Chapter 4: Islam, Globalization and the Outlook for the Arab Middle East
Egypt’s rulers can expect to see an Islam that reflects the skill or folly of their own statecraft. Robert Bianchi If the goal is to sideline al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood is a useful indirect ally and if you are trying to build a secular society it isn’t . . . so which war is the US trying to fight? Marc Lynch Much of the preceding discussion of the prospects for political reform in the Arab Middle East leads inevitably to the question of the future of political Islam in the region. Specifically, whether Islam – or perhaps more accurately, the struggle in the Arab Middle East between autocratic Islamist and autocratic secular values – will help, hinder or have no effect on efforts to integrate the region more closely into the globalized world. Islam in the Middle East has a strong influence in the shaping of identities – that is, as a social construct – as well as having a spiritual content. As in any society the role Islam plays alongside other factors in the search for personal identity varies greatly among individuals. It has been a major influence in framing and sustaining the collective Arab identity and collective consciousness. It has served, through building that sense of identity, to anchor the Arab present in the past. A Gallup survey in 2007 found that 64 per cent of both men and women polled in Egypt say Islamic law (sharia) should be the only source of legislation, while 24 per cent thought it should be one of the...
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