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An aggregator for (oAnth's) daily interests in humanities, arts, science, geography, economics, politics - academia, education - activism, advocacy - itec, free software, open source, open access, open knowledge - languages in use: mostly EN, FR, DE
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There's Nothing Wrong With Islamic Finance As Long As It Really Is Islamic Finance

There's Nothing Wrong With Islamic Finance As Long As It Really Is Islamic Finance | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

This is a fascinating little interview with Timur Kuran, an expert in Islamic finance. The point being made is that Islamic styles of finance aren’t, in fact, all that different from the “western” type that we are used to. And in fact, in certain situations, being “more Islamic” would actually be beneficial, work better than those traditional western systems.

The heart of the comments about the banking system are here:
Whether the Qur’an bans all forms of interest, or specifically its exploitative forms, was a matter of controversy in the early decades of Islam. It still remains in doubt. What is crystal clear is that what passes as Islamic finance is anything but interest-free. Almost all of the Islamic banks in existence, including those in Egypt, charge their borrowers what any economist would call interest; they also pay their depositors interest as a matter of course. This is not surprising, for interest continues to provide tangible benefits to both lenders and depositors.

In economic terms, while the banks don’t charge or pay what they call interest, the effects are that they do indeed charge and pay interest. Those of us who have dealt with such banks, in however minor a way in my own case, know this to be true. The really interesting, to me at least, point made is the following:

"Having suggested that in its present form Islamic banking would not solve any of Egypt’s pressing economic problems, let me acknowledge that Islamic banks might bring benefits by abiding by their stated mode of operation. The charters of Islamic banks instruct them to lend on the basis of “profit and loss sharing” rather than for a fixed return. They are to operate like the venture capital companies that have financed the global high-tech industry. Venture capital firms lend to promising entrepreneurs, for a share of any profits, without regard to collateral, track record, or connections. They take genuine risks, losing money when investments that they finance fail".

With its young population and high unemployment, Egypt desperately needs more venture capital. That is why genuine Islamic finance could bring major benefits to Egypt.

 

That is, it would be a good idea if these banks, or some of them, stopped copying the western model and actually moved over to the VC model they’re supposed to be based upon. (...)

 

More on: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/03/16/theres-nothing-wrong-with-islamic-finance-as-long-as-it-really-is-islamic-finance/


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Egyptian Chronicles: When Gameela spoke on behalf of millions of Egyptians

Egyptian Chronicles: When Gameela spoke on behalf of millions of Egyptians | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

(...) I would like to thank Mrs. Gameela Ismail for representing millions of Egyptians and speaking on their behalf in front of US department of State secretary John Kerry

(..) I would like you to spread this word of Mrs. Gameela Ismail, the member of Constitution Party all over the social media because this letter is actually represents what millions of Egyptians when it comes to Egyptian American relations.


Here is what Gameela told John Kerry from two weeks ago in Cairo.

 

Mr Secretary of State,
After consideration, I have decided to accept the invitation, which I received in a personal capacity, to attend this meeting today. I do not represent the Constitution Party here because it has a chairman who should have been invited properly, something that had not happened. My address is aimed at your accompanying delegation of future makers. Part of it is for you.
Mr Kerry, you are here today with a large team of people who, according to reports, will be in charge of foreign policy in the future. I mean the future which we are paying a heavy price for today. This is why part of my speech is addressed to you, Mr Kerry, while the larger part is for your team.
You are presently in Egypt at a very complicated juncture, one in which we are living pain, hope, dreams, nightmares, revolution and tyranny all at the same time. Let me sum up to you what I would like you to see with us.
Egypt does not need new aid. Egypt needs to build a new relation on new foundations, not those laid since Nixon’s visit in 1974.
Our country is not a guinea pig. You supported a semi-military regime in the past. Now you are supporting a semi-theocratic regime so that each would play the role required of it. You supported Mubarak to the last breath. You stood in the way of a people’s dream to come out of the labyrinth of dictatorship. You can deal with our revolution as an “uprising” as you describe it in your statements. For us it is a “revolution” which is still in progress. Honourable people have paid the ultimate price to build a country in which we feel freedom, justice and dignity. We did not have a revolution to repaint the presidential palace or for the protocol official at your embassy to update his contacts book. Had Lincoln, whom your country celebrates, stopped at purchasing new clothes for the slaves and retained slavery America would not be proud today of its freedom or saying that its democracy makes it strong.

 

 

More on: http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/when-gameela-spoke-on-behalf-of.html


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Egypt court halts April elections

Egypt court halts April elections | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

An Egyptian administrative court has suspended general elections that were scheduled to begin next month.

It said it acted because the upper house of parliament had not returned the amended electoral law to the Constitutional Court for review.

The poll - set by President Mohammed Morsi for 22 April - has been boycotted by the main opposition.

It has said the electoral law favours Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters - a claim denied by the president.

 

More on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21689545


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oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide"'s insight:

further links via Égypte actualités:

 

http://www.ouest-france.fr/ofdernmin_-Egypte.-La-justice-annule-la-date-de-debut-des-elections-legislatives_6346-2170231-fils-tous_filDMA.Htm

 

http://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-slips-into-a-security-void/

 

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/arab-league-meeting-moved-due-tahrir-clashes

 

http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=4a924460-1abc-4fe9-81d8-f74c0028146c

 

 

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"History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East", edited by Philip Wood

"History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East", edited by Philip Wood | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

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Egypt-actus's curator insight, February 24, 2013 2:23 AM

History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East gathers together the work of distinguished historians and early career scholars with a broad range of expertise to investigate the significance of newly emerged, or recently resurrected, ethnic identities on the borders of the eastern Mediterranean world. It focuses on the "long late antiquity" from the eve of the Arab conquest of the Roman East to the formation of the Abbasid caliphate. The first half of the book offers papers on the Christian Orient on the cusp of the Islamic invasions. These papers discuss how Christians negotiated the end of Roman power, whether in the selective use of the patristic past to create confessional divisions or the emphasis of the shared philosophical legacy of the Greco-Roman world. The second half of the book considers Muslim attempts to negotiate the pasts of the conquered lands of the Near East, where the Christian histories of Hira or Egypt were used to create distinctive regional identities for Arab settlers. Like the first half, this section investigates the redeployment of a shared history, this time the historical imagination of the Qu'ran and the era of the first caliphs. All the papers in the volume bring together studies of the invention of the past across traditional divides between disciplines, placing the re-assessment of the past as a central feature of the long late antiquity. As a whole, History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East represents a distinctive contribution to recent writing on late antiquity, due to its cultural breadth, its interdisciplinary focus, and its novel definition of late antiquity itself.

Oxford University Press, USA, April 1, 2013, 272 pages


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Salafistes vs Frères musulmans, par Hicham Mourad

L’exacerbation de la tension entre les différents protagonistes de la scène politique en Egypte a commencé à produire des phénomènes jusque-là inobservés. Le premier desquels est le remodelage de l’échiquier politique entre majorité et opposition. Jusqu’à récemment, la majorité était composée de partis islamistes (Frères musulmans et salafistes, toutes tendances confondues) alors que l’opposition était presque exclusivement libérale. La situation semble cependant évoluer vers plus de complication de la scène politique, avec l’entrecroisement de plusieurs lignes de division politique.

Le premier, et plus important symptôme, de cette évolution de la scène politique concerne le repositionnement du parti d’Al-Nour, la principale formation salafiste d’Egypte (25 % des sièges de la Chambre basse du Parlement, dissoute mi-juin). Al-Nour s’est joint à l’opposition libérale pour réclamer des concessions politiques au pouvoir, tenu par les Frères musulmans. (...)

La manoeuvre d’Al-Nour de faire alliance, même de circonstance, avec les libéraux, tend à acculer le pouvoir à faire des concessions. La formation d’un gouvernement d’union nationale est dans ce sens destinée à empêcher le PLJ de profiter d’une éventuelle impartialité des autorités en sa faveur lors des prochaines législatives, attendues en avril ou mai prochains. Le stratagème est toutefois risqué. Certains partis et personnalités islamistes ont critiqué l’attitude d’Al-Nour de faire cause commune avec les « laïcs » du FNS pour des objectifs qualifiés d’opportunistes. Ce qui risque de se retourner contre le parti. Le pari d’Al-Nour est de profiter du discrédit dont souffrent les Frères musulmans auprès de l’électorat pour gagner plus de sièges lors de la prochaine échéance électorale. Mais c’est sans prendre en considération la recomposition de la scène salafiste en Egypte, qui risque de compromettre ce dessein. Lors des dernières législatives, Al-Nours’accaparait le soutien des principaux cheikhs salafistes. Aujourd’hui, il doit faire face à l’apparition de nouvelles formations salafistes et à l’éventuelle division entre les prédicateurs soutenant telle ou telle formation. Outre la formation dissidente d’Al-Watan, le prêcheur salafiste controversé, mais très populaire, Hazem Salah Abou-Ismaïl, ancien candidat disqualifié à la présidentielle, devrait créer son propre parti à l’approche des législatives. Il a d’ores et déjà annoncé son alliance électorale avec Al-Watan. Cette multiplication des partis salafistes risque de désorienter et de rendre confus leurs électeurs potentiels au profit, peut-être, des Frères musulmans, qui restent, eux, unis. (Al-Ahram Hebdo)

 

Plus : http://hebdo.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/962/4/132/1733/Salafistes-vs-Fr%C3%A8res-musulmans.aspx


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Le « capitalisme extrême » des frères musulmans

Le « capitalisme extrême » des frères musulmans | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Aux affaires en Egypte, les Frères musulmans ne peuvent plus se contenter du slogan « L’islam est la solution ». Car leur politique libérale risque de susciter de fortes oppositions.

MONSIEUR Khairat Al-Shater est le numéro deux des Frères musulmans, et le représentant de son aile la plus conservatrice. Quant au richissime Hassan Malek, après avoir débuté dans les affaires en partenariat avec M. Al-Shater, il dirige aujourd’hui avec son fils un réseau d’entreprises dans le textile, l’ameublement et le commerce employant plus de quatre cents personnes. Ces deux hommes incarnent bien le credo économique des Frères musulmans en faveur de la libre entreprise, qui se conforme davantage à la doctrine néolibérale que la forme de capitalisme développée sous la présidence de M. Hosni Moubarak.

Le portrait de M. Malek dressé par Bloomberg Businessweek aurait pu s’intituler « L’éthique frériste et l’esprit du capitalisme », tant il semble paraphraser l’ouvrage classique du sociologue Max Weber. Les Malek, explique le magazine, « font partie d’une génération de conservateurs religieux ascendante dans le monde musulman, dont la dévotion stimule la détermination à réussir dans les affaires et la politique. Comme le dit Malek : “Je n’ai rien d’autre dans ma vie que le travail et la famille.” Ces islamistes posent un formidable défi à la gouvernance laïque dans des pays comme l’Egypte, non seulement à cause de leur conservatisme, mais aussi en raison de leur éthique de travail, de leur détermination et de leur abstention apparente du péché de paresse. (…) “Le fonds de la vision économique de la confrérie, s’il fallait la définir d’une façon classique, est un capitalisme extrême”, dit Sameh Elbarqy, ancien membre de la confrérie (1) ».

Ce « capitalisme extrême » se manifeste dans le choix des experts en économie participant à l’assemblée chargée de rédiger le projet de Constitution égyptienne, largement dominée par les Frères musulmans et les salafistes, et boycottée par l’opposition libérale et de gauche. « M. Tareq Al- Dessouki est un homme d’affaires, député du parti Nour [salafiste]. Il dirige la commission économique du nouveau Parlement et a pour mission de résoudre les conflits éventuels avec les investisseurs saoudiens en Egypte.

 

Plus: http://badiltawri.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/le-capitalisme-extreme-des-freres-musulmans/


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Des milices islamistes apparaissent en Égypte

Des milices islamistes apparaissent en Égypte | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Pour combler le vide sécuritaire, des groupes formés par la Jamaa Islamiya entendent faire régner l'ordre.

Combien sont-ils? Nul ne le sait, mais leur percée est source d'inquiétude enÉgypte . Voilà plusieurs jours que la presse locale évoque l'existence de ces nouveaux miliciens islamistes qui menacent de faire la loi pour répondre au vide sécuritaire provoqué par la récente grève des policiers. Sur une vidéo qui circule sur YouTube, on les voit parader à moto dans les rues d'Assiout, en Haute-Égypte.

L'organisation à l'origine de ces comités populaires religieux n'est autre que la Jamaa Islamiya, un ex-groupe djihadiste converti à la politique depuis la chute deMoubarak  et l'élection d'un islamiste à la présidence. Contacté par Le Figaro, Assem Abdel Maged, membre du bureau politique de la Jamaa Islamiya, déclare sans détours: «Que les fonctionnaires de police qui entendent poursuivre leur grève sachent qu'ils ne retrouveront pas leur poste une fois que nous aurons pris la relève. Une chose est sûre: nous ne laisserons pas la situation sécuritaire se détériorer.» Il fait là référence à cette nouvelle vague de violence suscitée la semaine dernière par le verdict du procès lié à une bousculade meurtrière, l'année dernière, dans le stade de Port-Saïd . Déjà impopulaire sous Moubarak, et aujourd'hui accusés par les opposants de servir de bras armé au président Morsi , les policiers ont fini par déclarer forfait dans la cité portuaire au motif qu'ils étaient injustement instrumentalisés par le pouvoir. Depuis, leur grève s'est étendue à d'autres villes du pays, dont Asiout. «Là-bas, précise Assem Abdel Maged, nous avons commencé à organiser des comités permettant de combler le vide et de maintenir l'ordre.» Quand on l'interroge sur le nombre, la formation et l'armement de ces nouveaux miliciens, il se contente de répondre: «Avec l'aide de Dieu, nous protégerons le peuple.» À Assiout, des témoins racontent avoir déjà vu ces miliciens à l'action à certains carrefours, où ils remplacent les agents de circulation. Également repérés dans d'autres villes, dont Suez et Minya, on ignore à ce jour s'ils ont mené des perquisitions. «Pour résoudre la crise sécuritaire, il faut des actes et pas seulement des mots», prévient cependant Assem Abdel Maged, en s'appuyant sur un obscur article du code pénal, récemment mis en exergue par le procureur général du Caire, et qui permettrait l'arrestation de «voyous» par des civils.

 

(Le Figaro)

 

Plus : http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2013/03/15/01003-20130315ARTFIG00587-des-milices-islamistes-apparaissent-enegypte.php


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La grève des policiers se poursuit en Égypte

La grève des policiers se poursuit en Égypte | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Des milliers de policiers en grève partout en Égypte ont refusé de retourner au travail jeudi, pour protester contre ce qu'ils qualifient de politisation des forces en faveur des Frères musulmans, dont le président Mohamed Morsi est issu.

Au Caire, des douzaines de policiers ont bloqué l'entrée d'un des principaux postes de police de la ville et ont exprimé leur colère envers les politiques de M. Morsi. D'autres se sont regroupés devant le domicile de M. Morsi à Zagazig, au nord-est de la capitale.

La grève, qui en était à sa quatrième journée, représente une rare occasion où des policiers défient les ordres de leurs supérieurs. Le mouvement menace d'affaiblir les forces de sécurité égyptiennes, déjà ébranlées par deux années de troubles à la suite du renversement du président Hosni Moubarak.

Les policiers protestent entre autres contre la possibilité d'être jugés devant un tribunal militaire et se plaignent que les lois ne les protègent pas quand ils doivent remplir leurs fonctions.

Mentionnons que pendant des décennies, la police égyptienne a ciblé les Frères musulmans et d'autres groupes islamistes considérés comme illégaux.

Jeudi, le ministère de l'Intérieur a déclaré dans un communiqué qu'il se tenait à distance égale de tous les partis et que le ministre était objectif dans ses décisions.

Cette grève survient quelques jours seulement avant qu'une cour ne rende son verdict contre des accusés qui se sont retrouvés devant la justice à la suite d'une émeute qui a fait 74 victimes à Port-Saïd. Neuf membres des forces de sécurité font partie des 73 accusés dans ce dossier. (Radio-Canada)

 

http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/International/2013/03/07/011-greve-policiers-egyptiens.shtml


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oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide"'s insight:

des liens en lire de plus via Égypte Actualités:

 

- http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/66361/Egypt/Politics-/Disaffected-police-plan-protests-against-Egypts-in.aspx

 

- http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/ministry-preparing-bill-private-security-companies-help-police

 

- http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/security-source-more-30-police-stations-closed-past-few-hours

 

- http://www.atlasinfo.fr/Egypte-greve-des-policiers-pour-reclamer-le-depart-du-ministre-de-l-Interieur_a40036.html

 

- http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/seven-central-security-camps-shut-down-cairo

 

- http://news.egypt.com/english/permalink/174890.html

(Army replacing police forces)

 

- http://news.egypt.com/english/permalink/174896.html

(Police vs. Muslim Brotherhood)

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Qatar's influence in Egypt runs deeper than its pockets

Qatar's influence in Egypt runs deeper than its pockets | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it
Qatar's generosity towards Egypt is widely seen by non-Islamist Egyptians as the Gulf state seeking to establish a foothold in countries that have been swept by Arab Spring revolts.

(...)

Qatar was an anathema to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who had made no secret of his contempt for the super-rich state and what he saw as its propaganda tool, Al Jazeera television.

But all that changed with the fall of the Mubarak regime in 2011 and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt's most powerful political group.

Qatar has since poured billions of dollars into Egypt, mostly as bonds to bolster the country's fast-dwindling coffers. Top Qatari officials, from the emir down to the head of his intelligence agency and the powerful prime minister, have been frequent visitors to Cairo in recent months.

On the Egyptian side, the Brotherhood, rather than the foreign ministry, controls the country's dealings with Qatar. Khairat El Shater, a wealthy businessman and arguably the Brotherhood's most powerful figure who was disqualified from running in the country's 2012 election for president, has been the regime's point man on relations with Qatar, frequently flying there on unannounced visits.

Top Qatari officials say they are helping Egypt because they do not want to see the country's economy continue to sink. (The National)

 

More : http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/qatars-influence-in-egypt-runs-deeper-than-its-pockets


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"The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim", edited by Denys Johnson-Davies

"The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim", edited by Denys Johnson-Davies | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

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Egypt-actus's curator insight, February 22, 2013 10:47 AM

The American University in Cairo Press, 2013, 244 pages

 

A selection of the most important prose and stage works of the great Egyptian playwright, brought together by the leading translator of Arabic literature 

The importance of Tawfiq al-Hakim (1898–1987) to the emergence of a modern Arabic literature is second only to that of Naguib Mahfouz. If the latter put the novel among the genres of writing that are an accepted part of literary production in the Arab world today, Tawfiq al-Hakim is recognized as the undisputed creator of a literature of the theater. In this volume, Tawfiq al-Hakim’s fame as a playwright is given prominence. Of the more than seventy plays he wrote, The Sultan’s Dilemma, dealing with a historical subject in an appealingly light-hearted manner, is perhaps the best known; it appears in the extended edition of Norton’s World Masterpieces and was broadcast on the old Home Service of the BBC. The other full-length play included here, The Tree Climber, is one that reveals al-Hakim’s openness to outside influences—in this case, the absurdist mode of writing. Of the two one-act plays in this collection, The Donkey Market shows his deftness at turning a traditional folk tale into a hilarious stage comedy. Tawfiq al-Hakim produced several of the earliest examples of the novel in Arabic; included in this volume is an extract from his best known work in that genre, the delightful Diary of a Country Prosecutor, in which he draws on his own experience as a public prosecutor in the Egyptian countryside. Three of the many short stories he published are also included, as well as an extract from The Prison of Life, an autobiography in which Tawfiq al-Hakim writes with commendable frankness about himself.

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Arab revolutions and the Salafist challenge

Arab revolutions and the Salafist challenge | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Allam’s election as Grand Mufti illustrates that Al Azhar leaders do not wish to be pawns in the hands of extremist political groups and that bodes well for Egypt.

 

Two years into epochal revolutions that changed the Arab World, commentators identified alleged power vacuums that, apparently, were filled by extremist movements. The fear that Salafists would replace repressive dictatorships gained popularity as tensions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and especially Syria, preoccupied analysts. Some were wondering, for example, whether Syria would become an Islamist state. Others anticipated profound transformations in North Africa.

Were Salafist challenges true existential developments that were about to negate the progress associated with the dramatic changes that befell the Arab World?(...)

 

Similar questions were raised elsewhere in classic power struggles. In Egypt, for example, a hardline cleric — Mahmoud Sha’aban — felt no compunction to call for the deaths of two key opposition figures, Mohammad Al Baradei and Hamdin Sabahy, during his “pseudo-religious” television invocations (...)

 

There was no denying that some of these extremists were loud. Yet, and no matter how much they shouted, the Arab Spring was not just sprouting Islamists, given that moderate voices were equally strong and vocal.

Indeed, the most recent election of the Egyptian Grand Mufti, Shaikh Shawky Abdul Karim Allam, attested to the phenomenon. A professor of jurisprudence from a provincial university in Tanta in northern Egypt, Allam secured the highest number of votes, as senior Al Azhar clerics chose him. He defeated Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Bar, a prominent cleric in the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, who was tipped as a shoe-in because of his political affiliation. Importantly, Al Bar’s past service within the Brotherhood guidance bureau proved to be insufficient to secure the post.

 

By choosing a moderate voice, Al Azhar clerics rejected any Brotherhood efforts to further politicise the revered institution, distancing it from initiatives that intended to obtain its imprimatur on the contentious constitutional debate that rocked and continued to destabilise the political establishment. In other words, Allam’s election illustrated that Al Azhar leaders did not wish to become pawns in the hands of extremist political groups, which bode well for Egypt.

 

Beyond Allam, a largely apolitical figure, the country’s wise religious figures understood that one must not replace one dictatorship with another. Moreover, they telegraphed that Islamists emerging throughout the region ought to be “managed,” lest the most recent tiger of change usher in calamities galore.

 

Because Arab dictators tortured thousands of Islamists over the years, as the Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar Al Assad regimes, among others, exercised crackdowns involving mass murder and repression, the current Salafist growths were part vengeance and part vindication.

 

Nevertheless, past grievances cannot possibly justify the on-going bloodshed and, it is critical to clarify, few can monopolise righteousness.  (...)

 

More on: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/arab-revolutions-and-the-salafist-challenge-1.1145933


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