Many lessons from that volume are echoed clearly in this project. But because it was driven by a set of questions and subsequent hypotheses about politics rather than about Islamists, Egypt and the Egyptian experience was somewhat naturally decentered. The concepts that were the most useful in explaining variation across space and time were bread-and-butter political concepts, having little or nothing to do with the ideolog ies of Islamism. Ideas mattered for the cases in that project, but the form s of their articulation, their modification over time, and the varied effects of their reception occurred always and only in relation to institutions and practices—of Islamists and non-Islamists alike.
I think we could read the lessons from these papers in the same way, deriving analytic lessons about the relationship between ideas and institutions without sacrificing case specificity or our shared interests in the political implications of organized Islamism.
To do so, we need to think less in terms of proper names and more in terms of processes, but I fear we remain too closely anchored to the former. It was a pleasure to read the other papers. I would like to highlight a few points related to regional commonalities and differences in the context of Libya and the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood LMB. The first is how the LMB dealt with the rise of the Islamic State in Libya, compared to other contexts, in terms of rhetoric, narrative, and behavior.
On the first point, the LMB has responded quite critically to the rise of the Islamic State in general and their emergence in Libya in particular, not unlike reactions from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia.
Other Salafi factions have accused the LMB of compromising its principles to gain influence in the political sphere. The brutal fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt led to the belief among many LMB figures that hard power is necessary. This should not be construed as a transformation towards jihadism, but it can engender a sub-category within an armed Islamist typology, mainly focused on what I would call defensive militancy. The level of militancy can increase however, depending on how repressive the political environment is.
A related point is youth recruitment. But there are certainly some commonalities within the Libyan context. Hence, the LMB has a similar recruitment crisis when it comes to this segment of the Libyan youth.
This crisis may diminish, depending on how the situation in Libya changes whether towards an escalation or a de-escalation and a compromise , as well as based on the policies and the rhetorical choices of the LMB. In terms of social services, the LMB did not have similar opportunities to connect with the masses like the Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia. This had an impact on both electoral results as well as on their popular image. It is not uncommon to hear Libyans claim that the LMB is working in league with al-Qaida or Ansar al-Sharia a hardline militia that was designated a terrorist organization by the U.
State Department in January and that there are no differences between these groups. At times, the anti-Brotherhood rhetoric enters the realm of the farcical. A panelist on one TV show claimed that a well-known Libyan Islamist had been seen meeting Hassan al-Banna assassinated in Cairo in in a Doha hotel lobby. A guest on another show insisted Gadhafi himself had been a member of the LMB. Those claims, as absurd as they might sound, have had an impact on public perceptions of the LMB.
It elevates already high levels of social and political polarization and undermines fragile transition processes.
While a group of younger Saudi Islamists and intellectuals have embraced elements of democracy, the war in Syria, the authoritarian political system, and domestic sectarian tendencies have rallied support for the ISIS model of violent political change. One of the outcomes of reading the various papers for me personally was the realization that we need to look at Islamist networks as global actors, rather than as actors confined to one particular country or one particular region i. As a Middle East expert, I often focus on what is going on in that region.
But the ramifications of the Arab uprisings, the Egyptian coup, and the rise of the Islamic State are felt throughout the world in places with large Muslim populations. We too often consider these places "marginal" to the politics of the Middle East and to the politics of Islamist movements more broadly. But with the increasing internationalization of conflicts in the Middle East and the breakdown of borders, this position becomes increasingly untenable, which is why I thought the papers on Pakistan , Malaysia, and Indonesia were important.
In addition, the importance of the Gulf for these transnational networks needs to be stressed. So I assume the position of Qatar should be discussed a bit more, perhaps in the introduction. And Bahrain has for decades been a hub for Islamic finance, much of it linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nonetheless, Bahrain is often left out of debates on the regional Muslim Brotherhood. Another interesting topic is the development of affiliated political parties out of broader Muslim Brotherhood movements and how that affects the movement at large, and might even lead to splits. In my case Saudi Arabia this has obviously not happened, because political parties are illegal, but splits have happened for doctrinal and political reasons. However, the context of electoral politics discussed in many of the other country cases is quite different.
In some ways most analysts thought the Brotherhood and Brotherhood-inspired movements were extremely well positioned to win elections and eventually attain power across the Middle East. However, as of —and not just because of the Egyptian coup—that perception is not so widely held anymore. A puzzling country for me is Syria. I remember most people thinking that outside of the Baath apparatus and the state institutions, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was the most powerful force, and would come to power if the state "opened up" or lost control in the s.
In contrast, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has not managed to impose itself as the main opposition force to the Assad regime, even though Islamist groups more generally have side-lined the secular opposition. So in other words, have we overestimated the power of the Brotherhood as an organizational and political force? And despite the power of all the spoilers—the old regime and international actors—was there not a chance of the Brotherhood and Morsi governing in a better and more inclusive way? The crackdown on both political and charitable activities in Egypt will have repercussions for the larger trajectories of the group, and in particular may make militancy acceptable as a political tool.
Are there precedents in other countries that we can look at to compare or draw inspiration from?
Another question that needs to be addressed is how important clerics are in the Brotherhood. This is something various authors discussed at the June workshop, but it could be something that each paper tries to address as well. In addition, one needs to explain the relationship between the national branches and the Muslim Brotherhood international organization.
I know this is usually quite opaque, but I think it would be key to address in this project, given that we cover Muslim Brotherhood-type organizations in such a large number of cases across the Middle East and Asia.
source link Sectarianism is another key issue. My understanding is that the Brotherhood in general was quite positively impressed by the Iranian Revolution, and that the Brotherhood is one of the least anti-Shiite Sunni Islamist movements. Perhaps that is something that some of the papers those on Syria , Kuwait , Saudi Arabia , and other countries with Shia minorities could address. In addition, it would be interesting to know more about the youth activities of the different Brotherhood branches. This is very well outlined in the Kuwaiti case study.
I also noticed this aspect in other Gulf states, in the sense that in richer countries this youth activism was equally or even more important than the better known social service provision aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for example. This might have something to do with the political economy of the Gulf, but it would be good to find out if there are similar youth programs in the other places summer camps, sport camps, weekend trips, etc. A final question that remains is whether the Brotherhood does better or worse in monarchies than in Arab republics, and what kind of impact the form of government has on their activities?
In this regard, the absence of the explicit law on criminalizing homosexuality leads to the using of different legal modalities in penalizing homosexuality. James Scambary. Censorship of the Arts in Southeast Asia. Ethnic Relations in Malaysia: Conflict and Harmony. Jean Michaud Pierre Petit.
I enjoyed the discussion of the Moroccan , Jordanian , and Kuwaiti cases. Most studies of the Muslim Brotherhood, including my own work on the Brotherhood in Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates UAE , focus on specific country cases, treating each branch or affiliate of the Brotherhood as a distinct organization.
In fact, variation among the country cases led me to question the extent to which the label of Brotherhood is helpful in predicting how local Brotherhood affiliates will act. Following the Arab Spring, political Islam seems to have become increasingly locally focused: domestic politics has come to dominate the agendas of Brotherhood groups around the region. As broad-based opposition coalitions formed in many Arab states during the uprisings, the Brotherhood joined such groupings, sometimes at the expense of its traditional ideological commitments.
While a broadly Islamist agenda has been successfully integrated into a variety of political environments, the Brotherhood itself appears to lack transnational cohesion. It has become possible, in the post-Arab Spring era, to be both wholly supportive of the Brotherhood and entirely focused on domestic politics. First, all branches of the Muslim Brotherhood have been forced to adjust their tactics depending on the type of regime that governs the state in which they operate. Common patterns emerge under certain type of regimes.
One similarity is a distinctive gradualism employed by Brotherhood affiliates operating in monarchical systems. In thinking about the Jordanian and Moroccan cases, I found myself drawing comparisons to the Kuwaiti situation. Brotherhood affiliates in states ruled by monarchs appear better able to influence government decisions by maintaining ties with, and to a certain extent cooperating with, the regime.
Perhaps the centrality of parliamentary elections in more democratic states has made relations between regime and Brotherhood more competitive and contentious than in states where all actors agree that the monarch retains the last word in political decision-making.
Meanwhile, states undergoing civil strife like Libya , Syria , and Yemen feature distinctive patterns of Brotherhood participation as well. Branches in such states struggle to maintain relevance in a variety of ways: in Libya, by tying itself to powerful militias; in Syria, by attempting to deliver services and to provide protection for civilians on the ground; and, in Yemen, by relying on ties to powerful international actors. In states where violence has broken out, then, the Brotherhood has been forced to find new ways of maintaining political capital, yet has largely failed to do so.
A second significant issue facing Brotherhood-inspired movements throughout the Middle East and Asia concerns the extent to which they privilege contesting elections over other activities, such as the provision of social welfare.