A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Wilson Center's "The Islamists Are Coming"

The Woodrow Wilson Center has a new guide, The Islamists are Coming: Who They Really Are, edited by Robin Wright and written by a star-studded array of experts,* and providing a useful reference and guide; and to make things even better, it's all available online.

*Wright and Olivier Roy on general subjects, Samer Shehata and Khalil Anani on Egypt; Christopher Alexander on Tunisia; Marial Omar on Libya; David Ottaway on Algeria; Thomas Pierret on Syria; Nathan Brown on Palestine; Abdesalam Maghraoui on Morocco; Jillian Schwedler on Jordan; Nicholas Blanford on Lebanon; Leslie Campbell on Yemen; Omar Taspinar on Turkey.


xoussef said...

The part about Morocco criticizes the PJD for not fully committing to democratic ideals and values while has some praise for Al Adl wal Ihsan, even alluding to some changes toward more tolerance for women and minorities and political opponents, fat chance of that happening. Even a republican Morocco would have to be under their thumb to meat their expectations, with the sheikh as "guide" or "custodian" à l'Iranienne. I don't think that's a movement that might ever tolerate the rights of sexual and religious minorities. It doesn't have that in its DNA, but the half clandestine status is maddening, because it allows them to not commit to much publicly, hence looking benign, and fuzzy the extent of their popularity and strength. My guess on that point is as good as anyone else, but stepping into the light of day will mean committing to public positions and be sized up, risking alienating many supporters one way or the other and losing the halo of mystery. They might gain more followers, who knows, but in my opinion that's not a risk they will be taking any time soon. Even their participation, very well handled, in the 20 february protests doesn't offer a way of quantifying their strength.
Also, if the extent of being peaceful, is not leading an armed insurgency, thank you very much, that's fine. But from my personal experience at university, they are not beneath harassment, physical intimidation and occasional sabre wielding, real sabres. If being just thugs, as opposed to terrorists, is enough for respectability, something is very wrong.
Sorry for being a troll, but I had to spout my two cents somewhere.

Michael Collins Dunn said...


No problem. I think the personal perspective is valuable.