“Yes, It Was A Mistake!”

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Mon 3 October / Oct 2016. 06:59 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Khaled Meshal’s address at the Islamist Movements Transformations Conference in Dawha last September, Ahmad Yousef’s article in the “Dunial Watan” newspaper, in addition to the statements of Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Action Front’s leader in Jordan Zaki Bani Irsheid, to CNN Arabic, all together pour in one direction; revaluation and revisionism among Islamists, auto critique, and serious thought on steps forwards.

This, sparked by Meshal, head of the Hamas political bureau, in his speech, brought about crucial debate over necessary progression in Islamist political theory, not only in regards to Hamas’s mistake in taking over exclusive administrative roles in Gaza Strip in 2007, and the general err of addressing the “Arab Spring” phase, but also regarding the failure in the view of Islamist Movements as the sole alternative to other failing movements in the region, on which he insisted that the principles of national and political partnership need to be thoroughly instated as key enablers of progress towards the future.

Ahmad Yousef, a leading Islamist intellectual with Hamas, also wrote an article about Khaled Meshal’s speech, backing it, and applauding Meshal’s confessions of the errs of the Islamist Movement, resounding further his known reformist argumentative ideas, completely debunking the rumours spreading within Hamas that Meshal’s speech comes out of his intentions to not run for leadership!

As for Zaki Bani Irsheid, he as well admitted to there being fundamentally essential revisions underway within the Islamic Action Front, all the way to revaluation of the Party’s structures and the forfeiting of the prominent slogan “Islam is the Solution” in campaigns, to arrive finally at the birthing of the National Reform Coalition, and the reinforcement of the concepts of role distribution, dedicating the Brotherhood’s efforts to preaching and spiritual interaction, and the Front to engage in the political spheres, the way it had happened in Tunisia and Morocco earlier.

Notably, the convergence of these three views, by three of the region’s prominent Islamist leaders, on the importance of reconstructing their movement’s dialects towards integration, partnership, and the overcoming of national, sectarian, and ideological division, indicates a partial success in moving past their failure in Egypt, following the military coup, reaching out for an exodus from the otherwise prevalent state of despair, frustration, denial, and anxiety over the future, to actually learning from their mistakes.

Accordingly, this new direction is different from that spelt out by the Muslim Brotherhood Monitor Hammam Said, who denied the importance of revision after the coup, as well as other stances by Islamist leaders who remained headstrong persistent on the Brotherhood being victim of plotting and counter revolution, which is to an extent true, with not the least sign of acknowledgement that the movement itself, with its weakened political expertise and organisational narcissism, had helped and aided its own demise as well as the enemies of the “Arab Spring” to turn this phase around!

Going past the Arab state, into Bani Irsheid’s statements domestically, particularly regarding his acceptance of the idea of a Civil State and it not being contradictory to Islam; this indicates we stand before the brewing of a new line of Islamist thought. And that is crucial, but what is more so, that he does not get tangled up in the superficial stuff, skin-deep, and leave out the major issues!

For although the Islamist movement had shown resilience campaigning for the elections, the discourses of many of their candidates contradicts with these transformations, and reinforces doubts that there are several underlying dialects at the heart of the movement, to begin with. And second, this new thought has yet to be publicised and absorbed by the masses, who seem to be reeled in vacuum cycles detached from leadership.

Bani Irsheid’s statements are a step forward in the right direction. What is required however, is the realisation of this motion into action and the reconstruction of their speech and tones, including perceptions and frameworks of auto critique, to instate democracy within and develop enlightenment to revoke extremism and emphasis the vitality of pluralism, diversity, political partnerships, all integral to their views on the next phase.