A shroud woven by the Muslim Brotherhood is descending upon the Middle East. President Obama is tentatively gambling that the Brotherhood will produce stability in the region and make him the first U.S. president to establish a long lasting solution to the Palestinian problem. For that grand vision to become a reality, the United States, the Brotherhood and Israel are participating in a game of dangerous liaisons, where pragmatism rather than principles is the way to win. Like any other grand plan, the outcome is far from certain and there will be winners and losers
Will democracy take hold in Egypt and will the new government be secular or theocratic and will a revival of nationalism play a role? PI Online attempts to shed light on these questions by examining the ideology of the major players shaping the future of Egypt. Some actions by these groups were predictable, like the Muslim Brotherhood. What lies behind actions of others, like the Coptic Christian Church, the Egyptian Military Command, Saudi Arabia and even the United States, is more complex and worrisome.
Egypt's caretaker military government has appointed an avid Islamist who believes the shari'a should be the law of the land to lead efforts to amend the country's constitution. What signals are they sending to the world and radical factions within Egypt?
Seizing the opportunity created by the uprising in Egypt, the head of Egyptian Intelligence masterminded the swifter political coup in the Arab World. Within seventy-two hours, he got rid of the president, his family, all of his foes in the cabinet and most importantly the powerful interior minister. PI Online examines how this surreal plan was executed and why we should not let it succeed.
The most important result of the Iraqi elections is rarely mentioned in the Western press. Through the limited victory of the Iraqiyya party, the Sunnis have regained their "lost dignity". PI Online examines how these results have positively influenced the Arab psyche throughout the region. Without our support however, this restored dignity may be short lived and the moderates marginalized. Instead of a secular national unity governing Iraq, violent sectarianism will remain the law of the land and the radicals will rejoice.
Accommodating some elements of the Taliban as president Obama seems to be suggesting is difficult to rationalize logically or justify morally. Writer Mushari Al-Zayidi explains why Fareed Zakaria's advocated view of coexistence with the radicals, which seems supported by the president is an ill conceived policy.
The Saudi King realized that for the educational and cultural reform he envisioned to take hold in the Kingdom nothing short of a revolution against the old guard of the religious establishment was necessary, and only the King himself could lead it.
In a very short period, the Arab/Muslim world went from euphoria to guarded skepticism about Obama's presidency. PI Online examines the views of Arab analysts that reflect various reasons for this shift.
While analysts in the West fret over whether the power of Al-Qaeda is rising or diminishing, a more worrisome spread of Salafism is taking shape in the Arab World. PI Online examines the rebirth of that rigid ideological branch of Islam, under a new cloak.
Veteran Egyptian writer/journalist Muhammad Hassanein Haykal stated this week that action [which he referred to as "surgical operation" ] is necessary and eminent against the Sudanese government. PI Online examines the Egyptian-Sudanese relationship under this new light.
When religious coexistence and religious dogma collide in the Middle East, it is difficult for good intentions to prevail. PI Online examines the arguments used by conservative Muslims who reject the idea of building Churches on Saudi soil and the unenviable position in which they placed the Saudi King.
* Al-Azhar Conservative Pronouncements: No to the Inheritance of Christian/Jewish Wife from her Muslim Husband - No to the Equality of Testimony Between a Man and a Woman - No to the Restricting the Number of Wives
* Consternation Over Gaddafi's Remarks at Arab Summit
* Intellectuals and Organizations Defend Two Writers against a Fatwa Calling for Their Head
The battle of ideas between moderates and Salafi ideologues continue. A new fatwa condemning two journalists to death re-ignites the controversy over the conservatives' insistence on legitimizing recourse to violence against all those who disagree with them.
A new book by Maher Al-Sharif takes a rare look at the evolutionary concept of Jihad in Islamic thoughts. In doing so, the author examines three important issues: should Islam only be spread peacefully or violently if necessary; should people be allowed to choose their own religion without recrimination; and should God be the sole judge of religious conduct.
A report from Gaza brought into focus the often neglected reality of the fanatically religious transformation of the Palestinian fighters. PI Online examines the larger implications through the eyes of a fighter's account.
Sheikh Al-Qarni lashes out against the systemic extortion and subjugation of women by tyrannical male family members in Saudi Arabia and sheikh Al-'Awdah advocates openness towards western culture, warning against what he calls a "closed door" policy. He also advised Muslim women to adopt the clothing habits of the societies in which they reside, including the West, while maintaining a conservative appearance.
Writer Adel Latifi suggests that, in the absence of national identity, the basis for laws and governance becomes tribal, sectarian and religious. He claims that modernity is slowly imposing an acceptance of religious diversity and calls for Arab leadership to govern its citizens without regard to their religious affiliation.
PI Online presents one of the most respected centrist Islamists in Egypt, known for his quest to institute a dialogue within the Muslim world and avoid a clash of civilizations. His usual optimism and belief in establishing a vibrant and peaceful Political Islam has lately been dampened by what he sees as a total failure on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood to participate constructively in the political process.
What are the challenges facing those advocating the emerging ideology known as "Islamic Secularism" and should Muslims be free to chose the political regime that is most adaptable to the times while remaining faithful to Islam?
Iman Al-Qahtani addresses the issue of fanaticism in Islam and blames the clerical establishment for misinterpreting the Qur'an and the education system for inflaming the youth. She poses the provocative question whether humans have corrupted the true meaning of the Qur'an throughout the centuries.
The situation in Egypt is dangerous enough to warrant serious coordinated efforts by many parties to avert a disaster. PI Online examines two opposing views on the unfolding developments of the Gaza crisis.
Writer Ma'mun Fendi considers the veil a public, political manifestation of fanaticism which contributed to Egypt's cultural decline. He blames the late president Sadat for having given birth to that religious phenomenon.
Reviewing twenty-years of Jihadi movements since the inception of Al Qaeda in 1988, political analyst Khalil Al-'Anani predicts a new and disturbing transformation of these movements during the coming year.
Most western politicians and analysts make the assumption that violence and fundamentalist governments would only be supported by a very limited portion of the Muslim population. Ma'mun Fendi writing in the daily newspaper asharq al-awsat challenges that conventional wisdom and presents facts in support of his thesis.
It is impossible for the political constitution of Islamic society to remain static for hundreds of years. To resolve that dilemma, a serious review and reinterpretation of some aspects of Islamic history becomes imperative.
Dr. Fadl points out that ''Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who have not fought you in your faith nor driven you out of your home, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just'' Al-Mumtahinah 8. The debate over his recent manuscript begins.
Zawahiri criticizes his former companion and secret Emir of the Jihadi movement, Dr. Fadl. - PI Online begins a series analyzing his writings presently being published with an examination of the enigmatic Dr. Fadl .
The honeymoon between Islamists and the Turkish government was short lived. Perhaps the Islamists sense that the actions of the Turkish leadership, like the recent visit of the Saudi king to the Vatican, may signal broad rejection of Islamist policies in favor of moderate Islam.
Moroccan author Ahmad Al-Raysuni chooses the twelfth century philosopher Ibn Rushd, known in the West as ''Averroes'', to prove that religion and politics can blend. Al-Raysuni either ignored or was unaware of Averroes' philosophy.
The leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood declares: ''The Brotherhood's dictionary does not include the word Israel.'' - PI Online examines the clash within the Brotherhood's hierarchy between the dogmatic hardliners and the political pragmatists
Radical Islamists belonging to the group of "al-Takfir wal-Hijra" were arrested by the Egyptian authorities. PI Online examines the history behind this radical Salafi group and what these arrests may signify.
"YES" to Women and Non-Muslims to hold the office of the Presidency and "NO" to an oversight supreme religious body. Rather than resolving the controversial issues, two leading personalities within the Muslim Brotherhood raise further questions.
[ON LANGUAGE] - Author Wahid 'Abdel-Meguid, in his article entitled "The Religious Marja'iyyah ...the Islamic Movements' Impasse," discusses how the Brotherhood misuses a label suggesting harmony between religion and state for its platform that disregards the sovereignty of the state and its democratic foundation.
An analysis of 1052 messages in response to sheikh Al-'Awdah's letter condemning Bin Ladin which were collected and filtered from numerous websites by PI Online show that it may be possible to generate a credible debate by appealing to logical arguments advanced by influential religious writers.
Is there a coordinated effort among respected and relatively moderate Muslim scholars to condemn and undermine the violence and fanaticism exemplified by Al-Qaida? Two open letters by Al-Qaradawi and Al-'Awdah seem to suggest so, however it remains to be seen whether this is a sustained effort or short-lived rhetoric.
Author Mshari Al-Zaydi rejects the Islamists' characterization of the victory achieved by the conservative AK Party in Turkey as a political win for Islamic fundamentalism, a claim he considers unfounded.