Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard and Lowell Schwartz[37]

A ROAD MAP TO BUILDING MODERATE MUSLIM NETWORKS

  The struggle underway throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of ideas. Its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world and will profoundly affect the security of the West, determining whether the threat of jihadist terrorism continues and some Muslim societies fall back even further into patterns of intolerance and violence. Radical Islamists are a minority almost everywhere, but in many areas they hold the advantage because they have developed extensive networks spanning the Muslim world and reaching well beyond it, to Muslim Diaspora communities in North America and Europe. Moderate and liberal Muslims, although a majority in most Muslim countries and communities, have not created similar networks. Creation of moderate Muslim networks and institutions is critical because such networks would provide a platform to amplify their message as well as some measure of protection from violence and intimidation.

  The initial impulse for moderate network-building may require an external catalyst. The United States and its allies and partners, in levelling the playing field for moderates, have a critical role to play. Many reservations have been expressed about such a goal, and indeed, the obstacles to influencing socio-political developments in the Muslim world should not be underestimated. Nevertheless, there is in fact considerable experience available, dating back to the U.S. and British efforts during the Cold War to foster networks of people committed to free and democratic ideals.

  It is widely acknowledged that U.S. and Western initiatives in the "war of ideas" have not yet achieved the desired momentum. The effectiveness of these effort is obstructed by a system-wide inability to answer the three fundamental questions at the heart of such an undertaking: what exactly we should be doing, where should we do it, and with whom we should be doing it. Drawing on a recently completed report issued by the RAND Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, this paper proposes solutions to each of these dilemmas and describes a roadmap for a more effective conduct of the war of ideas on the foundation of authentic and effectively networking moderates.

  We begin by analyzing the Cold War precedent, and describing how network building was found to be a key component in the strategy to oppose Communism. Next, we summarise our findings concerning current U.S. strategies and programs of engagement with the Muslim world. We review how similar challenges were successfully met during the Cold War, and describe how the United States and its allies then identified and supported appropriate partners and how they attempted to avoid endangering them. We discuss some approaches for achieving a similar set of criteria for partners, and for geographic areas of focus, under the different circumstances prevailing today. Finally, informed by the findings of previous RAND work on the ideological tendencies in the Muslim world, we develop a "roadmap" for the construction of moderate Muslim networks and institutions.

The Lessons of the Cold War Experience

  The efforts of the United States and its partners, primarily the United Kingdom, during the early years of the Cold War to help build free and democratic institutions and organisations hold lessons for the global war on terrorism. At the onset of the Cold War, the Soviet Union could not only count on the allegiance of strong Communist parties in Western Europe, but of a plethora of organisations—labor unions, youth and student organisations, and journalists' associations—that gave Soviet-backed elements effective control of important sectors of society. Outside Western Europe, Soviet allies included a number of "liberation movements" against colonial rule. In addition to the military shield provided by U.S. nuclear and conventional forces, the success of the containment policy therefore required the creation of parallel democratic institutions to contest Communist domination of civil society. Among the best known of these organizations were the Congress of Cultural Freedom, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, the Free Trade Union Committee, and the National Student Association.

  One important feature of this effort was the linkage between the public and private sectors. As historian Scott Lucas noted, in these "state-private networks" the impetus for actions against Communism came from the private side of the equation. Within the United States and Europe there already was an intellectual movement opposed to Communism particularly among the non-Communist left. These networks were not created out of thin air; they came out of wider cultural and political realms that the U.S. and other governments quietly fostered.

  In almost all of these endeavours the U.S. government acted like a foundation. It evaluated projects to determine whether they promoted its strategic objectives, provided funding for them, and then adopted a hands off approach to allow the organizations it supported to fulfil their objectives without interference. Like any foundation, the U.S. government set out guidelines on how its money was to be spent. But in general, U.S. officials realised that the more distance between it and the sponsored organisation, the more likely it would be that their activities would succeed.

  The United States was not the only nation engaged in network-building activities at the beginning of the Cold War. In early 1948, the British government set up the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret part of the Foreign Office, to oversee British Cold War propaganda efforts. The IRD was guided by the principle that people in free countries would reject Soviet Communism if they understood the real conditions in Communist-controlled countries and the aims and methods of Soviet propaganda. To do this the IRD embarked on "worldwide operation of factual indoctrination" to counter Soviet propaganda.

The IRD surveyed the structures of various communities both inside and outside Britain in order to identify opinion leaders willing to cooperate with the British government in combating Communism. The IRD was particularly interested in religious figures, union leaders, intellectuals, and journalists. Individuals from these groups were confidentially supplied with background materials about Communism and life in the Soviet Union from open sources and from British intelligence, enabling them to speak knowledgeably on the subject. These non-official figures were able to promote the anti-Communist message without appearing to be sponsored or endorsed by the British government.

  In constructing democratic networks in the Muslim world today, the United States and its partners faces a number of challenges that mirror those faced by policymakers at the beginning of the Cold War. Three particular challenges seem especially relevant. First, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, U.S and British policymakers debated whether network building efforts should be offensive or defensive. Some believed the West should pursue an offensive strategy to roll back Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Others believed a more defensive strategy focused on containing the Soviet threat by bolstering democratic forces in Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America was more appropriate. For the most part the defensive strategy prevailed, although the United States also sought to reverse the flow of ideas, so that instead of Communist ideas flowing into the West via the Soviet Union and its front organisations, democratic ideas could infiltrate behind the Iron Curtain via the newly established information networks.

  A second challenge policymakers in the Cold War faced was how to maintain the credibility of groups that the West was supporting. This was done in a variety of ways. One way was to support the efforts of private or non-governmental organisations, such as the AFL-CIO, with established relationships in the countries where they operated. Another way of maintaining credibility was through the appointment of reputable public figures as heads of these organizations. The leadership of these public figures provided a degree of credibility that helped to mitigate concerns about the groups. Finally, it is important to note that many key individuals and organisations were not averse to accepting Western funding. They fully understood the political costs and risks that came from accepting outside support. However, they believed in the cause that they were fighting for and they wanted to exploit every advantage that they could secure.

A third key issue was how broad the anti-Communist coalition should be. For instance, should it include Socialists who had turned against Communism but nevertheless were critical of many aspects of U.S. policy? The decision was made that anyone could be part of this effort as long as they were willing to subscribe to certain basic principles. In the Congress of Cultural Freedom the membership ticket was agreement to an anti-totalitarian consensus. Disagreement with U.S. foreign policy and critic of American society was allowed and even encouraged because it helped to establish the credibility and independence of the supported organisation.

  U.S. and Western network building activities are today widely regarded as one of the key reasons for the West's victory in the Cold War. The success of these efforts can broadly be attributed to several factors. The development of democratic networks was closely tied to a grand strategy that incorporated all aspects of national power short of war, including political, economic, informational, and diplomatic components. Also, U.S. and British networking efforts tapped into already existing movements and organisations in Western Europe. Government assistance was a vital complement in nurturing this movement without overshadowing it or crushing it with attention.

  Moreover, there was a broad political consensus inside the United States and in some allied countries, notably the United Kingdom, on the need to fight Communism in its political and ideological, as well as military, manifestations. This consensus endured for almost twenty years, allowing these programs to operate without domestic political interference. This was despite the fact that many journalists, lawmakers, and intellectuals were well aware of the covert funding being provided to these programs. Finally, the U.S. government managed to strike a balance between allowing the groups it supported a high level of independence and ensuring that their activities converged with long-term U.S. strategic goals. The creative, credible and flexible efforts of these organizations would never have been possible under constant U.S. government supervision.

Similarities and Differences Between the Cold War Environment and the Muslim World Today

  If we compare the Cold War environment with the situation in the Muslim world today, three broad parallels stand out. First, in both cases the West confronted a new and confusing geopolitical environment, along with new security threats. Then the threat was a global Communist movement led by a nuclear-armed Soviet Union; now it is a global jihadist movement striking with acts of mass-casualty terrorism. Second, then and now we have witnessed the creation of large new government bureaucracies to combat these threats. Finally, and most importantly, during the early Cold War years there was recognition that the United States and its allies were engaged in an ideological conflict. Policymakers understood that this ideological conflict would be contested across diplomatic, economic, military, and psychological dimensions. Today, the U.S. and British governments considers themselves involved in a war of ideas against extremist ideologies.

  Of course as with all historical analogies it is important to note the differences as well as the similarities between the past and the present. The Soviet Union represented a nation-state with state interests to protect, with defined geographical borders, and with a clear government structure. Today, by contrast, the West in part confronts shadowy non-state actors that control no territory—though they have been able to establish sanctuaries outside of state control—reject the norms of the international system, and are not subject to normal means of deterrence.

  Several key differences between the environment of the Cold War and the Middle East today highlight the very different networking challenges. The first difference relates to the role of civil society. Historically civil society institutions have been very strong in Western Europe so there was a foundation for the United States to build on. In the Muslim world—particularly in the Middle East—the institutions of civil society are inchoate, making the task of building democratic networks more difficult.

  Intellectual and historical ties were, of course, stronger between Europe and the United States. American political culture has its roots in Europe, in British constitutional and legal development and in the ideas of the Enlightenment. This shared experience and values made it easier for the United States to wage a war of ideas. While Western liberal ideas have taken root in some countries and among some sectors in the Muslim world—perhaps more than it is generally appreciated—the cultural and historical divide between the West and its potential partners is greater now than it was during the Cold War.

  Additional, the information environment is very different today. During the Cold War the media was made up of a limited number of newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Today, the media environment in the Middle East is far more complex with traditional state run media outlets being challenged by the Internet and hundreds of satellite television stations. During the Cold War, the central challenge, particularly in Eastern Europe, was communicating truthful information that was being suppressed by governments. The challenge today lies in a proliferation of media much of which promotes and validates sectarian and extremist worldviews.

  Moreover, conceptualising the challenge that the United States and its allies and partners face—and devising an effective response—is much harder in today's environment. During the Cold War the political choices for Western governments were clear-cut. The United States and its allies opposed the Soviet Union and its allies and defended their friends. In the Muslim world today the choices are much more complex, because to a large extent the criticism of the United States (and other Western countries) is that they are too close to authoritarian regimes. The dilemma for U.S. policy is that the promotion of democracy also undermines governments that are part of the regional security structures that the United States supports and depends on for operations in the global war on terrorism.

The U.S. Response to the Challenge of Radical Islam

  In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, significant resources and attention were devoted to the physical security of American citizens and territory. At the same time, the recognition that combating terrorism required more than bringing terrorists to justice and diminishing their capacity to operate, inspired an effort to understand and address the "root causes" of terrorism. The National Security Strategy document of September 2002 elucidated a refined conception of security that emphasised the consequences of internal conditions of other states—particularly the lack of democracy. This theme was to be reinforced over the course of the next several years, from the 9/11 Commission Report to, perhaps most dramatically, President Bush's second inaugural address.

  While the President's "Freedom Agenda," highlighted in a series of very public documents and speeches can be considered to be a U.S. "grand strategy" in the global war on terrorism, a consensus on how to identify and support partners in the war of ideas has not yet emerged. Specifically, there is no explicit U.S. policy to help build moderate Muslim networks, although such network-building activity takes place as a by-product of other U.S. assistance programs. The heart of the approach we are proposing involves making this network-building activity an explicit goal of the U.S. government and its friends and allies.

  Moderate network building can proceed at three levels: (1) bolstering existing networks; (2) identifying potential networks and promoting their inception and growth; and (3) contributing to the underlying conditions of pluralism and tolerance that are favorable to the growth of these networks. Although there are a number of U.S. government programs that have effects on the first two levels, most U.S. efforts to date fall within the third level, due partly to organisational preferences and to the fact that in many parts of the Muslim world there are few existing moderate networks or organisations with which the United States could partner. In addition, in identifying opportunities to promote the formation of moderate networks, the United States must contend with repressive environments and high levels of anti-Americanism.

  Most of the U.S. government effort that concerns network building fall into the categories of democracy promotion, civil society development, and public diplomacy. Through traditional diplomacy, the United States engages in state-to-state dialogue and has crafted incentives such as The Millennium Challenge Account for states to join the "community of democracies." Publicly and privately, the United States emphasizes the benefits of adopting liberal democratic values of equity, tolerance, pluralism, the rule of law, and respect for civil and human rights.

  In addition, both the Department of State and USAID have specific democracy promotion mandates. To translate these policy goals into action, the Department of State and USAID work through NGOs principally the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Asia Foundation, and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), all non-profit organizations funded by the U.S. government.

  Although it is far from the largest U.S. program of engagement with the Muslim world, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) represents a high profile attempt to break free from pre-9/11 standard approaches by structuring its programs on four thematic "pillars"—political, economic, education, and women's empowerment—and by supporting indigenous NGOs directly on a more innovative and flexible basis. As a new office in the Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), MEPI was designed to veer away from the conventional government-to-government approach and instead to rely on U.S. NGOs as implementing contractors to disburse small grants directly to indigenous NGOs within the framework of four "pillars."

  In 2004, the United States, together with its G8 partners, attempted to inject a multilateral approach with the launching of the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA). In the summer of 2006 BMENA began an effort to replicate the model of the Asia Foundation—the most successful of the NGOs involved in programs to develop civil society institutions—and tailor it to the Middle East region.

  Both democracy promotion and civil society building face two primary obstacles: active resistance by authoritarian regimes and a lack of tangible performance measurement criteria. Government resistance manifests itself in laws prohibiting NGO formation or acceptance of external support, strict monitoring of NGO activity and the expulsion of officials (Bahrain) and suspension of activities (Egypt).

The Roadmap

  In developing a road map to building moderate Muslim networks, the first step is for the U.S. government and its allies to make a clear decision to build moderate networks and to create an explicit linkage between this goal and overall strategy and programs. To implement this strategy, it is necessary to create an institutional structure within the U.S. government to guide, support, oversee and continuously monitor the effort and to build up the necessary expertise and capacity. The same is true of other Western governments that may wish to participate in this effort. That structure should include:

    1.  An ever evolving and sharpening set of criteria to distinguish true moderates from opportunists and from extremists camouflaged as moderates. In cases where the United States and its allies might find it necessary to work with Islamists (in Iraq, for instance), the U.S. and allied governments needs to have the ability to make situational decisions to knowingly and for tactical reasons support individuals outside of that range under specific circumstances.

    2.  An international database of partners (individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, parties, etc.)

    3.  Mechanisms for monitoring, refining and overseeing programs, projects and decisions. This should include a feedback loop to allow for inputs and corrections from those partners who have been found to be most trustworthy.

Identifying Partners

  A major problem in organising support for moderate Muslims is that Western governments and organizations have difficulties in distinguishing potential allies from adversaries. In work done by the RAND Corporation—Cheryl Benard's Civil Democratic Islam and Angel Rabasa et al, The Muslim World After 9/11—we have identified a broad set of "marker issues" and the position of groups or individuals on these issues allows for a more precise classification of these groups in terms of their affinity for democratic and pluralist values. These marker issues include conceptions of government; views on the primacy of shari'a or Islamic law versus other sources of law, on human rights, including the rights of women and religious minorities; and on whether they support, justify, or reject violence to advance a religious or political agenda.

  Within the spectrum of ideological tendencies in the Muslim world, we can distinguish three sectors that can be potential partners for the United States and the West in the effort to combat Islamist extremism: liberal Muslims; moderate traditionalists, including Sufis; and liberal secularists.

Liberal Muslims

  Liberal Muslims may come from different Muslim traditions. They may be modernists, seeking to bring the core values of Islam in harmony with the modern world or, as in the case of the Indonesian liberal Muslim activist Ulil Abshar Abdallah and his Liberal Muslim Network, they might come from a traditionalist background. What liberal Muslims have in common is a belief that Islamic values are consistent with democracy, pluralism, human rights and individual freedoms. The name of "Liberal Islam" illustrate our fundamental principles; an interpretation of Islam which emphasizes "private liberties".

  Liberal Muslims are hostile to the concept of the "Islamic state." As a noted Indonesian modernist, former Muhammadiyah chairman Ahmad Syafii Maarif, has noted, there is not a single verse in the Quran on the organisation of the state. Liberal Muslims discern the roots of Muslim democracy in the Quranic concept of shura or consultation, which leads to an egalitarian political system. In this view, an Islamic government must be democratic.

  A consistent view in liberal modernist Muslim thinking is that the legal and criminal code referred to as shari'a is not only a product of the historical circumstances of the time when it was created, but additionally that radical interpretations of shari'a represent an arbitrary selection from within a much larger body of precepts. They further fid that elements of it—for instance, flogging and amputation—are no longer contextual to modern standards.

Moderate Traditionalists and Sufis

  Traditionalists probably constitute the large majority of Muslims. They are often but not always conservative Muslims who uphold beliefs and traditions received through the centuries—1,400 years of Islamic traditions and spirituality, which are inimical to fundamentalist ideology. These traditions incorporate veneration of and prayers offered at the tombs of saints and other practices anathema to Salafis and Wahhabis. Traditionalists interpret the Islamic scriptures on the basis of the teachings of the schools of jurisprudence (mazhab) that were established in the early centuries of Islam rather than through unmediated interpretation of the Quran and the hadith (the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad) as Salafists do. Many traditionalists incorporate in their religious practice elements of Sufism—the tradition of Islamic mysticism that stresses emotive and personal experiences of the divine.

  What is relevant to this study is that Salafis and Wahhabis are relentless enemies of traditionalists and Sufis. Whenever radical Islamist movements have gained power they have sought to suppress their practice of Islam. Their destruction of early Islamic monuments in Saudi Arabia, as well as of irreplaceable historic mosques in the Balkans, is well known. Their victimisation by Salafis and Wahhabis makes traditionalists and Sufis natural allies of the West in opposing the dissemination of narrow and intolerant interpretations of Islam.

Liberal Secularists

  Secularism was the dominant view of the state's relationship with religion among political elites during the formative years of the modern states of the Muslim world; humanism, a form of secularism, has a strong tradition in the Islamic world, dating back to the earliest periods of Muslim history. However, in recent years secularism has steadily lost ground, partly because of the Islamic resurgence of the last three decades and partly because—especially in the Arab world—secularism has become associated not with Western models of liberal democracy, but with failed authoritarian political systems. Liberal secularists are closest in orientation to Western political values. They hold liberal democratic or social democratic principles that form the core of a Western-style "civil religion." Although they are a minority within the Muslim world, there are indications of a secularist revival. Our study of Muslim secularists has shown that contrary to what is generally assumed, secularists are not a new or negligible phenomenon in the Muslim world and that Western government and institutions tend to underestimate their potential.

Organising the Networks

  The network-building effort could begin with a core group of reliable partners whose ideological orientation is known, and work outwards from there. The effort to build moderate Muslim networks could be organised around the following core groups:

  Liberal and Secular Muslim academics. Liberals tend to gravitate toward universities and academic and research centers, from where they can influence opinion. There are existing networks of liberal and moderate intellectuals throughout the Muslim world. This sector is therefore the primary building bloc for an international moderate Muslim network.

  Young moderate clerics. One of the reasons for the radicals' success in propagating their ideas is that they use mosques as their vehicles for proselytising and recruiting. Liberal academics, on the other hand, are not familiar with talking to people at the mosques. They find it difficult to translate the language of scholarship to the language of ordinary people. Therefore, a liberal or moderate Muslim movement with a mass base will depend on enlisting the active participation of moderate clerics, particularly of young clerics who will provide the religious leadership of the future.

  Community activists are the muscle of this initiative. They are the ones that propagate the ideas developed by liberal and moderate intellectuals. They are the ones that take risks by confronting often violent extremists in the battle of ideas, who are the victims of fatwas and attacks and who, therefore, are most in need of the protection and support that an international network can provide. An excellent example is Indonesia's Liberal Muslim Network, whose activists have taken a high-profile stand against Islamist extremism, and have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation.

  Women's groups. Women and religious minorities have the most to lose from the spread of fundamentalist Islam and rigid interpretations of shari'a. In some countries women are beginning to organize to protect their rights from the rising tide of fundamentalism and are becoming an increasingly important constituency in reformist movements. Groups and organizations have emerged to advance women's rights and opportunities in the areas of legal rights, health, education, and employment. This upsurge in women's civil society groups in turn provides opportunities for moderate network building.

  Journalists, writers and communicators. Through the use of the Internet and other new media outside of governments' control, radical messages have penetrated deeply into Muslim communities around the world.

Programs

  The programs directed at the above audiences would have the following foci: democratic education, media, gender equality, and policy advocacy.

  Democratic Education. The narrowly sectarian and regressive instruction on religion and politics dispensed at radical and conservative madrasas needs to be countered by a curriculum that promotes democratic and pluralistic values. A number of Western institutions have been conducting democracy-building projects in the Middle East. The Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought, registered in Germany, supports independent, forward-thinking individuals in the Arab world. Other NGOs have developed curriculum materials and conduct training programs in law, democracy and human rights in the Middle East and Asia.

  Media. Dissemination of information throughout most of the Muslim world is dominated by anti-democratic radical and conservative elements. In some countries, there is no moderate media. Alternative moderate media is a critical tool in the war of ideas. U.S.-funded broadcasting such as Radio Sawa and Al Hurra television lack the agility to address local concerns and issues and, in any event, do not foster the development of moderate media-focused networks. To reverse radical media trends, therefore, it will be critical to support local moderate radio and television programming, as well as websites and other non-traditional media.

  Gender equality. The issue of women's rights is a major battleground in the war of ideas within Islam. As a 2005 Freedom House report stated, that the Middle East is the region where the gap between the rights of men and those of women is the most visible and significant and where resistance to women's equality has been most challenging. The trends in women's empowerment in the Muslim world are mixed. In some countries, women have made important inroads in advancing an agenda of gender equality. In other parts of the Muslim world, the growing strength of fundamentalism threatens retrogression in the position of women in society.

  Policy Advocacy. Islamists used da'wa (Islamic propagation) as policy advocacy—in addition to transforming the individual the goal is to attain social and political objectives, which in the Islamists' view are undistinguishable from religious objectives. Moderate, liberal and secular Muslims need to engage in policy advocacy as well. Where Islamists are campaigning for the codification of their particular interpretation of Islam, moderate Muslims need to campaign against legislating discrimination and intolerance. Public interest advocates have multiplied throughout the Muslim world in recent years. These groups can help to shape the political and legal environment that, in turn, can accelerate or hinder the development of democratic civil society institutions.

Regional Focus

  A major factor in the spread of Islamic radicalism is that the flow of ideas has been in one direction—extremist ideas from the Middle East to other regions of the Muslim world. We propose to reverse that flow of ideas by working with Muslim moderates in countries outside of the Arab world, where conditions are more favorable to the development of robust moderate Muslim networks and institutions, to strengthen these societies against the flow of extreme Salafist interpretations; and to disseminate moderate and progressive interpretations of Islam that could flow back into the Middle East through the international networks and channels of communication that we propose to build.

  Muslim communities in the West and Southeast Asia are an obvious choice as the focus of this effort. Although Muslims in Europe have suffered from many ills, including inconsistent approaches to integration by European states, alienation from their national societies, and growing radicalism among second and third generation Muslims, nevertheless the familiarity of Diaspora Muslims with Western societies, their exposure to liberal democratic values and, no less important, their success in maintaining a Muslim identity within a pluralistic society, make them key potential partners in building bridges to other parts of the Muslim world.

  Southeast Asia is also an obvious choice. Although the region is often overlooked in discourse about Islam, Southeast Asia is home to one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the world. Moreover, the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of the region has accustomed Southeast Asian Muslims to co-exist with other cultural and religious traditions, giving the practice of Islam in Southeast Asia its famously tolerant character. What is more relevant to this project is there is already in place in Southeast Asia a dense structure of moderate Muslim institutions, probably unparalleled in the Muslim world. The building blocs are there and need only to be connected to a network.

  Although the Middle East is less promising and is not the focus of this proposed effort, there are democratising trends at work in the region that offer the prospect of transformation. In some countries—Morocco, Jordan, some of the smaller Gulf states—some democratic elements have been introduced and tolerant interpretations of Islam prevail. Therefore, despite the generally unpromising prospects, there should be a component of this project to link the small secular and liberal Muslim groups in the Arab world with each other and with compatible groups outside the region.






37   This paper is based on the 2007 RAND report Building Moderate Muslim Networks (MG-574-SRF). We wish to acknowledge the contribution to this project of Peter Sickle, a 2006 RAND Summer Associate, in assessing U.S. government programs of engagement with the Muslim world. Back


 
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