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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

June 7, 2006

CSID Email Bulletin

June 7, 2006

June 2, 2006

All Previous Issues


  1. CSID Event:   Iraq and U.S. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East (By Larry Diamond on Thursday June 8)

  2. NDAW TRAINING WORKSHOPS in Cairo and Amman, June 2006.

  3. NEW CSID REPORTS:  on Islam & Democracy Workshops.

  4. ARTICLE: Time for an Islamist-Liberal Alliance (by Rami Khouri)

  5. ARTICLE:  U.S. Democracy Institute Asked to Shut Down all Operations (Daily Star)

  6. ARTICLE:  Egypt asks US body to halt work (news.bbc.co.uk)

  7. ARTICLE:  Egypt extends detention of protesters (aljazeera.net)

  8. ARTICLE:  Egypt Must Reassess Cruel Treatment of Protesters

  9. ARTICLE:  EGYPT – OPEN LETTER from Ayman Nour

  10. ARTICLE:  Only Jihadists Can Benefit From Haditha (by Husain Haqqani)

  11. ARTICLE:  Quantico Islamic Center Dedicated (by Theresa Vargas)

  12. ANNOUNCEMENT:  NDRI Washington Workshop for Think Tank Managers

  13. ANNOUNCEMENT:  ifa-Forum Dialogue and Understanding

  14. ANNOUNCEMENT:  International Civil Society Forum for Democracy

  15. ANNOUNCEMENT:  LL.M. in Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law

  16. JOB OPPORTUNITIES:  National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

 

CSID Monthly Lecture Series

 

Iraq and U.S. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East

 

By Larry Diamond

Thursday, June 8, 2006

12:00 Noon 1:30 PM

 

Summary:

The U.S. effort to promote democracy in Iraq has been severely hampered by strategic mistakes, a failure of planning, a failure to understand and secure the country, and a generally arrogant demeanor dating from the first days of the occupation.  Although the Bush Administration has made many adjustments that have moved our policy in a more pragmatic direction, Iraq is becoming more polarized, violent, and unstable, and the urgent need now is to stabilize the country, while recognizing that real democratization will be a project for the long run. 

 

At the same time, we must draw from the experience in Iraq, and recent political developments in Palestine and Egypt, lessons about how viable and sustainable democracies might be fostered in the Middle East.  In most countries, it is going to require a multilateral effort in partnership with democratic reformers in civil society, party politics and (where they can be found) in the state and the regime as well.  It must be a gradual effort that emphasizes negotiated agreements and allows time for moderate forces in civil society and political parties to develop their organizations, agendas, and support bases.

 

About the Speaker:

Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, and co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His books include Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq (2005).  In addition, he has edited or co-edited 25 books on democratic development around the world, including Nigeria, Korea, Greater China, and the Middle East.

 

The event will be held at the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)

1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 601

Washington DC, 20036

 

Space is limited, please RSVP to:  sherif@islam-democracy.org

 

This event will be available for viewing LIVE on the internet.  Use this link to watch it:

http://livedemo.centra.com/GA/main/000000f5b2e40000010b5fedc27f8b77

then run System Check and fill out your name and email address.

 

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NDAW TRAINING WORKSHOPS

 

The Network of Democrats in the Arab World (NDAW), the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), and Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) will be organizing two workshops in Cairo, Egypt, and Amman, Jordan. The two workshops will train on Basic Communication skills, Basic Meeting/Facilitation Skills Running a Meeting, Conflict Management for Facilitators Communicating through Disagreement, Project Development and Proposal Writing Skills, and Islam and Democracy.

 

The trainings will take place in June 24 26 in Cairo, Egypt, and June 27 30 in Amman, Jordan. The workshops will be open to those who register to become members of the Network for Democrats in the Arab World and fill out the Form to register for the training.

 

Application forms to join the Network of Democrats in the Arab World (NDAW) or to attend these training workshops may be downloaded from:  http://www.csidonline.org/arabic/

 

For more information, please contact the network coordinator at:  sabir@islam-democracy.org

 

 

NDAW CHARTER

 

We, members of the Network of Democrats in the Arab World, believe that democratization of the Arab world ought to be the regions principal priority. We believe that the principles of freedom, plurality, equality, the right to dissent, respect for the each other’s opinion, peaceful resolution of conflicts and good governance are fundamental prerequisites to economic, social and political development in our region.

 

We declare our allegiance to the values of coexistence. We reject all forms of discrimination and exclusion. We believe in human dignity and the sanctity of every person’s body, defend everyone’s basic rights as are enshrined in international human rights treaties, respect the interests of all people, and insist on democratization and peaceful transfer of power within the framework of an upheld national sovereignty respectful of the rights of citizenship as enshrined in the rule of law.

 

We believe that good governance is founded upon the principles of accountability, transparency, social and economic justice, gender equity and equality, the supremacy of rule of law, respect for citizenship’s rights, and the safeguarding of widespread public participation in the decision making process.

 


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NEW CSID REPORTS:

 

Islam & Democracy Workshops

 

The Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) is proud to present to you this report on recent workshops and seminars organized in Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

 

A copy of the FULL report will be mailed to all CSID members in good standing.  It can also be purchased by mailing a check for $10 to CSID and requesting a copy of the report.  The reports are also available (in Arabic and English) on our website:  http://www.csidonline.org/  or  http://www.csidonline.org/arabic/

 

These workshops highlight the effort that has been undertaken to promote debate and discussions between leading political and religious scholars and activists in those countries with the objective of building common goals, understandings, and objectives for democracy, good governance, rule of law, and accountability in their countries. CSID has been privileged to know these thought leaders, across the Arab and Muslim world, and to work with them for so many years, in order to fight corruption, illiteracy, poverty, and despair, and institute principles of justice, human rights, human dignity, tolerance and respect for every citizen and every human being. This is the core message of Islam, and indeed of all the prophets of God, and when Muslim societies deviate from these principles, as indeed they have in recent history, they stand to lose much in this life and they no longer represent the true message of Islam.

 

Building democratic institutions and traditions is not easy and will take time, patience, hard work, and perseverance. However, we were extremely happy and delighted to find hundreds, if not thousands, of scholars and leaders across the Arab and Muslim world who share this desire for freedom, democracy, and human dignity. Some of them believe in the necessity of full separation between religion and politics, while others believe in the necessity of building a modern state, which is democratic but inspired by Muslim values and traditions. The overwhelming majority rejects a theocratic state, ruled by religious leaders in the name of God, because they understand that in Islam, the ruler and the government is appointed by, and accountable to, the people and not God. They want a state that is guided by Islams higher moral values and principles, and not necessarily by shariah laws, as understood and implemented 1,400 years ago.

 

To read more, please go to:  http://www.csidonline.org/  or  http://www.csidonline.org/arabic/

 

 

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Time for an Islamist-Liberal Alliance

 

It is time for Arab liberal reformers and peaceful Islamist movements to join forces to foster the change in this region that neither of them has been able to bring about on its own, says Rami Khouri.

 

Published 2006-06-02

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=16628

 

In most recent cases of historic political transformations that structurally changed states from autocratic into democratic systems, two or more key actors or constituencies joined forces to topple the old regime and usher in a more just new order, often with foreign partnerships. Russia, Poland, and South Africa are some relevant examples.

 

When we ask why in the Arab world today real political change, economic reform and less dominance of society by the security systems do not happen in any sustained manner, the answer is usually because domestic groups have not joined forces to foster change. The three main domestic Arab forces for change in recent decades are the mainstream Islamist parties (such as Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah); many small civil society organizations and liberal activists; and, pockets of incumbent officials and prominent businessmen and women.

 

By working separately they have had limited impact. The obvious conclusion is that it is time for Arab liberal reformers and peaceful Islamist movements to join forces to foster the change in this region that neither of them has been able to bring about on its own.

 

The mainstream Islamists are the only groups that have been able to generate the mass numbers and popular credibility that can translate into political power. That power is negated or blocked, though, because the Islamists are feared, suspected, opposed, outlawed, or thwarted by everyone else in the world, and I mean everyone else — their own governments and security services, their liberal activists fellow citizens, their business elites, foreign governments, and non-politicized fellow Muslims.

 

Consequently, the Arab Islamists have succumbed to several options that reduce their domestic political impact. They accept limits on their representation in parliament, often through voluntary limits on the number of seats they contest. They go underground and migrate abroad, limiting their roles in their own countries. A few give up and adopt violence, and make trouble with bombs and assassinations, thus marginalizing themselves among their people and foreign governments. Islamists tend to focus their organizational prowess on grassroots service activities, and also articulate the grievances of ordinary citizens and discontented elites alike. Islamists are a force, but not a power.

 

Arab liberals and reform-minded activists, on the other hand, are mostly free to operate publicly as they wish, because their views on democracy, human rights and pluralism tend to appeal to a rather narrow audience. They represent no major populist threat to established regimes. They are well funded mostly by foreign donors and actively cooperate with colleagues abroad. But their impact is limited, mainly because the mass audience is responding to the Islamists in the first instance, or to tribal and ethnic leaders, rather than to a liberal appeal. The rhetoric and institutions of Arab liberal reformers also have been freely adopted and co-opted by the Arab security state, which speaks routinely of reform, human rights and democracy at its own pace.

 

The means to a breakthrough in the iron wall of Arab autocracy and the harsh rule of the colonels could well be for Islamists and liberal reformers to join forces. Their core values mesh together very naturally: democracy, equality, rule of law, peaceful political participation, majority rule, protection of minority rights, pluralism, clean elections, pragmatism, accountability, anti-corruption, and legitimacy. They differ somewhat on issues such as religious-secular divides, relations with Israel, national vs. religious identity, working with the United States and other Western powers, and some aspects of the public role of women.

 

The agreements substantially outweigh the disagreements, and can usher in a compelling common political meeting ground that could challenge existing dictatorships and mobilize majorities of citizens in the service of building more decent societies with credible, responsive governance systems. An Islamist-liberal alliance would require compromises by both sides from those who have already shown themselves willing to make such compromises. Witness the evolution of Hezbollah’s governance politics since 1990, the flexibility of democracy activists in Egypt since 2004, and the cooperation between Islamists and secular liberals in the recent elections in Gaza, or in the Hezbollah-Aoun accord in Lebanon. Incumbency achieved peacefully will require eventual accommodation by Islamists and secular liberals alike (as Turkey confirms). It makes sense to make the compromises early and start reaping the rewards.

 

By joining forces around a common charter of dignified nationalism, genuine democracy, social integrity, and reciprocity in relations with other states – all acceptable core values to both camps – an Islamist-secular liberal coalition would achieve critical goals that the component groups have not been able to achieve separately. Their initial gain would be to boost their collective legitimacy at home and abroad – the Islamists becoming less threatening, and the secular liberals becoming more credible. Their combined clout and respectability could then force the adoption of more representative electoral laws, win majorities in parliaments, and influence or define state policies. Politics is about making good deals. This one seems to be as good as it gets.

 

Rami G. Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune.

 

 

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U.S. Democracy Institute Asked to Shut Down all Operations

 

Daily Star Egypt staff and Reuters

June 6, 2006

http://www.dailystaregypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1776

 

CAIRO: Egypt has told the U.S.-based International Republican  Institute (IRI) to stop its activities in Egypt, saying comments by  its representative were interfering in the country’s internal  affairs.

 

The Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it had summoned country director  Gina London and told her to suspend all activities until the  organization, which monitors political systems abroad and promotes  multi-party politics, receives a permit.

 

Two weeks ago, IRI released a second report concerning the political  nature of opposition parties in the country, excluding the Muslim  Brotherhood. The report was designed to help give parties an idea of  what is and isn’t working in the country.

 

The IRI also gives training to organizations in order to spread  democracy and political activism. Just last week, IRI held a  training session for Iraqi women in Cairo, which was designed to  help promote NGO’s for women in the war-torn nation.

 

The ministry statement said London’s comments to an Egyptian  newspaper, in which she said political reform in Egypt had not been  achieved in the past 25 years, were flagrant interference in Egypt’s  affairs.

 

In the interview with the Nahdet Masr daily on Saturday, she also  said the institute could greatly speed up the democratization  process.

 

It has been in talks with a number of Egyptian political parties in  four provinces to provide them with training and information to help  them engage in multiparty politics.

 

London told the paper the institute had not yet finished the  paperwork for licensing.

 

She said she was convinced she had not broken any law, and that the  Egyptian and U.S. governments had signed agreements letting groups  funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development operate  without prior permission.

 

But the ministry statement denied that the IRI could operate in  Egypt without obtaining a license, and denied that the institute had  ever officially applied for licensing.

 

The IRI’s Web site describes it as a "nonpartisan, nonprofit  organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide".

 

It conducted an election assessment mission during the second round  of voting in Egypt’s parliamentary elections in November last year.  The Egyptian government refused to cooperate with foreign monitoring  of the elections.

 

The organization was founded in 1983, following a speech by then  U.S. President Ronald Reagan in which he proposed a broad objective  of helping countries build the infrastructure of democracy.

 

The move by the Egyptian government comes after U.S. Congress  debated harshly the aid package being given to Egypt. Egypt receives  the second highest total of U.S. aid, next to Israel.

 

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Egypt asks US body to halt work 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5051454.stm

 

Egypt has ordered an American non-governmental organisation which aims to promote democracy to suspend its work in the country.

On Monday, a spokesman called on the International Republican Institute to halt work until it had got permission.

 

He accused the local head of the institute, Gina London, of interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs.

 

She said in a recent interview that the institute would work to speed up political reform in Egypt.

 

A lawyer for the group said the controversy resulted from a misunderstanding.

 

"The institute has not yet started its activities, it is still in the set-up phase," said Omar Hegazi.

 

"We have almost finished the registration procedures and the file will be ready soon," he said.

 

The IRI, with offices in more than 60 countries, was founded in 1983. It describes itself as "a private, non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide".

 

Brotherhood arrests

 

Also on Monday, the officially outlawed Egyptian opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said nine of its senior members were arrested on Sunday in a police raid on a research centre in Cairo.

 

The Brotherhood said documents and computers had also been seized when police entered the centre, which is run by a prominent member of the organisation, Mohammed Mursi.

 

The Egyptian interior ministry said those arrested had been attending what it called a secret organisational meeting.

 

Despite the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, its supporters – running as independents – hold almost 20% of the seats in parliament.

 

The group says it has faced a backlash from the authorities since last year’s elections, with hundreds of its members being arrested.

 

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Egypt extends detention of protesters

 

Wednesday 07 June 2006, 1:26 Makka Time, 22:26 GMT

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/0E96E202-F69A-4A19-9BC6-5245D250A4A4.htm

 

The Egyptian authorities have extended for 15 days the detention of 184 people arrested in May during weeks of protest in solidarity with two judges who faced disciplinary measures, judicial sources say.

 

The public prosecutor’s office on Tuesday issued a renewal order for 164 people accused of illegal assembly, obstructing traffic, spreading propaganda and insulting the president, they said.

   

The office of the state security prosecutor took the same step for a further 20 activists on the same charges, they added.

   

The Egyptian authorities began last month to implement a tougher policy towards street protests, after allowing them to take place with relative immunity last year.

   

Plainclothes security men backed by riot police have beaten and clubbed peaceful demonstrators and hundreds of people have been detained for at least some hours.

   

Several of the biggest protests were in support of the two judges, who had criticised last year’s elections, and of a broader campaign by judges seeking judicial independence.

   

The United States, which says it favours political liberalisation in Egypt, has said the authorities should investigate allegations of police brutality.

   

The demonstrators have been mostly from either the opposition Muslim Brotherhood or from the secular or leftist Kefaya.

 

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Egypt Must Reassess Cruel Treatment of Protesters

 

June 7, 2006

http://www.andnetwork.com/index?service=direct/0/Home/recent.titleStory&sp=l37897

 

 

The government-linked National Council for Human Rights has sharply criticized Egypts treatment of pro-reform activists, saying security forces should reexamine their highly cruel measures.

 

In a statement issued on Monday, it said Egypt must reassess the highly cruel security measures used lately against protesters who have legally exercised their right to freedom of opinion and _expression.

 

The council, headed by former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros Ghali, expressed its grave concern for the human rights situation in (Egypt).

 

Established in 2003 by presidential decree as a consultative body, the group has been criticized by local NGOs and human rights groups for its soft positions on rights issues and political reforms in the country.

 

In recent weeks, Egypt has been at the receiving end of harsh criticism from the United States and the international community over its treatment of pro-democracy activists.

 

A year-long campaign by the Egyptian judiciary calling for independence from the executive authority has mobilized street support and sparked a series of demonstrations in support of the reformist judges.

 

During the course of the demonstrations, hundreds of pro-reform activists have been detained, with allegations that two of the detainees have been tortured.

 

The council has called a meeting to investigate the violations.

 

Source : Khaleej Times

 

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30 May 2006

Tura Mazraa Prison

South Cairo

 

From: Ayman Nour

To: Esteemed Members of the European Union

Deputy Head of the European Parliament

 

I address this very short letter to you and to all the honorable and free people in the world, to all the representatives of the free people and those whose consciences refuse oppression, injustice, false accusations and merciless murder.

 

My letter is very short due to the circumstances out of my control restricting my freedom and depriving me of my human rights, the foremost of which is the right to write, express and reject the injustice and suffering I am subjected to!!

 

The day my freedom was taken away in January 2005, your great efforts after God and combined with the efforts of my supporters- played a crucial role in my release. The first faces I saw an honor to me- were the faces of a delegation of European male and female parliament representatives. Your visit to me during my imprisonment is not only reason for breaking the doors of this prison and my temporary release, it also gave me the possibility of exercising my right in running for the first presidential election. I was imprisoned to prevent me from running for the election in January 2005. With God’s grace and the enthusiasm of the reformists I was able to come in second to the president and be the only competitor to him and his son despite the rigging and all forms of injustice, defamation and changing the results. I also paid an extra price when my constituency’s election results were rigged thus causing me to lose my permanent seat in the parliament due to blatant rigging. Some of you were in Cairo and witnessed a part of the tragedy.

 

Today I pay a new and high price as punishment for having run for the presidential election. I am also being prevented from continuing the democratic reform path in Egypt so that the current regime can strengthen its presence by claiming there is no alternative for it other than fundamentalism and terrorism, thus forcing people inside and outside Egypt to accept its presence.

 

Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, I do not pay this price alone. My children, family, party, my whole generation and all the reformists in this country pay the price, too. I lost my freedom, my work as a lawyer, journalist and chairman of the first and only civil political party to be established in a quarter of a century, the duration of Mubarak’s rule. I am threatened of remaining in prison for five years and prevented from exercising my political rights for another five years to guarantee that Egypt is inherited by Mubarak’s son, as well as making me an example to anyone who thinks of breaking the power monopoly not only in Egypt but in the Arab world!!

 

I call upon you to exert every effort to defend my fair case not for my sake, nor for the sake of my children or my party that is being destroyed, my human rights which are violated in this prison every morning, or my life which illness, injustice and oppression are eating away at. I ask you to defend my fair case to keep hope alive for the coming generations which we do not want to lose hope. It is for these generations that I call upon you to exert every effort to defend my fair case and to visit me in prison to witness the truth which the Egyptian regime is very good at concealing and telling lies to prove the opposite. Free people of the world. I am dying alone for a principle, for my country and for freedom. Please raise my voice before my spirit departs this world.

 

Ayman Nour

 

 

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Only Jihadists Can Benefit From Haditha

 

Commentary by Husain Haqqani

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=72949

 

 

Reports of US Marines massacring Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha have highlighted the importance of combating Islamophobia in the West – the fear or hatred of Islam and of Muslims – to better ensure the success of the US-led war against terrorism. The Haditha massacre comes at a time when after years of intimidation by radical Islamists and authoritarian regimes, Muslim moderates have gradually started to organize within the Muslim world as well as in Europe and North America. However, the moderates cannot persuade fellow believers of the compatibility between Islam and Western ideals of tolerance and liberal democracy if the West’s values are compromised as they have been at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and now Haditha.

 

In a recent audiotape, Osama bin Laden spoke of "a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against Muslims" and said that "the West is incapable of recognizing the rights of others." He sought to delegitimize moderate Muslims who refuse to accept violence and coercion as an integral part of their faith. Like other Islamist revivalists, bin Laden rejects the liberal Muslim aspiration of coexistence with the secular West on the basis of universal human values.

 

Bin Laden’s message is aimed at the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims, many of whom have been engaged in a civil war of ideas for the last three centuries, the period of Muslim political decline. The successive fall of mighty Muslim empires, such as the Moghuls in India and eventually the Ottomans in the Middle East, led Muslims to inquire into the causes of their downfall. Instead of recognizing scientific and intellectual stagnation as the reason for their lack of material progress, many early Muslim revivalists attributed Muslim debility to a combination of Western conspiracies and Muslim neglect of military preparedness.

 

Muslim reformers since the 19th century, on the other hand, have argued that Muslims need to look at their own history critically to understand their collective weakness. Reform movements in the Islamic world have maintained that Muslims have something to learn from the ascendancy of the West, beginning with the European Renaissance and Reformation.

 

Contemporary jihadists have rejected this approach. They see themselves as reversing Muslim decay by reviving religious militancy. They play on the many post-colonial grievances of Muslims and are aware of the Muslim desire for restoring their past glory. This approach is precisely why, in an era of terrorism in the name of Islam, the battle for Muslim hearts and minds is the key to success in the war against terrorism.

 

To engage the West in battle throughout the Muslim world, Al-Qaeda needs more recruits. For that purpose, the radicals need to set the hearts of young Muslims aflame with hatred for the United States, Western civilization and Muslim "apostates" – those within Islam who do not see the jihadist venture as benefiting Muslims.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb

 

According to numerous polling data, more than 70 percent of the population in some countries, including Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Pakistan, believes that Islam is under threat and the West is implacably hostile to Muslims. Support for terrorism feeds on that belief.

 

The effort by bin Laden and others of his ilk to recruit a large number of foot soldiers for terrorism can be resisted most effectively through the success of Muslim modernizers and reformists. This makes the reformists attractive as allies of the West, but also leads to the charge by revivalists that modernity and reform are an imperialist project to change Islam.

 

Westerners often make the mistake of describing as "moderates" only non-practicing Muslims who call for virtually abandoning their religious tradition altogether. This leads to a fear among Muslims that the only good Muslim in the West’s eyes is one willing to give up Islam altogether. The right of Muslim critics of the Islamic religion to speak their mind must definitely be protected. But the moderates who need the most support are those who seek to reform rather than reject Islam’s traditions.

 

The September 11, 2001 attacks created an environment of hostility toward Islam and Muslims, and at least some in the US make little distinction between Muslim extremists and moderates. The definition of Islam as "an evil religion" by leaders of America’s Christian right might explain the propensity of some Americans to act inhumanely toward Muslims in the fog of war. That is the most probable explanation for the behavior of otherwise disciplined soldiers at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Haditha. Combating such Islamophobia is integral to the anti-terrorist effort because actions resulting from Islamophobia will only swell the ranks of terrorists and prolong the war against terrorism.

 

Husain Haqqani is director of Boston University’s Center for International Relations and the author of "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military" and served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka and as an adviser to Pakistani prime ministers. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR.

 

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Quantico Islamic Center Dedicated

Ceremony Held In the Shadow of Haditha Probe

 

By Theresa Vargas –  Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 7, 2006; Page B01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/06/AR2006060601529.html

 

 

In the official speeches, no one mentioned Haditha. But as the Islamic Prayer Center was dedicated yesterday at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, recent violence in Iraq, including the killing of 24 civilians in the western Iraqi town, allegedly by Marines, was on the mind of some.

 

Aisha Greenleaf Abdul-Mateen sat in a folding chair behind rows of other folding chairs, listening as Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, spoke about the significance of the day — the first Muslim prayer center for the Marines. She sat there as they pointed to the small white building behind them as a symbol of America’s religious tolerance. And she remained there after they finished their speeches, took off their shoes and walked inside the center with a gaggle of journalists in tow.

 

"If they would have asked someone like me to say something, they would have got the truth," said Abdul-Mateen, a Muslim and wife of a veteran.

 

She would have stood at the podium and said that the Islamic Prayer Center was a "beautiful, beautiful thing" but long overdue. She would have said that it shows "equality" and "justice" and "respect," but that those qualities were being lost in the bigger picture of the Iraq war. That the leaders weren’t following what God wants.

 

"If they were," she said, "we wouldn’t be in Iraq doing what we’re doing — hurting innocent people, having them take their clothes off and siccing dogs on them, and even what they’re doing in Cuba."

 

Yesterday’s ceremony marked the dedication of the building that has been in use by the base’s Muslim community since the end of last year. The plan is to build a larger facility by 2009 to serve as a religious activities and family support center. Several who attended the ceremony described it as a positive step in relations with the Muslim community in the United States after a series of reported missteps recently in Iraq, such as the alleged atrocity in Haditha.

 

"The event was timely," said Ghayth Nur Kashif, an imam who served in the Korean war. "It’s not going to be enough, but it’s a start."

 

Lt. Abuhena Saifulislam, a U.S. Navy chaplain and religious adviser to the U.S. Marines, said the idea for the center came last July when he was assigned to the base. Muslim service members and international students came to him for help.

 

"They started asking me, ‘Can we get a place to pray?’ " he said, adding that they had been going off the base to Woodbridge and Stafford.

 

Saifulislam estimates that 30 people use the center, but he’s confident that the number will grow.

 

"As it is known, they will come," he said.

 

England said 4,000 Muslim Americans are serving in all branches of the U.S. military. He said the center will be not only a space for them but also a place to educate people about Islam. Inside the center, which is mostly a large, empty room, the walls are decorated with educational posters topped with such questions as "Who is Allah?" and "What do Muslims believe?"

 

"At the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters," England said.

 

Hagee said he believes that everyone shares the basic values of respect for human life, for the truth and for personal property.

 

"The Islamic Prayer center is really an extension of our ethos, this ethos we take care of one another," he said. "We are a family."

 

Even those at yesterday’s ceremony who did not agree with the war and were solemn when talking about recent events under investigation in Haditha agreed that the center was a positive symbol of religious respect.

 

"This couldn’t happen in any other country except America. It wouldn’t happen in the Middle East," said Christopher Bell, a Vietnam veteran who started the Muslim-American Veteran Association. "We have our problems, but this is the greatest country as far as freedom goes."

 

 

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

 

The NDRI Washington Workshop for Think Tank Managers

 

September 1115, 2006, in Washington, D.C.

 

The Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) invites applications for its third Washington Workshop for Think-Tank Managers, scheduled for September 1115, 2006, in Washington, D.C. 

 

The workshop is designed for managers and administrators of research institutes, especially those responsible for publishing, communications and outreach, conference planning, Web-site development, and fundraising. 

 

The week-long workshop will include meetings with senior-level managers at leading Washington policy-research centers, attendance at selected conferences organized by these centers, and extensive discussions and brainstorming among Forum staff and workshop participants. 

 

The International Forum will select eight to twelve workshop participants from among those who apply, according to selection criteria described below.

 

Purpose of the Workshop: The purpose of this workshop is to strengthen NDRI member institutes by improving the skills of key managerial and administrative staff members. The heart of the workshop will be a series of visits to Washingtons most prominent and influential think tanks, at which participants will meet withand learn fromexperienced conference organizers, editors and publishers, Web masters, database managers, and fundraisers.

 

Participant Eligibility and Nominations: Eligibility for this workshop is limited to current employees of NDRI members in developing democracies. Each NDRI institute may nominate one participant, and the nomination must be made by the president or executive director of the NDRI member. Institutes whose staff members attended previous workshops are eligible to nominate new participants for this years workshop, but individuals who attended previous workshops are not eligible to reapply. We regret that we cannot consider applications from persons not formally affiliated with the NDRI.

 

Selection Criteria: The criteria for selecting workshop participants will include the strength and qualifications of the individual candidates, the importance of their work to the success of their respective institutes, and the activity and productivity of the Network members that nominate them. The Forum seeks to select participants from underrepresented regions of the world, from large and small institutes, and from both newer and older members of the NDRI. To maximize participation, the Forum will also consider the ability of the nominating institute to cover some or all of its participants costs in the selection determination.

 

Tentative Description of Workshop Activities:  Workshop participants will fly to Washington on Saturday or Sunday, September 9 or 10. The workshop will run from Monday through Friday, September 1115, and participants will depart on Saturday or Sunday, September 16 or 17. 

 

A typical day will include group meetings with senior administrators at leading Washington think tanks, plus individual or small group meetings with experts who perform the same management tasks as do the visitors. Participants will be invited to specify the types of meetings that they believe will be most useful to them, and to identify particular persons or institutes they wish to visit. Most evenings will be free for individual activities or informal group outings.

 

Participants will also have access to the library of the International Forum during their stay in Washington, including its book, magazine, and newspaper collections. The library also provides several computers offering access to printers, e-mail, and the Internet. 

 

Costs Covered by the International Forum:  The International Forum is able to pay the full costs of eight to ten participants. These costs include travel expenses (including airfare, taxis, and visas and travel insurance, if applicable), six or seven nights of hotel accommodations, and a meals per diem in Washington.  The Forum asks applicants to indicate whether they are able to obtain full or partial support from their own institution, or another sponsoring institution. The Forum will be able to host up to twelve participants if several of them are able to cover at least part of the cost of their participation, which is estimated to run from $2,400 to $4,000, depending on air-travel expenses. (The average cost per person for the 2005 workshop was $3,000.)

 

How to Apply:  A complete application package will consist of three documents: 

a brief letter from the director of an NDRI member nominating a workshop participant, explaining the duties of the applicant and how his or her participation would contribute to the improved administration of the institute, and stating what portion of the applicants costs (if any) could be paid by the nominating institute

a brief personal statement of interest in the program by the applicant

a current C.V. of the applicant

 

All materials should be sent by e-mail to Tom Skladony (tom@ned.org) with a copy to Melissa Aten (MelissaA@ned.org). 

 

Deadlines and Notification:  The deadline for applying for the September 2006 workshop is June 15, 2006. All applicants will be notified of our decisions by June 23, 2006

 

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ifa-Forum Dialogue and Understanding

 

The ifa-Forum Dialogue and Understanding is a project within the framework of the European-Muslim Cultural Dialogue organized by the German Foreign Office.

 

Objective: increasing the intercultural, political and specialist knowledge and competence of future representatives and multipliers of the Civil Societies from predominantly Muslim countries and Germany.

 

Approach

 

The CrossCulture internships address young people, already in employment, or just starting their careers, working on a volunteer basis for Non-Governmental Organisations and Institutions, or in the media, and offers them an opportunity to develop their professional and intercultural competence, thus extending both the participating cultures ability and willingness to engage in dialogue.  The courses are intended for participants from Muslim countries and Germany. 

 

Objective

 

Through the internships young people can gain (at two levels) important experience within the context of their work: they obtain an overview of structures and potential contacts in the partner country which may prove useful for future cooperation, once the participants have returned to their home countries. This will enhance networking opportunities between organisations/institutions in Germany and in the Muslim world.

 

Practical work in an organisation/institution in the partner country will also give the participants an awareness of the cultural characteristics and behavioural patterns of that country. Reintegrating returning participants into their original organisations/institutions will allow their insights to filter through. The participants` experience and ideas of dialogue and understanding will affect their institutions`/organisations` work and thereby also be communicated to the public in their home countries.

 

Target Groups and Focus Areas

Knowledge society and education

Judicial dialogue and human rights

The media

Youth exchange

Political education

 

The target groups are young professionals and volunteer workers in different areas of Civil Society and people able to act as multipliers in institutions/organisations and the media that are relevant for reform processes.

 

In accordance with the results of the Arab Human Development Reports 2002, 2003 and 2004 Arab participants will primarily represent organisations/institutions playing an important role in education and in the establishment of knowledge societies in the Arab/Muslim world in general.

 

Moreover, multipliers from institutions and organisations active in other fields important for reform should be approached as well, primarily from areas such as judicial dialogue and human rights, the media, youth exchange and political education.

 

On the German side we target people active in the relevant partner organisations as well as young people working full-time or as volunteers in organisations and institutions where intercultural experience constitutes a prerequisite for success at work.

 

Internship Structure

 

An internship will last for up to three months. The Stuttgart Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations will organize the application process, the provision of detailed information on the participation criteria and modalities in the Muslim world, supported by the German Embassies abroad. In Germany, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations will itself be responsible.  Would-be participants in the CrossCulture internship programme are required to know German or English.  Travel expenditure and accommodation costs for participants will be paid from the project funds.  The internships will be accompanied by framework events, individual visits and opportunities for meetings.

 

The CrossCulture Internships are special because they can to a large extent be customised as regards both content and organisation, according to the wishes and requirements of the participants.

 

The Programme is a new, flexible instrument based on established structures and intending to further develop exchange and to bring the partners closer together.

 

Responsible for the ifa-Forum Dialogue and Understanding:

 

Barbara Kuhnert

kuhnert@ifa.de

 

Further information on the Forum Dialog und Verständigung: http://www.ifa.de

Project leader CrossCulture Internships:

Dr. Katharina Kilian-Yasin

kilian@ifa.de

 

Project assistant CrossCulture Internships:

Dr. Manuela Höglmeier

hoeglmeier@ifa.de

 

Institut fr Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.

Charlottenplatz 17, D-70173 Stuttgart

Tel.: +49 711 22 25 – 143

Fax: +49 711 22 25 195

 

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International Civil Society Forum for Democracy

 

The International Civil Society Forum for Democracy (ICSFD) wanted to share with you the following opportunity for your organization:

 

ICSFD-2006, the civil society part of the 6th International Conference of New & Restored Democracies (ICNRD), is scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar from October 29-November 1, 2006. If your organization is interested in participating (***please read below for further details on an exciting opportunity to participate***), please follow the necessary steps to join this ICSFD listserve so you can stay up to date on all developments leading up to the conference in Doha.

 

The Government of the State of Qatar is the host of this 6th edition of ICNRD. The International Conference of New & Restored Democracies can be described as a UN member States-led international process for the promotion of democracy under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly.

 

The 6th ICNRD is planned as a tripartite event with an opening substantive plenary on October 29th, followed by two days of individual meetings by all stakeholders (governments, parliamentarians and civil society) and closed by a tripartite meeting on November 1st, including the adoption of the conference declaration.

 

The importance of the 6th ICNRD for civil societys role in the promotion of democracy requires the participation of a large and diverse representation of organisations of democracy activists from civil society around the world and in particular from countries already engaged or planning to engage in a democratization process.

 

The government of the State of Qatar is offering to fund civil society participation in the 6th ICNRD, through the International Steering Committee of ICSFD which is thus inviting civil society groups from all over the world to nominate civil society candidates as participants.

 

At the end of this e-mail, please find the Call for Nominations and further information regarding ICSFD-2006. Note: certain criteria is required to nominate your organization for involvement but, we recommend that if your organization is interested, you complete and submit your nomination by June 15th.

 

For further information or questions, please join the Yahoo listserve to stay up to date with the ICSFD’s progress.

 

*** Please note that ALL nominations must be submitted to: ***

 

ICSFD-2006-Participants Selection Process c/o

Rights & Democracy

at: avidah@dd-rd.ca

 

Please feel free to share this information with your network of colleagues. We wish to have as large a Civil Society contingency as possible in Octoberand that largely depends on you spreading the word.

 

 

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LL.M. in Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law:

 

A Legal Education Program for Lawyers in Transitional Countries and Emerging Democracies

 

The Program

The College of Law of Ohio Northern University has established an LL.M. program for lawyers from transitional countries and emerging democracies.  The program is designed to train lawyers from the public sector in skills that will assist them in building stable democratic institutions in their home countries and develop systems that will support the rule of law in a market economy.  The program is unique in its focus on training for enhancing transparency and accountability in government practices, steps critical to combating corruption and creating responsible governance.  The College of Law is seeking a limited first entering class for August, 2006 of twelve students.  The deadline for application for that class is June 30, 2006.

 

The program will eventually be targeted towards young lawyers in transitional democracies throughout the world.  However, for the first year recruiting is being directed towards the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.   Targeted countries include Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  

 

Lawyers in government service, or working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the focal point of the program.   These lawyers have fewer opportunities for study abroad, but can make the greatest contribution to promoting law reforms in their home country.  Participants are asked to make a two-year commitment to their government or NGO office after completion of the program.

 

Recruiting these students involves working with those nations embassies in the United States, the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development offices in those countries, and NGOs involved in law reform such as the American Bar Associations Central and Eastern European Law Initiative. 

 

Because of outside funding for this program, the College of Law is able to offer full scholarships, travel, accommodations and board, and stipend for the foreign lawyers for a one-year degree program.  

 

The course of instruction is highly structured, with emphasis on the comparative study of other legal systems and introduction to a variety of effective devices for achieving meaningful, sustainable reforms.  The structure and high concentration of required courses further distinguishes this program from other international graduate law programs that simply offer foreign students access to the American law classes.  Seven new courses have been created, additional faculty have been hired, and the library resources are being expanded. 

 

Ohio Northern Universitys Unique Qualifications and Setting

The College of Law is offering an intensive program with highly regarded direction and instruction in an unhurried, quintessentially American setting.  The director of the program is the former interim dean and associate dean who has been actively involved with law reform efforts overseas for ten years, including spending a year on leave in Tbilisi, Georgia running a major USAID law reform project.  Supporting faculty include others with practical experience in transitional democracies that supplement their outstanding academic credentials.  The contacts of the director and other faculty with internationally known academics and development professionals enable Ohio Northern to offer instruction and consultation from the most highly qualified people in the field

 

Unlike graduate programs in major urban centers, the LL.M. program at ONU will allow the students to focus on the rigorous study and become part of a committed community without the distractions and attractions of a big city.  While organized study trips to Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago and other urban centers will acquaint the students with judicial and governmental structures, they will be able to pursue the program in rural Ohio.  This will enhance their interaction with the other participants, as well as the students and faculty at Ohio Northern, and the people of northwest Ohio.  Graduates of the program will come away from it with not only an exceptional education, but also a sense of the American experience unavailable in larger, impersonal settings.

 

Admissions

Admission is open to lawyers with two to five years experience in the public sector, working on governance and rule of law issues.  Additional criteria include a recognized law degree, admission to the bar, a PBT TOEFL score of 600 or higher or a CBT TOEFL score of 250 or higher, and recommendations (including those from employers, and U.S. foreign aid offices and contractors).  The personal statement from the applicant will also be weighed heavily.  The final selection will be made by the director and LL.M. committee at the law college.

 

Evaluation

The performance of the LL.M. students will be evaluated on a scale of High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, and Unsatisfactory.  Credit will only be given for those courses in which the student receives an HP, P, or LP.  LL.M. students will be graded separately from the J.D. students when they take classes together. 

 

Course of Study  (24 credit hours for degree)

 

Course Descriptions

American Legal System  (3 credit hours)*

Legal Context of American Business  (3 credit hours)*

Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies (3 credit hours)

Competitiveness and Corruption  (3 credit hours)

Comparative Constitutional Law  (3 credit hours)

Comparative Administrative Law  (3 credit hours)

Rule of Law Seminar (3 credit hours)*

 

Weekend Seminars

During the course of the year there will be four weekend seminars, where prominent scholars and practitioners come to campus for intensive two-day seminars.  These sessions will be designed to allow the student maximum interaction with a recognized international expert in an informal setting.  Topics planned include:

 

Transition from one-party rule

Womens rights

Post-conflict reconciliation

International criminal law

 

Field Experience

Over the year the students will have the opportunity to closely observe the operation of governmental institutions in the communities and state of Ohio.  There will be field trips to Columbus, the state capital, for observation and discussion with the Supreme Court, state legislature, state bas association, and other government agencies.  Local city councils, county commissions, and trial and appellate courts will provide insights into democracy at the grassroots level.

 

Contact the College of Law

You may contact the LL.M. program at LLM@onu.edu, or by telephone at 419-772-3580.  Application materials and detailed information about the university and law school are available on the law school website at www.law.onu.edu.

 

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JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

 

National Endowment for Democracy

Program Officer for Iraq

 

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a congressionally funded, private, nonprofit grant making organization that works to support freedom around the world, seeks a Program Officer for its Middle East section, specializing in Iraq. The position is based in Washington, DC.

 

The Program Officer will work with the senior program officer and program staff to develop and manage the NEDs Iraq grants program, develop the Endowments strategy for Iraq, set priorities, and monitor and evaluate projects in the country.

 

Specific duties of the Program Officer will include:

Assessing grant proposals to present at quarterly NED Board meetings.

Traveling to the region on a regular basis including Iraq when possible to identify and work with potential new grantees.

Monitoring and providing compliance assistance to existing grantees.

Attending relevant internal and external meetings.

Tracking political and democratic developments in the country and the region.

Maintaining contacts with organizations and individuals working on the region.

 

Applicants should have the following knowledge and skills:

A Masters level education in International Affairs, History, Political Science or related discipline.

Significant prior experience in democracy related and nonprofit work.

Country experience on Iraq.

Excellent written and oral communications skills in English.  Additional Arabic language skills preferred.

Proficient in the use of MS Office.

High degree of organization and initiative.

Experience in financial monitoring and reporting.

Knowledge of program evaluation techniques.

Excellent staff, office management, and interpersonal skills.

 

NED offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits, and is an equal opportunity employer.

 

To apply, send a cover letter, resume and a recent writing sample to:

Email (preferred): abdu@ned.org

Mail: National Endowment for Democracy

1101 15th Street N.W., Suite 700

Washington, D.C. 20005

Fax: 202-223-6042

 

Write Program Officer/Iraq search in the subject line of your e-mail.  Applications will be accepted through June 7, 2006. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.  No phone calls please.

 

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FREEDOM HOUSE

 

Persian Language Editor–Washington, D.C.

 

Freedom House, a non-governmental, non-partisan organization devoted to the expansion of freedom in the world, is searching for a highly experienced editor of Persian language texts.  The ideal candidate would be a good editor and writer in both Persian and English languages; have extensive contacts among Persian language writers and scholars; have experience with website management; and be a dependable, organized manager of people and production.  Experience with Iranian human rights and democracy issues, as well as non-governmental organizations and donor reporting is also desired. 

 

Please submit resume, cover letter, and salary history to:

 

Mary Browse Davis, Human Resources Generalist

humanresources@freedomhouse.org

Fax: (202) 822-3893

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be notified.

EOE, M/F/D/V

 

Persian Language Website Technical Assistant–Washington, D.C.

 

Freedom House is an independent, non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom House functions as a catalyst for freedom through its analysis, advocacy, and action.

 

Freedom House seeks a technical assistant for its Persian language webzine.  The ideal candidate would have extensive experience with website management, be an organized manager of media production and proficient in both Persian and English languages.

 

Candidates much possess: at least 2-4 years of website maintenance experience; expert knowledge of HTML; expert knowledge of industry relevant multimedia software including Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Macromedia Dreamweaver; familiarity with CSS; familiarity with internet security and privacy concerns; and knowledge of human rights and democracy issues, particularly in Iran.   Experience with MySQL and PHP is a plus.

 

This is a full-time job based in our Washington, DC office.  Applicants should send, via email or fax, a letter of interest which includes experience, URLs of websites designed or managed by the candidate, resume, and any other relevant information to:

 

Human Resources Department

humanresources@freedomhouse.org

Fax: 202-822-3893

EOE, M/F/D/V

—————————–

 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Beirut Senior Associates

 

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading multinational think tank, will open a new office, the Carnegie Middle East Center, in Beirut this summer. The opening of the Middle East Center is part of the Carnegie Endowment’s unfolding strategy of establishing itself as a truly global think tank, with centers in Moscow, Beijing and the Middle East in addition to its headquarters in Washington DC. The Middle East Center will carry out policy-related research on political and economic change in the Arab world and will develop an active meetings and publications program in both Arabic and English.

 

The Center is seeking two innovative, energetic policy-oriented researchers to work with the director in Beirut and with the senior staff of the Middle East Program at Carnegie’s headquarters to develop and launch the Middle East Center’s research and publication agenda. The candidates must have a significant record of accomplishment as policy researchers and writers, a proven commitment to high-quality, non-partisan research and informed policy debate. Fluent oral and written Arabic and English are required.

 

Send a letter of interest and resume/cv to: Human Resources-BEIRUT-ASSOC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, via e-mail, HR@CarnegieEndowment.org, or fax, (202) 939-2392. Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

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DISCLAIMER: 

The articles in this bulletin do NOT necessarily reflect the opinions of CSID, or its board of directors.  They are included in the CSID bulletin to encourage and facilitate diversity of opinions, discussions, and debates about democracy in the Arab/Muslim world, and how best to strengthen and promote it.

 

 

 

For questions or comments about the information in this bulletin, contact
Sami Bawalsa at sami@islam-democracy.org.

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Copyright 2006 Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID).
All Rights Reserved.

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