AbdelWahab El-Affendi is a political scientist and a distinguished writer on topics dealing with Islamic thought in its various facets: encounter with modernity, Islam and Politics, Islam and Democracy, Multiculturalism, Islam in the West, Muslim Intellectuals and Sudanese and Middle Eastern Politics.
He is a media commentator, in both Arabic and English. Born in Sudan with dual British and Sudanese Citizenship, he has lived in the UK since 1982. Dr El-Affendi was Reader in Politics at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster and co-ordinator of the Centre’s Democracy and Islam Programme. He is currently Provost and Acting President of Doha Institute of Graduate Studies, Qatar.
He was educated at the Universities of Khartoum, Wales, and Reading, Dr El-Affendi’s many publications include Turabi’s Revolution: Islam and Power in Sudan (1991). He is also member of the Advisory Council of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Centre for Contemporary Islamic Studies, University of Edinburgh, member of the Board of Directors of Inter-Africa Group (Addis Ababa), and a trustee of the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue (UK). He has served as Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, and Visiting Fellow/Professor at the Christian Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway (1995 and 2003), Northwestern University (2002), and the International Centre for Islamic Thought and Civilization, Kuala Lumpur (2008).
Excerpts from his recent essay, Unholy Deserts of Evil, Critical Muslim, No. 39, Summer 2021
The ‘Middle East’ is an invention that involved plenty of violence to produce and sustain, since it is in essence a denial of reality that must perpetually change to fit external interests. Its internal politics had been, from the dawn of modernity, distorted by the model of the capitulations, ‘treaties’ that gave the rights of foreign-backed minorities over the rights of local majorities. The abominable practice of colonialism was introduced to the region in its twilight, with the added anomaly of armed ‘asylum seekers’ , who decided to enslave and then seek to replace the indigenous population, rather than accept its hospitality. The twin claims of ‘divine right’ and ‘civilising mission’ were invoked to allow atheists to claim religious mandates, and commend the virtues of barbarians to the cradle of civilisation.
[. . .] In the good old days, savages who stormed our region from the uncivilised wilderness (Mongols, Crusaders) ended up being civilised by the experience. More recent hordes are not so lucky. They have exhausted the reservoir of civility that sustained this region for millennia. So much so that they tend to become even more barbaric during their sojourn, and then take their enhanced barbarism back home. It is Abu Ghraib, then Guantanamo, and finally the Capitol.
source: We are | Critical Muslim
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