Islamist views clash

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2006, 12:00am

Former British intelligence agent Alastair Crooke also argues that Hamas and al-Qaeda are opponents. 'The more important struggle is taking place not between the west and Islam, but between what I describe as the revivalists and revolutionaries within Islam,' said Mr Cooke, formerly of MI5.

'Revivalists, like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, believe in working through elections and bottom-up politics. But many of these groups risk being outflanked, not by secular, liberal, pro-western groups, but by the revolutionaries [such as al-Qaeda]. Either the revivalists produce results now, or they'll find themselves having to move closer to the revolutionary position.

'Most Islamists don't want revolution, violence, uncertainty and total upheaval. The west should recognise that instead of chasing the chimera of some liberal, pro-western groups who simply don't exist in terms of having real constituencies on the ground.'

Having left the service, Mr Crooke now runs Conflicts Forum, a group that promotes dialogue between the west and Islamist movements, including Hamas and Hezbollah.