Monday, February 7, 2011

Nationalism vs Islamism

February 7, 2011


Just recently, Scott Shane a journalist for the New York Times wrote an article entitled "An Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Unclear". The primary focus of the piece was the Muslim Brotherhood and its role in the current unrest not only in Egypt but in the Arab world in general in the middle east with countries such as Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen all experiencing some form of demonstration against the present secular regimes in power. The question now on the mind of many analysts is trying to understand the Brotherhood and how to measure its influence on the demonstrators. Experts are also trying to predict how much authority it will acquire when a new government is formed in Egypt.
The issue that struck a discordant tone in the article was from one of the experts who was interviewed by Mr. Shane when writing his article. Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Emory University, and author of "Mobilizing Islam" She described the Muslim Brotherhood in these words, "Its roughly analogous to the Evangelical Christian goal of sharing the gospel." She also talked about one of the offshoot groups that were formed as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in the Middle East over the last eight decades. The group founded in 1987 is Hamas and according to the article, Ms Wickham described Hamas as a national resistance movement. 
That simply put is not true.
The US State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism describes Hamas as an "Islamic Resistance Movement." There is a vast difference between the two.  In a true Islamic movement there is no room for nationalism. Abdullah Assam a Palestinian and the forefather of Islamist movement that grew out of the Brotherhood believed in an inevitable “clash of civilizations” between the Islamic world and non-Islamic world, and in the necessity of violent revolution against secular governments to establish an Islamic state."
That in a nutshell is the difference between a national resistance and an Islamic resistance movement

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