20 February, 2007

The Islamists - our new friends?

I posted over on the Dublin School about something I read in an online newsletter, which was relevant to both the Spy School course on Political Islam some of us are taking and also, by extension, my last post. I suspect that even less people read the Dublin School than read Hunting Monsters, so I am going to redo the post here.

Basically, I read the latest issue of the CEPS European Neighbourhood Watch newsletter, put out by the Centre for European Policy Studies. The editorial discusses an emerging dialogue between Europe and Islamists of the Middle East & North Africa. On both sides the governments are being bypassed, with oppositional Islamist groups from the Arab world talking to think tanks and policy oriented NGOs. The discussions seem interesting, partly because they are happening at all, indicating that in coming years the Arab authoritarians will find it harder to prop themselves up with European support. At the same time, it is striking how frank the parties to this dialogue are about the fundamental differences in outlook that divide them.

The article also reproduces a piece by Dr. Saad el-Deen al-Katany, the parliamentary leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in which he sets forth the need for dialogue between Islamists and the West. I found this interesting because Dr. Al-Katany is attempting to drive a wedge between the West and the Arab world dictators it backs, calling on us prove we are not lying when we say we love democracy. Again, it looks like the Islamists are seeing the advantages of talking our language back to us.

There is also a reprinted interview with Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, one of the world's great scary leaders.

You can download the newsletter or subscribe to updates here: CEPS European Neighbourhood Watch

1 comment:

Nicholas Whyte said...

Heh. The CEPS Neighbourhood Watch took over from the CEPS Europa South-East Monitor, which I edited for more than half of its run!