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Justice and freedom through democracy, a paradigmatic issue
in 10-06-02

Justice and freedom through democracy, a paradigmatic issue

On Wed, 6/2/10, Transcendentlaw@aol.com wrote:

Radwan,

    As-salamu 'alaykum.  Since on my budget I rarely attend conferences, I was most happy and impressed to read Mariem Masmoudy's detailed, articulate, and even profound summary of CSID's conference a month ago.

    I have one comment and two questions.  My comment is that I did not see any mention of justice as a framework for American foreign policy, even though this is central to the governing paradigm of both Islam and Barack Obama.  This perspective was the focus of my article, "Paradigm Management for a New International Order of Liberty and Justice: Some Universal Interfaith Guidelines" (published in the The Magazine of UMMA for its convention last weekend on "Changing the Perception of Islam in the West"), and of the talk that I gave there, entitled "Essence and Perception: Changing the Perception of Islam in the West".  This talk goes into some detail on President Obama's perspective given at Westpoint and in the National Security report a few days ago.  The justice perspective is given also in my article, "Palestinian Hamas and the Abraham Federation: Key to Peace through Justice in the Holy Land".  These three think pieces were posted online in Sheila's ezine, www.theamericanmuslim.org, respectively on May 23, 30, and 31st.

    I can understand why justice was a radioactive word during the Bush Administration, because it would have been so embarrassing, but it would be unfortunate if the scholarly community did not support President Obama's paradigmatic revolution as the "grand strategy" to promote responsible and responsive democracy (haqq al hurriyah) as part of peace, prosperity, and freedom through compassionate justice.  I can also understand why the rulers of most Arab states shy away from the concept of justice, because it is one of the first two articles in the Shi'a 'aqida or credal statement of belief, namely, taqwa and 'adl.

    My two questions are merely technical.  The first concerns the paper by Halim Rane, "The Changing Landscape of Political Islam and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Obama Era," which, according to Mariem's write-up addressed the concept of justice: "By embracing the new "maqasid" (higher objectives) approach to the formation of their platform issues,the new generation of Islamic parties has, by and large, joined the 'West' in advocating "principles of democracy, human rights, healthcare, economic prosperity" while remaining true to their Islamic traditions and practices."  The problem is that the critical part of this article is unreadable.  Page 8 is missing and pages 9-28 are in "Swahili".

    My second technical question concerns the paper by Kristin Lord, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Council for a New American Security.  Mariem's write-up contains the intriguing sentence: "Third, she noticed a significantly different rhetoric in discussing issues of democracy and human rights between the previous and current administrations".  Unfortunately, there was no link in the report to this paper.  Is it available either online or in paper?

     If this write-up is a good measure of your latest conference, it must have been one of the best yet, despite the funding problems of not so long ago.  Congratulations.

    Sometime this summer, I hope to have the time to write up the critical distinction between freedom and liberty in the history of America, because among all Western countries America is the only one that bases its existential purpose on both together.  Freedom in Northern European countries is the same as justice in Islam, whereas liberty in Southern European countries is pure libertarianism and almost the opposite of freedom.  This is spelled out in the magnum opus by David Hackett Fischer, University Professor at Brandeis, entitled Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas, Oxford University Press, 2005, 851 pages.  Perhaps someday, CSID might adopt this approach to the roots of classical Islamic and classical American jurisprudence as a theme for an annual conference. 

    In fact, as I am writing this email, I have just decided to develop this theme in the paper that I am to give at the scholars institute sponsored by the IIIT next month, the last week of July and the first week of August, on the interrelationship between the Qur'an and the Sirah.  Mahmoud Ayoub is waiting for my abstract on the daraba verse, but I will save this for another time.  This might be worth a separate chapter in the book that I have almost completed, entitled Rehabilitating the Role of Religion in the World: Laying a New Foundation of Inter-Faith, Compassionate Justice.  And perhaps I will have time to at least mention this example of paradigm management in beefing up the section on interfaith cooperation in Chapter 18, entitled "Bringing Out the Best of All Faiths," of the Center for Understanding Islam's 710-page textbook, Islam and Muslims.  A couple of days ago, Mohammad Ali Chaudry and I submitted this two-volume work to Oxford University Press.

                                                 Wa as-salam, Bob

Dr. Robert Dickson Crane

Director for Global Strategy
The Abraham Federation
A Global Center for Peace
through Compassionate Justice
110 Menefee Mountain Private Lane
Washington, Virginia 22747

cell: 312.402.0121

The last speaker on this first parallel session was Kristin Lord, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Council for a New American Security. Her talk focused on three areas in which she has noticed positive changes by the Obama administration. First, it successfully established a clear break from the previous Bush administration, in issues of both mind and matter. Second, it has begun to try to drive a wedge between combatting terrorism and building relationships with Muslim-majority countries. Third, she noticed a significantly different rhetoric in discussing issues of democracy and human rights between the previous and current administrations.  

The second speaker on this plenary panel session was Halim Rane [paper], Deputy Director of the Griffith Islamic Research Unit and a Lecturer in the National Centre of Excellence in Islamic Studies at Griffith University, Australia. With his expertise in South Asian Islamic movements and parties, Dr. Rane spoke about the difficulties faced by first generation parties in "attracting a multiplicity and diversity of constituencies" because of their outdated approaches. By embracing the new "maqasid" (higher objectives) approach to the formation of their platform issues, the new generation of Islamic parties has, by and large, joined the 'West' in advocating "principles of democracy, human rights, healthcare, economic prosperity" while remaining true to their Islamic traditions and practices. "On what grounds then," asked Dr. Rane, "can the United States dismiss these parties in its push for democracy?"
 

 

 

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