Conference on Islamists and the Arab Revolutions

3 October 2012


Opening addresses from panelists during the first keynote session of the conference on Islamists and the Arab Revolutions: The Challenges of Democratic Transition and State Re-building.

Al Jazeera Center for Studies organized a conference on "Islamists and the Arab revolutions: The Challenges of Democratic Transition and State Re-building" on 11-12 September 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha.

The organization of this conference, which saw a host of Islamic leaders in the region, and political actors with liberal, leftist and secular orientations and a number of experts and researchers specializing in Islamic movements, aimed to obtain the perceptions of the participants about what the political arena witnessed after the Islamic movements topped the political scene and grabbed the reins of power in some Arab countries that have experienced revolutions against regimes or protests demanding reform.

Sessions of the conference focused on the following:

  • Islamists and the Arab revolutions,
  • Issues of citizenship and political rights,
  • Challenges of democratic transition,
  • Islamists and the modern state,
  • Islamists and economic options,
  • Issues of foreign relations.
  • A session was devoted to discuss the issue of the Syrian revolution in light of developments and exploring its potential consequences. 
From left to right: Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, Al Jazeera chairman of the board, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, and Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Director General of Al Jazeera 

The conference sessions were divided into three keynote speeches and participatory sessions. The three lectures were delivered by: Islamic thinker and president of the Tunisian Nahda (Renaissance) Movement, Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, the Islamic thinker and head of the Popular Congress Party, Dr. Hassan al-Turabi and the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat Al-Shater. Conference participatory sessions were delivered by a number of experts, politicians and researchers.

The "Islamists and Arab revolutions" conference concluded to ask deep questions and incite a serious discussion about several issues, including: What is meant by the movement of the Arab revolution? Is it a second moment of independence, or is it the end of the failure of the national state or post- independence state?

Participants discussed the dualism of Islam and the state and the relationship between them. Democracy in terms of concept and practice also gained a wide range of discussion where the question: "Is it possible to witness a peaceful transfer of power in the Arab region after the revolutions?" remained open.

There was talk about a fundamental issue in the Arab world after the revolutions, which is "minorities and citizenship"; how the state cares for the rights of minorities, and when the democratic system adversely affects minorities in terms of being a system that favors the majority.

Economy and its options were addressed, especially Islamic economics and its applications, the role of the private sector and the revival of the Waqf system and the charitable work in surviving the recent crisis that hit world economies.

The attendees discussed the Palestinian issue and international options thereon as well as the relationships between Islamists and Israel and Western powers: are they hostile relations or a relationship seeking to appease America and its allies? And what is the effect of the changes in the international landscape and the West on what is happening in the Arab world? 

Participants during the second day of the conference on Islamists and the Arab Revolutions.

There was discussion of the relationship between Islamists and secularists stamped by the secularists' intimidation against the religious state, which is based on historical experiences that are limited to certain circumstances. The conference concluded that the relationship between these two important components in the Arab political and intellectual arena requires dialogue and a clear methodology that respects the opposite view and moves away from the fallacies and judgments based on wrong information.

To introduce the reader to the work of this conference, Al Jazeera Center for Studies is pleased to publish the following materials:

I. Conference Report

II. Conference papers including the papers of:(Papers available in Arabic, on the Arabic site for Al Jazeera Center for Studies)

  • Abelali Hamiedine
  • Mhammed Malki
  • Alhag Ali Warrag
  • Shaikhan al-Dubai
  • Rahiel Gharaibeh 
  • Ibrahim Al Dib
  • Mouaz al-Khatib

III. Program Schedule

IV. Speakers Biographies

V. Press Coverage

VI. Images from the conference

Copyright © 2012, Al Jazeera Center for Studies, All rights reserved.