, or if the French state cannot find other ways of monitoring and steering Islam, then Islam in France risks falling under the control of foreign states or the influence of radicals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eight years ago, the Arab Spring uprisings led to the overthrow of longtime dictators Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. Many have attributed these unexpectedly quick ousters to the countries’ militaries defecting from the regime and siding with the opposition. But these depictions are not only inaccurate, they also have serious implications for theory and policy.

In a recent article, we argue that such interpretation of these events represent “Myths of Military Defection.” These myths have led scholars to inaccurately compare two very different armed forces and equate defection from the regime with support of the opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

Newspaper coverage of Muslims is negative. And it’s not because of terrorism

Last week, an Islamist attacked the Strasbourg Christmas market in France and, once again, news outlets were filled with stories about Muslims and violence. Many observers believe that’s typical. Researchers have found again and again that coverage of Muslims in the American and global media is predominantly negative.

But are the media overly negative about Muslims? Given the prominence of violent Islamist terrorism and extremism since September 2001, negative stories about Muslims may simply be a result of journalists reporting the news.

We examined this and found that U.S. newspapers associate Muslims with far more negativity than terrorism or extremism would explain.…  Seguir leyendo »

A poster in Pakistan depicting Asia Bibi, a Christian whose blasphemy conviction was recently overturned, setting off protests.CreditCreditShahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE, via Rex

The agony of Asia Bibi, a 54-year-old Roman Catholic and mother of five, shows there is something rotten in her country, Pakistan — and in the broader world of Islam.

She was arrested for blasphemy in 2009 after Muslim co-workers on a destitute farm denounced her for merely drinking from the same cup and, during the subsequent quarrel, for “insulting Prophet Muhammad” — a charge Ms. Bibi always denied. Yet she was convicted in 2010 and spent the next eight years in solitary confinement, on death row.

Luckily, Pakistan’s Supreme Court last month saved her from execution, clearing her of the charges and also setting her free.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Memon Mosque at night in Karachi, Pakistan. CreditCreditShahzaib Akber/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tuesday is the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. It’s the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, the day most Muslims believe he came into the world some 1,400 years ago.

I first met Muhammad in August 1998. I was fresh out of high school in Somers, Conn., and my brother and I made the road trip from Jidda, where he was working for the summer, to Medina to pay our respects at Muhammad’s tomb.

I must have looked ridiculous. I was drowning in elephantine JNCO jeans and carried a backpack with a Pearl Jam patch ironed on. I was probably wearing the boisterous baseball cap of some snowboard manufacturer; I hope I left the wallet chains at home.…  Seguir leyendo »

The rulers of Saudi Arabia derive much of their legitimacy and prestige in the Muslim world from their control and upkeep of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca and the mosque of Prophet Muhammad in Medina. King Salman, like the rulers before him, wears the title of the “Khadim al-Ḥaramayn al-Sharifayn,” which is translated as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” or, more precisely, “The Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries.”

Despite the humility of the royal title, the Saudi monarchy has a long history of exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Television screens in Turkey show President Recep Tayyip Erdogan briefing Parliament on Tuesday on the case of Jamal Khashoggi.CreditCreditErdem Sahin/EPA-EFE, via Rex

Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi agents in Istanbul doesn’t just cast a harsh light on the authoritarian and reckless behavior of Prince Mohamad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; it also highlights the rivalry between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which represent competing forms of Islam.

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy that allows Islam to define all social relations as long as it makes no political claims. Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, is a republic whose government was brought to power by the votes of many conservative Muslims.

Despite being an influential Saudi voice, Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was killed by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, was the keynote speaker at a conference in April organized by the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington. Excerpts from his speech, edited for clarity and length, are below.

I am from Saudi Arabia, where the issues of democracy and Islam are very much relevant. When a Saudi official wanted to brush away the question of democracy, in the past, he would always raise the question of whether democracy is compatible with Islam.…  Seguir leyendo »

A family prays on the first day of Ramadan in New York in 2017. (Reuters)

Are Muslim religious practices more intense than those of other religions and inherently dangerous to Western societies? Many people believe so. In recent surveys of 15 European countries, the Pew Research Center found that between 23 and 41 percent of respondents agreed that “Muslims want to impose their religious law on everyone else.” A similar survey in the United States revealed that 35 percent of respondents believe that American Muslims are prone to extremism, and 41 percent feel that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths — expressed in former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s comment that Islam is “the most radical” religion in the world.…  Seguir leyendo »