Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

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Showing posts for "Islam"

Forgotten History: U.S. Founding Fathers and Muslim Thought

by Ed Husain
Hamza Yusuf, left, a cofounder of Zaytuna College, chats with another employee at the college in Berkeley, California in 2010 (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters). Hamza Yusuf, left, a cofounder of Zaytuna College, chats with another employee at the college in Berkeley, California in 2010 (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters).

I was recently a speaker at a Georgetown University event called “Religious Freedom: Why Now?”—my main interest in attending, however, was not to speak but rather to hear the latest thoughts of two American public intellectuals. I was not disappointed. Read more »

Islam and Government: How It Can Be

by Ed Husain
Prominent Muslim preacher al-Habib Ali al-Jifry speaks during a joint news conference at King Abdullah mosque in Amman in 2006 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters). Prominent Muslim preacher al-Habib Ali al-Jifry speaks during a joint news conference at King Abdullah mosque in Amman in 2006 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan met a prominent Muslim scholar from Yemen, al-Habib Umar bin Hafez, alongside another renowned Muslim leader, al-Habib Ali al-Jifry. All three men are descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. Their meeting had a special significance for ordinary Muslims, and reminded Jordan and young Arabs that Islam and secular government need not be at odds. Read more »

Welcome to “The Arab Street”

by Ed Husain

Thousands of Egyptian Muslims perform prayers at the Laylat al-Qadr service during the holy month of Ramadan in the street outside an Alexandria, Egypt mosque on August 27, 2011 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

Where next for the Arab world?

This was asked when Arab revolutions broke out in the middle of the last century, when army officers squandered popular goodwill and gave their people decades of dictatorship. As now, there was hope in the air. Then, the ideological underwriting for tyrants was pan-Arabism and Arab socialism. Today, the ideology of radical Islamism and the lack of mobilized, political alternatives threaten the street uprisings of young Arabs.

Googlers, Facebookers, and the Twitterati may have helped overthrow military dictators, but these elite, urban youth do not possess political alternatives, constituencies, movements, and trust in parts of their countries where social media has no presence. This mismatch helps explain, for example, why they lost the referendum on changes to the Egyptian constitution in March of this year. The critical mass in most Arab countries is still mobilized by the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots through mosques, organizational networks, trade unions, schools, and even businesses.
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