Current Trends in Islamic Ideology

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Edited by Hillel Fradkin Husain Haqqani Eric Brown

Volume 3
Center on Islam, Democracy, and The Future of the Muslim World

Copyright © 2006 by Hudson Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in Washington, D.C. by Kirby Lithographic Company, Inc.

About the Hudson Institute
Hudson Institute is a non-partisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. We challenge conventional thinking and help manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary and collaborative studies in defense, international relations, economics, culture, science, technology, and law. Through publications, conferences and policy recommendations, we seek to guide global leaders in government and business. Since our founding in 1961 by the brilliant futurist Herman Kahn, Hudson’s perspective has been uniquely future-oriented and optimistic. Our research has stood the test of time in a world dramatically transformed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, and the advent of radicalism within Islam. Because Hudson sees the complexities within societies, we focus on the often-overlooked interplay among culture, demography, technology, markets, and political leadership. Our broad-based approach has, for decades, allowed us to present well-timed recommendations to leaders in government and business. For more information, visit

Introduction Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam

1 5 10 24

India’s Islamist Groups Democracy, Elections and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ISRAEL ELAD-ALTMAN

The Zawahiri Letter and the Strategy of Al-Qaeda

38 52 67 78 89
114 119

The Preacher and the Jihadi The Rising Tide of Islamism in Bangladesh MANEEZA HOSSAIN

Islam Hadhari in Malaysia

The Jihadist Threat in France
New Books on Islam and Radical Islam in 2005 Contributors and Editors



N A RECENT EDITORIAL THAT APPEARED IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia’s former president and the former head of the Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization in the world, gave a far-ranging and detailed account of what he views as the “global struggle for the soul of Islam.” Wahid described what he sees as the current state of that struggle, especially the strength of extremist ideology, the sources of that strength, the great dangers to which both the Muslim and non-Muslim world are exposed, and the tasks to which these dangers oblige us. We recommend this article, which we’ve re-published in this issue of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, to very serious reading and reflection. Here, we will limit ourselves to noting only one of the tasks mentioned by Wahid: “we must identify [the] advocates of [this virulent ideology], understand their goals and strategies [and] evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.” Nothing better describes the purpose of this journal. In accord with Wahid’s emphasis on the truly global character of the radical Islamist movement, we have aimed to provide the broadest possible coverage in this journal. In this, the third, issue we continue that practice with four articles that have a regional or national focus, ranging from South and Southeast Asia (India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh) to Western Europe (France). Another set of articles focuses on the greater Middle East and, in particular, what has emerged as the main axes of ideological discussion within Islamism and radical Islam. With regard to the latter, it is worthwhile observing that there are several main lines of thought as well as action that now often vie with one another for predominance within the worldwide Islamist movement. The debate among these disparate ideological trends is often fierce, and serves to provide an overall framework for...
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