Topic: Beyond Al-Qa’ida: Different Faces of Political Islam and Why It Matters To Us
Speaker: Dr. Emile Nakhleh, Consultant and former CIA Senior Officer
Cost: $15 CIR Members (or $36 for series of 3 lectures); $20 Non-members & Guests
Location: Santa Fe Woman’s Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail
The Arab Spring has resulted in the emergence of political Islam on the Arab political scene, especially in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. We also see vestiges of political Islam in Yemen and Bahrain. After Assad, political Islam is expected to play a central role in Syrian politics. Political Islam refers to political organizations that pursue a political and social agenda in accordance with their interpretation of their faith. A key challenge for the US is whether Islamic parties would hijack the democratic process and marginalize the liberal secular segments of the population, which led the revolution in the first place. Another challenge centers on the increasing military role of radical “jihadists” in Syria and growing terrorism in Africa, particularly Nigeria, Mali, and Somalia.
Emile Nakhleh is an expert on Middle Eastern society and politics and on political Islam. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Research Professor at the University of New Mexico. He previously served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993-2006, first as scholar in residence and chief of the Regional Analysis Unit in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis and subsequently as director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program.
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