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The views and perspectives contained in these Blogs are from individual contributors and external sources, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or position of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva. The links are neither intended as an endorsement of particular publications nor the only source for the updates, but to connect to information in the public domain, for those interested in background or further details.

by Kheira Tarif

In the context of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva’s Middle East Program, a discussion with Iraqi partners fostered the idea of working with tribal and religious leaders as influential actors of change and reconciliation in the country. Strengthening locally-accessible and legitimate dispute resolution mechanisms can help stem the escalation of local tensions in Iraq, and detract from the rationale of violent alternatives...

Interview by Joël Frei - Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (ICP), August 2015

The director of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva and strong advocate for peace, Abbas Aroua, on the quest for fairness and balance in the Islamic tradition, the need for a secular space in the Arab countries and non-violence as the only effective way towards lasting peace.

You state that Islam is a religion of balance and committed to the search of middle positions. What do you understand by that?

One of the main concepts in the Islamic religion is wasatiya, the middle position between the extremes. This concept is complex because it sums up a set of different ideas. For the Prophet Mohammed, "being wasati" means being just and fair. Wasatiya could be translated into French as "le juste milieu" or "die goldene Mitte" in German. It implies fairness, while the extremes lead to biased positions driven by passions and emotions, not by reason.

In light of propaganda against the movement, media censorship, book banning and bogus Interpol arrest warrants against its founders, the regime clearly sees it as a threat. But why?

In a recent piece on the detention of Algerian human rights lawyer and opposition figure Rachid Mesli, Robert Fisk asked why Interpol is doing the work of Arab despots. Mesli is the subject of an arrest warrant by the Algerian regime that dates back to 2002. In addition to founding Alkarama (dignity), an organisation that defends human rights in the Arab region, Mesli is co-founder of Rachad, an opposition movement to the Algerian regime.

The title is interesting because there is a song that says "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?"

This piece: "WHO LET THE JIHADIS OUT?" by Hossam Bahgat comes basically to say that SCAF (not Morsi) is the one that let the Jihadis out.

Bahgat said: "MadaMasr's investigation shows that Morsi released 27 Islamists during his rule. The military council released over 800."

Here, the point for Bahgat was not defending Morsi, but it is to point to the abuse of the issue and the deliberate misinformation by both the Minister of Interior and the media (local and international – as he pointed to Associated Press) in this regard.

Bahgat used basically the case of Nabil Mohamed Abdel Meguid al-Maghrabi to make his first case against the minister of interior.

Bahgat said: "Maghrabi's name, alongside those of other suspects, was interesting. Maghrabi was detained in 1979 under the state of emergency, imposed since 1967. Two years later he was accused of involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, although he was already in jail. Now the minister was suggesting the septuagenarian former jihadi had resumed his activities and recreated his organizational links after more than three decades in prison."

When Bahgat criticized a report published by the Associated Press on December 3, filed by bureau chief Hamza Hendawy, he pointed that the information in the report by AP that Morsi released Jihadis as "Morsi issued nine pardons starting soon after he was inaugurated, releasing some 2,000 people" was incorrect because these 2000 were basically from the youth of the revolution detained during the 17 months of SCAF rule (February 2011 till July 2012). They were not radical Islamists. Later, Bhagat pointed that the Jihadis released by Morsi were few compared to those released by SCAF.