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Towards A Civic Democratic Islamic DiscourseConference Proceedings
Book Language : English, Ш§Щ„Ш№Ш±ШЁЩЉШ©
Publication Date : August 2007
No. of pages :

Introduction about the Experiment… The Adventure

We are not the first to look into the attributes of civilisation and democracy in Islam. We have been preceded by western researchers and research centres, albeit small in number. Nonetheless, we claim to be the first to probe the depths of 'Civic Democratic Islam' with political and academic protagonists, individuals, foundations and parties involved in what has become known as political Islam, and the first to try to establish an international coalition which bears that very name. This comes as a bid to respond – practically – to the questions which have worried both theologians and politicians, in the areas of inter-cultural, inter-civilizational and inter-religious dialogue.I admit that we embarked on an 'adventure' of a kind, for how does a research centre, known for its democratic/liberal/secular identity, gather men and women, thinkers and activists from different Islamic orthodoxies, places and backgrounds around one table in dialogue for three long days on a subject well known for its sensitivities and difficulties, and entitled 'Towards a Civic Democratic Islamic Discourse'?
In fact, however, while we were rushing to prepare for the first conference on 'Democratic Civic Islam' we were twice surprised. In both cases the surprises were delightful. The first was when we began to receive a flood of suggestions, titles and names which could be incorporated into this field, in a clear manifestation of the extent of agreement and interest in participating. The second was when we found that there were many like us who were thinking in the same way, who were preoccupied with the same questions and the same concerns, in spite of their geographical distance from us and the diversity of their religious authorities, cultures and priorities.
We wanted the first conference, the papers of which are presented in this book, to serve as an exploratory preliminary. During its sessions we examined a wide span of opinions and points of view, and we posed numerous complex questions about religion and the state, the state in Islamic thought, the understanding of citizenship, of rights and responsibilities from the Islamic perspective, and the rights of citizens and minorities, amongst other headings. We wanted it to set a comprehensive framework within a framework of pluralism; comprehensive in the sense that the majority, if not all, of the participants were authoritative sources of Islamic thought; and plural in the sense that we covered all of the Islamic doctrines and tendencies possible. We wanted the participants to be drawn from societies, institutions and parties in which they were held to be exemplary figures and in which they contributed to the blossoming of thought and the enlightenment of Islamists.
Perhaps because of this, we found no difficulty in creating a joint vision which was agreed upon. A few slight reservations by some did not detract from the consensus and did not diminish its import. This was the vision conveyed in the closing statement and in the recommendations which were issued from the conference, and we may say without hesitation that it drew inspiration from the values of human rights, the precepts of fundamental democracy, and the Islamic perspectives which were testified to and endorsed by the venerable 'ulama and fervent activists who were among the participants in the conference.
It might be said that selectiveness in the choice of participants was the primary hidden reason behind the success in achieving the 'statement of principles' which was issued by the conference, and this is true. We did not imagine as we were getting ready for the conference that we were about to offer a 'platform' for dialogue between different trends of Islamic thought and political currents: that would perhaps be the job of another conference. The basic goal of our conference was to 'investigate the opportunities' for building an international coalition of Islamic forces and actors, who truly believe that Islam is not opposed to civic and democratic values, but that it is capable of seeking inspiration from them, and that the responsibility for realising such a goal falls on the shoulders of these forces and actors functioning in the framework of 'political Islam'. And this is what we did.
It may also be said, why insist on the description – 'civic democratic' when common political and media discourse, be it Arabic, Islamic or western, uses 'moderate' and 'balanced' to describe a certain trend from among the Islamic action trends. We would respond to this by saying that the understanding of 'moderation' like the concept of 'balance' has come to evoke more ambiguity than clarity about the facts and distinguishes between events and trends. This is particularly after the narrowing of the criteria of moderation to reduce either its distance from or its proximity to the policies and strategies of America in the region, and after the term 'moderate' became synonymous with and contiguous to governments and the types of intellectuals who back them up.
There is no doubt that our distinction between 'moderate Islam' and 'Civic Democratic Islam' shows the need for Islamic discourse to be brought down from the heights of 'the sacred and the heavenly' to the ordinary lives and societies within Arab and Muslim states and to the challenges anticipated on the road of development, democracy and comprehensive reform. Equally it shows the need to 'cut back' on the 'generalisation and abstraction' of the discourse of some of the Islamic movements and their soaring loftily above, to the pressing questions which present themselves on the plane of reality to the governments of these states and the people of those societies.
Hence the Quds Centre for Political Studies presents this book, the first of its kind in Arab literature, and it is hoped that it may contribute to enriching the debate and dialogue on ways to ensure the integration of Islamic movements into the processes of change taking place in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Equally it is hoped that it may have opened a door or a window to an authoritative ideological and political movement within the circles of these other movements and their intellectuals which might renew Islamic discourse and accelerate the processes of democratic change within these movements and their societies alike.

Table of contents

Introduction: About the Investigation and the Adventure

Section one


Forward by Alquds Center for Political StudiesMr. Oraib al-Rantawi, Director General of the Quds Centre for Political Studies, Jordan


Forward by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Dr Hardy Ostry, Regional Representative, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Jordan


Discourse as a Representation of Heritage and an Examination of the Other
His Excellency Dr Sabri Rabihat, Minister of Political Growth and Parliamentary Affairs, Jordan

Section two
The Need For Civic Democratic Islamic Discource


The Compatibility of Islam and Democracy: Which Islam? Which Democracy?Mr. Sayyid Muhammad Ridha Khatemi, Secretary General of the Participation Front Party, Iran.


Political Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: The Challenges and Opportunities
Dr Syafi'i Anwar, Director of the International Centre for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP), Indonesia.


The Future of Islamic Discourse under the Umbrella of Democracy and Globalisation
Dr Ahmed al-Mousalli, Professor in the Department of Political Sciences and Public Administration, American University / Lebanon.

Section Three
The Relationship Between Religion And The State


Religion and the State – A Dilemma or a Problem?As-Sayyid Hani Fahas, Islamic Intellectual, Lebanon


Religion and State in the Islamic World: Challenges and Obstacles of Democracy
Dr Azumardi Azra, President of the Islamic State University, Indonesia


The Concept of the Modern State and its Manifestations in Contemporary Islamic Political Thought
Abd Al-Rahman al-Haj, Researcher in Islamic Studies, President of the Ideological Forum Club, Syria

Section FourIslam and Political Power


The Shari'a and DemocracyZuhair Salem, Member of the Muslim Brotherhood Association, Syria/London


Contemporary Islamic Thought and the Issue of Democracy
Zaki Milad, Editor of 'Al-Kalima' Magazine, Saudi


The Iraqi Islamic Party and the Challenges of Democracy under Occupation
'Amar Wajih Saeed, Member of the Political Office for the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq


The Ideological Precepts of Political Pluralism
Bilal al-Tulaidi, Member of the Justice and Development Party, Morocco


Integrating Islamists into Arab Politics – Opportunities and Challenges
Muhammad Abu Raman, Journalist for 'Al-Ghad' Newpaper and Researcher in Islamic Movements, Jordan


The Introversion of Jurisprudence in Saudi- Arabia and the Extent of its effect on Extremist Tendencies and Violence
Mansur Al-Nuqidan, Journalist specialized in Islamic Movements, Saudi- Arabia


On Concepts of Jihad, Terrorism and Violence
Dr. Murtada al-Mahturi, Member of the Yemeni Clerics Association, Professor at Faculty of Law and Legislation, Sanaa University, Yemen.

Section Five
The Citizen in The Modern Muslim State


Positive Interaction between the Islamic and International System for Human RightsDr Ahmad Al-Mufti, Director General of the Khartum International Centre for Human Rights (KICHR), Sudan


Islam and the Rights of the Individual
Dr. Isma'il Nuwahda, former Dean of the Faculties of the Quran and Religious Usul and Da'wa [Calling], Quds University, Palestine


Rights of Non-Muslim Minorities in Egyptian Islamic Discourse
Dr Hisham al-Hammami, Member of the Muslim Brotherhood Association, Egypt


Islam, Citizen and Equality – The Malaysian Experience
Dr. Khalid Ja'affar, Director of the Institute of Political Studies (IKD), Malaysia


Women's Rights and their Participation in Malaysia: the Experience of the 'Sisters in Islam'
Noryati Kaprawi, Programme Director for the Sisters in Islam Organisation, Malaysia


Women's Rights – A Look at some Problematic Hadiths
Dr Murtada al-Mahturi, Member of the Yemeni Clerics Association, Professor in the Faculty of Law and Legislation at Sanaa University, Yemen.
Section SixMuslim Minorities in Non-Muslim States; Questions of Identity and Integration


Islamic Participation in the Secular Democratic State- Muslims in India Dr Imtiaz Ahmad, Researcher in Islam and Democracy Issues, Professor of Social Science, India


Liberal Islam – the Islamic Movement in the West
Ghanem Jawad, Director of Cultural Unity and Human Rights in the al-Khawa'i Institute, Iraq/London


The Islamic Presence in the West: Identity and Means of Integration
Sheikh Wanis Mabruk, Member of the Consultative Council of the Union of Islamic Organisations in Europe, Libya/London.

Section SevenConcluding Statement and Recommendations


Concluding Statement of the Conference:
Toward a Common Vision of a Civic Democratic Islamic Discourse




List of Participants