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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

May 26, 2005


CSID EMAIL BULLETIN – may 26, 2005 

> CSID Conference Papers Available Online
> CSID/Freedom House Joint Event – Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa (July 7)

> EVENT: After Terror: Promoting Dialogue Among Civilizations (by Akbar Ahmed)
> EVENT: The NDRI Washington Workshop for Think Tank Managers
> EVENT: ILDC Summer Leadership Institute
> ARTICLE: US Firm on Democratic Reform in the Middle East, USAID Chief Says (by Ralph Dannheisser)

> ARTICLE: Muslim Democrats, not Islamists, Are Emerging Success of Political Islam (by Vali Nasr)
>Article: Islam Can Vote if We Let It (By Saad Eddin Ibrahim)
> ARTICLE: Egypt must let its people go (By Brian Whitaker)
>ARTICLE: Anti-Mubarak Protesters Beaten in Cairo (By Megan K Stack)
> ARTICLE: A Cheer for Mr. Mubarak (Washington Post)
> ARTICLE: Egypt Arrests 25 in Banned Group (AP)
> ARTICLE: Egypt’s Fading Hope (Washington Post Editorial)
>ARTICLE: FBI Records: Detainees Allege Qur’an Abuse (CNN)
> ARTICLE: House Resolution Against Bigotry
> ARTICLE: Liberties of the Faithful (by Margot Badran)
> JOB OPENING: National Endowment for Democracy – Program Officer
>ANNOUNCEMENT: CSID Seeking New Office Space


CSID is pleased to announce that all the papers presented at the 6th Annual Conference of CSID, on April 22-23, 2005 are now available online at:

Including the following Keynote Addresses:

Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, US Agency for International Development
Anwar Ibrahim (2005 Muslim Democrat of the Year)
Gretchen Birkle, State Dept (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)
Lorne Craner, International Republican Institute
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, American University of Cairo
Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy
Anisa Mehdi, Whetstone Productions, NJ
Abdallah Schleifer, American University of Cairo

To read more; please go to:

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The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) & Freedom House Inc., cordially invite you to join us to discuss a new Freedom House publication:

Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa:

Citizenship and Justice

Tuesday, June 7, 2005
12:00 – 2:00 pm
Ballroom, Freedom House Office
1319 – 18th Street NW – Washington, DC


12:00 Lunch is served
12:15 p.m.: Radwan Masmoudi, CSID President
12:20 p.m.: Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director, Freedom House
12:25 p.m.: Presentation of Survey Report: Sameena Nazir, Director, Survey of Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa and Senior Research Coordinator, Freedom House Inc.
12:40 p.m.:  Comments by contributors: Amal Rassam (Iraq report writer); Brian Katulis, (Director, Focus Groups); and Heba El-Shazli (Regional Advisor)
12:50 p.m.: Comments by Asma Afsaruddin, Chair, CSID Board of Directors
1:00 p.m.: Comments by Margot Badran: Northwestern University and CSID Member
1:10 p.m.: Q & A: Moderated by Radwan Masmoudi and Sameena Nazir
1:55 p.m. Closing Remarks: Sameena Nazir, Freedom House Inc.

SPACE IS LIMITED.  Please RSVP by June 2nd to Layla Sein:

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The World Bank’s Public Information Center and the World Bank Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics invite you to a special seminar featuring a recent publication

After Terror:  Promoting Dialogue Among Civilizations

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
3 pm to 5 pm
World Bank J Building J1-050 Auditorium
701 18th St. NW (corner of 18th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave.)
Presentation followed by reception and book signing

After  Terror  presents sustained reflections by some of the world’s most  celebrated thinkers on the most pressing question of our time: how  can  we  find ways to defuse the ticking bombs of terrorism and excessive  interventions  against  it?  It offers an antidote to the fatalistic  global  holy  war  perspective  that  afflicts  much contemporary  thought,  focusing  instead on the principles, issues, and  acts  needed  to shift course from alienation and conflict to a path  of  sanity  and goodwill among cultures and civilizations. The central  aim  of the book is to advance contemporary thinking on the causes  and  implications  of  9/11  and  thus provide the essential elements of a blueprint for humanity. It features 28 original essays by  some  of  the  world’s  leading  public  figures,  scholars, and religious  leaders,  including Benjamin Barber, Zbjigniew Brzezinski, Jean  Bethke  Elshtain, Amitai Etzioni, Bernard Lewis, Martin Marty, Queen  Noor,  Joseph Nye, Judea Pearl, Jonathan Sacks, Ravi Shankar, Bishop  Desmond  Tutu,  E.O.  Wilson  and James D. Wolfensohn. After Terror attests to the power of dialogue and mutual understanding and the possibility of tolerance, respect, cooperation, and commitment.

Moderated by:  Katherine Marshall  Director, Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics,  Human Development Network, World Bank

Akbar  Ahmed,  Ibn  Khaldun  Chair  of  Islamic Studies, American  University  in Washington  DC,  is  “the  world’s leading authority  on  contemporary Islam” according to the BBC. Former High Commissioner  of  Pakistan  to  Great  Britain he has advised Prince Charles  and  met  with President George W. Bush on Islam. His books have  been  translated  into  many  languages  including Chinese and Indonesian. Dr. Ahmed is regularly interviewed on CNN, CBC, the BBC, and  ARY  TV. In February 2005 the National Cathedral held a special Evensong  Service  to honor Dr. Ahmed. He is also a Senior Fellow at The  Case Foundation in Washington, D.C. He will give the inaugural lectures  for  the  first  Chair  in  Jewish-Muslim Studies  at the University  of  Illinois,  Chicago,  and  will  be  speaking  at the Chairman’s Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series at the Pentagon.  

Comments by:  William Rex  Senior Corporate Strategy Officer, World Bank Reverend John Peterson, Canon for Global Justice and Reconciliation, Washington National Cathedral

Tuesday, May 31, 2005   3 pm to 5 pm
World Bank J Building J1-050 Auditorium
701 18th St. NW
(corner of 18th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave.)
Presentation followed by reception and book-signing

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The NDRI Washington Workshop for Think Tank Managers

September 19-23, 2005 in Washington, D.C.

The Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) invites applications for its second Washington Workshop for Think-Tank Managers, scheduled for September 19-23, 2005 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 Washington’s most prominent and influential think tanks, at which participants will meet with‚Äö√Ñ√Æand learn from‚Äö√Ñ√Æexperienced conference organizers, editors and publishers, Web masters, database managers, and fundraisers.

Participant Eligibility and Nominations: All employees of NDRI member institutes in developing democracies are eligible to apply. Nominations must be made by the directors of NDRI member institutes, and each institute may nominate one participant. 

Selection Criteria: The criteria to be used 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 will also seek toalso select participants from underrepresented regions of the world, from large and small institutes, and from both newer and older members of the NDRI.

Tentative Description of Workshop Activities:  Workshop participants will fly to Washington on Saturday or Sunday, September 17 or 18. The workshop will run from Monday through Friday, September 19-23, and participants will depart on Saturday or Sunday, September 24 or 25. 

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. The program will end with a group dinner on Friday evening.

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 and possibly nine participants.  These costs include will cover all participant travel expenses (including airfare, taxis, and visas and travel insurance, if applicable), six or seven nights of hotel accommodations, and a meals per diem.  However, the Forum asks applicants to indicate whether they will be able to obtain full or partial support from their own institution, or another sponsoring institution.  The Forum will be able to host up to a total of twelve participants if several of them are able to cover at least part of the cost of their program participation, which is estimated to run from $2,400 to $4,000, depending on air-travel expenses. (The average cost per person for the 2004 workshop was $3,000.)

How to Apply:  A complete application package will consist of three documents:
‚Äö√Ѭ¢ 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 applicant’s 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 ( .with a copy to Melissa Aten (

Deadlines and Notification:  The deadline for applying for the September 2005 workshop is June 10, 2005. All applicants will be notified by June 20, 2005.

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ILDC Summer Leadership Institute 2005

The Summer Leadership Institute 2005 is set to start on June 6. The program consists of three intensive courses, and participants have the options to take the full program (June 6 to 25) or to enroll in one course (5 days). For program description and schedule please visit SLI web page at

The program is designed to provide community leaders and imams with the skills they need to develop their organization and communication capabilities, and to allow them to contemplate how Islamic teaching relates to our current challenges.

Please help us to spread the word around, and please use your influence in the community to encourage active members in the community to enroll, and Islamic center to sponsor the enrolements of those who are unable to pay for the course fees. The fees have be set at a very reasonable rate (approx. $500 per week inclusive of boarding and meals). For details on SLI program, faculty, and fees please visit Online registration is available for applicants’ convenience.

For more information, please contact:
Louay M. Safi, Ph.D.
Executive Director
ISNA Leadership Development Center (ILDC)

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U.S. Firm on Democratic Reform in Middle East, USAID Chief Says

Andrew Natsios calls region’s future full of promise, not without peril
By Ralph Dannheisser

Washington File Special Correspondent

Washington — The Bush administration is firmly committed to fostering democracy in the Arab Middle East, even though the emerging democracies might well have a strongly anti-American tilt in the short run, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development says.

Andrew Natsios took that position in a talk April 22 at the sixth annual conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), which focused on the relationship between democracy and development.

Selection of the top development official as a keynote speaker symbolized an evolution in emphasis for the group, which in the past has devoted much of its energy to refuting the argument that democracy is simply unachievable in the Muslim world.

With that position demolished by recent developments in Iraq and elsewhere in the view of many democracy advocates, CSID turned its attention at the 2005 conference to the relationship between democracy and development.

In his speech, Natsios shared the view that, although some may have seen democracy as “an alien imposition on the Muslim world,” recent events have proven otherwise.

Referring to parliamentary elections in Iraq in January, he said, “We may be looking back at this moment as a truly transformative event, the first in a series of elections that open the way to a new future for the region.”

The example of Iraq, he said, “was the inspiration of the multi-ethnic uprising in Lebanon against the Syrian-backed regime. This has struck a further blow against one of the Middle East’s most recalcitrant autocracies and opened space for authentic Lebanese voices to be heard.”

Although some have portrayed Islam as the obstacle to the spread of democracy, Natsios said, he believes that “the fundamental problem isn’t religion, it is autocratic governments led in many instances by militantly secular figures.”

Turning to his concern about potential problems between the United States and the very democracies it seeks to foster, Natsios said, the future is “full of promise ‚Äö√Ѭ∂ (but) not without peril. It may well be the end of autocracy in the Middle East will put in place democracies with a distinctly anti-American taint.

“The people of the Middle East who will be empowered by democracy have been steeped in anti-Americanism that will not magically evaporate. Expect them to vent long-standing frustrations to which American foreign policy in the past admittedly may have contributed,” he added.

Natsios said this raised the question of why the United States would wish to trade the security of the status quo and alliances with friendly autocratic governments for the uncertainties of the democratic experiment.

That question “goes to the heart of this administration’s foreign policy and its ‚Äö√Ѭ∂ strategy to further democracy around the world,” he said. “The anti-Americanism we are talking about, as disconcerting and problematic as it is, is likely to be short-term. History shows, longer term, the power of shared democratic values to defuse conflict and cement right-minded countries together.”

With massive youth unemployment in the region creating “a demographic time bomb” and pressures building toward a social explosion, “Those who would seek security in autocracy are buying very short-lived calm at best,” Natsios said.

Declaring that the birth of new democracies in the Middle East could usher in a wholly new relationship with the United States, Natsios said, “The Palestine of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas is not the Palestine of [the late President Yasser] Arafat, and will not be received the same way. Those who cling to the status quo in the Middle East seriously underestimate the moderating power of democracy.”

The manner in which potential new governments harmonize the duties of religion with the requirements of democracy is critical not only for U.S. national security but for “the prospect for peace in this century and the renewal of Islamic culture,” he said.

With respect to Iraq in particular, Natsios said, “A law that reflects basic Muslim values is to be anticipated and welcomed under the new constitution as representing the authentic voice of the Iraqi people that Ba’athist ideology suppressed.”

He said the notion that the Shi’as of Iraq are taking orders from Tehran is ludicrous. “Anybody who knows both countries knows that even the people in Iran don’t take orders from Tehran,” he declared.

Citing extensive USAID efforts to help rehabilitate Iraq’s schools, reform its government personnel structure and rebuild financial, banking and budgeting systems, Natsios said, “Our commitment to the Iraqi people must continue as our first priority. “

“The economic isolation that existed under Saddam is ending and we must smooth the country’s transition back into the global marketplace so it can take full advantage of the opportunities it offers,” he added.

Addressing the theme of democracy and development in his conference-opening remarks, CSID President Radwan Masmoudi said there is no doubt that economic and political development “complement each other, and that one cannot take place without the other.”

“Both remain elusive in much of the Arab world and the Muslim world, and Arabs and Muslims have a lot of catching up to do,” he said.

Interviewed between conference sessions, he said recent developments have created “a moment of opportunity and great hope and aspiration. You can feel it in the air wherever you go in the Arab world. People are finally excited about having an opportunity to gain real reforms in the regimes and real democracy.”

Masmoudi expressed pleasure at “a huge change in U.S. foreign policy” as “policymakers have realized that we have been down the wrong path in supporting oppressive regimes under the theory that this leads to stability.”

“It hasn’t led to stability, it hasn’t led to economic development and it hasn’t led to improvement in education in the Arab world,” he said. “It has led to exactly the opposite, and the Arab world is the most unstable region in the world because you have oppressive regimes that are at war with their own people.”

Echoing views of other conference participants, Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy, stressed that democracy can be aided, but not imposed, from outside.

“Of course it’s going to take international support and international solidarity, but ultimately democracy can only happen if it comes from within and people take responsibility for their own futures,” Gershman said.

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Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim Urges Homegrown Democracy in Muslim World

Malaysian activist sees U.S. support as vital in fight for freedom

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is honored as “Muslim Democrat of the Year”
By Ralph Dannheisser
Washington File Special Correspondent

Washington — A former Malaysian deputy prime minister, twice jailed in his home country after clashing with government policies, has been honored as the “Muslim Democrat of the Year” by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).

Anwar Ibrahim, described as “a hero of our time” at CSID’s sixth annual conference on April 22, said each nation of the Muslim world must cultivate a domestic version of democracy.

“The impetus for democratization ‚Äö√Ѭ∂ must come from Muslims themselves.  Why must such a process be driven by the United States or Europe or any other region for that matter?” he asked.

Ibrahim was first jailed for two years in the early 1970s after supporting peasant protests.  He was jailed again in 1998 after being dismissed by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and served six years on what he said were trumped-up corruption and sodomy charges. He was released in September 2004 after the sodomy conviction was overturned, and now is a resident scholar at St. Anthony’s College of Oxford University.

In his CSID talk, Ibrahim rejected claims that democracy is simply untenable in Muslim countries. Rather, he said, autocrats raise the specter of Islamic rule.

“It is not Islam but exploitation of the fear factor that has precluded the democratization of the Muslim world,” he said.

As for the United States’ advocacy of democracy in Muslim nations, and indeed worldwide, Ibrahim suggested this has raised suspicions in some quarters because “many parts of the Muslim world still look at the United States as arrogant purveyors of power.” 

Despite his own criticism of some U.S. policies, he declared, “Whatever its faults, the United States has been the strongest advocate of democracy throughout the world, without which the voices of freedom would have remained still and silent.”

“Let us forge ahead with a renewed resolution to fight not just extremism and terrorism but authoritarianism and despotism in all of its guises,” he said.

The “hero” description of Ibrahim came from Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute and former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.  The description was reinforced by CSID Vice Chair Antony Sullivan, who called the Malaysian “a truly great soul.”

Craner, who addressed the CSID conference in 2003, talked of the immense advances toward democracy since then.

“In early 2003 those of us who believed that freedom and democracy would come to the Muslim world were regarded as an oddity,” Craner said. “There was a ferocious debate ‚Äö√Ѭ∂ about the compatibility of Islam and democracy,” and little reason to be optimistic.

“Anyone who still believes it can’t happen in the Middle East has been asleep these past two years,” he said, citing recent elections in Iraq and the Palestinian areas and advances elsewhere in the region.

In Lebanon, where efforts have accelerated to shed Syrian control, “we are witnessing events that again seemed impossible just a few months ago,” Craner said.

Craner stressed his view that “democracy cannot reach its potential unless all members of society are full participants.”

“Women cannot be ignored in the political space and must be able to participate as full members in their countries’ political life,” he said.  Special efforts must be made to bring young people, who are prime targets for extremists, into the democratic process, he added.

“We’ve seen the initial achievements.  What we need now is to stay the course and push for more,” Craner said, noting that this means keeping U.S. policymakers focused on democracy in the Muslim world and continuing to support Muslims who are committed to democratic reforms in their countries.

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Muslim Democrats, Not Islamists, Are Emerging Success of Political Islam

The specter of Muslim Democracy is haunting the Islamic world, argues a leading commentator on Middle East politic. Drawing a sharp distinction between Islamic-oriented and Islamist parties, Nasr notes the electoral success of the former in Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan (before the 1999 military coup).

Islamists aspire to rule by shari’a or Islamic law, and consider democracy “not as something deeply legitimate, but at best as a tool or tactic that may be useful in gaining the power to build an Islamic state.” In contrast, Muslim Democrats are pragmatic, eschewing shari’a in favour of “the more mundane [goal] of crafting viable electoral platforms and stable governing coalitions.” They “do not seek to enshrine Islam in politics, though they do wish to harness its potential to help them win votes,” Nasr writes in the latest issue of the Journal of Democracy (

Drawing close parallels with the emergence of European Christian democracy, Nasr observes that “like the Catholic Church in the last century, Islamic-oriented parties are grasping the need to relate religious values to secular politics, ‚Äö√Ѭ∂ sensing the benefits of including appeals to religious values in their platforms.”

One variation of this development has been called the “pothole theory,” drawing on an observation by US President George W Bush. “Maybe some [Islamists] will run for office and say, ‘Vote for me, I look forward to blowing up America,'” Bush said. “But I don’t think so. I think people who generally run for office say, ‘Vote for me, I’m looking forward to fixing your potholes.'”

“[G]et the Islamists into the game and they will learn to play by democratic rules, lay down arms, and focus on pleasing their voters,” it is suggested. But “the lesson from Iraq is that religious parties must be bound up within a political structure that keeps them democratic.

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Islam Can Vote, if We Let It

By Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Published: May 21, 2005

Cairo  – IN last month’s Saudi Arabian municipal elections, the nation’s first experiment in real democracy, many were worried because Islamic activists dominated their secular rivals. Indeed, we have seen a similar trend in Turkey, Morocco and Iraq in the last few years; and we can expect it in the coming Lebanese, Palestinian and Egyptian elections. Yet, while this Islamic trend can no longer be ignored, neither should it be a source of panic to Western policy makers and pundits.

Based on my 30 years of empirical investigation into these parties – including my observations of fellow inmates during the 14 months I spent in an Egyptian prison – I can testify to a significant evolution on the part of political Islam. In fact, I believe we may be witnessing the emergence of Muslim parties that are truly democratic, akin to the Christian Democrats in Western Europe after World War II.

To understand this evolution, one must look at how the Islamists rose to such prominence. Autocratic regimes in the Middle East have for decades allowed little public space to those who would build civil societies; no freedom of speech, assembly or association. The only space for people to congregate without harassment by the secret police was the mosque. Thus, unwittingly, the autocrats contributed to the growth of the theocrats, who became their mirror images.

Taking advantage of the rulers’ economic and political failures at home and their setbacks on battlefields, the theocrats made compelling cases for their own visions. And through their great efforts in providing services to the poor, they evolved first into de facto social workers and then into local politicians, eventually taking control of cities like Algiers and Oran in Algeria, and Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey.

Seen as efficient and uncorrupt, these Islamists began to gain in popularity even among secularists and won parliamentary pluralities in Algeria in 1991 and in Turkey 11 years later. (In Algeria the Islamists were not allowed to enjoy the fruits of their victory thanks to a Western-condoned military coup.) Today, some two-thirds of the estimated 1.4 billion Muslims in the world live under democratically elected governments in which Islamists are major players – with Indonesia, Bangladesh and Morocco joining Turkey as bright spots.

Clearly, on grounds of principle and pragmatism, Westerners should not be dismayed at the thought of allowing religious parties a role in the emerging political structures of the Arab world. For one thing, as citizens, Islamists are entitled to the same basic rights as others. It would therefore be hypocritical to call for democracy in these countries and at the same time to deny any groups wanting to peacefully contend for office.

Second, Islamists tend to be fairly well organized and popular. Yes, some have created armed wings to their movements, ostensibly to resist foreign occupation (Hezbollah in Lebanon, Islamic Jihad in Palestine) or in response to authoritarian regimes. But in all cases, a moderate, less-violent Islamist core exists. Excluding the religious parties from the political mainstream risks giving the upper hand to the armed factions at the expense of their more moderate centers.

Repression has had high costs. Where Islamist groups are denied access to political space, their cause takes on an aura of mythical martyrdom, and their abstract calls for a return to Islamic principles of governance are not put to the test. A phrase like “the meek are the inheritors of the earth” resonates with the masses, though it is empty of any practical content. As long as these groups don’t have to deal with the complicated business of forging actual political policies, their popularity remains untested. The challenge, therefore, is to find a formula that includes them in the system, but that prevents a “one man, one vote, one time” situation.

One fairly successful attempt at such a formula was coordinated by King Hussein of Jordan, after widespread riots in 1989 over food shortages in his traditional stronghold in the south. Needing to engage the people more directly in the tough economic decisions that had to be made, he opted for a new constitutional monarchy. He brought all the political forces in the country together in a national congress, in which the rules of the democratic game were enshrined in a national charter. The Islamists signed on.

Since then, there have been several elections to this body in which Jordan’s Islamists have participated, but in only the first did they gain a plurality. Once in power, their sloganeering was put to the test, and voters were not terribly impressed. In the four ministries they held, the Islamists imposed heavy-handed restrictions on female staff members, setting off protests that eventually forced the cabinet members to resign.

Shortly after the Jordanian experiment, King Hassan II of Morocco followed suit with a similar revision of his nation’s Constitution, and despite recent terrorist attacks the country seems set on an increasingly democratic path. In 2002, the Turkish Justice and Development Party won the parliamentary elections and formed a government and – to the surprise of many – it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, the Islamists emerged as more pragmatic than their secular predecessors in tackling some of Turkey’s chronic problems: they softened restrictions on the Kurds, looked to make compromises over Cyprus and began a successful campaign to make Turkey eligible for eventual membership in the European Union.

And consider what has happened in Iraq. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, has been the savior of President Bush’s policy in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Without his unwavering backing of the January elections, the Arab world would not have seen the stirring images of millions of men and women braving their way out to vote despite threats and suicide bombers.

Of course, this is not to say that we should expect Hezbollah or Hamas to turn into Western-style democratic parties overnight. While countries opening themselves to democracy should work to bring Islamists into the system, they should not – and the West should not pressure them to – allow those groups unwilling to abide by certain rules into the game.

These principles would include : strict respect for constitutions and the rule of law, including full independence of the judiciary; recognition of the principle of the rotation of power based on free and fair elections with international observers; pledges that elections be held on a schedule that is not subject to tampering by whatever group comes to power; agreement that non-Muslim minorities must be guaranteed full citizenship and cultural rights, including the right to compete for any elected office, to freely exercise their religion rights and to speak their chosen language; and agreement that women must be assured full and equal participation in public life.

When all parties agree to such conditions, they will have gone a long way toward reducing apprehensions at home and abroad about their participation in politics. This does raise questions about who would guarantee that all parties abide by these rules of the game. Each country, of course, would have to decide for itself; Turkey made its armed forces a guardian of the Constitution, and other places it might be high courts. In any case, there must be faith in the system.

So what should be the role of the external actors – the Western powers, the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organizations – in promoting democratic reform? Much has been said in the Muslim world about President Bush’s “crusade” after the 9/11 attacks. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were predicated, among other things, on spreading freedom and democracy in the Middle East. More peaceful approaches toward that end also include the Bush administration’s Middle East Partnership Initiative and the Greater Middle East and North Africa Initiative that was endorsed last year at the Group of 8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Ga.

In addition, an earlier, overlooked initiative by the Europeans is worth studying, the Barcelona Accord of 1995. Under this agreement, several Arab states, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, pledged to take specific steps for enhancing civil society, human rights and democratic reforms. In return, the Europeans were to offer economic aid, favorable terms of trade and security guarantees. Unfortunately, the governments of the Arab states, with the partial exception of Morocco, enjoyed the benefits of the economic protocols but failed entirely to make the required domestic reforms.

PERHAPS the most important role foreign powers can play today is in withholding their aid, trade and technology from despotic regimes. The model is the Helsinki Accord of 1975, which set up a monitoring system of Soviet-bloc states and mandated sanctions for human rights violations, and which ultimately played a major role in bringing down Communist regimes.

Whether we are in fact seeing an “Arab spring” or a mirage depends on where you stand. Many in the Middle East, having been betrayed in the past, cannot be blamed for fearing that this is an illusion, and remembering other spring stirrings of democracy – like Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968 and Tiananmen Square in 1989 – that were brutally crushed while the world looked on.

For me, however, something about events of the past few months feels new and irreversible. Too many people in too many places – Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere – are defying their oppressors and taking risks for freedom. Across the region the shouts of “Kifaya!” – “Enough!” – have become a rallying cry against dictators.

With luck, the Middle East may catch the so-called third wave of democracy, which has rolled through some 100 countries since the fall of the dictatorship in Portugal in 1974. But whether it will be a spring wind or a sandstorm will depend in great part on how the Islamists are accommodated in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine in the months ahead. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have hinted recently that the United States would accept the outcome of any fair and free elections, even if it brings Islamists to power. That hint should be explicated in a clear doctrine. A government open to all and serving all is our best weapon against both autocracy and theocracy.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, is a candidate for president of Egypt.

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Egypt must let its people go

The Mubarak regime’s resistance to scrutiny of the forthcoming presidential election shows how much Egypt has to learn about democracy, writes Brian Whitaker

Monday May 16, 2005

Guardian Unlimited

Two short sentences in a speech by the US president, George Bush, had Egypt’s political dinosaurs in a flap last week: “Egypt will hold a presidential election this fall,” Mr Bush said. “That election should proceed with international monitors and with rules that allow for a real campaign.”

Given that Egypt has a long history of blatantly rigged elections and that President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic party (NDP) has a stultifying near-monopoly on the country’s politics, it is difficult to see how anyone could object to international monitors or allowing a real election campaign, but object they did.

The Mubarak regime has got itself into a mess. Instead of accepting that political reform is inevitable, embracing it wholeheartedly and then claiming the credit, it is resorting to half measures and belated sops to its critics that can only worsen its predicament in the long run.

Mubarak has dominated Egypt’s political scene for almost 24 years. He is coming to the end of his fourth six-year term, but it should have been obvious that clinging on to power for a fifth term in a presidential “election” where he was the only candidate would not go smoothly: the world has moved on and that sort of thing is no longer acceptable, even in Egypt.

The president’s age (he turned 77 earlier this month) and the apparent attempts to groom his son to succeed him have also been ringing alarm bells among his critics.

Last autumn the NDP held its annual conference and trumpeted some long-needed economic reforms. The moment, exactly a year before the presidential election, would have been opportune to start the process of political reform as well, but there was not a word of it.

It was only in the face of public criticism of his presidency that was unprecedented by Egyptian standards and protests by the Kifaya (“Enough”) movement that Mubarak relented and announced in February that he was willing to allow more than one candidate in the election.

This led to a bizarre debate among Egypt’s political elite about the qualifications needed by presidential candidates, the result of which was a complex set of rules approved by parliament last week.

To outsiders, many of the arguments used in this debate sounded quaint and comical, but they exposed senior Egyptian politicians’ lack of grasp of the essential principles of democracy. The discussion was all about protecting voters from “unsuitable” candidates. This entirely missed the point about elections: it is for the voters to decide who would make a suitable president and who would not.

One simple and obvious proposal – to let anyone stand provided they could collect a certain number of signatures from voters supporting their nomination – was dismissed out of hand by Ibrahim Nafie, a columnist for the semi-official al-Ahram newspaper.

“This idea is potentially dangerous since it opens the door to the possible purchase of signatures,” he wrote. “Nothing could be better guaranteed to cheapen the nomination process to the highest office in the land than turning it into something akin to a public auction.”

Others expressed fears that unpatriotic candidates or foreign agents might run for the presidency. So what? If someone wants to stand on behalf of the Unpatriotic Alliance of Foreign Agents and Subversives, why not let them? Does anyone seriously expect them to be elected?

Under the rules parliament approved last week, there is apparently no risk at all of cheapening the nomination process because it is virtually impossible for anyone to stand as a candidate without the blessing of Mubarak’s NDP. Since these intrinsically unfair rules involve a change to the constitution, voters will be asked to approve them later this month in a national referendum.

It is a preposterous choice: vote yes if you want phoney elections with more than one candidate; vote no if you want to keep the system as it is.

So far, Mr Nafie has failed to denounce the referendum in his column as a cheapening of the constitutional process, though undoubtedly it is. The constitution needs to be thoroughly overhauled rather than tinkered with for Mubarak’s political convenience.

Reactions to the idea of international election monitoring have also been bizarre. If the intention is to hold proper elections then it ought to be no big deal.

Unable to state in public the real reason for their objections – that monitoring would obstruct the hallowed Egyptian tradition of ballot-rigging – the politicians have been desperately searching for other excuses. “We all reject any intervention in our internal affairs,” was the best line that Safwat el-Sherif, speaker of the Shura council and a Mubarak sycophant, could come up with.

Having run out of plausible arguments, the regime is increasingly raising the bogey of foreign influence as a way to resist change and defend the indefensible. Would-be presidential candidates are almost automatically smeared as foreign (ie American) agents despite the fact that one of them, Ayman Nour, speaks little English and has never visited the US.

Playing the nationalist and anti-American card is another short-term expedient that could easily backfire. Mr Nour has already returned the insult, suggesting that Mubarak is an American agent – a claim that contains a measure of truth since Egypt depends heavily on US aid and the president makes regular trips to Washington with his begging bowl. In fact, he was due to have made one such pilgrimage this week but decided he was too busy and sent his prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, instead.

He was not too busy, however, to give an interview to a Kuwaiti newspaper in which he made some fatuous comments about anti-government demonstrators. “Battling unemployment requires investment,” he said. “With these demonstrations that we are seeing, the investor will flee, meaning unemployment will spread. It is obvious that the unjustified demonstrations have no programme. They are staged just to create a state of unrest that drives out the foreign investor.”

In reality there is nothing that discourages foreign investors in Egypt more than the bureaucratic procedures imposed by the Mubarak government, which serve no real purpose other than to facilitate the collection of bribes by officials.

These are the desperate bleatings of a president who has patently lost the plot. Of course, he can carry on arresting demonstrators by the busload and using hired thugs to intimidate opposition candidates; there is also no doubt that he can secure a fifth presidential term, by fair means or foul, if he wants to. But the regime’s legitimacy is steadily ebbing away.

The only consolation is that Mubarak has so far refused to say whether he indeed plans to seek a fifth term. This may simply be a tactic to keep his opponents guessing, but while he remains officially undecided there is still a slender chance that his closest advisers may persuade him to retire gracefully while he can.

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Anti-Mubarak Protesters Beaten in Cairo
By Megan K. Stack, Times Staff Writer,0,3258752.story?coll=la-home-headlines

CAIRO ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ A government-backed referendum Wednesday on whether to hold Egypt’s first competitive presidential election provoked an opposition boycott and violence as men shouting pro-regime slogans beat anti-government demonstrators in the capital.

Uniformed policemen looked on, and occasionally joined in, while pro-government supporters kicked and punched demonstrators and journalists covering the protests. The assailants hoisted pictures of longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and shouted vows to sacrifice their blood for him. Lines of riot police and plainclothes security officers cornered demonstrators so they could not escape.

Women were surrounded, groped and had their clothes torn. Some demonstrators were thrown down flights of concrete stairs, dragged by their hair and kicked by swarms of young men.

Egypt’s security forces are known for intimidating opposition leaders and torturing prisoners. But although the last several months of pro-democracy street protests have been fraught with arrests and intimidation, they have generally remained peaceful.

The boycott and attacks on opposition protesters could impede Mubarak’s efforts to show the West that he is enacting democratic reforms. The violence could also undermine claims by the Bush administration that democracy is taking root in Egypt.

Wednesday was the first time the anti-Mubarak movement has been met with blatant violence in Cairo. Plainclothes and uniformed security officers helped and sometimes appeared to direct the attacks. Five opposition activists were arrested in the capital, and dozens more were detained in the smaller Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.

“This is a message for us,” said Rabaa Fahmi, a 38-year-old lawyer who was punched, kicked and had her clothes ripped from her body during clashes outside the headquarters of the journalists guild.

She huddled in a nearby law office and struggled to close her blouse with safety pins. “They know we’re Eastern women and any kind of abuse makes us ashamed and embarrassed,” she said. “This is a very clear message that if you take to the streets you’ll be attacked.”

The official results of the referendum won’t be announced until today, but there was little suspense. Mubarak’s push to amend the constitution to allow competitive elections was widely expected to win voters’ approval. The nation’s largest opposition parties joined the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in calling for a boycott.

The Bush administration has praised the expected presidential election as a “historic initiative.” In a visit to Egypt this week, First Lady Laura Bush infuriated opposition leaders when she lauded the Mubarak regime for what she called a “very bold and wise” step. She also suggested that reform shouldn’t come too quickly.

“Mrs. Bush seems to know very little about Egypt and very little about democracy in Egypt,” said Gamila Ismail, wife and press advisor to presidential candidate Ayman Nour. “We thought she knew more.”

Aida Seif Dawla, a psychiatrist and prominent human rights activist, said the referendum was a hollow gesture being portrayed as democratic change. She gestured toward the street, where Mubarak’s supporters were taunting the demonstrators and spitting at them. “But this shows you what the referendum is. The regime is scared.”

Mubarak surprised the nation this year when he promised to hold a multi-candidate presidential election in September. It seemed like a startling about-face from an autocratic ruler who has dominated the most populous Arab state for 24 years, periodically renewing power by presenting himself to voters in referendums in which the choices were “yes” or “no.”

But the election rules have been a disappointment to democracy advocates. An amendment approved by the ruling-party-dominated parliament in effect banned all independent candidates. Only a handful of top officials in government-approved opposition parties will be allowed to run.

Before they were crushed by Mubarak’s supporters, Wednesday’s anti-government protests were small and scattered. The regime had warned that no demonstrations would be tolerated during the referendum.

The unrest erupted around midday, when a disturbance broke out near the tomb of Saad Zaghloul, a symbol of Egypt’s fight for independence. A small knot of demonstrators from the Kifaya, or Enough, opposition movement was taunted, beaten and chased down side streets by about 200 Mubarak supporters.

Asked why policemen were standing by while a crowd of Mubarak loyalists kicked and beat a lone Kifaya demonstrator on a busy roadside, an officer in a white uniform said, “Let his colleagues help him out.”

Magdi Allam, a member of the ruling party’s policies committee, waded through the crowd in a brown suit and necktie.

“We are assuring everybody that this [amendment] is for the improvement of the political party system,” Allam said, breathing heavily in the heat. “We’re trying to regain the multiparty system.”

In the street, men used signboards displaying a smiling Mubarak to batter protesters about the head. A few stores down, the president’s supporters had been kicking a gray-haired woman as she lay pinned against a wall. Asked about the beatings, Allam said that the ruling party was firmly against violence and would investigate any abuses.

“I’m sure some people are nervous in the hot weather,” he said.

After tense weeks of opposition cries for boycott and government pleas to vote, there was no reliable way to gauge voter turnout. A ruling party official said voting was spotty in Cairo, but fairly strong in the countryside.

In the shaded courtyard of a downtown school that served as a voting center, the path to the ballot box was plastered with photographs of Mubarak. A pair of men sat on a bench, finishing off a boxed lunch. Poll workers pointed to the pair. “Here are some voters,” they said.

Asked why he’d turned out to vote, 39-year-old Mohammed Abdel Wahab Ahmed said, “I came here to reelect the president.”

The man standing next to him gave him a hard nudge. “You’re here for the constitutional amendment,” he said.

“Yes, I’m here for the constitutional amendment,” Ahmed agreed.

At a polling station in Bab al Shariya, a working-class neighborhood of craftsmen and merchants, an elementary school serving as a polling station stood empty in the afternoon. Outside, metal workers banged rhythmically as they shaped tin pots, donkeys pulled loads of bananas and melons from the countryside, and men slipped into the shade of scraggly trees.

Leafing through the list of registered voters, poll workers said that hundreds had already come. They showed off the blank ballots, printed with green for “yes” and black for “no,” and pointed to a makeshift voting booth made from a blanket tacked between a chalkboard and a dust-smeared window.

The question of voter turnout had developed into a sort of contest between the ruling party, whose members urged citizens to show their loyalty by voting “yes” for the referendum, and opposition groups, which urged their followers to shun the polls as a sign of displeasure over the harsh restrictions placed on candidates.

Asked about the beatings in the street, Mohammed Kamal, a member of the ruling party’s policy secretariat, he said that emotions were running high among Mubarak’s supporters.

“As a party, I think we have a good story to tell,” he said. “But acts like that distort this positive image and divert attention from the good work.”

Despite the ruling party’s claims that the pro-government demonstrators were Mubarak enthusiasts, some of the men in the crowd seemed bewildered as to why they’d been brought downtown.

“They told us to come here and gave us Mubarak posters and pictures,” said 18-year-old Mahmoud Khaled, who said he worked at a gas station owned by one of the ruling party’s legislators. “I don’t know where they’ll take us to vote later. If I don’t vote, I’ll lose my job‚Äö√Ѭ∂. I don’t like what I’m seeing here, but there is not much I can do.”

The legislator, Mohammed Deeb, paced nearby, chanting pro-Mubarak slogans into a bullhorn. As reporters approached, Deeb shook his head, and his assistants shoved them aside.

A British employee of the Los Angeles Times was among the journalists who were assaulted. She was groped and harassed by a crowd of pro-Mubarak supporters, then forced to the ground and kicked in the stomach and back. She escaped with bruises.

Jailan Zayan and Hossam Hamalawy of The Times’ Cairo Bureau contributed to this report.

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A Cheer for Mr. Mubarak

Thursday, May 26, 2005; Page A26

LAURA BUSH’S tour of the Middle East was cast as a way to earn badly needed goodwill for the United States in a region that her husband seeks to transform. Mrs. Bush duly promoted women’s education in Jordan and the peace process in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yet when the first lady arrived in Egypt she chose to lavish her own goodwill not on that country’s struggling pro-democracy movement but on 77-year-old strongman Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Mubarak plans to extend his 24-year tenure in office through a September election from which most of his opposition is excluded. Hundreds of political activists have been arrested in recent weeks for trying to peacefully protest that plan, and even legal opposition candidates have been forcibly prevented from campaigning.

The Bush administration says that it is committed to supporting such dissidents. But Mrs. Bush sided squarely with Mr. Mubarak, who frequently condemned the U.S. democracy initiative in the Middle East before abruptly announcing elections on his own terms. “President Mubarak has taken a very bold step,” Mrs. Bush repeated on numerous occasions. Echoing the dictator’s most common refrain, she added, “You know that each step is a small step, that you can’t be quick.” When reporters told her the Egyptian opposition was dismayed by this endorsement, she went further: “To act like you can just go from here to there overnight is naive . . . we know that’s not easy and we know that it’s, in many cases, not even possible.” Really? We wonder if the Iraqis who turned out to vote Jan. 30, or their newly elected leaders, would support that view.

Mrs. Bush’s intervention occurred at a critical moment, because Mr. Mubarak had called for yesterday’s referendum to approve the constitutional amendment that will govern presidential elections. By its terms, independent candidates have to obtain signatures from 250 members of parliament and local councils, almost all of whom are members of Mr. Mubarak’s own party. Only candidates from parties previously approved by the government, most of them moribund, tame or tiny, will be allowed to challenge the sitting president. The most credible of these, liberal democrat Ayman Nour, was forced to suspend public campaigning after a busload of his supporters was attacked by a pro-government mob. Mr. Nour also faces trial next month on trumped-up forgery charges.

Many Arab autocrats have staged bogus elections in the past, which is why the critical question about Egypt this year is whether Mr. Mubarak’s vote will turn out, in practice, to be recognizably democratic or merely another farce. So far the answer is obvious, which is why the opposition called for a boycott of the referendum, why the pro-democracy movement tried to stage peaceful protests on Tuesday and yesterday — and why these efforts at free assembly were violently broken up by Mr. Mubarak’s police. Only a forceful intervention from the White House could induce Egypt’s dictator to hold an election that is close to free and fair. Instead he — and the Egyptian people — have heard from Laura Bush that his mockery of democracy is worthy of applause.

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CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities arrested the fourth-highest official in the powerful Muslim Brotherhood early yesterday, one of 25 members of the outlawed movement picked up in a major crackdown ahead of a referendum on presidential election rules that the group opposes.

    Mahmoud Ezzat, secretary-general of the Islam-based political movement and head of its Cairo operations, is the highest-profile member of the group to be arrested since 1996, said a police official. Egyptian police policy is to speak to reporters only on the condition of anonymity.

    Mr. Ezzat and 24 others were picked up in dawn sweeps of several provinces, police and Brotherhood officials said. Brotherhood deputy leader Mohammed Habib confirmed Mr. Ezzat’s arrest. Three of the others also held senior positions within the banned group, which advocates the peaceful establishment of an Islamic state.

    Prosecutors have begun questioning the detainees on charges of membership in — and in the case of Mr. Ezzat and the three others, leadership of — a banned group and organizing demonstrations without permission from the government.

    “The arrest is an escalation against the Brotherhood and a message to the group that no one is beyond arrest,” said Abdel-Galil el-Sharnoubi, editor of the group’s Web site.

    The Egyptian regime “is arresting the leading figures who are capable of moving the people in the street to boycott the referendum,” he added.

    The Wednesday referendum allows Egyptians to approve or reject changes to the constitution that will allow the nation’s first multiparty presidential elections, to be held in September.

    Opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, including the Brotherhood, have urged a boycott of the referendum, saying the changes will provide little more than window dressing to the current yes-no, one-candidate system.

    Mr. Mubarak, who has served 24 years as president, always has been handily reinstalled in referendums in which there were no other candidates. The Brotherhood commands a substantial following in Egypt, and it alone among Mr. Mubarak’s opponents could prove a tough challenger.

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Egypt’s Fading Hope

Wednesday, May 18, 2005; Page A16
Washington Post Editorial

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT Hosni Mubarak’s abrupt decision to stage a multi-candidate presidential election this year created a tantalizing possibility for his government’s long-standing allies, led by the United States: that an authoritarian regime rotted by decades of corruption and stagnation would discover the political will to bring about its own transformation, rather than await an inevitable collapse. Such political transitions have occurred before, in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Mexico; Mr. Mubarak’s election plan offered the prospect of a similarly controlled but genuine shift toward democracy. Yet as Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif meets President Bush at the White House today, that hope is fading. Without Mr. Bush’s intervention, it probably won’t survive.

Few Egyptians expected Mr. Mubarak to allow a fully free election this year, but even the government’s tamest opponents have been offended by the draft constitutional amendment the ruling party unveiled last week. It limits the presidential competition to the mostly tiny or moribund parties that have been officially recognized by the government; independents would have to obtain 250 signatures from current members of parliament and local councils, almost all of whom are members of Mr. Mubarak’s party. Egypt’s largest opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, would be excluded; so would the dozens of parties that have tried and failed to obtain legal registration in recent years. Even stricter regulations would apply to future elections: Beginning in 2011, only parties with 5 percent or more of the representation in parliament would be eligible, a requirement that if applied now would eliminate all opposition candidates.

By these rules, the only aggressive challenger to Mr. Mubarak this year is likely to be Ayman Nour, the liberal democrat who was jailed on trumped-up charges earlier this year, then released under pressure from Washington. But Mr. Nour has been subjected to continual and sometimes brutal harassment since his release, and his rallies have been broken up by thugs. Government prosecutors are still preparing to put him on trial next month; a conviction would forcibly end the political career of a 40-year-old secular moderate while paving the way for Mr. Mubarak, 77, and his son Gamal, 41, whom he has been grooming for office. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, has been the target of the largest crackdown in years: At least 400, and as many as 2,500, of its supporters have been arrested in recent weeks.

Mr. Nazif and other Egyptian officials have been promising that the constitutional changes will be followed by a new election law allowing candidates from the 18 legal parties access to state media and providing for supervision of the ballot by Egyptian judges. But a heavy-handed state media campaign for Mr. Mubarak is already underway, and the judges themselves say they cannot ensure a fair vote under present conditions. Mr. Bush should insist that those conditions change: that Egypt’s government cease harassing the opposition, tolerate peaceful political activity, guarantee equal access to the media, and give judges the independence and authority to prevent fraud, with the assistance of international observers. Without these reforms and others, Mr. Mubarak’s election will be a sham. The principal losers will be not his opposition, but those who hope to save Egypt from political upheaval.

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FBI records: Detainees allege Qur’an abuse
ACLU releases hundreds of documents obtained in lawsuit

Thursday, May 26, 2005 Posted: 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged in 2002 that guards mistreated the Quran, according to some of the hundreds of FBI documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU obtained the documents from the FBI through a federal court order in a lawsuit based on a Freedom of Information Act request. Most of them are records of detainee interviews with FBI agents.

According to the documents, released Wednesday by the ACLU, a detainee interviewed in August 2002 said guards had flushed a copy of the Quran in a toilet.

Others reported the Quran being kicked, withheld as punishment and thrown on the floor.

Prisoners also complained about “non-believers” touching the book, according to the documents.

A senior Pentagon official said Wednesday that on May 14 camp officials re-interviewed the detainee who made the flushing claim and he failed to substantiate it.

The senior official also denied allegations by detainees that interrogators desecrated Qurans to intimidate them.

FBI officials said the documents released Wednesday merely reflect allegations made by individuals interviewed by the FBI.

The FBI did not investigate the allegations and said that would be the responsibility of the Defense Department.

In addition to complaints about the treatment of the Quran, detainees told FBI agents about alleged beatings, planned suicides, hunger strikes and sexual assaults, according to the documents.

“The United States government continues to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence of widespread abuse of detainees held in its custody,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero in a news release.

“If we are to truly repair America’s standing in the world, the Bush administration must hold accountable high-ranking officials who allow the continuing abuse and torture of detainees.”

The ACLU said it made the Freedom of Information Act request in October 2003 and filed a lawsuit in June 2004 demanding the government comply.

The group said that so far more than 35,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the FOIA lawsuit.

But it contends the Pentagon and CIA continue to “unlawfully” withhold “documents concerning abuse and torture of prisoners” and said it will go back to federal court to argue that position.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday that past accusations have had credibility issues.

“There have been allegations made by detainees,” McClellan said. “We know that members of al Qaeda are trained to mislead and to provide false reports.

“We know that’s one of their tactics that they use. And so I think you have to keep that in mind as well.”

Pentagon review

Last week, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, during an extensive answer about abuse allegations, said the Defense Department was reviewing how U.S. troops handle the Quran.

“There have been instances, and we’ll have more to say about it as we learn more, but where a Quran may have fallen to the floor in the course of searching a cell,” Di Rita told reporters.

“So they’ve reviewed the standard operating procedures to see if perhaps we could have been more careful in those cases.”

“The [U.S.] philosophy as reflected in the standard operating procedures is one of great respect for the Quran and other religious articles, and for the detainees’ practice of their faith, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

A recent Newsweek magazine article alleged that U.S. investigators concluded that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Quran, in one instance by flushing the Muslim holy book down a toilet.

Newsweek subsequently retracted the report, saying its government source had indicated doubts about his information after publication. (Full story)

The Bush administration blamed the report, at least in part, for deadly violence that erupted in early May, when thousands of demonstrators marched in Afghanistan and other parts of the Muslim world.

But some U.S. and Newsweek officials said the magazine article was not to blame for the violence.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said this week during a trip to the United States the protests were “directed at the peace process” and the “elections in Afghanistan.” (Full story)

On May 13, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited a U.S. commander as saying the protests in Jalalabad, at least, were more about local politics than anti-American sentiment stirred up by the Newsweek report.

Other allegations

The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week it had gathered “credible” reports about U.S. personnel at Guantanamo Bay disrespecting the Quran and had raised the issue with the Pentagon several times.

Group spokesman Simon Schorno said the allegations were made by detainees to Red Cross representatives who visited the detention facility throughout 2002 and 2003. (Full story)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said then that the Pentagon in 2003 issued strict guidelines on how U.S. personnel should handle the Quran.

Schorno said the Red Cross heard no more allegations about mishandling of the Quran after the guidelines were issued.

Also Wednesday, Amnesty International criticized the United States in its annual report on human rights, calling on foreign governments to investigate President Bush and members of his administration. (Full story)

The London, England-based group detailed claims of alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The naval base at Guantanamo Bay houses 520 detainees, according to the Department of Defense Web site.

CNN’s Kelli Arena, Justine Redman and Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.

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109th CONGRESS   —    1st Session   —   H. RES. 288

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives condemning bigotry and religious intolerance, and recognizing that holy books of every religion should be treated with dignity and respect.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                             May 19, 2005


Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives condemning bigotry and religious intolerance, and recognizing that holy books of every religion should be treated with dignity and respect.

Whereas believers of all religions, including the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, should be treated with respect and dignity;

Whereas the word Islam comes from the Arabic root word meaning `peace’ and `submission’;

Whereas there are an estimated 7,000,000 Muslims in America, from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, forming an integral part of the social fabric of America;

Whereas the Quran is the holy book for Muslims who recite passages from it in prayer and learn valuable lessons about peace, humanity, and spirituality;

Whereas it should never be official policy of the United States Government to disparage the Quran, Islam, or any religion in any way, shape, or form;

Whereas mistreatment of prisoners and disrespect toward the holy book of any religion is unacceptable and against civilized humanity; and

Whereas the infringement of an individual’s right to freedom of religion violates the Constitution and laws of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) condemns bigotry, acts of violence, and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors, and citizens of the Islamic faith;

(2) declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith, should be protected;

(3) recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect; and

(4) calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.

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Liberties of the faithful

Back from the north and middle belt of Nigeria, Margot Badran writes on current religious-political debates six years after the emergence of “Sharia states”

It is only recently that Nigerian Islam came centre stage as states in the north of the country declared rule by Sharia law, the hallmark of which was the re-introduction of hudud punishments for criminal offences, including stoning to death for those convicted of zina (adultery and fornication) and amputation of the hand for theft. (During British colonial rule hudud penalties had been restricted and with independence a state Penal Code and a new Criminal Procedure Code were introduced in the country). Unlike before, hudud have now been re-introduced as codified law; they are no longer determined by a qadi (religious judge) in a Sharia court, according to understanding of fiqh (jurisprudence).

In 1999 the governor of Zamfara State was re-elected after pledging to support Sharia rule and resume hudud. Before long, other states in the Muslim-majority, Hausa-Fulani dominated north had followed suit; they became known as “Sharia states”. With these developments, a heady mix of politics, media attention and women’s rights-human rights activism drew attention to Islam in Nigeria, the country with the largest population of Muslims in the entire African continent. A broad cross-section of Nigerian Muslims reportedly welcomed the “Sharia state” package. Women activists, however, were quick to voice concerns over the reinstatement of the hudud (not Sharia per- se), since experience elsewhere — in Pakistan and Iran, for example — has shown that women and the poor are easily victimised as a consequence. Many seculars in Nigeria and in an Islam-wary wider world grew alarmed by what they saw as a token of re-Islamicisation.

The Sharia, often referred to as Islamic law, is a “path” illuminated by divine guidance. Many Muslims in Nigeria are quick to point out that the Sharia, as part and parcel of Islam, has always been integral to their personal and communal lives. The difference now is the assumption by the political leadership in northern states of a self-assumed mandate to implement Sharia, making the codified hudud its centre- piece. The pivot of the new “Sharia state”, what might called Nigeria’s “political Sharia”, is really the imposition of law and order. As Nigerian women activists feared, it was not long before women were accused of zina. Lower Sharia courts in their respective home states of Sokoto and Katsina convicted Safiya Husseini and Amina Lawal (both of whom were pregnant and unmarried), sentencing them to death by stoning. It escaped no one’s attention that it was women who paid the price, while the men involved faded into the background, getting off scot-free, as it were. Lamido Sanusi, a well-known, intellectual public figure, quipped: the womb has been charged while the sperm is acquitted. Notable also was the fact that it was poor women who were dragged before the law. Nigerian women activists, Muslims and non-Muslims alike — together with some concerned men — promptly swung into action. They offered the two women legal support, mounting wide-ranging publicity campaigns as well. The women were eventually acquitted in higher Sharia courts of appeal in their respective states.

While Muslims at home and abroad celebrated the delivery of justice through Sharia courts, the (non-Muslim) West failed to realise that justice was being rendered within rather than in spite of the Sharia system. As evidenced in the media, Westerners took credit for their campaigns on behalf of the accused, even though Nigerian activists had to ask outsiders to halt their intervention, which often included deprecating Islam, and which was becoming a distinct liability. The high- profile legal cases occasioned a fresh wave of Islamophobia — or rather what might now be termed “Sharia-phobia” — a recognisable brew of clich‚àö¬©s and fears with the familiar tropes — “Muslim women as victims of their own religion”, for example — began to circulate, with cases in point cites as “proof” of the ills of Islam. It was not until the successful resolution of the two cases, when the anti-Islamic hoopla had already run its course, that the outside world began to turn its attention elsewhere.

Inside Nigeria life went on. What has the renewed attention to Islam and Sharia brought about? How are women faring? And the poor? I recently set off to Nigeria to find out. I visited several “Sharia states” in the north: Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, and Zamfara. By way of a comparing and contrasting, I also journeyed through the middle belt to the non-Sharia Plateau State, where Muslims are not the majority.

WHAT EXACTLY is a “Sharia state”? On asking I was told that the term originated among the local Christians of Zamfara State, who used it pejoratively in reference to the governor’s declaration of the reinstitution of hudud. The press were quick to pick it up, granting it wide circulation, before the so-called Sharia states themselves appropriated it and began to brandish it. “Sharia state” as a state within the federation of states that constitutes Nigeria is not to be confused with a sovereign self- designated Islamic state, declaring its constitution and all its laws and policies on the basis of Sharia . It is a term peculiar to Nigeria; and with its focus on law and order, the Sharia state is interesting in that it emerged in a country where, unlike Muslim-majority countries in North Africa and the east Mediterranean, ahwal shakhsiya, or personal status (often called family) law, remains un-codified. Personal status cases (marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody, inheritance) are heard by a qadi ( alkali in Hausa, religious judge) who renders verdicts based on his interpretation of fiqh in accordance with the Maliki school of jurisprudence, which predominates in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. (The English word “judge”, in this widely Anglophone society, refers only to a judge or magistrate in common-law — i.e. national — courts.) Nor is it solely a question of personal status law in Nigeria’s “Sharia states”, no other areas of Islamic law have been codified except hudud. There is a recent move, in some quarters, for the codification of personal status law. So far, however, this has yet to gain a base of support.

The inception of the “Sharia state” gave birth to a new context and a new politics, shifting the terrain of debate. Insofar as it refers to a distinctly new political phenomenon in northern Nigeria, the term “Sharia state” has had the problematic effect of merging two notions of Sharia as religious guidance and as political governance. The conflation of Sharia and state is such that it is now common to hear Muslims in the north of Nigeria claim that it is impossible to have Sharia without a Sharia state — a statement that ignores the existence of Sharia as a living force in Nigeria prior to the “Sharia state”, wedding Sharia firmly to government. It also suggests that Muslims who live in non-Muslim majority states in Nigeria, where it is impossible to create “Sharia states”, do not have (or live by) the Sharia — a fact that has two significant implications: Sharia courts continue, as in the past, to serve Muslims throughout Nigeria; and, within the “Sharia states”, common-law or state courts likewise continue to function, hearing the cases of non-Muslims as well as of Muslims in a variety of domains (e.g., cases involving property disputes, inheritance, etc.)

Some claim that the governor of Zamfara State was driven by political expediency, and that his decision was at bottom intended to appeal to vociferous Islamic sentiments — the drive towards “a return to religion”, in the homegrown version of political Islam, which soon set off a chain reaction in other northern states. There are other historical explanations as well. Last century the British colonial rulers of northern Nigeria left the prevailing Islamic legal system intact, except for the hudud, which they outlawed as “inhuman and degrading” forms of punishment. It might be noted, in this context, that while many Muslims in different parts of the Islamic world today will readily agree with this characterisation; they are also concerned that (Islamic) due process may not be met in meting out punishments. The forced removal of hudud by British overlords, and the removal of criminal law from Islamic jurisdiction, were old grievances ripe for politicisation. Besides which the growing politicisation of religion through the 1970s and 1980s, in Nigeria as elsewhere — along with the widespread religious revivalist movements, among both Muslims and Christians — helped pave the way for the Sharia state — an argument corroborated by the view (of many Muslim Nigerians) that Nigerian state law, derived as it is from English common law, is in fact based on Christian principles and values, and is hence Christian rather than religiously neutral. This has led to the demand of Muslims to be subject to “their own law” — the secular concept of a shared national domain being more or less completely absent among Muslim Nigerians and rather problematic among their Christian counterparts. Nigeria remains, to both parties, a multi-faith rather than secular country. By the start of the 21st century, the time was ripe for a move to restore the hudud in a quick win-win for Islamists and the state. Taking advantage of a loophole in the federal constitution, governors in Muslim-majority states in the north introduced the hudud as codified law in their states. And while the constitutionality of this has been debated, the law now prevailing has not been challenged.

Whatever the “bigger politics” involved, Muslim women in Nigeria were not about to be bartered on the block of hudud. Women and the poor form the bulk of the Nigerian population, and the Muslims among them are in greater danger of falling prey to the new Islamic penal laws. At the same time there is a sizeable group of women, both Muslims and non-Muslims, active on the scene as public intellectuals, scholars, professionals and activists. They are highly concientised (to borrow a term from the South African Struggle) about gender, Islam and justice; they are poised and deeply committed to defending and protecting the rights of women and the poor. Women activists were educated in the 1970s and 1980s, simultaneously with the very incubation of political Islam. Muslim women typically received both an Islamic ( Islamiya ) and a state education (often referred to in Nigeria as “Western” rather than “secular” or “public”). Islamiya education has ranged from after-school madrasa lessons in religion and Arabic to full-time Islamic schools set up and run by local Muslim communities. Since the 1970s, the Nigerian Islamist group known as Izala (the Jama’tu Izalat al-Bid’a wa Iqamat al-Sunna, meaning “the Society for the Removal of Innovation and Re-establishment of Tradition”) have set up a spate of religious schools where, despite (perhaps because of) conservative religious curricula, they inadvertently trained future gender activists. Intensive exposure to religious texts, including the Quran, which girls were taught to read in Arabic, gave them tools that would lead to some of them rejecting the prevailing patriarchal interpretation of Scripture in favour of a new liberationist reading.

It is striking, especially to those familiar with northern Africa (where there tend to be separate educational tracks, secular and religious, typically aligned with separate classes of the population) how well educated Nigerian Muslims are in both religious and secular spheres — a notable lack of the religious v. secular dichotomy so often seen elsewhere. Muslim women activists in Nigeria, unlike their counterparts in many other places, operate within the broader parameters of holistic Islam. At the very time when Nigerian political Islam with its conservative gender agenda was on the upsurge, woman activists were joining forces to create their own organisations. In 1985 (that was the year the UN Decade of Women ended at the UN International Forum in Nairobi, having attracted the largest ever numbers of Africans), the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) was formed. Later, Muslims and Christians founded BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, an affiliate of the international network of Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML), which spearheaded the trans-national women and law project, as well as Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA). By the late 20th century, as a result of all such efforts, a whole generation of seasoned activists, both Muslim and cross-faith, were already poised for defending women’s rights and social justice.

Triggered by efforts to overturn the convictions of the two aforementioned women (accused of zina ), activism within the new Sharia state dispensation required intense scrutiny in fiqh. When qadis in the lower Sharia courts in the states of Sokoto and Katsina sentenced Safiya Husseini and Amina Lawal to death by stoning, they (along with the higher political authorities they worked under) did not expect their judgements to be questioned. It had not been long since hudud were implemented and the chapters on crime and punishment in fiqh books had to be reassessed. Religious knowledge is, as a result, no longer the exclusive preserve of a small clerical class; rather there is a wide community of religiously and socially literate men and women. BAOBAB and WRAPA have since organised legal defence teams comprising women lawyers, which brought to the higher Sharia courts of appeal an array of stunning arguments solidly grounded in Islamic jurisprudence and due process. The legal defence also managed to move beyond the restrictive confines of the Maliki school of law to present arguments gleaned from other major schools as well. And the two aforementioned acquittals, besides, became landmark events in the modern history of the fight for gender justice in Islam, demonstrating the capacity of Islamic jurisprudence to protect gender justice. Theoreticians of gender in Islam have called attention to how the corpus of the major schools of jurisprudence (consolidated in the late eighth and ninth centuries) bears the imprint of the thinking and practices of its day. This is especially true of personal status matters, in which the patriarchal model was a major influence.

The high-profile zina cases in Nigeria highlighted the fact that, in the criminal realm, the patriarchal model does not prevail. The dicta of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence indicate that it is virtually impossible to convict individuals — whether women or men — of zina, because of the virtually impossible evidence requirements (including testimony by four upright Muslim males that were witness to the sexual act). Islamic jurisprudence indicates that the two genders are equally protected in cases involving zina, and expresses a reluctance to mete out the death penalty, whether to women or men, for an act of illicit sex. The severe hudud are seen primarily as deterrents, not as bludgeons to be used by those with a thirst for vengeance, to teach women a lesson or intimidate the poor. The two zina cases, as well as cases of theft (including amputation carried out for the theft of a cow, against a social backdrop in which agents of big-time corruption are left to their devices) brought to attention a renewed focus on poverty and the injustice it entails. I heard many people reiterate the notion that the implementation of Sharia, and the imposition of hudud, require, a priori, the existence of a just Islamic society — defined as one in which members of the umma or Islamic community enjoy a decent livelihood as well as adequate social and health services. It is incumbent on the umma through wise governance and responsible distribution of zakat or religious tithes to ensure the well- being of its more vulnerable members. Before hudud can be justly applied it is necessary first to create a just society (in which economic desperation does not tempt women to engage in illicit sex or necessitate theft as a means to basic survival). Like their counterparts elsewhere, most Muslims in Nigeria live in conditions of severe poverty. And people are finally making it clear they want more than a law-and-order Islam imposed by the state; what they want, rather, is a society that makes viable social and gender justice.

At the end of my stay I was invited to attend the “National Conference on Promoting Women’s Rights through Sharia in Northern Nigeria”, organised by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, as well as the Security, Justice and Growth Programme held at Arewa House in Kaduna. During the two days of the conference the voices of women (and various men) I had met in my travels in the north were coming together in a grand crescendo — they clamoured for the delivery of women’s rights as a necessary aspect of justice in the new Sharia dispensation. Women and men participated in the conference in equal numbers. High government officials, traditional leaders, Islamic scholars of both genders, qadis and judges, lawyers, academics, health professionals and activists all came together. Both women and men led prayers, delivered plenary addresses and spent long sessions deliberating in an interplay of theory and practice with careful attention to muaamalat — societal conditions specific to contemporary Nigeria. In the discussion groups I also heard women speak of their own experiences of gender injustice and men admitting injustices perpetrated against women. Such candid discussion, I was told, was unprecedented in a dual-gender public forum. At the opening plenary the governor of Zamfara, who had risen to power six years earlier pledging to implement Sharia, informed the assembly of the structures and measures he had put in place to this end . His wife, a medical doctor, incanted a litany of women’s rights and duties.

The stakeholders assembled in the following sessions — and “stakeholders” is how they describe themselves — aired the perspectives of civil society, focussing on the model of a just and compassionate Islam in a social-economic setup marked by justice. They offered suggestions for Sharia implementation both in discussions and in the communiqu‚àö¬© they issued at the end of the conference. The first of nine observations in the communiqu‚àö¬© declared that “the Sharia has provided adequate rights for women”. Another observation decried the lack of “a comprehensive policy for the promotion of women’s rights as provided by Sharia in most northern states. At the head of the list of ten recommendations was a call for educating “members of the public on the status, dignity, rights, and obligations of women in Islam, and discouraging negative cultural practices in society that adversely affect women”. The second recommendation drew attention to the importance of engaging ” ulamaa in a meaningful dialogue in order to articulate various effective means of discussing and disseminating issues of women’s rights in the Sharia”. There was a discernible, productive tension between women and men, between muaallams or Islamic religious teachers, ulemaa and aalimat, and qadis and common-law legal practitioners, as well as public intellectuals, academics, activists. As I listened to speeches, moving around discussion groups, I saw Muslim society in Nigeria in deep conversation with itself. Stakeholders appeared intent on realising women’s rights as society’s rights, and rights enjoyed by the poor as the hope of the umma. It looked to me as if the people were taking the implementation of the Sharia into their own hands; social justice, not hudud, was at the centre. It’s an impression that has remained with me since then…

POSTSCRIPT: Just as the conference in Kaduna was ending a call came from the well-known and highly respected scholar of Islam, Tareq Ramadan, a voice of the African Diaspora, and the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt — for a general moratorium on hudud until the requisite just societal conditions could prevail in Muslim societies, so that the risk of committing injustice through wrongful application is avoided. The starting point, he insisted, would be the creation of (living) social justice — something I heard Nigerians repeatedly affirming.

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The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a congressionally funded, private, nonprofit grant making organization, is seeking to fill the positions of a program officer for the Middle East and North Africa.  The program officer will work with the regional senior program officer and other program officers to develop and manage the Endowment’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) grants program, develop the Endowment strategy, set priorities, and monitor and evaluate projects in the region. Duties of the program officer will include assessing and drafting grant proposals, monitoring existing grants, maintaining contacts with organizations and individuals in the region, and traveling to the region for field visits to grantees. Applicants should have experience in and in-depth knowledge of political, social, and intellectual issues and trends in the Middle East and North Africa; fluency in Arabic; an advanced degree in international affairs, political science or related discipline; and strong written skills in English. Experience working with NGOs and on civic projects, and living and working in the Middle East and North Africa is highly desirable. Strong communication skills in French are preferred.

Resume and cover letter with salary history to:
Abdulwahab Alkebsi
Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa

National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
1101 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20005-5000
(202) 293-9072
(202) 293-7396 Ext. 235 (Direct)
(202) 223-6042 FAX

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Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) works in the United States and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for rule of law. We support human rights activists who fight for basic freedoms and peaceful change at the local level; protect refugees in flight from persecution and repression; help build a strong international system of justice and accountability; and make sure human rights laws and principles are enforced in the United States and abroad.

Human Rights First seeks an experienced Executive Director.  The Executive Director will direct and support the Human Rights First staff in the fulfillment of its mission, the achievement of its goals and objectives and the building and strengthening of the organization. The Executive Director will oversee the development and execution of plans to implement these strategies, and the regular assessment of progress and to assure consistency with Human Rights First’s core visions and values. The Executive

Director leads the senior management team and approves strategic planning, policy setting and budgetary issues related to their program/campaign/functional work.

Responsibilities also include managing the day to day operations and internal workings of the organization. This position will be located in Human Rights First’s NYC headquarters and will report to Michael Posner, current Executive Director, who will become the President.


 Leadership and Strategic Development

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Provides leadership and direction for the creation of all Human Rights First’s policies, resource management strategies, procedures and operations in regards to all Programs and Functions, including Research, Communications, Constituency Building, Direct Service, Government Advocacy, Fundraising and Finance and Administration. (Director of Development and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer report to the President for strategic matters.)  Ensures uniform enforcement of these policies and procedures and ensures that policy questions are resolved in a timely manner.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Defines clear performance objectives linked to Human Rights First’s annual plans and strategic goals; measures and evaluates the results in partnership with the senior management team

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Leads organizational planning, supports major cross-departmental initiatives and provides strategic guidance and management direction for the Human Rights First senior management team.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Conducts regular assessment meetings where the senior management team discusses progress and developments regarding their functional projects, programs and/or campaigns as well as issues of substance, policy and strategy.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Works with the President and Senior Staff to identify new trends and developments in the field of human rights and develops sources of new ideas and initiatives for Human Rights First. Works closely with the President to communicate these ideas and developments to the staff and Board, and translates them into organizational opportunities.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Supports human resources management in the development of standards for Human Rights First Management performance and provides ongoing development of managerial skills at all levels.  Results include the recruitment and retention of a talented and diverse staff, consistently high staff performance, clear communication and a stable staff morale.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Supervises, mentors and leads by example to build teamwork and inspires top performance within the organization

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Serves as an external spokesperson and a representative of the organization with funders, media and other public audiences.

Programs and Functions: 

 ‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Manages the planning, implementation and assessment of all Human Rights First Programs and Functions. Directly manages Human Rights First Program Directors and Directors of Research, Communications, and the Washington office to ensure each group’s performance and that collaboration occurs.  

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Delegates tasks and projects appropriately, sets clear expectations, timelines and clearly defines standards.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Meets regularly with each Program Director, Function Director and their teams to guide, support, and ensure progress toward results and integration of cross-programmatic and cross-organizational efforts. Evaluates measurable results against objectives, provides supportive feedback to facilitate development and teambuilding to enhance access.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Works with the President to strengthen the strategic cohesion between Human Rights First’s policy work and its deepening of key relationships with partner advocates, institutions and organizations.

Budget and Finance: 

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Oversees the process for developing annual Program and Function budgets, ensures that annual budgets support long-term financial goals and HRF Programs and Functions.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Tracks financial performance and recommends adjustments to budgets as necessary.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Ensures clear, accurate and consistent coordination and reporting from and between Development and Finance Departments.


‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Graduate degree in a relevant field.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Extensive program, operational management and organizational planning experience.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Knowledge of human rights, social justice, humanitarian issues or other related fields.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Strong analytical skills with the ability to solve problems and exercise good judgment in a fast-paced environment. 

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Superb interpersonal skills.

‚Äö√Ѭ¢           Excellent oral and written communication skills along with public speaking experience essential. Fluency in languages other than English is highly desirable.

Competitive annual compensation, excellent benefits and relocation available.


Appropriate candidates will be contacted prior to the submission deadline.

SUBMISSIONS: Cover letter, resume, name and contact information for three (3) references to:
Joyce Munn
Email: Preferred*
Fax: 212.980.1957
Global Nonprofit Network
Dag Hammarskjold Station
20363 DHCC
New York, NY 10017

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CSID Seeking New Office Space

The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) is pleased to announce it is expanding its headquarters in Washington DC. The rapid growth shows both the success of CSID and the heightened interest and importance of CSID’s mission.

The overwhelming support of individuals like yourself has enabled CSID to triple its full time staff and to expand its programs within the US and around the world.

We are currently seeking office space in Washington DC or Northern Virginia that will fulfill the current needs of CSID and accommodate for future growth.

Please inform us if you know of any locations, within the District of Columbia or in Northern Virginia (close to a metro station), that rent for $29.00 to $32.00 per square foot. We are seeking approximately 1800-2000 square feet of office space, in addition to shared secretarial, meeting, and conference space.

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For questions or comments about the information in this bulletin, contact
Zahir Janmohamed at

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Copyright 2004 Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID).
All Rights Reserved.

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