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Faith, Politics and Society

The network is currently regrouping for re-launch in the 2011-12 academic year. In its earlier incarnation, it held the following workshops:

Alternative Muslim Voices

In 2008 Faith, Politics and Society workshop was dealing with 'Alternative Muslim Voices'. The idea stems from the fact that with the focus on radical Islam and their extremist political ideologies, moderate and liberal voices are marginalised. The workshop aimed to engage and analyse the ideas of Muslim scholars who are seen present a non-violent political and/or liberal theological vision.

Islamists and the Egyptian State: between accommodation and resistance

The topic of the workshop held in 2009 evolved around the relationship between Islamists and the state in Egypt. The Islamist scene in Egypt is currently undergoing a transformation, which can be expected to have a major impact on the global scene.

As it is well-established, the radical Islamist discourse in Egypt had a foundational impact on globally acting militant ideologies. However, militant groups such as the Jama'at al-Islamiyya and the Jama'at al-Jihad have engaged in a revision of their ideology of violence. The publication of muraja'at (revisions) directly challenges the theological premises of al-Qa'ida. But it is not only the extremist scene which changes.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which asserted in the 1970s that its policy was one of non-violence, continues to grow in influence and public presence. Despite the fact that attempts to gain official recognition as a political party were rejected, its members now form the largest opposition in parliament. Nevertheless, the engagement on the political scene is on the one hand the cause of tensions within the organisation on future directions and is on the other hand met with a return to suppressive policies by the Mubarak regime.

Civic movements such as ‘Kifaya' are a sign that there is an increasing public conscience that the political system in Egypt needs reform. Partly triggered by the insecurities about the succession of President Husni Mubarak and partly driven by a demand to end the state of emergency, the regime is under pressure to steer the system towards a more accountable, democratic state.

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