Det egyptiske valg:

Hvad med salafisterne?


KAIRO (21.06.2012): I disse dage fokuserer vi meget på Det muslimske Broderskab i Egypten. Det er kun naturligt. De vandt parlamentsvalget tidligere på året, og nu står det til også at kunne vinde præsidentposten. Sker det, kan de også forme Egyptens næste regering samt beslutte, hvordan landets nye forfatning skal se ud. Derfor er det naturligvis ikke underligt, at vi på den måde forsøger at forstå, hvad det er, der foregår i dette land, der har så stor betydning for, hvad der vil ske i resten af den arabiske verden.

 
 

Men hvad vi så, i vores fokuseren på Det muslimske Broderskab nogle gange overser, er, at ved det samme parlamentsvalg fik de mere yderligtgående islamister, salafisterne, omkring 25% af pladserne i parlamentet. Det var i virkeligheden valgets helt store overraskelse.

Under optakten til præsidentvalget besluttede salafisterne at give deres støtte til  Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fatouh, som oprindelig selv kommer fra Det muslimske Broderskab. Han brød med bevægelsen, da den ikke ville opstille ham som præsidentkandidat. Salafisternes støtte var sikkert mere taktisk. Et forsøg på at trække stemmer væk fra Broderskabets kandidat. Mohammed Mursi, deres virkelige rival. For skal man tro de ting, Abou el-Fatouh under valgkampen sagde om sig selv, så har han ændret sig, og forsøger at lægge distance til Broderskabet og bevæge sig ind mod den mere veluddannede, moderne, liberale midterdel af befolkningen – altså væk fra salafisterne.

Under alle omstændigheder så kom Abou el-Fatouh kun ind på fjerdepladsen ved præsidentvalgets første runde, så han er ikke længere med. Hvad betyder det for salafisterne? Hvad bliver deres næste træk? Hvilken retning vil de gå i? Og hvordan vil de reagere på militærets og ”systemets” manipuleren med det politiske system?

Zack Gold forsøger i sin artikel i Foreign Affairs at nærme sig svar på nogle af disse spørgsmål. Ikke nok, synes jeg selv, men artiklen er i det mindste også en interessant gennemgang af en vis del af den egyptiske valgkamp, om end den er skrevet inden de sidste tvister med Forfatningsdomstolen, der har fyret parlamentet, og Militårrådet som har tømt præsidentembedet for en del af dets magtbeføjelser. Nogle træk der også kunne tænkes at få visse mere yderligtgående elementer iblandt salafisterne til at handle, kunne man tro. Men det graver andre eksperter forhåbentlig ned i ved et senere lejlighed.

 
 
Salafisterne overraskede ved parlamentsvalget, hvor de endte med at få omkring 25% af pladserne.

Hvad er salafismen?
Lige inden Zack Gold’s artikel et par ord om, hvem salafisterne er.

Salafisterne er, kunne man sige, fundamentalisternes fundamentalister indenfor Islam. Deres udgangspunkt er at gå tilbage til de alleførste muslimer – salaf betyder ”forfædre” eller ”forgængerne” – som salafisterne anser for mere ideelle og rettroende muslimer, hvis livssyn og levevis senere generationer skal efterligne.

Man kunne sagtens gå tilbage til tidligere tiders islam, og så finde mere moderate, tolerante, fremskridtsvillige fortolkninger af islams leveregler, men det gør salafisterne sjældent eller næsten aldrig. Tværtimod sætter de ofte lighedstegn mellem det tidlige/oprindelige og det strengest mulige og mest fanatiske, og deres fortolkning har også tendens til at afvise alt, der ikke oprinder i den islamiske tankeverden – i særdeleshed anses det for særdeles farligt og satanisk, hvis det kommer fra Vesten. Traditionelt set har salafisterne altid ligget tæt på de saudiske wahabister, som også hører til blandt de mest yderligtgående og ubøjelige blandt de islamistiske hardlinere, og derfor er det heller ikke overraskende, at salafisterne ofte er tæt på Al Qaeda og lignende militante islamister.

Der er salafistiske tænkere, der går imod terrorisme og drab på uskyldige civile, men deres tanker har ikke den store effekt på, hvordan andre mere aktivistiske salafister vælger at omsætte deres tros strenghed til virkelighed.

Indtil videre har salafisternes strenghed mest haft halvkomiske resultater i Egypten. For eksempel var de tvunget til at opstille kvindelige kandidater til parlamentsvalget, for det kræver loven. Men mens portrætter af kandidaten prydede alle valgplakater af mandlige salafister, så havde alle de kvindelige kandidaters plakater et billede af en blomst. Det ville valgkommissionen ikke acceptere. En valgplakat skulle vise et billede af en person. Herefter kom en ny version af salafisternes plakater for kvindelige kandidater op med et foto af kvindens ægtemand.

 
 
Det skræmmer mange, når islamisterne under demonstrationer råber, at Koranen skal være Egyptens grundlov.

Men salafisternes fremkomst og popularitet er mere end en grinagtig vittighed.

I Tunesien, som ellers har fået en moderat islamistisk regering, har salafisternes fremkomst allerede haft mere alvorlige konsekvenser. Flere tunesiske storbyer er i de seneste dage blevet hærget af vold i forbindelse med salafistiske demonstrationer, og regeringen har indtil videre erklæret et dagligt udgangsforbud. Salafisterne protesterede imod en kunstudstilling, som de mener, er en hån imod islam.

Udstillingen som bliver vist i et galleri i et af Tunis’ overklassekvarterer, viser angiveligt et værk, som viser et af Allah’s navne, skrevet med en streg som udgøres af insekter. Et andet billede viser en nøgen kvinde, med langskæggede mænd stående bagved.

Det har ført til de værste uroligheder siden revolutionen, der væltede præsident Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for mere end et år siden. Salafisterne smed sten og brandbomber ind i politistationer, retsbygninger og imod kontorer for nogle af landets ikke-religiøse politiske partier. Urolighederne har kostet en person livet, og flere end 100 er blevet såret her iblandt 65 politifolk.

Moderne, veluddannede, sekulære tunesere, kunstnere og intellektuelle advarer om et anslag imod ytringsfriheden og den kunstneriske frihed i et demokratisk samfund, mens den radikale imam Abou Ayoub opfordrer til flere aktioner.

”Siden Ben Ali’s fald har de vantro ikke ophørt med at håne os og vores religion, og det bliver værre dag for dag. Troende muslimer må rejse sig i protest efter fredagsbønnen imod dem, der håner islam”, siger imamen. Sidste år opfordrede han også troende muslimer til at angribe en TV-station efter den havde vist tegnefilmen ”Persepolis”.

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Her kommer Zack Gold’s artikel fra Foreign Affairs. Du kan også læse den direkte på det amerikanske tidsskrifts egen hjemmeside, ved at klikke her.

Læs også her på hjemmesiden artiklen "Hvad med salafisterne" fra juni 2012 om situationen efter det egyptiske valg.

 


 

 

 
 

 


Where the Salafists Go From Here?

Why the Islamists Will Not Compromise

 

By Zack Gold
Foreign Affairs
June 5, 2012

Throughout the spring, many analysts covering Egypt’s presidential elections argued that Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fatouh, a Muslim Brotherhood leader until last summer, would at least secure a place in any runoff round, if not win it. In the months leading up to the vote, Abou el-Fatouh appeared to have captured a broad coalition of supporters, including several Salafi parties, which, this past January, had won a surprising 25 percent of the seats in Egypt’s new parliament. Yet their expected electoral power never materialized. Meanwhile, Abou el-Fatouh’s popularity faded, and he placed a distant fourth in the first round of voting on May 23 and 24.

Abou el-Fatouh’s downfall disappointed his many supporters, from secular revolutionaries to Christians and former Brotherhood youth. But it represented a particular defeat for the Salafi parties. They compromised their principles to back him, and his loss will likely discourage such pragmatism in the future.

From the beginning, Abou el-Fatouh attracted a diverse array of supporters. After he announced his candidacy in May 2011, the Brotherhood expelled him for violating its policy, at that time, of not fielding a contender. Even so, he retained the sympathy of many youth figures in the organization, who saw him as a champion [2] for much-needed reform. Some even risked expulsion to endorse his campaign. As one of the first Brotherhood leaders to join the Egyptian revolution, Abou el-Fatouh also enjoyed the backing of many secular activists. And some Christians supported him in hopes that he would take a more moderate position than the Brotherhood or the Salafis on the role of religion in the state.

 
 

But Abou el-Fatouh’s real break came in April, when Egypt’s election commission disqualified Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, an independent Islamist, and Khairat al-Shater, a deputy guide in the Brotherhood, from the race. For non-Brotherhood Islamists, Abou el-Fatouh and the underwhelming Mohamed Morsi became the only viable candidates to support. And despite being Islamist groups with similar hopes of making Egypt a state governed by sharia, the Brotherhood and the Salafi parties often disagree on how best to achieve those goals. Whereas the Brotherhood has called for the gradual introduction of Islamic law as a frame of reference for legislation enacted by the state, the Salafis have advocated for its immediate implementation as an actual code of law, complete with Koranic penal regulations. Seeing themselves as purists, the Salafis have argued that the Brotherhood is tainted by years of participating in politics and tacitly cooperating with the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Unwilling to back a Brotherhood candidate, the two largest Salafi factions -- the Nour party, which holds the second-largest bloc in parliament, and the Building and Development party -- chose to back Abou el-Fatouh. This decision appeared to be more about politics than principle. Although a Brotherhood president would more likely move Egypt in the direction that the Salafis seek, they had more to gain politically by playing kingmaker to an independent Islamist candidate than by remaining in the shadow of the Brotherhood.

At first, the Salafi endorsement appeared to make Abou el-Fatouh one of the strongest candidates in the race. As Shadi Hamid, a Brookings Institution scholar, has noted [3], Abou el-Fatouh's campaign was a "big-tent movement" because everyone from the Islamists to the revolutionaries saw him for what they wanted him to be rather than for what he actually was. But his diverse coalition quickly began to dissolve. In a debate with him, Amr Moussa, the former secretary-general of the Arab League and another presumptive front-runner in the race, repeatedly called his rival a flip-flopper, accusing him of being “a Salafi with the Salafis and a liberal with liberals.” As Moussa attacked from the left, telling secular voters that the ex-Brotherhood official was really an Islamic radical, the Brotherhood’s spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, attacked from the right, claiming that Abou el-Fatouh was not Islamic enough [4].

 
 

Under this pressure, Abou el-Fatouh’s momentum collapsed. As his candidacy receded, the two most polarizing candidates, the Brotherhood’s Morsi and a former Egyptian air force commander, Ahmed Shafiq, took almost half the vote combined, and both moved on to the runoff election. Their success demonstrated that Egypt has yet to form a coherent political center. Although Abou el-Fatouh attracted a wide variety of constituents, those constituents did not rally around a unified agenda so much as choose the most palatable candidate, an unsustainable formula. In many ways, the Salafis had staked their endorsement of Abou el-Fatouh on their ability to mobilize conservative voters to support the more centrist candidate. To a large extent, Salafi voters either backed Morsi or simply stayed home [5]. The recognition that the Salafi bloc could not sway them to Abou el-Fatouh will likely alter its strategy dramatically.

As the Salafi parties now realize, their endorsement of Abou el-Fatouh, however politically practical, alienated their base. Salafi voters did not display any enthusiasm for backing a candidate with whom they strongly disagree on a number of issues. Salafi parties either wrongly assumed that their adherents would follow the party line, or else did a poor job of explaining why they should vote for Abou el-Fatouh. Recognizing that Egypt’s Islamic conservatives will not sacrifice religious goals for political expedience, it is likely that the Salafi parties will avoid similar compromises in the future.

In fact, the Salafi factions are already shedding the language of political pragmatism. Failed candidates and their parties have attempted to win promises and concessions from the two front-runners before declaring their new allegiances. Abou el-Fatouh himself presented Morsi with a four-point plan that would help the Brotherhood address concerns over its monopolization of Egyptian politics, and the secular parties conditioned their support on the acceptance of several of their own conditions, such as a coalition that includes all political forces. But the Salafi parties backed Morsi without any such requests. Shaaban Abdel Latif, a leader of al-Nour, went so far as to say that it was not worth negotiating with the candidates for the party’s endorsement: Backing Morsi, the Islamist candidate, was a religious obligation [6].

To be sure, Salafi political parties will work [7] with a non-Islamist president and remain open to working with other factions. But they are likely to do so only to advance their religious agenda. If they can strike deals on issues that matter less to them, such as relations with the United States and Israel, in order to influence Egyptian policy on education, social programming, or religious policies, then they can justify such bargains to their constituents without losing support. Beyond that, however, the Salafis will likely avoid compromise for the sake of gaining political power, hampering the rise of a pragmatic political center.


 

Links:
[1] https://twitter.com/#!/ZLGold
[2] http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/06/world/la-fg-egypt-brotherhood-expelled-20110706
[3] http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/09/man_for_all_seasons_fotouh_egypt
[4] http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentPrint/36/0/41209/Presidential-elections-/0/Muslim-Brotherhood-and-AbulFotouh-exchange-fire-.aspx
[5] http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/where-did-votes-salafis-go
[6] http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/nour-party-leader-support-morsy-runoff-not-negotiable
[7] http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/nour-party-head-rejects-calls-protest-if-shafiq-elected-president

 


http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137675/zack-gold/where-the-salafis-go-from-here?page=show

 

 
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