Is the Ansar al-Shariah Crackdown a True About Face?

by Nathaniel Greenberg The Libyan consulate bombing has drifted into the twilight world of murder mystery and conspiracy theory, a talking point for American political pundits, and major source of frustration for leaders in the region. In Cairo a militant from Libya suspected of having participated in the Consulate attack was killed when Egyptian authorities raided his hideout in Nasser City earlier this week. But it is doubtful that this action represents a true change […] Read more »

Film Protests Strengthen Extremists’ Hand

by Nathaniel Greenberg The Innocence of Muslims is not the first, nor will it be the last offensive depiction of Islam. Just today the French journal Charlie Hebdo released its new edition with an image of Mohamed in a wheel-chair being pushed by a farcical looking Hassidic Jew. Happy Rosh Hashanah! Most in the Muslim world are onto these games and understand that marketing gimmicks, like offending Muslims, help sell magazines and generate page views. […] Read more »

Narratives Behind the False Pyramid Destruction Story

by Jeffry R. Halverson For the second time this year, remnants of the pro-Mubarak media in Egypt have caused a major stir in the international press and blogosphere by spreading false stories about alleged Islamist plans for Egypt. The latest claim is that the Islamist-led government of President Mohammed Morsi intends to destroy the pyramids of Giza and the rest of Egypt’s world famous Pharaonic heritage as un-Islamic or jahili remnants of pagan idolatry. A […] Read more »

Islamism and Dissent vs. Identity in the Voting Booth

by Jeffry R. Halverson* “If a group of people feels that it has been humiliated and that its honor has been trampled underfoot, it will want to express its identity.”                                                                                           […] Read more »

Should We Fear Muslim Brotherhood Influence in Egypt?

by Jeffry R. Halverson There are a lot of questions and speculation about the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (The Muslim Brotherhood, or MB) and their role in the future of Egypt. The coverage of the organization in the U.S. media has been better than expected. However, I am still struck by some of the more ominous rhetoric emanating from select corners. This rhetoric seems to focus on two main points of concern: 1) MB ties to violence, […] Read more »

Controlling the Narrative of January 25 – Part II

by Jeffry R. Halverson Events rapidly accelerated in Egypt on Friday, January 28, as expected. On Thursday night, the regime shut down internet access. This startling graphic by Craig Labovitz shows the precipitous drop in online traffic. Over the course of the day, the U.S. government repeatedly modified its official stance after making questionable remarks during the two days prior. Meanwhile, a Time Magazine article quoted a member of Netanyahu’s government in Israel expressing support […] Read more »

Controlling the Narrative of January 25

by Jeffry R. Halverson The protests in Egypt that began on January 25 are the culmination of a long simmering struggle between the police state of Hosni Mubarak and the common people it seeks to control. The state claims that its longstanding “security measures” protect the country from the ever-present threat of Islamist extremists, such as those that murdered Anwar Sadat in 1981 or massacred 58 foreign tourists and 4 Egyptians in Luxor in 1997. […] Read more »

Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam

by Jeffry R. Halverson The following is a summary of some arguments  from my new book, Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Ash’arism, and Political Sunnism, published by Palgrave Macmillan.  It offers an explanation of why fundamentalist literal interpretations of the Qu’ran have so much influence in contemporary Islamist extremism, and why extremists’ views about what the Qu’ran says can be so difficult to challenge. Mohammed Arkoun has described the notion of […] Read more »

Bombing Reactions by Indonesian Groups are Telling

by Mark Woodward On 17 July 17 2009, Indonesia and the world were shocked by another round of terrorist attacks. Two powerful bombs exploded in the J.W. Marriott and Ritz- Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Another was found and defused in a hotel room the bombers had rented. I am currently visiting Indonesia and have observed initial reactions by ordinary Indonesians as well as by various religious/political organizations.  Two different kinds of responses by the organizations are telling. […] Read more »

The Difficulty of Definitions

by Steven R. Corman  Writing in the CT Blog, Jeffrey Imm argues that “any blueprint strategy for national security must define Jihad, must address it within the national security threat, and must also define a national policy on the ideology of political Islamism.” But, Imm says, we have no such definition, and Islamist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood fall into what he views as a dangerous grey area.  He describes the case of Major Stephen Coughlin, who […] Read more »