Religion and Human Rights

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In the first installment of this blog we looked at Wael Hallaq’s The Impossible State (2013) and in following the assessment of two reviewers, Lama Abu-Odeh and Andrew March, we felt Hallaq helpfully highlighted some of the challenges of pressing traditional Islamic legal norms into the service of a modern nation-state. On the other hand, his rather rigid and dogmatic…
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Translating Ghannouchi’s book (“The Public Freedoms in the Islamic State”), as I stated before, has forced me to delve into political theory. Keep in mind that if you want to get a handle on the contemporary islamist movement in all its variety, you will have to think about issues related to the modern nation-state and democracy. My title here comes…
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Two events have taken place since I wrote the second installment of this trilogy of blogs on Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi. The first one has global implications: the Oslo Nobel committee, to everyone’s surprise, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the Tunisian Quartet, four civil society groups who had banded together to pull the country back from the brink of civil…
27 September 2015

Glenn Beck, Can We Talk?

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Glenn, I’ve never met you, but I just read your new book, It IS about Islam. Congratulations to you and your team for a well-written book, with good sources (though very selective), and a great passion for the welfare of our country! Can we talk about it? As someone who lived for sixteen years in Algeria, Egypt, and Israel/Palestine, and…
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How does the youngest of ten in a poor, remote Tunisian village, became at age 70 his nation’s most influential politician and thinker in the wake of the revolution that had just toppled its dictator of 24 years? Rached (or Rachid) Ghannouchi’s islamist party Ennahda (or al-Nahda, with the article, “Renaissance”) won the most votes in 2011, ruled in a…
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Boring title, right? Actually, the explosion of anger among the masses in North Africa (the “Maghreb”) in December-January 2010-2011 initially called the Arab Spring, which toppled three regimes in the region (Tunisia, Libya and Egypt), had roots in 1930s Algeria. Let me explain. And by the way, this is the beginning of a series of three blogs on Rached Ghannouchi,…
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