I just checked the 2010 edition of “The 500 Most Influential Muslims” published by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. The top 50 of this list includes 48 men and two women (Syrian Munira Qubeysi ranking 24 and Rania of Jordan ranking 33). Leading the top 5 list is the king of KSA (was 1st in 2009) who is portrayed as a moderate Salafi (moderate perhaps because he cut the funding power of the Mutaween?) Then comes Erdogan (was 7th in 2009), a traditional Sunni as they say, and his reaction to the recent flotilla attack is highlighted. The third is Khamenei (was 2nd in 2009). Like in 2009, King of Jordan comes fourth and is said to be a peace player. The fifth in this list is M6 who was 3rd in 2009 and his position seems to be linked, among other things, to his Alaouite lineage (the famous Moroccan amir al muminin story).
So Bouteflika is not in the top 5, neither is he in the top 50. I bet he doesn’t care as his friends are targeting the Nobel prize for him. But anyways, we do have 6 Algerians in this ranking (5 of them were in 2009’s list) and it’s an opportunity for me to publicize for those I like among them (not too many, you will see):
- In the Scholarly category, we’ve got the Algerian philosopher and university teacher, the former minister and ambassador Mustapha Cherif. He’s very active in the dialogue between cultures business and was among a Muslims’ delegation who met the pope some time back. I like the man (I think he’s the only one I like in this list) and usually enjoy listening to him.
- In politics, we can find Bouteflika who apparently is our saviour with his national reconciliation and amnesty laws which, the reports says, were “strongly supported by the Islamist and Nationalist belligerents”. Incredible!
Another name comes in the same category. Totally unexpected if you ask me. Anwar Haddam. Now tell what he’s doing in this list. And please don’t mention what they wrote in the report (the Sant’Egidio platform).
- In an obscure Administrative category, we find our religious affairs minister, Abdellah Ghoulamallah. Here too I wonder what he’s doing in the list. Three or four weeks ago he decided to punish some Imams who didn’t want to stand up for the Algerian anthem because, they thought, it was an innovation (bid3a). And last week he ordered all the Imams to shorten the Tarawih prayers during Ramadhan. These could explain his nomination.
- In the Women’s Issues category comes Cherifa Kheddar who is the president of Djazairouna, an association of the victims of terrorism. She lost her job in 2008 after she attended a human rights meeting in Morocco, and she received some awards for her activism for human and women’s rights in Algeria.
- The new member in the 2010 list, in the Arts and Culture, is Muhammad Ahmad Buhairi whom I had never heard of before and who is apparently really Algerian despite his name.
That’s all about it. We have no representatives in the many other categories. It’s interesting by the way to notice the Arabs to non-Arabs ratio and how it evolves depending on the considered category.
But regarding Algeria, I feel this report is really useless and groundless. Plus they didn’t even bother change the descriptions of the people (with a small difference on Bouteflika’s). So as the French proverb goes, one is never so well served as by oneself, I decided to build my own list of 2010’s most influential Algerians.