When it comes to the Muslim world, what are some major trends, issues or prospects arising out of politics.
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I don't think that you have to go very far in this one. Look at the recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Libya for guidance. Such rebellion can be traced to the protests and intensity of demonstrations that took place in Iran two summers ago when the results of the Presidential election there were contested by students and the opposition. Whether it is called the "Muslim world" or the "Arab world," the reality is that there is a fundamental value shift taking place. The old authoritarian structures that wielded power at unchecked rates are now being checked. Students and young people alike are questioning why institutional structures are the way they are. Rather than simply accept the power structure as coming from the "top down," armed with technology and the very essence of living in a globalized world, the youth in the Muslim world is openly questioning authority and doing so with a massive amount of zeal. This is going to become the central issue for this part of the world because it strikes at the heart of how power has been wielded. It has seismic effects in that this current movement is seeking to transform everything from political power to social reality to economic initiatives and relationships. This will become the fundamental crucible for the Muslim world and help to define its place in the 21st Century.
I agree with #2. Clearly we are seeing massive conflict in part resulting from globalisation and the clash of authoritarian regimes against the concept of free will and democracy. It is going to be very interesting to see how the political situation develops in the next few years, which of course will be key for shaping world politics. The various demonstrations have indicated the way in which there is a real thirst for greater accountability and democracy in such traditionally autocratic countries, and the conflict between these two concepts, democracy and authoritarianism, is going to be something that will continue to dominate the Arab world for some time to come.
Within the greater democracy v. authoritarian issue that the first two posts refer to, there is going to be a major practical issue that will affect the US. That issue is the attitude or attitudes that the governments (whatever type they end up being) in this area will have towards the US and Israel. As the previous posts say, we do not know if the Arab part of the Muslim world will become democratic. But we also do not know whether democratic Arab governments (or whatever type the eventually develop) will tend to see the US as a positive or a negative force. This may well affect US foreign policy in years to come.
I agree with post #5. As long as there have been oppressed people in the world, there has been rebellion. Now that we are in the midst of information overload, people are harder to keep in the dark, and they soon discover that there is something "more" out there that they want for themselves as part of the universal unwritten "human rights" contract. However, just because they are rebelling doesn't mean that something better or more positive is on the other side of the fight. When the slaves in America were freed and many fled North, they were not necessarily welcomed with open arms. Many returned to the South and the way of life they knew and were familiar with in the first place, but this time with a salary and the burden of finding their own housing and food.
Rebellion is often bittersweet. Freedom is not free...everybody pays something for it, and in the case of military members, it is often the ultimate price.
Muslims are prolific in the world. As with any religion, there are some fanatics who take it too far, there are the hypocrits who say one thing and mean or do another, and there are the true followers who live quiet and obedient lives. I hear repeatedly that Islam is a religion of peace, but what I am seeing is not that message. I assume that what I see and read about is the work of the radicals, but my hope is that the politics which come to be as a result of such widespread Muslim communities will be one of peaceful co-existence and not extremism.
Some prognosticators indicate that population increase will center in countries dominated by Islam while increase in Global Net Income will center in Pacific Rim countries causing a disproportionate distribution of wealth and political power. At the same time, an allegiance between Islam dominated countries and Western European countries is predicted as a result of the European Union attempting to defuse the threat of terrorism. [These predictions were the results of studies by the Free World Academy, and I can not corroborate their accuracy or validity; Dr. Gerard Pince, Founder and owner of FWA.]
All the answers suggested so far are interesting. In looking around on the internet for some links to suggest to you, I found this one, which looked especially relevant:
Since this site seems to issue an on-going series of publications dealing with trends in the Islamic world, it may be of special interest to you. Even better, of course, would be to search Google more widely for "Islamic trends" or "Muslim trends." Each of the sites that turn up (including the one above) will probably have a particular bias, and so it's important to consult a number of sites, not just one or two. A search of Google Books for the same topics might prove even more useful. Finally, another interesting prospect would be to try to find a site listing predictions made, say, ten years ago and then to compare those predictions with what has actually happened. Ideally, someone has prepared an annotated bibliography on this subject so that you can get a helpful overview of the work that has been done on this topic.
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