Friday, March 19, 2010

The battle for Al-Azhar

By Alaa Bayoumi, AlJazeera.Net, 17 March 2010

Full Text:

The controversy surrounding the legacy of Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the head of the Al-Azhar mosque and university who died last week, is more complex than many would expect.

Some of his critics viewed him as the theological functionary through which the state marketed not only its brand of Islam, but also other government-sanctioned social and political policies. His supporters championed him as a reformist, particularly for women's rights. But most crucially, his sudden death has reignited the centuries-old battle over the independence of Al-Azhar, regarded as Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning.
Unlike Catholicism and Shia Islam, Sunni Islam was established and maintained through decentralised governance.

It knows no clergy and reveres no saints; in essence, Sunni Islam has maintained that there is no interlocutor between man and the divine.

Grand Sheikh

When the Al-Azhar mosque and university were first established in the late 10th century, they became the centre of study for the Quran and Arabic language, drawing scholars from throughout the Muslim Empire.

It was during the Ottoman Empire, however, that the official position for a "Grand Sheikh of the state" was created; the state appointed an Islamic scholar to this position and paid him a salary. The title had previously only been used as an honorific awarded to the most prominent Islamic scholars of the time.

In the 17th century, the Ottomans created an official position for the "Sheikh of Al-Azhar" in Egypt. Although he was selected by a committee of Al-Azhar scholars and then confirmed by the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, the sheikh enjoyed some degree of autonomy.

This autonomy was entrenched in the non-governmental institution of Waqf, or religious trusts, established early in Islamic history as a means to shield scholars from state interference, as well as provide funding to schools, social works, and even armies.

Only the Waqf's original owners were able to select its beneficiaries; the protective measures even included the provision that offspring and the state could not inherit the trust once the Waqf owner died.

It was Mohammed Ali Pasha, the Albanian officer considered to be the founder of modern Egypt, who severally weakened Al-Azhar's autonomy.

In 1812, he rejected the sheikh elected by the committee of peer scholars and appointed to the position a man to his liking.

He also moved to assert control of all Waqf revenue in order to finance his massive state building projects; in the early 19th century, one-fifth of Egyptian farm lands were designated as Waqf-sponsored.

The state's act of seizing control of Waqf was seen by many scholars as a violation of Islamic law. Under Mohammed Ali, the state also undermined the financial independence of the scholars and Muslim civil society in general.

Grand Mufti's role

Under British occupation in the early 1900s, Al-Azhar was further weakened when a position for a "Grand Mufti of the state" was created to fill the position of chief Islamic Jurist, replacing in part the powers of the sheikh of Al-Azhar.

In addition, a position of Waqf administrator was created to bring the trusts under more government control.

After the Egyptian revolution in 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser brought the Waqf system under the government's jurisdiction; in 1961, he enacted a new law that gave the government the right to select the sheikh of Al-Azhar, in effect routing out what little was left of the position's autonomy.

In the past four decades, the powers of Al-Azhar have been divided between three government institutions: A Waqf ministry that controls the religious trusts, or the financial resources needed to secure Al-Azhar's economic independence; a Mufti institution that is part of Egypt's ministry of justice; and Al-Azhar which was downgraded to an educational institution controlled by a sheikh selected by the government.

Seeking independence?

It appears that there exist insurmountable challenges awaiting the new sheikh if he is to seek independence from government control.

Primarily, the position itself will be filled by a government appointee ultimately approved by Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president.

This process makes it unlikely that the new sheikh will be able to immediately and comprehensively modify the relationship with the government along two fronts: The government has to relinquish control of the Waqf and to give Al-Azhar its right to chose it leader.

Such reforms are considered by most analysts to be pipe dreams under the current Egyptian government.

It is therefore unsurprising that Tantawi was portrayed by Egyptian media as a controversial figure seen by many to have furthered a government agenda.
He supported a ban of the niqab (face veil), the building of a barrier on Egypt's border with Gaza, the Egyptian president's limitless candidacy for office, French anti-hijab (head cover) legislation, and met with Israeli leaders amid growing public opposition to normalisation of ties with Israel.

While these made him hugely unpopular domestically, he was seen in the West as an advocate of a "moderate" view of Islam that welcomes dialogue between religions.

His supporters lauded him for prohibiting violence in the name of Islam, confronting the rise of Islamist political groups, and protecting the rights of women.

Issuing Fatwas

His critics, such as the influential Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, say that Tantawi was never qualified to issue Fatwas (Islamic legal verdicts) because of his academic background.

"He [Tantawi] was a specially qualified professor of Quranic interpretation," wrote al-Qaradawi in a condolence letter last week.

"But, the Sheikh [Tantawi] entered, or was pushed to enter, the area of Fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]. He did not prepare himself for the task. He did not study, practise, or write in Fiqh. He did not train himself in navigating through the deep waters of Fiqh.
Therefore, he was not successful in many of his hard-hitting opinions. This was the reason of my disagreement with him despite the old friendship between us."

To prevent what he says is another unqualified scholar to head Al-Azhar, Qaradawi suggested that the coming sheikh should be elected by the Muslim scholars themselves instead of being selected by the Egyptian government in line with current Egyptian law.

That is unlikely to happen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The undoing of Obama's Cairo speech

By Alaa Bayoumi,, 13 March 2010,

Full Text:

The visit to Israel by Joe Biden, the US vice-president, may usher in a new stage in US foreign policy towards the Middle East peace process, a phase that is clearly different from what many Arabs hoped for after listening to Barack Obama, the US president, in Cairo last June.

At that time, the young and charismatic president, who enjoyed wide Arab sympathy and support during his presidential election campaign, called for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world", a new start that is based on mutual respect and honest politics.

"America will align our policies with those who pursue peace and will say in public what we say in private," Obama said about the Arab-Israeli peace process, calling on Israel to "stop" the building of settlements.

But just a few months later, Obama gave up on asking Israel to freeze the construction of settlements.

He told Time magazine in January: "If we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides [Israel and the Palestinians] earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high."

He meant the expectations of the Palestinians, who refused to participate in peace talks unless the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, declares a total freeze of settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Old politics

Moreover, the US administration turned the heat up on the Palestinians, urging them to engage in peace negotiations after Netanyahu announced a partial freeze of settlement activities in the West Bank for nine months.

When the Palestinians, with Arab backing, agreed to start indirect negotiations, Israeli authorities shocked everyone, including Biden, by announcing new massive settlement construction plans during his visit.

Biden responded by a strong condemnation and Netanyahu apologised for the "timing" of the announcement.

At the end of his visit to Israel Biden told an audience in Tel Aviv that he "appreciated" the response of the Israeli prime minister, who "clarified that the beginning of actual construction on this particular project would likely take several years".

Clearly, Biden failed to stop the illegal settlement plans. A very weak response to what many, including Israelis, considered an "insult" to the visiting vice-president.

Moreover, his speech at Tel Aviv University was in many aspects the opposite of Obama's Cairo speech.
At Cairo University, Obama looked young, idealistic, charismatic and an advocate of change. At Tel Aviv University, Biden looked old, realistic, boring, and pragmatic.

Listening to Biden’s speech reminds you of Senator Biden speaking to the annual dinner of the Washington-based pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, rather than the US vice-president going on an international tour to push forward the daunting Middle East peace process.

In his speech, Biden used many of his old clichés that he used in the past to appeal to pro-Israel audiences.

Those included statements from his first visit to Israel, his meeting with Golda Meir, the late Israel president, and his belief that "change will come to the Middle East when there is absolutely no space between America and Israel" and that "you don’t need to be a Jew to be a Zionist".

It was a sad reminder of the old American political rhetoric that fails to find new common ground between Arabs and Israelis.

Moreover, Biden downgraded the US role in the Middle East peace process from one of a guarantor and a sponsor, which Arabs expect, to one of a "facilitator", a "trust-builder" and a "bridging mechanism".


Biden emphasised his understanding of US role as "a facilitator" to a concerning level stressing that "the US cannot want peace more than the Israelis and the Palestinians want it".

Biden forgot that Arabs joined the current peace process in 1991 at a crucial historical moment. It was only a couple of years after the end of the Cold War and a few months after the US successfully led an international coalition to expel Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, from Kuwait.

At that time, Arabs thought that only America, the sole superpower, could help to deliver peace to the Middle East.

Biden also forgot that most of the progress achieved on the Arab Israel peace process - such as the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the signing of a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan - took place during the years of Bill Clinton's US presidency, when the US enjoyed unparallelled political and economic world power.

It was the administration of George Bush, Obama's predecessor, that squandered US prestige and financial advantage on many fronts, and which brought the US peace process to a semi-halt.

The Bush-era was known for its neo-conservative bias towards Israel, disdain for diplomacy and distrust of Arabs and their interest in peace altogether.

Since Obama came to office, many Arabs have been wondering if the US, under the Bush administration, lost the strategic and political capital necessary to push and guarantee the daunting "peace process".

They saw a new administration busy with a domestic financial crisis, a divided and partisan political system, two unwinnable wars and competition with China.

Some were afraid that Israel was quicker than Arabs in realising America's weakness by fending off Obama's calls for a freeze of settlements.

Unfortunately, Biden speech could only deepen such fears.

'Politically costly'

Since it came to the White House, the Obama administration has failed to achieve clear progress on many Middle East fronts.

It could not persuade or pressure Iran away from its nuclear programmes, Syria away from Iran, Iraqi politicians away from sectarianism, Arab regimes towards democracy or Israel away from its expansionist and confrontational policies.

During his speech, Biden told his audience repeatedly that Dennis Ross, a veteran peace negotiator from the Clinton administration and a known pro-Israel advocate, is with him. He said it about three times.

Ross serves now as a special adviser to the US president at the US National Security Council.

In his latest book, Myth, Illusions, & Peace: Finding A New Direction for America in the Middle East, Ross advocates many of the ideas and policies repeated by Biden and other senior Obama administration officials recently.

Ross believes that successful peace negotiation should start with "gaining a sense of what Israel could live with and then trying to move the Arabs or Palestinian position accordingly".

He ultimately believes that "it is politically costly for [Arab] regimes that lacked basic legitimacy to look as if they were conceding before getting anything from Israel".

Therefore, he argues against "pressuring" or even "surprising" Israel.

"American has many roles to play in helping peace – from clarifying, to mobilising financial and political support, to protecting and insulating, to assuring and guaranteeing, providing such guarantees can relate to the agreement itself – meaning the readiness to guarantee the implementation of the terms of the agreement."

"Common interests"

Unfortunately, such perspective sees peace between Israel and Palestinians as a long term goal that could wait while Arab regimes and Israel could co-operate urgently on more serious threats such as Iran and the Islamists.

"Most Arab governments want Israel to be strong when it comes to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria," says Ross.

He believes that the "Palestinian issue" is a public consumption issue for many Arab regimes, an emotional cause that is often used to drain the West and to divert public attention from urgent domestic Arab needs.

He argues that recent Israeli wars in Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2009) did lead to some Arab street protests. But, they did not lead to the overthrow of any Arab regime or to a new oil curfew.

Instead, he believes that "common interests" between Israel and the Arab countries, on issues such Iran and confronting the Islamists, are larger than expected.

He believes that pushing the peace process forward will help strengthen Arab co-operation with Israel on such threats and push up to the surface. However, he obviously does not think it is a priority or an urgent need.

Such views are clearly different from what many Arabs hoped for when they heard Obama speak at Cairo last June.

They seem on the rise, which deals a serious blow to Arabs' hope for a real change in US foreign policy towards the Middle East under the current administration.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why ElBaradei?

By Alaa Bayoumi,, 9 March 2010,

Full Text:

The return of
Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Egypt has created political controversy centered around the likelihood of his running as a presidential candidate next year.

But it also gave the Egyptian people something they have not felt in a long time - hope for political change.

Years of stagnant social development have created two main political camps in Egypt today: A camp that lost hope in change, and hence in a better future for the country, and another that still retains a glimmer of optimism.

The first camp is dominant; just ask any Egyptian these days about current conditions and you will only hear complaints and cynicism.

Arguably, the whole Egyptian psyche revolves around the glories of past - sometimes ancient - achievements. They lament how they have lost their prestige and regional power, and how current socio-economic circumstances are crushing their dreams for a better future.

Some prominent Egyptian sociologists, such as Galal Amin, the author of the bestselling Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?, have tried to explain the root causes of Egyptian pessimism.

Amin argues that the forces of
domestic political authoritarianism, Egypt's defeat in the 1967 war, the global culture of consumerism, and foreign hegemony have since the 1960s contributed to crushing the Egyptian middle class.

The result was a fractured Egyptian middle class that no longer understood itself or trusted its own ability to lead the country forward.

Fear of fear?

The pessimistic camp has vocalised its prophecies of gloom rather loudly in the plethora of local talk TV shows and the press.

They offer, rather philanthropically, reasons why ElBaradei, and the socio-political movement he has inspired, do not count in today's political structure.

They say the Egyptian regime, which has been in power for 30 years, has successfully resisted all pressures - domestic and foreign - for change and political reform.

Flirting with flights of conspiratorial fancy, they believe that the government only sanctions toothless opposition, and hence may allow ElBaradei to play politics for some time, in a bid to show that Egypt is politically transparent and liberal.

But, at the right moment the regime will strike back and crush ElBaradei and his supporters as it has defeated many prior political opponents.

Four of Egypt's main opposition parties, including al-Wafd, al-Tagammu, and al-Araby al-Nasseri, have criticised ElBaradei and the political movement around him.
They are particularly irked by his readiness to work with and integrate the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement despite his purported secular platform.

They question ElBaradei's legitimacy as a political proponent of any sort citing his absence from the country for three decades; he has no party, no serious grassroots support, or even a possible chance to run for president under the current constitution, they say.

Hope against hope

On the other hand, the campaign built around ElBaradei is nevertheless a poignant reminder that there are many in Egypt, notably among the elite, who retain a semblance of hope that the country will inevitably evolve.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a known Egyptian opposition figure who has been living aboard for the last three years fearing prosecution if he returns to Egypt, wrote in the daily independent newspaper AlMasry AlYoum, that ElBaradei's announcement of readiness to run for president if the constitution is amended, has "changed the Egyptian political scene qualitatively and psychologically in an unprecedented way since 1952".

Ibrahim argues that a melange of independent groups, credible political activists and writers, youth, and middle class citizens had for some time been establishing a "social movement" under the political surface in Egypt.

Ibrahim believes the movement declared itself at Cairo Airport by showering the returning ElBaradei with a populist hero's welcome.

ElBaradei returned to Egypt at the right moment to pick the fruits of such mobilisation.

A big lie?

Mahmoud Saad, a popular Egyptian talk show host, was more cautious when broaching the ElBaradei phenomenon.

He wrote in the daily opposition newspaper al-Dostor that "ElBaradei's story is a big lie ... a show ... played by the opposition and directed by the government for its own interest".

He thinks the government is allowing ElBaradei's political movement to gain momentum in order to embarrass critics who claim that Egypt does not possess an equitable democratic system; in truth, he maintains, the government has no intention to increase transparency or hold free election.

Yet, he concludes his article with an emphasis on hope. "Inside the lie," Saad says, "a big and great truth exists ... people have to realise that hope exists ... Egypt has many capable men ... We only need to believe in change."

Analyst Mahmoud Khalil describes in AlMasry AlYoum, how the Egyptian government was able over the years to spread pessimism in the political culture by convincing regular Egyptians that it could do no more to alleviate their duress.

"Over the years, the authority has spread despair and the idea that there is no solution for any problem at any level - education, health services, population increase, traffic, unemployment, corruption ... etc. It has transformed most Egyptians into an army of despair," writes Khalil.

"The power of ElBaradei is in his ideas, which sell hope, a commodity that disappeared from the Egyptian market. Hope means to believe in ourselves and in our ability to bring change."

Why ElBaradei?

Prior to his return to his home country, ElBaradei was one of a very small number of Egyptians who held international stature.

As the head of the UN nuclear agency for 12 years and a winner of the Noble Peace Prize (2005) for his efforts to defuse tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, ElBaradei also earned the government's praise.

In 2006,
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, awarded him the Nile Collar, the country's highest civilian merit.

And during a press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, in Berlin, Mubarak welcomed ElBaradei's entry into local politics provided he abide by the rules of the constitution.

Despite his detractor's protestations, ElBaradei's 30-year absence from his home country is more to his advantage than detriment. While some may argue that he has been isolated from socio-political developments in the country, his distance has also protected him from being trapped inside Egyptian politics, which have been dominated by stagnant, partisan, and undemocratic parties.

So when ElBaradei now takes on the political system, he can easily rise above Egypt's partisan politics and call for unity among its disputing political groups.

He may lack the charisma of an eloquent speaker such as Barack Obama or Tony Blair, but he speaks in a commanding calm voice that is genuine and emphatic of global democratic values.

ElBaradei wants to modernise Egypt's laws and constitution in ways that will bring them up to date with international standards. He wants transparent elections, democratic rule, freedom of press, and a constitution that does not prevent religious minorities from running for Egypt's highest political office.

His appeal has garnered the support of a wide and diverse coalition of political activists and intellectuals. It has also gained him opponents within the ruling party and political opposition groups alike.

No one seems to underestimate the difficulties lying ahead of ElBaradei and his call for change. But, we should not also underestimate the power behind his appeal.

In just a matter of a few weeks, ElBaradei was able to remind many Egyptians of their deeply rooted love for their country and hope for a better future.

Monday, March 08, 2010

الموجة الجديدة لجماعات الكراهية الأميركية
مقال بقلم: علاء بيومي

يمكن نشر المقال مع الإشارة إلى مصدره

نص المقال

هناك مؤشرات وتقارير أميركية حديثة ومقلقة تتحدث عن موجة جديدة من موجات صعود جماعات الكراهية الأميركية خلال السنوات الأخيرة

ناقوس الخطر

نذكر منها - على سبيل المثال - تقرير "لمركز قانون الفقر الجنوبي" صدر مطلع الشهر الحالي يقول أن جماعات الكراهية الأميركية ذات الخلفيات القومية (المتطرفة) نمت خال العام الماضي وحده بنسبة 250% ليبلغ عددها أكثر من 500 جماعة

والمعروف أن "مركز قانون الفقر الجنوبي" - ومقره ولاية ألباما - هو أبرز جماعات الحقوق المدنية الأميركية المعنية بتتبع جماعات الكراهية بالولايات المتحدة

ويصدر المركز تقارير دورية وسنوية عن تلك الجماعات تقول أن جماعات الكراهية الأميركية نمت خلال الفترة من 2001 إلى 2008 بنسبة 50% ليتضاعف عددها من 602 إلى 923، ولم يصدر المركز تقريره النهائي عن عام 2009، ولكنه تحدث مؤخرا عن نمو غير مسبوق في جماعات الكراهية ذات الخلفيات الوطنية أو القومية المتطرفة

هناك أيضا تقرير صدر في أبريل الماضي (2009) - عن وزارة الأمن الداخلي الأميركية - يتحدث عن مخاوف من انتشار جماعات الكراهية وسط الجنود الأميركيين المتقاعدين، وعن مساعي تلك الجماعات للتوغل داخل الجيش الأميركية وتجنيد المتقاعدين من أبنائه بهدف امتلاك الخبرة العسكرية التي يمتلكها الجنود والاستفادة من الظروف الصعبة التي تمر بها أميركا في الوقت الراهن – وعلى رأسها الأزمة الاقتصادية – لتجنيد مزيد من الأعضاء

هذا إضافة إلى حديث بعض الأقليات كاليهود والمسلمين واللاتينيين الأميركيين من تعرض أبناء جلدتهم لموجات جديدة ومقلقة من جرائم الكراهية خلال السنوات الأخيرة

كما برزت على السطح خلال عام 2009 عدد من الحوادث العنيفة التي ارتكبها أتباع تلك الجماعات، ووجدت ردود فعل مختلفة من قبل المؤسسات الإعلامية والسياسية بأميركا

ففي أبريل الماضي قتل ثلاثة من ضباط الشرطة في مدينة بتسبرج بولاية بنسلفانيا الأميركية، وقتل طبيب يمارس الإجهاض في كنيسته بولاية تكساس في شهر مايو، وقتل حارس أفريقي أميركي يحرس متحف الهولوكوست بواشنطن في شهر يونيو

وقد جذبت الحوادث السابقة - والتي وقعت على أيدي أبناء جماعات كراهية ذات إيديولوجيات مختلفة (معادية للحكومة، دينية، وعنصري) - اهتماما إعلاميا متزايدا

وفي شهر فبراير الماضي هاجم أميركي مبنى للضرائب بولاية تكساس ملحقا ضرار كبيرا بالمبنى الحكومي، وتاركا وراءه رسالة انتحار عبر فيها عن مشاعر سخط وكراهية عميقة للحكومة الفيدرالية ومؤسساتها التي تفرض على الأميركيين دفع الضرائب لها

رفض اليمين

التقارير السابقة لاقت استهجانا من بعض قوى اليمين الأميركي، حيث رأى بعضهم أن حوادث العنف السابقة متفرقة، وأن منظمات الحقوق المدنية الأميركية - "كمركز قانون الفقر الجنوبي" - هي مراكز ذات أجندة ليبرالية، وتقاريرها غير دقيقة مكتوبة من منطلق أيدلوجي يخدم مصالحها، ويزيد من مخاوف مناصريها وتبرعاتهم لها - والتي تقدر بعشرات الملايين من الدولارات الأميركية

كما هاجم كثيرون تقرير وزارة الأمن الداخلي ورأوا فيها تشكيك في صورة الجيش والجنود وخاصة المتقاعدين منهم وتحليلا أيدلوجيا تطغى عليه السياسة والرغبة في مهاجمة اليمين الأميركي

كما رأي بعض اليمينيين أن التقارير السابقة تشتت انتباه أميركا عن عدوها "الحقيقي والرئيسي" في الفترة الحالية وهو الخطر القادم من بعض "الجماعات الإسلامية المتطرفة" كالقاعدة والتي تعمل على هدم أميركا وتقويضها

خصائص أساسية

في المقابل تحدثت التقارير السابقة والعشرات من المقالات الصحفية المعنية والمنشورة في أكبر الصحف الأميركية والغربية عن ظاهرة "جماعات الكراهية الأميركية" وعن موجة جديدة ومقلقة في صعود تلك الجماعات ترتبط بالعوامل التالية

أولا: رأت التقارير المعنية أن جماعات الكراهية الأميركية تراجعت بوضوح في أواخر التسعينيات وخاصة بعد حادثة الهجوم على المبنى الفيدرالي بولاية أوكلاهوما في عام 1995 من قبل أميركي يميني متطرف، والتي تركت أكثر من 160 قتيلا، وترتب على حادثة أوكلاهوما حملة حكومية وشعبية كبيرة ضد تلك الجماعات أدت إلى تراجعها

ثانيا: من المعروف أن حوادث 11-9 قادت إلى موجة غضب شعبي كبير وقفزة في حوادث الكراهية – 9730 حادثة كراهية وفقا لإحصاءات مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي، وذلك مقارنة بـ 8063 حادثة في عام 2000

ثالثا: يبدو أن أحداث 11-9 زادت من حوادث الكراهية، ولكن التقارير الحالية تتحدث عن ظاهرة مختلفة، وهي ظاهرة نمو جماعات الكراهية ذاتها منذ 2001 بشكل غير مسبوق منذ الثمانينيات ومنتصف التسعينيات بشكل ينذر بالخطر ويتطلب الحذر

حيث رأى تقرير "مركز قانون الفقر الجنوبي" – السابق الإشارة إليه – إلى أن أعداد تلك الجماعات زادت بنسبة 50% منذ عام 2001 لتصل إلى أكثر من 900 جماعة في عام 2008، وذكر المركز نفسه أن أعداد جماعات الكراهية "القومية" زادت بنسبة 250% خلال العام الماضي وحده لتصل إلى أكثر من 500 جماعة

لذا استنتج البعض أن جماعات الكراهية الأميركية باتت تتكاثر بالعشرات خلال الأعوام الأخيرة، وهذا يعني أننا أمام ظاهرة جديدة وخطيرة تستحق الاهتمام

أسباب النمو

رابعا: تجمع المصادر السابقة على عدد من الأسباب أو العوامل التي تغذي نمو وتكاثر تلك الجماعات

حيث يرى هؤلاء أن اليمين الأميركي طغت عليه مؤخرا نبرة أيدلوجية متشددة تدفعه إلى اليمين أكثر فأكثر بسبب رموزه الإعلامية والسياسية المتشددة، والتي باتت تتحدث بحرية عن أجندات معادية للمهاجرين والحكومة والنظام الدولي والمؤسسات الدولية

وتقول تلك المصادر أن البيئة السابقة غذت - أو على الأقل شجعت - جماعات جديدة أكثر تطرفا باتت ترفض الحزب الجمهوري ذاته ورموزه السياسية المختلفة، فنحن هنا أمام جماعات متطرفة راديكالية منعزلة تتدرب على السلاح والعنف، وتحمل أفكار متطرفة تؤمن بكثير من نظريات المؤامرة وأفكار أخرى تبرر العنف

فهي ترى أن انتخاب باراك أوباما رئيسا لأميركا هو مؤامرة ضد الولايات المتحدة، وأن المهاجرين وتزايدهم في أميركا هم مؤامرة، وأن أوباما يعد معسكرات اعتقال سرية لتحويل الأميركيين إلى ليبراليين، وأن النظام العالمي الجديد مؤامرة، وأن المنظمات الدولية الكبرى كالأمم المتحدة ضالعة في مؤامرة دولية كبرى ضد أميركا، وأن الكثير من مشاكل أميركا الراهنة يتحمل مسئوليتها الآخرون الكارهون لأميركا

الجماعات السابقة استفادت من الإنترنت في نشر أفكارها والتواصل، وسعى بعض أعضائها إلى الانضمام إلى الجيش الأميركي للحصول على التدريب على استخدام السلاح، واستفادوا كثيرا من الأزمة الاقتصادية - والتي نشرت مشاعر الإحباط وسط الأميركيين – في اجتذاب أعضاء جدد

ولما فاز باراك أوباما بالرئاسة الأميركية بات عامل تجنيد جديد لتلك الجماعات، حيث رأوا أن فوز "أسود" بالرئاسة الأميركية هو جزء من مؤامرة يدريها الآخرون ضدهم

ويقول البعض أن حوالي 200 جندي أميركي سابق انضموا إلى تلك الجماعات منذ عام 2001، وهذا من بين أكثر من 20 ألف جندي أميركي تقاعدوا خلال الفترة ذاتها

الجماعات الوطنية المتطرفة

خامسا: تقول المصادر السابقة أن جماعات الكراهية الجديدة تحمل صفات جديدة وعلى رأسها تلك النزعة الوطنية المتطرفة، فهي بمثابة تطور للجماعات العنصرية، ولكن في صورة وطنية قومية تمزج العنصرية بالوطنية، أو تستخدم القومية لتبرير عنصريتها

ولكنها تتحدث في النهاية كجماعات قومية مدفوعة في تصرفاتها بالخوف على أميركا من الآخرين وخاصة المؤسسات الدولية الكبرى كالأمم المتحدة، والمهاجرين كاللاتينيين، والجماعات الليبرالية الأميركية، ومن المؤسسات الحكومية الأميركية ذاتها بعدما بات يسيطر عليها الليبراليون ورئيس أفريقي أميركي هو باراك أوباما

وعلى غرار نظيرتها في أوربا تعلمت الجماعات القومية الأميركية المتطرفة أن تدافع عن نفسها مستخدمة الحجج الليبرالية، فهي تحتمي وراء شعارات ومبادئ كالديمقراطية وحرية الرأي

وتستفيد تلك الجماعات كما ذكرنا سابقا من خطاب وسائل الإعلام اليمين وبعض أعضاء الكونجرس والسياسيين الجمهوريين حيث يتفوه بعضهم بعبارات لا تصدق من حيث درجة سطحيتها وتطرفها في آن واحد دون أن يتعرضوا لنقد سياسي أو إعلامي يستحق الذكر في الوقت الراهن

إحصاءات التحقيقات الفيدرالي

سادسا: توضح إحصاءات مكتب التحقيق الفيدرالي عن جرائم الكراهية في أميركا أن تلك الجماعات لم تتحول إلى العنف بعد ولم تحاول تطبيق نظرياتها الراديكالية على مستوى عنيف وواسع، فهي تنشر الكراهية وتهاجم الأقليات وتنشر مشاعر الرعب والخوف في أوساطهم، وتميز ضدهم بأشكال كثيرة من الصعب رصدها (كرفض توظيفهم)، ولكنها لم تلجأ إلى العنف على نطاق واسع حتى الآن

حيث تشير إحصاءات مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالية إلى أن عام 2000 وهو العام السابق لأحداث 11-9 شهد 8063 حادثة كراهية، وهو نفس عدد الحوادث التي شهدها عام 1997 تقريبا

وفي عام 2001 قفزت حوادث الكراهية إلى 9730 حادثة لتعود وتنخفض إلى 7462 في العام التالي (2002)، وتستمر في التراجع حتى تصل إلى 7163 حادثة في عام 2005، وهو أقل معدل لحوادث الكراهية منذ عام 1997 وحتى عام 2008، وهو أخر الأعوام التي تتوافر عنها إحصاءات رسمية عن جرائم الكراهية في أميركا

وعادت تلك الأعداد في الارتفاع حتى وصلت إلى 7783 حادثة في عام 2008، وهي أعداد تقل عن أعداد ما قبل 2001، ولم يصدر مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي إحصاءاته عن جرائم الكراهية الواقعة في عام 2009 بعد

هذا يعني أن حوادث الكراهية حافظت على معدلاتها السابقة لأحداث 11-9 وأواخر التسعينات، وأنه يصعب الحديث في الوقت الراهن عن ارتفاع في جرائم الكراهية التي ترتكبها جماعات اليمين الراديكالي الأميركية، خاصة وأن الإحصاءات التي يرصدها مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي تضم جرائم يرتكبها أفراد وجماعات ينتمون لأيدلوجيات مختلفة تتعدى جماعات الكراهية اليمينية

حقيقة الظاهرة

وهذا يعني – في الختام – أننا أمام ظاهرة سياسية وثقافية بالأساس ولكنها مقلقة للغاية، فهي لم تتحول إلى ظاهرة إجرامية وعنيفة واسعة النطاق بعد، ولكن جماعات الكراهية الأميركية في تزايد، وهي تتغذى على الأزمة الاقتصادية ومشاكل أميركا المختلفة وتيقظ النعرات العنصرية الدفينة

جماعات الكراهية الأميركية تستفيد من خطاب الإعلاميين والسياسيين اليمينيين الأميركيين، والذي بات خطابا تعبويا سطحيا ومتشددا في أحيانا كثيرة

خطورة تلك الجماعات تكمن في راديكاليتها، وفي فكرها التآمري، وفي كونها خطرا على اليمين الأميركي ذاته، وعلى المجتمع الأميركي بصفة عامة، خطر قد يتحول في أي لحظة إلى كارثة لو استمرت تلك الجماعات في النمو والانتشار وقررت يوما تطبيق أفكارها عمليا واللجوء إلى العنف