Monday, August 21, 2006

Shifting Sands: And Now, Islamism Trumps Arabism

In an earlier post I noted that a Pakistani leader of a violent group said they believed in "Huntington's 'Clash of Civilizations' and they would be fighting until Islam becomes the dominant religion. I also quoted the President of Indonesia who feared that such a "clash" would be the "ultimate nightmare." Here is what they are saying in Egypt and the Arab Middle East in the context of the "victory of Hizbullah in Lebanon." According to one observer "The secular resistance movements are gone. Now there are the Islamists coming in. The new nationalism is religious nationalism, and one of the main reasons is dignity. People want their dignity back." And another commentator: "People have come to identify themselves more as Muslims during the last five years in response to the U.S.-led 'war on terrorism' which Egyptians frequently feel is a discriminatory campaign targeting Muslims and Islam worldwide." Note that this Islamic nationalism [in Egypt] is pitted against the regime in power whereas in some cases [Pakistan] Islamism is the tool of the state inorder to stay in power. RLC

August 20 (The New York Times)

By Michael Slackman

The prevailing view in the Middle East is that where Arab nations failed to stand up to Israel and the United States, an Islamic movement succeeded.

She grew up in Cairo with the privileges that go to the daughter of a military officer, attended a university and landed a job in marketing. He grew up in a poor village of dusty unpaved roads, where young men work long hours in a brick factory while dreaming of getting a government job that would pay $90 a month.

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