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October 17, 2017

The Sunni Spectrum
Thoughts and perceptions of Islamic fundamentalists and their more moderate counterparts, in their own words with analysis and commentary.

Dangerous Liaisons    
January 16, 2013
A shroud woven by the Muslim Brotherhood is descending upon the Middle East. President Obama is tentatively gambling that the Brotherhood will produce stability in the region and make him the first U.S. president to establish a long lasting solution to the Palestinian problem. For that grand vision to become a reality, the United States, the Brotherhood and Israel are participating in a game of dangerous liaisons, where pragmatism rather than principles is the way to win. Like any other grand plan, the outcome is far from certain and there will be winners and losers
The Puzzle of Post Revolution Egypt    
March 15, 2011
Will democracy take hold in Egypt and will the new government be secular or theocratic and will a revival of nationalism play a role? PI Online attempts to shed light on these questions by examining the ideology of the major players shaping the future of Egypt. Some actions by these groups were predictable, like the Muslim Brotherhood. What lies behind actions of others, like the Coptic Christian Church, the Egyptian Military Command, Saudi Arabia and even the United States, is more complex and worrisome.
Secular or Islamic State: Where Does Egypt's Military Government Stand?    
February 16, 2011
Egypt's caretaker military government has appointed an avid Islamist who believes the shari'a should be the law of the land to lead efforts to amend the country's constitution. What signals are they sending to the world and radical factions within Egypt?
Suleiman: Change you can't believe in    
February 09, 2011
Seizing the opportunity created by the uprising in Egypt, the head of Egyptian Intelligence masterminded the swifter political coup in the Arab World. Within seventy-two hours, he got rid of the president, his family, all of his foes in the cabinet and most importantly the powerful interior minister. PI Online examines how this surreal plan was executed and why we should not let it succeed.
Lost Dignity Regained (with postscript 5/9/2010)    
April 27, 2010
The most important result of the Iraqi elections is rarely mentioned in the Western press. Through the limited victory of the Iraqiyya party, the Sunnis have regained their "lost dignity". PI Online examines how these results have positively influenced the Arab psyche throughout the region. Without our support however, this restored dignity may be short lived and the moderates marginalized. Instead of a secular national unity governing Iraq, violent sectarianism will remain the law of the land and the radicals will rejoice.
Accommodating the Taliban
An Ill Conceived and Unprincipled Policy [PI 567]
March 24, 2009
Accommodating some elements of the Taliban as president Obama seems to be suggesting is difficult to rationalize logically or justify morally. Writer Mushari Al-Zayidi explains why Fareed Zakaria's advocated view of coexistence with the radicals, which seems supported by the president is an ill conceived policy.
The King's Quiet Revolution [PI-566]    
March 11, 2009
The Saudi King realized that for the educational and cultural reform he envisioned to take hold in the Kingdom nothing short of a revolution against the old guard of the religious establishment was necessary, and only the King himself could lead it.
Egypt in the Crossfire [PI 565]    
January 06, 2009
PI Online analyzes how the Islamization of the Palestinian conflict by Hamas coupled with the Israeli massacres in Gaza has left Egypt in the political crossfire and scrambling for a way out.
The Arab/Islamic View of Obama
From Euphoria to Skepticism [PI-564]
December 30, 2008
In a very short period, the Arab/Muslim world went from euphoria to guarded skepticism about Obama's presidency. PI Online examines the views of Arab analysts that reflect various reasons for this shift.
Hazards and Pitfalls of the Islamic Movements [PI 562]    
August 29, 2008
PI Online examines recent criticism and interpretations of Islamic dogma by some North African writers who are attempting to reform Muslim thinking and counteract the rigidity of Salafism.
PI 559 - A Country Failing its King    
July 22, 2008
King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia is attempting to promote a more moderate Islam. PI Online examines how the message is received by the religious establishment and the population in the Kingdom.
PI 557 - A Dichotomy: The Waning of Al-Qaeda and the Spread of Salafism    
July 02, 2008
While analysts in the West fret over whether the power of Al-Qaeda is rising or diminishing, a more worrisome spread of Salafism is taking shape in the Arab World. PI Online examines the rebirth of that rigid ideological branch of Islam, under a new cloak.
PI554 Egypt-Sudan: Between a Rock and a Hard Place    
June 02, 2008
Veteran Egyptian writer/journalist Muhammad Hassanein Haykal stated this week that action [which he referred to as "surgical operation" ] is necessary and eminent against the Sudanese government. PI Online examines the Egyptian-Sudanese relationship under this new light.
PI 553 - Obama - The Muslims' Dilemma    
May 29, 2008
PI Online examines NY Times article concluding that Obama's religious roots would hinder his ability as President to improve relations with the Muslim world.
PI 552 Sectarianism and National Identity    
April 22, 2008
With the diminishing appeal of Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism, PI Online examines how the rising trend of sectarian and tribal identity comes at the expense of a national identity.
PI 551 It's the Economy Stupid...As Riots Break out in Egypt
The Muslim Brotherhood is Sidelined
April 08, 2008
PI Online examines the complex question of the Muslim Brotherhood's refusal to participate in organized protests or the municipal elections. Is the Brotherhood out of touch?
PI 551 - It's the Economy Stupid...As Riots Break out in Egypt
The Muslim Brotherhood is Sidelined
April 08, 2008
PI Online examines the complex question of the Muslim Brotherhood's refusal to participate in organized protests or the municipal elections. Is the Brotherhood out of touch?
PI 550 - Building Churches in Saudi Arabia - The King's Dilemma    
April 07, 2008
When religious coexistence and religious dogma collide in the Middle East, it is difficult for good intentions to prevail. PI Online examines the arguments used by conservative Muslims who reject the idea of building Churches on Saudi soil and the unenviable position in which they placed the Saudi King.
Briefings - 3/31/2008    
March 31, 2008
* Al-Azhar Conservative Pronouncements: No to the Inheritance of Christian/Jewish Wife from her Muslim Husband - No to the Equality of Testimony Between a Man and a Woman - No to the Restricting the Number of Wives
* Consternation Over Gaddafi's Remarks at Arab Summit
* Intellectuals and Organizations Defend Two Writers against a Fatwa Calling for Their Head
PI 548 - Freedom of Expression or Apostasy
Fatwa Condemning Two Saudi Journalists to Death
March 23, 2008
The battle of ideas between moderates and Salafi ideologues continue. A new fatwa condemning two journalists to death re-ignites the controversy over the conservatives' insistence on legitimizing recourse to violence against all those who disagree with them.
PI 549 - Council of "Supreme Scholars" rejects the Appointment of Women    
March 19, 2008
PI Online examines the politically-charged rationale offered by one of the strongest members of the Saudi Council of "Supreme Scholars" in rejecting the appointment of women
PI 401- The Varied Interpretations of "Jihad" [BOOK REVIEW]    
March 17, 2008
A new book by Maher Al-Sharif takes a rare look at the evolutionary concept of Jihad in Islamic thoughts. In doing so, the author examines three important issues: should Islam only be spread peacefully or violently if necessary; should people be allowed to choose their own religion without recrimination; and should God be the sole judge of religious conduct.
PI 546 - The Religious Transformation of the Palestinian Fight    
March 06, 2008
A report from Gaza brought into focus the often neglected reality of the fanatically religious transformation of the Palestinian fighters. PI Online examines the larger implications through the eyes of a fighter's account.
PI 544 - Two Prominent Sheikhs Speak Out on Women Rights and Freedom of Expression    
February 28, 2008
Sheikh Al-Qarni lashes out against the systemic extortion and subjugation of women by tyrannical male family members in Saudi Arabia and sheikh Al-'Awdah advocates openness towards western culture, warning against what he calls a "closed door" policy. He also advised Muslim women to adopt the clothing habits of the societies in which they reside, including the West, while maintaining a conservative appearance.
[PI 543] Religious Diversity and National Identity    
February 27, 2008
Writer Adel Latifi suggests that, in the absence of national identity, the basis for laws and governance becomes tribal, sectarian and religious. He claims that modernity is slowly imposing an acceptance of religious diversity and calls for Arab leadership to govern its citizens without regard to their religious affiliation.
[PI 541] - The Archbishop's Remarks through Muslim Eyes    
February 19, 2008
How was the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech about allowing Islamic laws in Britain received in the Islamic world?
PI Online examines the mixed reaction of three Islamist writers.
PI 907] Ahmad Kamal Abu al-Magd- Personality of the month - FEB    
February 16, 2008
PI Online presents one of the most respected centrist Islamists in Egypt, known for his quest to institute a dialogue within the Muslim world and avoid a clash of civilizations. His usual optimism and belief in establishing a vibrant and peaceful Political Islam has lately been dampened by what he sees as a total failure on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood to participate constructively in the political process.
[PI 540] Is "Islamic Secularism" an Oxymoron?    
February 05, 2008
What are the challenges facing those advocating the emerging ideology known as "Islamic Secularism" and should Muslims be free to chose the political regime that is most adaptable to the times while remaining faithful to Islam?
[Pi 539] Saudi Woman Writer Speaks Out on Fanaticism    
February 03, 2008
Iman Al-Qahtani addresses the issue of fanaticism in Islam and blames the clerical establishment for misinterpreting the Qur'an and the education system for inflaming the youth. She poses the provocative question whether humans have corrupted the true meaning of the Qur'an throughout the centuries.
[PI 538] How Did Egypt Get Trapped?
Two Opposing Perspectives
January 29, 2008
The situation in Egypt is dangerous enough to warrant serious coordinated efforts by many parties to avert a disaster. PI Online examines two opposing views on the unfolding developments of the Gaza crisis.
[PI 535] Peace in Exchange for the Veil    
January 21, 2008
Writer Ma'mun Fendi considers the veil a public, political manifestation of fanaticism which contributed to Egypt's cultural decline. He blames the late president Sadat for having given birth to that religious phenomenon.
[PI 534] - Unexpected Alliance
The Muslim Brotherhood and the European parliament
January 19, 2008
PI Online examines how two unlikely entities joined forces for a shared cause, as Islamist Muhammad Gamal Hishmat unleashed his criticism at the Egyptian Government.
[PI 533] Al-Qaeda Hijacked - Jihad on the Rise?    
January 17, 2008
Reviewing twenty-years of Jihadi movements since the inception of Al Qaeda in 1988, political analyst Khalil Al-'Anani predicts a new and disturbing transformation of these movements during the coming year.
[PI 530] Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and the Equality of Women    
January 13, 2008
Academician argues that progress and development in Arab and Muslim society cannot be achieved without resolving the role of women in the manner of the twelfth century philosopher Ibn Rushd.
[PI 529] Journalist and Cleric Clash over the Role of Women in Government    
January 04, 2008
A well known Saudi Journalist is under attack by the religious establishment for insinuating that it is acceptable for a woman to head a government in a Muslim country.
[Pi 528] Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Spotlight on Fundamentalism: The Exception or the Norm
January 01, 2008
Most western politicians and analysts make the assumption that violence and fundamentalist governments would only be supported by a very limited portion of the Muslim population. Ma'mun Fendi writing in the daily newspaper asharq al-awsat challenges that conventional wisdom and presents facts in support of his thesis.
[PI 527] Re-Examining Islamic History - A Religious and Political Imperative    
December 29, 2007
It is impossible for the political constitution of Islamic society to remain static for hundreds of years. To resolve that dilemma, a serious review and reinterpretation of some aspects of Islamic history becomes imperative.
[PI 526] Islam and Secularism    
December 19, 2007
The stark contrast between two different perspectives on the interaction between secularism and Islam reveals a serious ideological divide within the Arab/Muslim world.
PI 906 - Perspectives on Jihad    
December 08, 2007
Seven analysts reflect upon Dr. Fadl's re-examination of the Jihadi Movement - Is violent Jihad inherent in Salafi dogma or is it the intersection of dogma and socio-political conditions
PI 904 - Jihad in Foreign Lands and the Ideology of takfir
Moderating Jihadi Activities in Egypt and the World (7-10)
December 05, 2007
Dr. Fadl examines the restrictions imposed on Jihad for Muslims living in foreign countries and the ideology of takfir
[PI 903] Moderating Jihadi Activities in Egypt and the World (4-6) & Initial Reactions    
November 28, 2007
Dr. Fadl points out that ''Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who have not fought you in your faith nor driven you out of your home, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just'' Al-Mumtahinah 8. The debate over his recent manuscript begins.
[PI 902] Moderating Jihadi Activities in Egypt and the World (1 - 3)    
November 25, 2007
Is Dr. Fadl becoming a moderate? He still advocates Jihad but opposes violence. Is it a permanent or a temporary accomodation in position.
PI Online analyzes his most recent, controversial writings.
[PI 901] -The Man Who Once Ruled the ''Islamic Jihad'' Speaks Out
November 19, 2007
Zawahiri criticizes his former companion and secret Emir of the Jihadi movement, Dr. Fadl. - PI Online begins a series analyzing his writings presently being published with an examination of the enigmatic Dr. Fadl .
[PI 522] Turkey - A Disappointment for Islamists    
November 17, 2007
The honeymoon between Islamists and the Turkish government was short lived. Perhaps the Islamists sense that the actions of the Turkish leadership, like the recent visit of the Saudi king to the Vatican, may signal broad rejection of Islamist policies in favor of moderate Islam.
[PI 521] The Tunisian Alternative    
November 15, 2007
Is the Tunisian model to be admired or criticized? The answer seems to lie somewhere in the middle. PI Online examines whether security and democracy can co-exist in the Middle East today.
[PI 519] 'Amr Khaled Message of Hope    
November 04, 2007
An analysis of the style and message of the enormously influential Islamic tele-preacher Amr Khaled
[PI 518] Does ''Citizenship'' Have Meaning in Islam? [ON LANGUAGE]    
November 01, 2007
Qaradawi's linguistic deconstruction of the meaning of ''citizenship'' and ''brotherhood'' within an Islamic framework.
[PI 517] Islamic Jurisprudence and the Recognition of Israel    
October 31, 2007
PI Online examines the religious justification used to legitimize the recognition of Israel.
[PI 516] The Tribe Defies the Ummah    
October 27, 2007
Is the recent rise in tribal loyalties a natural reaction to terrorism or the result of deliberate plan to divide and conquer?
[PI 514] The Political Islamist Meets the Philosopher    
October 20, 2007
Moroccan author Ahmad Al-Raysuni chooses the twelfth century philosopher Ibn Rushd, known in the West as ''Averroes'', to prove that religion and politics can blend. Al-Raysuni either ignored or was unaware of Averroes' philosophy.
[PI B103] Muslim Brotherhood - Crisis at the Top    
October 18, 2007
The leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood declares: ''The Brotherhood's dictionary does not include the word Israel.'' - PI Online examines the clash within the Brotherhood's hierarchy between the dogmatic hardliners and the political pragmatists
[PI 513] ''Muslim Democrats'' and other Positive Changes in the Arab World    
October 17, 2007
Taking an unusually optimist approach, reminiscent of Thomas Friedman, author 'Abdelmoneim Sa'id writing today in Al-Sharq al-awsat, identifies five positive changes in the Arab World.
[PI 511] Violent Takfiri Groups are Back    
October 15, 2007
Radical Islamists belonging to the group of "al-Takfir wal-Hijra" were arrested by the Egyptian authorities. PI Online examines the history behind this radical Salafi group and what these arrests may signify.
[PI 509] A Division within the Muslim Brotherhood?    
October 07, 2007
"YES" to Women and Non-Muslims to hold the office of the Presidency and "NO" to an oversight supreme religious body. Rather than resolving the controversial issues, two leading personalities within the Muslim Brotherhood raise further questions.
[PI 508] Are the Arab Islamist Movements in Decline?    
October 06, 2007
An analysis of the Islamists' experiences in Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Morocco by Khalil Al-'Anani. The author discusses the problems and consequences of movements in trouble.
[PI 507] A Shi'a Concept Conveniently Adopted by Sunni Political Movements    
October 04, 2007
[ON LANGUAGE] - Author Wahid 'Abdel-Meguid, in his article entitled "The Religious Marja'iyyah ...the Islamic Movements' Impasse," discusses how the Brotherhood misuses a label suggesting harmony between religion and state for its platform that disregards the sovereignty of the state and its democratic foundation.
[PI 505] The New Egyptian Brotherhood Platform: Iran, Taliban or Erdogan Style ?    
September 27, 2007
The just announced Egyptian Brotherhood party platform is analyzed by Khalil Al-'Anani. PI Online examines the analysis.
[PI B101] Sunnis Saving Face in Lebanon    
September 25, 2007
The Sunni hierarchy in Lebanon felt humiliated by the devastating results of its failure to challenge such an extreme group as Fath Al-Islam early on. This weekend they tried to remedy the situation.
[PI 801] Web-Street reactions to the condemnation of Bin-Ladin by an prominent Islamist Sheikh    
September 24, 2007
An analysis of 1052 messages in response to sheikh Al-'Awdah's letter condemning Bin Ladin which were collected and filtered from numerous websites by PI Online show that it may be possible to generate a credible debate by appealing to logical arguments advanced by influential religious writers.
[PI 601] Two Muslim Scholars turn on the rhetoric against two factions of Al-Qaida    
September 22, 2007
Is there a coordinated effort among respected and relatively moderate Muslim scholars to condemn and undermine the violence and fanaticism exemplified by Al-Qaida? Two open letters by Al-Qaradawi and Al-'Awdah seem to suggest so, however it remains to be seen whether this is a sustained effort or short-lived rhetoric.
[PI 502] Political Islam and the Un-Turkish Experience    
September 21, 2007
Author Mshari Al-Zaydi rejects the Islamists' characterization of the victory achieved by the conservative AK Party in Turkey as a political win for Islamic fundamentalism, a claim he considers unfounded.
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