web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The War of Ideologies in the Arab World

Radical Islamist ideology must be analyzed and challenged or the fight against terrorism wil have no end.
Copts

The advocates of that version of reform called themselves “Salafis,” or imitators of the Prophet Muhammad and the first three generations of his companions and successors. They resisted the weight of Islamic law on Arab society – a burden much lighter in the Ottoman, Persian, and Indian Muslim empires – and questioned the spiritual tradition of Sufism. But they did not try to expel their opponents from the body of Muslim believers or advocate armed attacks on the West.

These 19th century “Salafis” were superseded, in the consciousness of many discontented Arabs, by the ultrafundamentalist Wahhabis from the Arabian Peninsula, who later usurped the term “Salafi;” and then by Hassan al-Banna (1906-49), the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohammed Arkoun (1928-2010), an Algerian scholar of Islamic studies, in his Arabic-language Toward a Comparative History of Monotheistic Religions, argued that this happened for two reasons. First, intellectual capital was absent from Arab world centers such as Baghdad or Cairo; second, an indigenous Arab business class, that would presumably support critical attitudes, had disappeared. Then, after the victory of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia in 1924-25, and particularly following the increase in Saudi energy income, Wahhabi-inspired radical thinking enjoyed huge funding and support.

Mohammed Al Zulfa, a former member of the Saudi Arabian Shura Council, a supreme consultative body reporting to the country’s king, and a writer for the main Saudi journals, has examined the links between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabi/”Salafi” ideologies. He points out that once Nasser in Egypt and his Syrian allies, whose influence grew in Damascus in the 1950s, began opposing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood traveled to Saudi Arabia, where its members worked mostly in education and the media. The Muslim Brotherhood is similar to the Wahhabis/Salafis in that they both oppose respect for non-Muslims; pluralism in Islamic opinion, and Muslim women’s rights. The doctrines of violent, anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood figures, such as Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), identified as the intellectual paragon of the movement, then reshaped the religious curriculum in Saudi schools and universities.

However, while these textbooks were edited by Muslim Brotherhood members, who differ from the Wahhabis in favoring participation in electoral politics, they were formulated to serve the Wahhabi context. They conformed to the past Saudi practice of excluding the term “Wahhabi” from textbooks and public statements – a phenomenon reflecting widespread repulsion for Wahhabi extremism among Muslims – and proclaiming themselves nothing more than “Salafi” Muslims, or simple representatives of Sunnism (that is, of ahl-as-sunna wa’al jama’a,” or “the people of the Islamic tradition united in consensus”). Today, it is common for Wahhabis/Salafis to call themselves “the monotheists” (muwahhidun) – as if only they were faithful to Islamic belief in One God – although acceptance of, and even pride in, the title of Wahhabi is growing.

The role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arabian Gulf countries was similar to that in Saudi Arabia. Salim Al-Naimi, a researcher from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has disclosed to the journalist Abdullah Al-Rasheed that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood migrated to the UAE in 1973, searching for jobs and to escape political persecution in their home countries. Al-Naimi’s account appeared in the series “The Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE: The full story,” published by the pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (The Middle East.) After the founding of “Al Islah” (“Reform”), a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE in 1974, the Brotherhood penetrated the education sector through formulation of curricula and control of student activities. Dr. Abdullah al-Nafisi, a former professor of political science at Kuwait University, mentioned in his study, “The Muslim Brotherhood – Trial and Error” that many Muslim Brotherhood members immigrated to the Gulf, where they formed committees in Kuwait and Qatar, along with the UAE. Delegates from the Gulf states collect funds for the Brotherhood internationally.

The Iranian Revolution in 1979, even though it occurred in a non-Arab country, reinforced the appeal of Islamist ideology across the Middle East and North Africa. Khomeini’s regime wanted to exploit, and still manipulates for political advantage, the lack of freedom and discrimination the Shia Muslims face in Sunni-majority countries. Khomeini made no secret of his wish to overthrow the Saudi authorities; Radio Tehran broadcast regular appeals to Saudi Shias to rise up against their oppressors. The Iranian regime pursues the same strategy today, revealed in its support for protests in Bahrain, especially on Al-Alam, an Arabic news channel broadcasting from Iran and owned by the state media corporation, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

About the Author: Najat AlSaied is a Saudi PhD researcher in media and development at University of Westminster in London.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The War of Ideologies in the Arab World”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
This is what is left of the bus that was firebombed Saturday night.
Shhhhhhh! Police Now Say Bus was Firebombed Saturday Night
Latest Indepth Stories
World Zionist Congress elections end April 30.

Groups promoting anti-Israel/anti-Jewish BDS right on their websites are running in the WZC election

Former New York Governor George Pataki

Pataki is the last Republican Governor to win a majority of Jewish votes.

President Obama

Obama’s desire to be “fair” enables Iran to get nuclear weapons which will threaten global security

israeli-american flags

All GOP candidates will continue seeking – and praying – for Jewish money with greater success.

The one reason to make Aliyah outweighs all the arguments not to move to Israel.

“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”

I don’t fear for the future of our people because I believe Yeshiva University has created an “Iron Dome” of Jewish leadership

Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate

Chief rabbi, Rav Dovid Lau, stated that the Torah community’s turnout in the WZO election is vital.

Iran has at its core the same ideology as that of ISIS but, inaccurately, is thought a lesser threat

An early Yom Ha’atzmaut gathering for Israel’s 67th birthday with Pres. Rivlin of Israel and guests

Israel’s Memorial Day shouldn’t be a day of mourning, it’s a day to honor, not another Holocaust Day

God’s 3 part promise for Israel: to the Avot; a plentiful land; the eventual return home by all Jews

A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.

More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.

More Articles from Najat Fawzy AlSaied
Copts

Radical Islamist ideology must be analyzed and challenged or the fight against terrorism wil have no end.

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi

Whenever the Muslim Brotherhood are asked if Sharia law will be imposed, the response is that their intention is to build a “democratic and civil state” that guarantees freedom of religion and the right to peaceful protest.. But anyone who traces the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists over the past decades — in Egypt, Tunisia or anywhere else in the Arab world — will see that their intention is to further Islamize their societies, not to create civil alternatives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-war-of-ideologies-in-the-arab-world/2013/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: