0227 - 0227 Faith in Moderation

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0227 – Faith in Moderation Nathan Brown, Amr Hamzawy, and Marina Ottaway – Islamist Movements and  the Democratic Process in the Arab World: Exploring the Grey Zones Islamist   movements   have   shown   the   ability   not   only   to   craft   messages   with  widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations  with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Grey zones: Islamic law, violence, pluralism, civil and political rights, women’s rights,  and religious minorities Democracy and human rights, which Islamists used to eye suspiciously as Western  ideas inapplicable to Arab societies, were accepted in the rhetoric of mainstream  Islamists and, most importantly, in their political strategies.  Far from a source of political  challenge, the official Islamic institutions of Arab  countries   have   been   content   to   leave   the   political   sphere   to   the   government,  extending   their   influence   on   the   social   sphere   instead.   The   rise   of   moderate,  nonviolent Islamist movements seeking a role in the political and social spheres is  thus a challenge to both governments and Islamic establishment, although there are  some indications that religious establishments and Islamist parties are beginning to  draw closer in some countries.  Post 9/11 political participation permitted by ME authoritarian regimes I   tension   between the old goals  of creating Islamic states  and enacting uncompromising  version of sharia and the new goal of becoming influencial players in a pluralistic,  democratic system   ambiguity on a number of issues Movements   that   combine   missionary   and   political   activities   in   one   institutional  structure take particularly ambiguous stances for fear of undermining their credibility  with either their religious followers or their political constituents. Whereas older generation, who suffered repression and exile, tend to be skeptical  about   the   prospects   of   political   participation,   younger   activists,   resentful   of   the  continuing   top-down   authoritarian   control   exercised   by   their   elders   within   the  organizations,   favor   more   participatory   internal   decision   making   and   more 
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0227 - 0227 Faith in Moderation

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