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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Is the American Enterprise Institute - AEI -going Islamist? Scholars Muravchik and Sommers collaborate with terror linked CSID

Is the American Enterprise Institute - AEI -going Islamist? Scholars Muravchik and Sommers collaborate with terror linked CSID

June 19, 2007

AEI resident scholars Joshua Muravchik and Christina Hoff Sommers -Muravchik wrote that his membership at CSID and involvement with Islamists there was justified because they gave "the likes of me" a platform.
Resident Scholar Joshua Muravchik

Is The American Enterprise Institute - AEI - Going Islamist?

Resident scholars collaborate with terror linked CSID

By Beila Rabinowitz and William Mayer

June 19, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The American Enterprise Institute's mission statement is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism…foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate."

So why are AEI resident scholars Joshua Muravchik and Christina Hoff Sommers working with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy [CSID] a Saudi-funded think tank which has the goal of spreading Wahabbist totalitarianism and implementing Shari'a by exploiting the democratic process?

According to the CSID's website:

"The Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) is a non-profit organization, based in Washington DC, dedicated to studying Islamic and democratic political thought and merging them into a modern Islamic democratic discourse…we work to produce scholarship that clarifies to what extent such Western principles are halal (permissable) from an Islamic standpoint (i.e., based on the Quran, the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhamad (saw), and other essential components of the Islamic tradition) in the hope that this will spread knowledge in the Muslim community and better equip it to deal with today's challenges..." [source http://www.islam-democracy.org/about.asp]

The CSID is one arm of the International Institute for Islamic Thought [IIIT] an Islamist enterprise.

According to Dr. Daniel Pipes:

"Most of CSID's Muslim personnel are radicals. I brought one such person in particular, Kamran Bokhari, to the attention of USIP's leadership. Mr. Bokhari is a fellow at CSID; as such, he is someone CSID's board of directors deems an expert "with high integrity and a good reputation." As a fellow, Mr. Bokhari may participate in the election of CSID's board of directors. He is, in short, integral to the CSID.

Mr. Bokhari also happens to have served for years as the North American spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, perhaps the most extreme Islamist group operating in the West. For example, it celebrated the first anniversary of 9/11 with a conference titled," Towering Day in History." [source http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1659]

Other terror tied CSID members include board member Taher Jaber al-Alwani [named in a indictment as part of Operation Greenquest, the Treasury Department's investigation into terror funding mechanisms]. Additionally, CSID's founding member and former director Louay Safi was head of research at the IIIT when it was raided by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Safi is now the executive director of the Islamic Leadership Development Center of the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] which was recently named as an unindicted co-conspirator by the U.S. government [along with the North American Islamic Trust [NAIT] CSID's partnering organization] in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding prosecution.

Jamal Barzinji aka Barazanji was a CSID board member in 2003 and was an officer in the Safa network targeted by Operation Greenquest. In a bizarre twist, jailed soon to be deported Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, professor Sami Al Arian refused to testify against the IIIT on the grounds his life would be endangered.

Former CSID webmaster Jani Syed aka Jani Hussain did his graduate work with Sami Al Arian complaining that his studies were "greatly interrupted" by his mentor's arrest.

By collaborating with Islamist individuals and organizations AEI scholars Muravchik and Sommers are granting them legitimacy and allowing them to morally equate AEI's classical liberalism with cultural jihad.

On April 27th Sommers was a scheduled speaker at the CSID's eighth annual conference in the presence of people such as Alejandro J. Beutel from the Minaret of Freedom Institute, whose director, Imad Ad-Dean Ahmad spoke at a 2001 terror summit in Beirut where he was photographed with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, the former head of the American Muslim Council [AMC] who was jailed for 23 years of terrorism charges. Ad Dean Ahmad was a speaker at the 2004 and 2006 CSID conferences. Both Muravchik [and Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy, NED] participated in the 2006 event. [http://www.minaret.org/beirutconference.htm]

The AMC and CSID have worked together on various projects such as a February 2001 letter to President Bush which explained that Israel was to blame for all the problems in the Middle East and that it was necessary for the United States to "improve relations" with Iran and Libya.

"American uncritical and unlimited support for Israel is hurting our interests in the Muslim World. In the 21st century, no people can be expected to live submissively under a military occupation that has lasted more than 30 years…A measure of rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran would not only help U.S. interests in the region, but also improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim World." [source http://www.islam-democracy.org/documents/pdf/LetterToPresident-Whole.pdf]

AEI scholar Joshua Muravchik's membership in the CSID is intellectually and ethically indefensible. [source http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarID.42,filter.all/scholar.asp]

Muravchik has not only belligerently defended his [and National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman's] collaboration with the CSID, he has attacked Dr. Daniel Pipes for exposing the group's radical Islamist agenda. The CSID is partially financed by NED and their office director Obaida Fares is doing an internship there.

In a disingenuous piece titled "Pipes vs.Gershman" Muravchik attacked Dr.Pipes for criticizing Carl Gershman, the head of the National Endowment for Democracy [a government funded grant-making organization] for speaking at a CSID function and preceded to explain what he saw as the redeeming social value of talking with Islamists.

"…I don't buy Pipes's take on the CSID or his criticism of Gershman for involvement with it. I myself am a member of CSID and spoke at its 2006 conference. In addition to speaking, I attended the entire weekend. I found it an interesting mix…" [source http://www.commentarymagazine.com/contentions/index.php/muravchik/503]

Whether Muravchik "buys Pipes's take" on the CSID is irrelevant…the facts speak for themselves.

What Muravchik characterizes as an "interesting mix" entails the granting of legitimacy to radical Muslims which serves to place them on equal moral footing with supporters of Western democratic principles.

Muravchik concludes his piece by asking "What sense does it make to anathematize them [the CSID] as consorting with the enemy?"

The answer to Muravchik's question appears obvious to everyone but him, it's only prudent to "anathematize" the CSID because they are part of a Wahhabist enterprise..

The question that needs to be asked is why two resident scholars of the American Enterprise Institute would participate in Islamist conferences [populated with radicals such as Imad Ad Dean Ahmad, Kamran Bokhari and Louay Safi] and in the case of Murvachik, lamely attempt to justify his [and Gershman's] presence there on the grounds that the CSID also invites "the likes of me."

Scholars at the American Enterprise Institute think tank should at the very least, be expected to exercise due diligence before collaborating with institutions and organizations whose goals may be antithetical to its mandate. Rather then repudiate the CSID Muravchik criticized Dr. Daniel Pipes for exposing their radical Islamist agenda.

Instead of attacking the messenger for exposing the false moderation of the CSID, Joshua Muravchik and Christina Hoff Sommers should be called to account by AEI donors to explain why they are aiding and abetting the Islamist enemy while betraying the American and democratic values which the AEI claims to promote.


MIM: Muravchik denies the facts in his justification of his membership and collaboration with the CSID and Gershman's patronage of the Saudi funded Islamist group.

Pipes v. Gershman

Posted by Joshua Muravchik on June 6, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

My idea of uncomfortable is having one of my heroes attack another. That is how I felt when I read Daniel Pipes's charge that Carl Gershman was among "government figures [who] wrong-headedly insist on consorting with the enemy." Pipes is a prolific Middle East expert and indefatigable opponent of jihadism (as well as a longtime contributor to COMMENTARY) from whose writings I have profited greatly. Gershman is the president of the National Endowment for Democracy (and another valued contributor).

Pipes's case against Gershman is that the NED supports the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) and that Gershman himself spoke at its 2004 annual conference.

For all my admiration of Pipes, I think his attack on Gershman is off-base. For starters, Gershman is not a "government figure." The NED is funded by Congress, but it is privately incorporated, and Gershman is chosen by its board of mostly private citizens, not by any branch of the government. This is not a nit, because the NED's effectiveness depends on this modest margin of separation from the government.

More importantly, I don't buy Pipes's take on the CSID or his criticism of Gershman for involvement with it. I myself am a member of CSID and spoke at its 2006 conference. In addition to speaking, I attended the entire weekend. I found it an interesting mix. It included Islamists or Islamist-sympathizers who called themselves democrats. It also included liberals whose democratic credentials were not in question.

Its keynote speaker was Laith Kubha of Gershman's NED (the same man who was for a time spokesman for the Iraqi government). His speech was remarkable. Its main theme? How Iraqis, instead of focusing on what America did wrong in Iraq, should confront what they themselves did wrong. It was certainly not what one would expect to hear at a jihadist gathering, and it went over well. I share Pipes's suspicion of Islamists who profess democracy. But I don't expect genuine Muslim democrats to blackball Islamists who call themselves democrats. I expect them to argue with them. Which is exactly what was going on at the CSID conference. (Not to mention that the CSID puts the likes of me on its programs.)

Pipes has argued cogently that the solution to extremist Islam is moderate Islam. (I don't like the term "moderate Islam," but that is for another occasion.) The CSID looked to me precisely like an arena in which "moderates" were confronting Islamists. What sense does it make to anathematize that as "consorting with the enemy?"



MIM: Dr.Daniel Pipes on the CSID


The U.S. Institute of Peace Stumbles

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
March 23, 2004

Last week, I became a whistleblower. (According to Merriam-Webster, a whistleblower is someone "who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.")

This is not a role I expected or sought, but I felt compelled to go public when the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington, D.C., the taxpayer-funded organization to whose board President Bush appointed me, insisted on co-hosting an event with a group closely associated with radical Islam.

That group is the Washington-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy; the event was a workshop that took place — over my strenuous objections — on March 19.

Kamran Bokhari, formerly of Al-Muhajiroun, now welcome at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Most of CSID's Muslim personnel are radicals. I brought one such person in particular, Kamran Bokhari, to the attention of USIP's leadership. Mr. Bokhari is a fellow at CSID; as such, he is someone CSID's board of directors deems an expert "with high integrity and a good reputation." As a fellow, Mr. Bokhari may participate in the election of CSID's board of directors. He is, in short, integral to the CSID.

Mr. Bokhari also happens to have served for years as the North American spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, perhaps the most extreme Islamist group operating in the West. For example, it celebrated the first anniversary of 9/11 with a conference titled," Towering Day in History." It celebrated the second anniversary by hailing "The Magnificent 19." Its Web site currently features a picture of the U.S. Capitol building exploding. (If the site changes, an archived copy is available.)

Nor is Al-Muhajiroun's evil restricted to words and pictures. Its London-based leader, Omar bin Bakri Muhammad, has acknowledged recruiting jihadists to fight in such hotspots as Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. At least one Al-Muhajiroun member went to Israel to engage in suicide terrorism. Al-Muhajiroun appears to be connected to one of the 9/11 hijackers, Hani Hanjour.

USIP's indirect association with Al-Muhajiroun has many pernicious consequences. Perhaps the most consequential of these is the legitimacy USIP inadvertently confers on Mr. Bokhari and CSID, permitting radicals to pass themselves off as moderates.

That legitimation follows an assumption that USIP carefully vetted CSID before working with it. But USIP did nothing of the sort.

When its leadership insisted on working with CSID, it explained its reasons: "The CSID is assessed by relevant government organizations and credible NGOs supported by the Administration to be an appropriate organization for involvement in publicly funded projects organized by both the government and NGOs, including the Institute."

Translated from bureaucratese, this says: "Others have worked with CSID, so why not us?"

But such buck-passing means that in fact no one does due diligence — each organization relies on those that came before. Once in the door, a disreputable organization like CSID acquires a mainstream aura.

Or it does until its true identity becomes clear. Over and over again, branches of the American government have been embarrassed by their blindness to jihadist Islam.

  • Ask the presidential candidate who had himself photographed smiling side-by-side with an Islamist who soon after was imprisoned for terrorist activities.
  • Ask the U.S. military, which has arrested or convicted at least seven Islamists for criminal activity connected to jihad.
  • Ask the New York State prison system, which recently awoke up to the fact that one of its chaplains announced that God had inflicted 9/11 as punishment on the wicked — and the victims got what they deserved.
  • Ask the mayor of Boston who had city land sold to the Islamic Society of Boston for less than 10% of market value, only to learn later that the organization is closely associated with one jihadi extremist banned from entering America, another sitting in federal prison, and a third who welcomes suicide bombings against Israelis as "glad tidings."

In all these cases, no one was minding the store. The lesson is simple but burdensome: each governmental institution must do its own research.

In the war on terror, it is not enough to deploy the police and the military; it is just as necessary to recognize and reject those who develop the ideas that eventually lead to violence. The American government needs to wake up to those elements in its midst whose allegiance in the war on terror is on the other side.

Response from the USIP

Subject: Center for Islam and Democracy
From: Kay King
To: xxxx
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Dear xxxx:

Dr. Richard Solomon asked me to respond to your e-mail regarding the Institute's March 19 workshop on "Ijtihad: Reinterpreting Islamic Principles for the 21st Century," which we co-sponsored with the Center for Islam and Democracy (CSID).

The purpose of the workshop was to provide an occasion for Muslim scholars committed to the reform of Islam and the advancement of a moderate Islamic agenda to address some of the most troublesome obstacles to adapting Islam for life in the 21st century, with implications for the status of women, the role of democracy in the Muslim world, and the nature of interfaith relations. The panelists, who are well established and highly regarded moderate Muslim scholars, presented very thoughtful and reformist positions. We invite you to view the event on our website at http://www.usip.org/events/2004/0319wksislam.html.

The Institute was aware of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of the speakers at the event. These allegations were investigated carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government agencies and found to be without merit. The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo.

The speakers invited to the event have well-established records of promoting moderate Islamic perspectives, advocating democracy within the Muslim world, and opposing terrorism. One speaker, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, was invited by President Bush to lead a Muslim prayer at the Interfaith Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral after 9/11. He is also the leading Muslim participant in the Catholic/Muslim dialogue with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has been very actively involved in other interfaith projects.

CSID, which co-sponsored the event, is judged by senior officials at the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, who have spoken from CSID's platform, to be a moderate organization dedicated to promoting Islamic reform and the establishment of democracy in Muslim countries. It strongly opposes dictatorship everywhere in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

With regard to the concern about Kamran Bokhari, this individual was not involved in the March 19 workshop in any way. He severed his ties to the al-Muhajiroun organization five years ago, prior to joining CSID, and has publicly denounced terrorism and political violence.

The Institute, in accordance with its Congressional mandate, and as requested by the Administration, is focusing on the full range of issues associated with relations between the United States on the one hand, and the varied countries of the Muslim world on the other hand. Institute programming does not represent endorsement of particular views. Our events intentionally bring together those of differing perspectives to highlight critical issues and provide guidance to policymakers. That said, there are clear limits regarding whom we will allow to use the Institute's podium. Advocates of violence are among those we would refuse to provide a platform.

Again, we appreciate your having taken the time to contact us with your concerns.

Kay King
Director, Congressional and Public Affairs
U.S. Institute of Peace


March 31, 2004 update: For my response to this letter and further information, see my weblog entry, "The USIP Responds to My Critique."



MIM: Journalist Kenneth Timmerman also wrote about the CSID's radical Islamist ties.

Pipes Objects to Fox in the Henhouse

by Kenneth R. Timmerman
Insight Magazine
March 19, 2004

The congressionally funded United States Institute of Peace will host an event today in Washington on reforming Islam, with a guest panelist who has threatened the United States and openly supported terrorist groups, Insight has learned.

Among the guests in this afternoon's panel discussion is Muzammil Siddiqi, who until November 2001 was president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a leading Wahhabi front organization in the United States. Wahhabism is a radical form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia and advocated by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his terrorist leaders.

Siddiqi has accompanied visiting Saudi officials from the Muslim World League on fund-raising tours across America, and is listed on its Website as the organization's official representative in the United States. Offices of the Muslim World League in Herndon, Va., were raided by a federal antiterrorism task force in March 2002 because of suspected ties to al-Qaeda.

During an anti-Israel rally outside the White House on Oct. 28, 2000, Siddiqi openly threatened the United States with violence if it continued its support of Israel. "America has to learn ... if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? ... If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come." By "injustice," he meant U.S. support for Israel.

Siddiqi also has called for a wider application of sharia law in the United States, and in a 1995 speech praised suicide bombers. "Those who die on the part of justice are alive, and their place is with the Lord, and they receive the highest position, because this is the highest honor," he was quoted as saying by the Kansas City Star on Jan. 28, 1995.

A Bush appointee to the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) says he must distance himself from today's event because it associates the USIP with groups "on the wrong side in the war on terrorism." USIP board member Daniel Pipes tells Insight that, in addition to his objection to Siddiqi, he has warned the USIP about the presence of the U.S. spokesman of al-Muhajiroun, a London-based group that claims to be recruiting jihadis for a worldwide "Mohammed's army" faithful to bin Laden.

Pipes tells Insight: "I believe that President [George W.] Bush appointed me to the USIP board in part to serve as a watchdog against militant Islamic groups. Unfortunately the management of USIP is not listening to my advice. I cannot be associated with the event today which associates USIP with some of the very worst militant Islamic groups."

Kay King, a spokesperson for USIP Chairman Richard Solomon, said USIP was "not aware of the allegations about Siddiqi, and we will look into them." However, she pointed out that Siddiqi "has attended Bush administration events with the president, and was invited to lead a prayer" at the national prayer breakfast following the September 11 attacks.

The March 19 event is cohosted by USIP and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), a U.S.-based group that was created by board members and former staff of the American Muslim Council (AMC), a radical pro-Saudi group that largely ceased operations after its former chairman, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, was jailed last October on terrorist-related charges.

Pipes raised his concerns with USIP Chairman Chester Crocker and President Richard Solomon over the "extremist nature of CSID itself" starting last November. In addition to board members and an executive director who shifted over to the new group from AMC, Pipes pointed out that CSID fellow Kamran Bokhari has ties to al-Muhajiroun, an al-Qaeda support group. Until last year, Bokhari was the self-acknowledged North American spokesman for al-Muhajiroun.

Insight reported on the group's first anniversary "celebration" of the 9/11 attacks, held at the radical Finsbury mosque in London, where al-Muhajiroun showed off a poster that portrayed a burning World Trade Center under attack and called September 11 "a towering day in history."

At the group's second anniversary 9/11 "celebration," its members distributed a poster with photographs of all 19 hijackers, calling them "the magnificent 19."

CSID "fellows" are not research assistants, but integral members of the leadership of the organization. According to a copy of the CSID bylaws Insight has obtained, CSID fellows are responsible for electing the group's board of directors. All board members must first be fellows.

Bokhari has issued a statement denouncing political violence and al-Qaeda, and referred to himself as a "former Islamist activist." But given his leadership role with al-Muhajiroun, Pipes says, such statements were "deeply insufficient to rehabilitate him ... or make him someone suitable to be associated with USIP."

Pipes first raised concerns over the planned event in November, when the USIP initially had invited Taha Jaber Al-Alwani to speak on a panel to discuss reforming Islam. Al-Alwani was publicly identified in an affidavit by U.S. Customs special agent David Kane, unsealed just weeks earlier, as a director of "Safa Group companies including International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), FIQH council of North America, Graduate School of Islamic & Social Sciences ... and Heritage Education Trust."

The IIIT offices were raided in March 2002 as part of Operation Greenquest, a joint federal antiterrorism task force. IIIT has received money and sponsorship from the government of Saudi Arabia, and according to the affidavit had sponsored Basheer Nafi, "an active directing member of [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] front organizations" in the United States.

Following Pipes' objection, the USIP postponed the initial event and canceled its invitation to Al-Alwani to join the panel discussion, but continued to work with CSID despite Pipes' claims that the group included among its leadership individuals who were on the "wrong side" in the war on terror.

USIP spokesperson Kay King says the institute has "done due diligence" on CSID and found the group to be "moderate" and "responsible."

"We know that CSID has gotten grants form the State Department and from the National Endowment for Democracy," she said. "They are an organization that has been found appropriate by U.S. government agencies."

CSID showcases moderate Muslim thinkers such as professor Abdulaziz Sachedina of the University of Virginia. However, many board members have either led or worked for groups that were targets of a federal antiterrorist task force raid in March 2002.

CSID founding board member Jamal Barzinji headed the "500 Grove Street" charities in Herndon, Va., that were the target of the Greenquest task force. He left the CSID board in April 2003.

Another CSID founding board member, Louay M. Safi , is director of research at IIIT, according to the biography posted on the CSID Website. He is reported previously to have worked at an IIIT offshoot in Malaysia.

The CSID board also includes Muslim leaders who are former or current board members of the American Muslim Council, starting with CSID chairman Ali A. Mazrui. "CSID is part of the militant Islamist lobby," Pipes tells Insight. "It is well-disguised, and has brought in all the Islamist trends, giving them a patent of respectability."

The group's executive director in 2002 was Abdulwahab Alkebsi, a former AMC staff member. Alkebsi also is reported to have worked for the Islamic Institute in Washington, and now runs democracy programs in Iraq for the National Endowment for Democracy that have promoted, among others, the Iraqi Communist Party.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight.


MIM: This 2005 conference in Saudi Arabia 2005 was co sponsored by the religious governing body of Saudi Arabia -The Majlis Shura Council and cosponsored by The CSID. http://www.csidonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=85


MIM: Asma Asfaruddin's account of the meeting is typically disingenous. She refers to the Majlis Shura Council as an innocous body similiar to a town council when it is the Wahhabist arm of the Saudi government whose job is to enforce shar'ia.

"I had the good fortune to participate in a remarkable two-day symposium recently (December 19-20) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, entitled Shura, Democracy, and Good Governance, under the auspices of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies there. Shura is the Arabic word for consultation and has historically referred to consultative decision-making in many spheres of life, particularly the political. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, an inter-faith think tank based in Washington, D.C. A select group of speakers were invited from various parts of the Middle East and the United States. What transpired during the formal presentations and subsequent discussions was quite an eye-opener and hopefully a harbinger of future political trends in Saudi Arabia.

Among the speakers during the opening session were members of the powerful Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Council) who warmly welcomed the foreign participants but also politely expressed their reservations about the congruence between shura and democracy. It was generally assumed that democracy referred to liberal democracy. Thus relentless secularization and a strict separation of religion and politics were understood to be integral aspects of the democratic experiment.

However, as became apparent during sessions the following day, democracy as a concept is amenable to multiple, competing definitions"

One Saudi young man was exceptional in insisting (contrary to historical examples) that shura was not practiced in the early period of Islam and added (mystifyingly) that some of the speakers were contributing to the zionisation of Islam." http://www.csidonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=85

MIM: Asfaruddin also supports the establishment of the Caliphate See:"U of Notre Dame prof Asma Asafruddin: "Mainstream Muslims should want a return of the Caliphate" http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2641

MIM: The Shura Council's mission in their own words are enough to dismiss any notion they are interested in democracy and is more of a reflection of the CSID's own agenda.

Ash-Shura is an Islamic principle, which obtains its legality from Quran and Prophet Mohammad Peace and blessing be Upon him authentic Sunnah (Islamic Law). Ash-Shura is a deep rooted foundation, widely and deeply ingrained in the individual's spirit and in the structured of Muslim society.

Ash-Shura defined as thinking over and exchanging views on certain issues, which are examined by scholars and experts seeking the best solutions with preferable opinion to achieve the best conclusion.

Ash-Shura is a combination of views extracted from thoughts, experience, scholar's diligence, continuous researches and study, in comfort with Faith, Quran and authentic Sunnah.

The right to legislate in Shura is to Allah, for Shura has a divine origin. Shura is a revelation from Allah. Hence, in Shura the rights and freedom are transformed into social and religious duties.

Shura in Islam is not exclusive to government system, but deals with all life's aspects, particularly the social. Therefore; Shura is a highly advanced system that proceeds in accordance with the nation interests and the requirement of every era.

The Shura Council in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its new form is an institution intended to allow citizens to participate directly in the country policies administration, planning for them, and following up the performance of its agencies. the Shura Council is the place to exercise the multiplicity of opinion, through practicing its tasks and duties with greater openness, objectivity in debate, and aiming at the general welfare of the country and the citizen.

Undoubtedly, the reform of the Shura Council's System that was promulgated in 1992 represents an evolution that keeps up with the latest developments that match the expectation of both leadership and citizens, for development and modernization of each era, On the other hand, a distinctive effort has been made to establish the work of the Shura Council and its committees, regulating all procedural details and resolving matters forwarded to the Council, in addition to the organization of the country's activities and the society's requirements and needs.

Shura with its Councils emerged as a modified procedure for its Chairmanship, principles, rules and system, which invite effective contribution.

After reviewing the basic law of governance, one finds the Shura Council's system obtains its legislative framework and strength from the Holy Quran and the authentic Sunnah, and its organizational framework from the Basic Law of Governance promulgated in the year 1992.

Article eight of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates that, (Governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be based on justice, Shura (consultation), and equity in accordance with Islamic Shari'ah). Moreover, article 68 of the same system states that, (the Shura Council shall be established. Its Law shall set forth its formation, the exercising of its power and the selection of its members.

These two articles emphasize the importance of the Shura Council role the administration of this country. Hence regulation of Shura Council shall set forth its formation and the way in which the Shura Council practices its jurisdiction.

The State Constitutional Authorities are composed of the Judicial, Executive and Regulatory Authority. Regulatory Authority is entrusted to the Shura Council. The said Authority is shared by Cabinet, as stated in article 67 of the basic law of Governance. Article 68 stated that, the king may dissolve and reconstitute the Shura Council. This right is common and practiced by Heads of States according to the constitution of each country.

The law of the Shura Council is published in thirty articles that define details of its tasks and the method of its formation. Furthermore, the Internal Regulations of the Shura Council set forth the Council's competences. This is common and practiced in parliamentary Council.

The fact that Shura is of a divine origin and the means of its application is undefined, it is left to the State to adopt what fits the circumstances and condition, emphasize the important role of Shura and the participation of the nation. The First Article of Shura Councils' system confirms this and the importance of Shura. In compliance with the Holy Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the prophet, may peace and blessing be upon him, in the way that he used to consult with his Companions. Thus, Shura Council is established to exercise all tasks entrusted to it, maintaining brotherly ties, and cooperating in kindness and piety.

The objective is to apply shura without sticking to certain methods. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia applied one of the different methods that applied throughout the Islamic world.

There is an important aspect that should to be understood. That is, Shura prospers only within a society of faithful believes with its own characteristics that distinguish it from other societies, if apply Allah's Shari'ah. In such environment, the endeavors of cultivating such Shari'ah will the society to be productive and therefore achieve the desirable result.



MIM: Muravchik's and Sommers bio on the CSID website where they are listed as CSID conference participants - [Murvachik boasts that he is a member]:

Joshua Muravchik, is a resident scholar at AEI and studies the United Nations, neo-conservatism, the history of socialism and communism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, global democracy, terrorism, and the Bush Doctrine. His articles appear frequently in Commentary, The New Republic, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His newest book, The Future of the United Nations: Understanding the Past to Chart a Way Forward, was published in September 2005 by the AEI Press. He is also the author of Covering the Intifada: How the Media Reported the Palestinian Uprising (Washington Institute for Near East Policy 2003); Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism (Encounter Books 2002); The Imperative of American Leadership (AEI Press 1996); Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America's Destiny (AEI Press 1991); News Coverage of the Sandinista Revolution (University Press of America 1988); and The Uncertain Crusade: Jimmy Carter and the Dilemmas of Human Rights Policy (Hamilton Press 1986). He serves as an adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and is an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics. http://www.csidonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=313&Itemid=95

Christina Hoff Sommers, (Revolution from Within), The history of American feminism has some surprising lessons to impart to those who are working for women's rights in the developing world. In its early stages, the American suffrage movement was radical, marginal and largely confined to a small number of wealthy, educated women. That changed in the late 19th Century when conservative women such as Frances Willard (president of Women's Temperance Union) and Carrie Chapman Catt (founder of the League of Women Voters) took the helm. Unlike earlier suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Victoria Woodhull, Chapman and Catt did not disparage traditional religion; they did not attack the idea that the sexes were different. Instead, they argued that empowering women would improve the religious and moral character of the national life. They turned women's suffrage movement into a mass movement by making it attractive to conventionally religious women and men. I will argue that the reform movement for Islamic women should take this moderate path. The American experience suggests that effective and lasting change can come from reformers who find ways to harness the power of tradition –rather than work against it. There are already several groups in the Muslim world who have adopted this faith-based model. ( Malaysia 's Sisters in Islam, lead Zainah Anwar, is one outstanding example.) I will also suggest that the contemporary American feminist establishment (groups like NOW, Fund for the Feminist Majority, and the Ms. Foundation –as well as most women's studies departments) may not have a lot to offer women's rights activists in the Muslim world at this time. These contemporary groups are very much dominated by the Stanton/Woodhull style of feminism that is hostile to religion, to traditional families and to sex roles. Liberation movements in the Muslim world may wish to look back to and draw on the experiences of an earlier and very effective stage of the American women's movement for inspiration.


MIM: Below is a link to the recent CSID conference where Christina Hoff Sommers spoke. Tamara Sonn a former USF professor and staunch supporter of jailed colleague Sami Al Arian the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the United States, was among the featured speakers. Al Arian is awaiting deportation and was indicted for the murders of 100 people in terrorist attacks which he funded and helped orchestrate from his office at USF.



MIM: Conference program "The Problem of Democracy in the Muslim World". The speakers include Imad Al Dean Ahmad [and other members of the Minaret of Freedom Institute and Louay Safi of the IIIT and ISNA.

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008

May 5-6, 2006

Welcoming Addresses

Tony Sullivan, Vice-Chair of CSID

Radwan A. Masmoudi, President of CSID

Keynote Addresses

Saad Eddine Othmani, S.G. of the Party of Justice and Development in Morocco

Ambassador Randall L. Tobias, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Peter F. Mulrean (Middle East Partnership Initiative, Department of State)

Laith Kubba, Director of Middle East & North Africa, NED and former spokesman for the Iraqi government.

Session1: Theoretical Analysis of Democratization in the Muslim World

Chair: Tony Sullivan, Fund for American Studies [Bio]

"The Crisis of Non-Islamist Parties in the Middle East"

Marina Ottaway (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, DC)

"Towards an Experiment in Libertarian Political Islam"

Anas Malik (Xavier University, OH)

"Islamization of Democracy: The Requisite of Democracy in the Islamic World"

Mohamed Berween (Texas A&M International University, TX)

Session 2: State of Democracy in the Muslim World

Chair: Joseph Montville, CSID [Bio]

"Pakistan between Mosque and Military"

Husain Haqqani (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

"Transitional Politics in the Maghreb: Prospects for Democracy in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia"

John P Entelis (Fordham University, NY),

"Democratization in Syria and the Interplay of Culture and Structure"

Louay Safi, (CSID Board Member)

Session 3: Debate on Media and Democratization in the Muslim World

Chair: Abdallah Schleifer (Al Arabiya)]

Philip Seib (Marquette University, WI)

Abdallah Schleifer (Al Arabiya, DC)

Abderrahim Foukara (Al-Jazeera , DC)

Session 4: NDAW: Voices of Democrats from the Arab World

Chair: Abderrahim Sabir, [Bio] CSID Program Officer & Coordinator of the Network of Democrats in the Arab World

Session 5: Challenges to Democracy: Domestic and External

Chair: Abdulwahab Alkebsi, National Endowment for Democracy

"U.S. Policy toward Political Reforms in Morocco"

Mustapha khalfi (visiting scholar, Carnegie endowment for international peace

"Confronting the Real Enemy: An Islamic Perspective for Fighting Corruption"

Maryam Knight (New York University, NY)

"Revisiting Secularism and Revitalization of Islamism: Democratic Perspective"

Maimul Ahsan Khan (University of California-Davis)

"Reform Movement in Iran"

Reza Eslami (Professor of Human Human Rights)

Session 6: Prospects for Democracy in the Muslim World

Chair: Dan Brumberg, Georgetown University

"The Intersection between Human Rights and Democratization"

Neil Hicks (Human Rights First, NY)

"Core Strategic Challenges for Successful Democratic Reforms"

Alon Ben-Meir (New York University, NY)

"Are elections in the Muslim world in America's interests?"

Joshua Muravchik (Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute)

Session 7: Islamists and Democratization

Chair: Najib Ghadbian, University of Arkansas

"Democratization and Islamist 'Auto-Reform': Preliminary Findings from Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait"

Carrie Rosefsky Wickham (Emory University, GA),

"To Engage or Not to Engage? The Emerging Consensus on US Policy toward Political Islam"

Shadi Hamid (Georgetown University, DC),

"Islamist Democrats?: Assessing and Evaluating the Democratic Commitments of Islamist Parties in Turkey, Morocco, and Jordan"

Sean Brooks (Davidson College, NC)

"The Inter-Relations between Moderate Islamists, their Media and Democratization in the Arab World"

Carola Richter (Erfurt University, Germany)

Session 8: Citizenship in Islam

Chair: Muqtedar Khan, Brookings & Univ. of Delaware

"Citizenship and non-Muslims in Modern Islamic Thought"

Rachel Scott (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA),

"Difficulties encountered by Muslims in Granada, Spain"

Alan Cordova (Williams College, MA)

"Citizenship and Democracy in Kyrgyzstan, one year after the Tulip Revolution"

Vanessa Ruget, comparative politics teacher at Bentley College (Massachusetts, USA)

Session 9: Developing New and Just Interpretations of Islamic Principles for the 21st Century

Chair: Louay Safi, CSID [Bio]

"Bridging the Gap: Revisiting the Way We Interpret Islam"

Wael Nawara (Egyptian Alghad Party)

"Can there be Democratic Governance without the Separation of Religion and Politics?"

Abdulaziz Sachedina (University of Virginia)

"Democratic Governance and the So-Called Islamic State"

Asma Afsaruddin (University of Notre Dame)

Session 10: The Status and Role of Women in the Muslim World

Chair: Robert Schadler, CSID [Bio]

"A Presentation on Freedom House's Comparative, Region-Wide Study, Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and Justice"

Mariam Memarsadeghi (Senior Program Manager of Middle East and North Africa, Freedom House,)

"Responding to the Challenge: Moroccan Women and Democracy"

Sarah Swic (Program Assistant, Minaret of Freedom Institute),

"Education is the Foundation: Women Building Peace and Prosperity in Sudan"

Leigh Graham (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Session 11: Challenges for Democracy in Muslim Asia

Chair: Louis Cantori , Univ. of Baltimore [Bio]

"Why Democracy? On the Need for Fresh Thinking about an Old Ideal"

John Keane (University of Westminster and Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB),

"Domestic and external challenges to democracy in the Muslim world Case studies: Turkey and Afghanistan"

Nilofar Sakhi (Conflict Transformation Program, Eastern Mennonite University)

"Creating a Productive Discourse on Democracy in the Muslim World"

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad (Minaret of Freedom Institute)

Session 12: A Modern Islamic Democratic Discourse

Chair: Asma Afsaruddin, CSID & Univ. of Notre Dame

"Liberating Islam from Bondage: The Radical Democratic Discourse of Al-Sadiq al-Nayhum"

Alberto Fernandez (Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near East Affairs, U.S. Department of State)

"A Comparison of the Compact of Medina and the Early Development of the United States Constitution"

Saeed Khan (Department of Near East & Asian Studies, Wayne State University)

"The ‘Ulama of Egypt: As a Progressive and Moderate Religious Authority?

Shaznene Hussain (University of Arkansas)


MIM: CSID conference particpant Imad -Ad-Dean Ahmad spoke at a 2001 terror summit in Beirut attended by Al Qaeda,Hamas, Hezbollah . He also spoke at the 2006 CSID 7th annual conference attended by Muravchik and Gershman. Below -Ad -Dean -Ahmad with jailed AMC terrorist head Abdulrahman Alamoudi, Islamic Association of Palestine leader Yasser Bushnaq, and Ahmed Yusuf of the United Association for Studies and Research. Yusuf fled the country after the UASR was closed down for ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Minaret of Freedom link to home page


(BEIRUT, LEBANON January 29, 2001)
Bism Allâh ar-Rahmân ar-Rahîm
As-salâmu alaikum wa rahmatullah.

Brothers and Sisters:

First, allow me to apologize for speaking in English.Although I am a Palestinian whose mother was born and raised in Jerusalem and whose father was born in a small village that the Israelis have now partially incorporated into Jerusalem through their expansion of the definition of the city's borders, yet I must speak in English because my Arabic is inadequate to the task.It is a poor excuse for my weak Arabic, but it is nonetheless a fact that I have never lived in the Arab world because I was born a refugee on a ship on the Atlantic Ocean as my mother fled to America in 1948.I was born stateless like my people.

Four members of the American delegation to
the "First Conference on Jerusalem" in Beirut
in January, 2001: Ahmed Yusef, Abdurrahman
Alamoudi, Yaser Bushnaq, and Imad-ad-Dean
I came to this meeting looking forward to dealing with practical issues of constructing a new international organization dedicated to the liberation of Jerusalem.After listening to the general comments today, I have no doubt of the firmness of the conviction of every person here to see Jerusalem liberated.But as you are my brothers and sisters I must speak to you frankly about my concerns. The Zionists in America claim that the Arab and Muslim defenders of Palestine speak with a different voice in Arabic than they do in English.Throughout the proceedings I have been appalled at frequent requests to the translator to stop translating into English.In the Qur'an Allah (swt) says that secret councils are the work of the devil.Anyone ashamed of his own opinions should refuse to say them in any language.My suggestion and recommendation is that we stop speaking only to one another and speak to the world. Our effectiveness will depend on the intelligence with which we pursue it.Misunderstanding of the forces against us will not bring us nearer to our goal.I inform you that the support of Zionism which is the policy of the American government is not the result of a disposition toward Zionism by the American people but because of the their ignorance.The American people are well-meaning, but lack knowledge of the true nature of Zionism, hearing only what the Zionist-controlled media and politicians have let them know.But the lion's share of the blame lies not with the Zionists nor with the slavish media nor the corrupt politicians: it lies with us that we have not been frank and direct with the people of America and the world, preferring to work with corrupt governments in the Muslim world or with power-hungry revolutionary movements that would be no better than the tyrants they would replace, as the PA demonstrates. The American people are unaware of Zionism's history, its racist foundation, its colonialist nature, and the systematic brutality of its daily dealings with the indigenous people of Palestine.Most Americans do not even know that there are Christian Palestinians.

Without American aid to Israel, Israeli intransigence would become impossible.The education of the American people is an invaluable element of the work before us. I came here in the hopes that this organization could play a role in that education.If this organization will abandon the duplicitous and heirarchical modes of operation that have plagued the Muslim world for hundreds of years and operate as the open and transparent agency of afraid of no one and nothing but Allah subhana wa ta'allah, then my hopes, including the liberation of Palestine, may yet come to pass.

Akűlu kawla hadhi wa astghfirallahul adhîm.

Jazâkum Allah al-khair!

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad

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MIM: One of the "useful links" on the CSID website is to the Center for Balanced Development which lists neo Nazi Hans Koechler and Islamist Mustafa Ceric on their board. http://www.islam-democracy.org/links.asp?cat={60F7C49A-3000-406F-A96D-BD9CCB489D49}

John Esposito. another CBD board member also affiliated with the CSID was together with Koechler at a conference in Malaysia together with the French Holocaust denier and convert to Islam Roger Garaudy. During an interview at the event Esposito stated that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

Center for Balanced Development

Vienna, 6 November 1999/P/K/16656c-is

The President of the International Progress Organization, Professor Hans Koechler (Austria), has been appointed as member of the International Advisory Board of the newly-established Center for Balanced Development (CBD).

The Center is dedicated to helping emerging communities by studying the goals and consequences of developmental strategies, providing educational support, and advocating balanced development that combines economic growth with civic empowerment and political maturation.

The Center intends to generate cross-cultural dialogue among intellectuals of different cultural and religious backgrounds to bring about understanding and reform. One of the major research projects of the Center for Balanced Development is entitled "Global Governance: Who Speaks for the South?" This study is focused on the structure, the decision-making processes and the major actors in international organizations such as the UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank. The study attempts to find out the extent to which the interests of the peoples of developing countries are represented in the plans, policies, and programs of international organizations.

Other research projects deal with "Unequal Development: Sources, Remedies, and Consequences," and "Islam and the West: Civilizational Clash or Cultural Dialogue?"

The Center for Balanced Development is located at Sterling, Virginia (United States of America). Among the members of the International Advisory Board are Prof. Ali Mazrui, Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at the State University of New York, Professor John Esposito of Harvard University, and Mr. Mustafa Ceric, President of the Islamic Council of Bosnia (Sarajevo).

END/Center for Balanced Development/1999-11-06

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