Last week, my colleague Ed Husain and I hosted a meeting with Rached Ghannouchi—the cofounder and president of Tunisia’s Islamist Nahda party—at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The audio is available here. Read more »
Showing posts for "Combating Extremism"
This week, I had the pleasure of hosting courageous Fawzia Koofi at the Council on Foreign Relations. Koofi is one of sixty-nine female members of Afghanistan’s 249-seat lower house of parliament. As she likes to note, she was elected to her seat by beating out a male candidate–above and beyond the quota system that preserves 25 percent of parliament for women. Elected as parliament’s first female deputy speaker, she plans to run for president in the 2014 elections. Read more »
Tunisian opposition political leader Chokri Belaid was assassinated outside his home on Wednesday, a day after he warned about the possibility of political violence in Tunisia. This violent turn marks an inflection point for the country’s shaky transition: will the government be willing and able to establish law and order in a way that protects dissenting political speech, or will political violence spiral out of control? Political violence also stands to undermine Egypt’s transition. Today, the Associated Press reports that Egypt’s government is providing enhanced security in opposition leaders’ neighborhoods “after several hardline Muslim clerics issued religious edicts calling for them to be killed.” For an on-the-ground perspective, I’ve asked Zied Mhirsi, one of Tunisia’s most popular bloggers, an ardent advocate of freedom, and a cofounder of the website Tunisia Live, to write a guest post. Read more »
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been making headlines this week for his hateful and anti-Semitic remarks made in 2010 when he was a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood: “We must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews.” Through a spokesman, Morsi has since argued that these remarks were taken out of context, although I’m struggling to see how. Read more »
As the international military presence in Afghanistan winds down, fears of unrest, civil war, and backsliding on fragile gains loom large. An October 2012 International Crisis Group (ICG) report states that “Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014,” arguing that “…steps toward a stable transition must begin now to prevent a precipitous slide toward state collapse. Time is running out.” The increase of green-on-blue attacks and green-on-green attacks—Afghan soldiers and police attacking international forces colleagues and one another—raises serious questions about the state of the Afghan forces. Mohammad Ismail Khan, a former mujahadeen member who was ousted from his position as governor of Herat by President Hamid Karzai in 2004, recently called on his supporters to rearm, another ominous sign that former warlords are once again preparing for war. Read more »
Today is the United Nations’ first ever International Day of the Girl. The UN’s designation of this day reflects the growing awareness of the special challenges girls face around the world. It comes at a sober moment: just this week, the Taliban in Pakistan shot a 14 year-old schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, for her outspoken advocacy of girls’ education. Although Malala survived the attack, she is in critical condition and the Taliban has vowed to finish the job if and when she leaves the hospital. Read more »
I was in Tunisia last week and met with a wide range of people, including business, government, and civil society leaders; educators, journalists, bloggers, university students, and Salafist youth; young people unemployed and looking for jobs, and graduates who have newly entered the workforce. Below are some reflections on what I heard: Read more »
In the past 24 hours, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and militants orchestrated a brutal attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. In a video today on CFR.org (below and here), I discuss the protests in Egypt and the deplorable terrorist act in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Though the uproar in both places is ostensibly linked to an incendiary film that disparages Islam, the underlying causes in each place are considerably different. Religious sentiment and tensions fueled the fairly peaceful protests in Egypt, but in Libya a heavily-armed terrorist group supportive of al-Qaeda executed what seemed to be a well-planned attack perhaps timed to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary. The protests against the film were likely an additional subterfuge. Read more »
Democracy in Development highlights solutions to challenges in the developing world in democratization, poverty and growth, health, education, and women’s empowerment, with particular focus on the Middle East and South Asia.
For more on what the United States and others can do to foster open, prosperous, and stable societies, visit CSM&D.
In Paradise Beneath Her Feet, Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men are fighting back with progressive interpretations of Islam to support women's rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism.