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Expatriate Prince Moulay Hicham '85 calls for change at campus conference on the Islamic world
Second in line to the throne of Morocco's Alawite kingdom, Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah '85 has spoken out forcefully about the need to reform his country's political institutions, including the monarchy itself, calling for "a new form of politics, a politics of truth — open, frank, transparent — that encourages participation throughout the population." On September 27 he spoke about Islam, democracy, and governance at a conference on campus that brought together scholars and journalists from across the Islamic world. To view the entire conference, go to http://www.princeton.edu/WebMedia/special/. Last winter Moulay Hicham temporarily left the world of Moroccan politics and moved back to Princeton with his wife and two young daughters. PAW's Kathryn Federici Greenwood interviewed him at his Princeton home, which he has owned since his junior year.
Can you tell me what you will address at the conference?
My approach is to talk about the discursive tradition in Islam. Islam is for Muslims a divine message, which is indivisible and came as a whole. But beyond that Islam is also how Muslims have lived their religion in given times and places. So Islam is also a question of historicity. Every Muslim and every area of the Muslim world has a different relationship to the scriptures, to the Prophet, and to the holy places in Islam. So it's not a monolithic corpus. Islam is a historical, discursive tradition. So my approach is to treat Islam from this angle and also with regards to the particular questions: How do Muslims view democracy? How do Muslims view politics?
I will also look at the possibilities for democratization in the region. I do it from the perspective of a Muslim who's been involved in politics for the past 10 years. I've been both involved from within the monarchy and I have also been involved from within