Mr.GILLES KEPEL (1955 - ) - French School of Orientalism

 French School of Orientalism GILLES KEPEL (1955 - )

Base on the late Edward W. Said‘s classification of the orientalists, we are facing with three school of orientalism, One of them is “French orientalism School” that have own way and own style. A yang and well-known French school of orientalism is Professor GILLES KEPEL. He has fairly direct studies on Islam and Middle East and penned so many books and articles about Islam and The Middle East. Some of his Famous articles and book are titled as following:

“The Roots of Radical Islam”

“The Revenge of God: the Resurgence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the Modern World” 

“Allah in the West: Islamic Movements in America and Europe” 

“Jihad: the Trail of Political Islam”

“The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West”  

“Al Qaeda in its own words”

 “Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: the Future of the Middle East”

 On April 17, 2002, Mr. KEPEL had an interview with Joanne J. Myers, in this interview he speaks about his opinion, especially those which come in his book titled “Jihad: the Trail of Political Islam”. Mr. KEPEL announce that Islamic “political-religious movements” come to exist or appeared when “Nationalism” in Arab world die, it mean that Islamic movement is the fruit of failing nationalism in Islamic world and so on the other hand if nationalism did not failed, now we have no political-religion movement. But I think it is not a fit theory, because sociopolitical aspects are in the heart of Islamic thought and it is not something that somebody adds to it. Islam announces that have program for all stage of human life, so the failure of nationalism cannot be the main cause for coming Islamic political-religious movements to stage.

Although Muslims society maybe had an eye on Muslim nationalists movements, to reach their right, and the failure of Nationalist make an extra motivation for them, to change their direction, and perhaps the vacuum of disappointment encourage them to boost their political-religious movements in 1970s, but in Islamic world if instead of nationalism any kinds of political approach was active also, the reaction of Muslims were the same and they search for new way to catch their goals.

As Mr. KEPEL declares in this interview correctly that Muslim seeking for “better future” leads them to their Islamic political-religious movements. So I can say failure of “Nationalism” in Arab world or globe cannot be the main reason and Muslim’s unsatisfactory, return them to their Islam and looking solution in own culture not in some imported “ism” like “Nationalism”.

Another mistake of Mr. KEPEL is seeing “Iranian revolution in 1979” in the same direction that Arab movement was going on, at that time. But it is clear that Iranian revolution is rooted in a century struggle of Iranian to achieve constitutional political system instead of absolute King role system and later on the development of, democracy and Republication system and also independent from foreign domination (that in this case they had common goal with Arab movement).

But Arab movement mostly was (and is) related to occupation of their lands (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and especially and mostly Palestine), that is occupied by Israel. They relatively are careless about achieving democracy because, Arab culture is more familiar to ruling of their pious, noble, and honorable class (sheiks) of society and till now also, most of them are adopt kingdom system (now it is one and half year that democracy movement in Arab world is started).

In other hand Mr. KEPEL in his speech brings Afghanistan and Iran together, when he refers to Osama bin Laden and his organization. He also relates them to both country but it is clear that there is a confrontation between Al-Qaida (US-Saudi Arabia made Wahhabi organization by Bin Laden) and Iran. So bringing the two, in same category is another mistake by Mr. KEPEL and some orientalist like him. Al-Qaida movement is an artificial and side west-made movement on the real Islamic Movement that unfortunately attracts some Muslim to itself and it just create by West-Wahhabi wing to mislead Islamic and Noble mass movement. And they use Islamic wave and as “Wave rider” by the creation of some kind of group like Al-Qaida to catch their own fish. 

But it is clear that when Mr. KEPEL telling the story of internal discourse in Arab’s Kingdoms countries and also their relation with big world power and the role of “jihadi” groups in between, he shows himself very mellow, well-experienced and mature.

He also (the same as Mr. Bernard Lewis-US scholar of orientalist) picked a group of Muslim (Wahhabi-Salafi) and generalized them to all Muslim Movement in the Middle East and north of Africa. In this interview he speak of using Jihad by Wahhabi and Salafi ideology (he know them as ideology not religion) “the only solution to set up an Islamic State”, but as he mention, this kind of group mostly came to exist when the USA (and following them Saudi Arabia,…) decided to tackle USSR (the USA rival) in Afghanistan and inject of “American Treasury approximately $600 million a year” and also “the (Persian) Gulf countries So a billion-something a year for about eight years to topple the "Empire of Evil," the Soviet Union” was the beginning of this movement by those groups.

 And the mistake of Mr. KEPEL is starts when he brings together the big and right Afghan’s anti-Occupation movement with interference of USA and others in the some part of this righteous and pure honest straggle.

 Another unjust mix by Mr. KEPEL is bringing the anti-Occupation Islamic movement against Israel with Wahhabi and US-led and made Al-Qaeda movement. But in fact and obviously Al-Qaeda beside some rarely speeches of its leaders against Israel, does not have any practical action against Israel till now (for example military operation as they actively have a lot in Islamic country) so how can Mr. KEPEL and other orientalists mix this two, and also generalize them to a vast Islamic Movement. It is show that Mr. KEPEL as well known expert of Middle East also trapped in US-Made Wave.          

This is a fact that other Islamic movement (in Palestine and other Islamic world) use the opportunities and the space that given by the west and their key allies (like Saudi Arabia), during fight against USSR in Afghanistan, to promote himself, but In fact this two movement are different, and you cannot see them in the same spectrum.

This is also a fact that fortunately point out by Mr. KEPEL that Al-Qaida is so suspicious phenomenon that even its funders neither can nor trust them so “King Fahd did not accept” to even protect his country against Saddam Hussein by Al-Qaida fighters and put them away from Saudi Arabia territory and he prefer to use West-Christen warrior instead of Islamic US-Wahhabi made Al-Qaida. So orientalists also cannot put this kind of group that is not trusted by their founder as foundation of their scientific analysis of Islamic political-religion Movement.

Mr. GILLES KEPEL on 11 November 2004 had an interview about his book that titled “The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West” with “OPENDEMOCRACY”. One of the key meanings in Mr. GILLES KEPEL thought is “the Middle East, see violence as the only way to change the present state” that he believe that, this strategy adopted by Islamic Movement. Mr GILLES KEPEL frequently uses as central fact in his thought, this is as given core character for Islamic Movement, but if you look to the contemporary major Islamic Movement, you can see most of them are non-violence. Iranian 1979 revolution (as he exampled as successful one) is completely weaponless. the other main Islamic Movement, that have a Palestine-based subject, also mainly are armless and it is years and the years that its engine is “Intifada” by people and except Hezbollah in Lebanon (that is also is an anti-occupation straggle by Lebanon’s people) are also non-violence (till 2004 the time of this interview). So except US-Wahhabi armed group against USSR, most of real Islamic Movement are non-violence and civil-based and carrying public desire.

Mr. GILLES KEPEL properly Find and senses the hate of civil-society of Middle Eastern against Israel (as Occupier of their land) and have appropriate notice to American Neo-Cons that “As long as this continues, the neo-cons have no chance to win the support of Muslims or middle–east civil societies against radicals and terrorists.”   

—  GILLES KEPEL (2002). “Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam”. An interview by Joanne J. Myers. [Accessed 16/05/08]

—  GILLES KEPEL (2004). “The war for Muslim minds: an interview with Gilles Kepel”.

Friday, 09 November 2012

 Seyed Mostafa Mostafavi


+ نوشته شده در جمعه نوزدهم آبان ۱۳۹۱ ساعت 19:37 شماره پست: 201

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