Islamist Manifesto

By Kutschera, Chris | The Middle East, January 1998 | Go to article overview
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Islamist Manifesto


Kutschera, Chris, The Middle East


Apparently a meeting has been held between Rabah Kebir, for the FIS (the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front) and representatives of the Algerian and French governments. The meeting was supposedly set up at the initiative of the Sudanese government, in Holland, in 1995. The redemocratisation of the political life in Algeria was among the topics discussed but no follow up action was taken. It seems a number of Algerian generals heard of the meeting and blocked any further dialogue.

Although there have been rumours of meetings between the Algerian regime and the Islamists somewhere in Europe, this is the first time an authorised source - in fact, the person who initiated the contact - has confirmed details. Where can one find further details of this "scoop": in Hassan Al Turabi's book Islam, the world's future.

Hassan Al Turabi, officially the speaker of the Sudanese parliament, in fact the mastermind behind a regime considered by some - not only in the USA - as a terrorist octopus which threatens the stability of the whole of Africa, from Uganda to Eritrea and from Egypt to Algeria. Paradoxically, this book was published in French (by Editions Lattes, Paris) although traditionally the Sudan belongs to the British. Lattes is also better known as a publisher interested in commercial ventures that appeal to a large public, which is not the case, in France at least, for a book of dialogues on Islam.

Alain Chevalerias, the co-author, is a French journalist who spent many months with the Afghan resistance in the 1980s. He had the idea of publishing a book of conversations with an Islamist leader who was sufficiently representative to put his point convincingly, to a wide audience. He told TME: "I was looking for somebody who would be authoritative and coherent enough to give a knowledge of militant Islam which would not be based on hearsay and commentaries. The Egyptian Muslim Brothers are not directly involved in politics. The Algerian Islamists are somewhat at the periphery of the movement, and they are quite parochial, as are the Tunistans, the Iranians are Shia.

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