News

    Islamist Political Party Reps, US Officials Meet

    Representatives of Islamist political parties from several Arab countries are in Washington for a conference Thursday.  On the sidelines, they are holding meetings with U.S. officials.
    Representatives of Islamist parties in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya are in the U.S. capital, against a backdrop of Islamist party popularity in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Marina Ottaway, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, helped to organize the visit, as well as Carnegie's conference, called "Islamists in Power."    

    Ottaway said Islamist parties are emerging as major players in Arab countries that have held elections in the past year.  And, she says, they are not well known in Washington.

    "Whether or not we like it, whether or not this is a good thing, we will be dealing with these parties for many, many years to come, and therefore it is very important that we all get to understand them better and to know them better," she said.

    To that end, members of the delegations also are meeting with U.S. officials.  Ottaway says the Carnegie Endowment did not arrange the meetings but did provide contact information to U.S. officials who approached the organization.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says members of the Muslim Brotherhood met with lower level officials of the National Security Council.

    "It is a matter of fact that the Muslim Brotherhood will play a prominent role in Egypt's political life going forward," he said.  

    Carney also noted that U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood when they visited Egypt in February.

    The United States and Egypt are traditional allies, but the relationship was strained when Cairo cracked down on non-governmental organizations.  Earlier this year, Egypt refused to allow several U.S. citizens to leave the country.  The heightened tension even put $1.3 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt in question, but the U.S. decided to approve the funding last month.  

    At least one newspaper has referred to the Islamists' sideline meetings as a "charm offensive."  Ottaway says that is a fair characterization only in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood.  She says, of the five groups invited to the conference, the Muslim Brotherhood opted to send additional representatives at its own expense, and the Brotherhood set up appointments and appearances on its own.    

    "I think they made a deliberate decision that if they were going to come to the United States, they would really go all out to make their presence felt," Ottaway said.

    Mohamed Gaair works in the public relations division of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.  He spoke to Alhurra at the U.S. State Department after members of the delegation met with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.  

    Gaair said they discussed the importance of respecting universal principals such as human rights.   

    According to Gaair, U.S. and Islamist officials alike agreed that the Islamists respect democracy and multiple political parties.

    Carnegie's Marina Ottaway says the Islamist parties visiting Washington are separate entities, not one large, unified political bloc.  She adds that Islamist parties in various countries have surprisingly little contact with one another.    

    "In other words, we always were surprised that when we talked, for example, to the Moroccans, we knew more than they did about what the Egyptians were doing, or vice versa," Ottaway said.     

    Delegates attending the Carnegie-hosted conference Thursday are discussing ways to build governments, write constitutions and face economic challenges.

    Representatives include members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, the Party for Justice and Development in Morocco, Ennahda in Tunisia and the Islamic Action Front in Jordan.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora