Abbassi Madani

Abbassi Madani

Dr. Abbassi Madani (Arabic عباسي مدني), (born 1931) near Sidi-Okba, near Biskra, was the President of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria. He is described by writers as having a "gnomic" appearance. As a leader he became the voice of dispossessed youth."Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed", Martin Evans and John Phillips, Yale University Press, 2007, pp. 147 "-" 148.]

Militant who lived in exile

In his youth he joined the Colonial Gardes Champetres, but after an unknown incident, deserted and was cared for by members of the Front for National Liberation which was fighting the French army in the Algerian War of Independence. On 1 November 1954 he planted a bomb at the french radio station in Algiers and was jailed by the French only sixteen days later. He remained in jail until Algeria's independence in 1962. Liberated in 1963, he lived in hiding and secretly joined the El Qiyam association for Islamic values, dissolved by Houari Boumédienne three years later. He spent much of the 1970s in exile, studying at the University of London. On his return, following an amnesty, he became a professor of educational sociology at the University of Algiers. He was arrested in 1982 for signing a petition to the government, propagating female genital cutting and banning female rights. Madani was imprisoned without trial until 1984.

Co-founder of Islamic fundamentalist party

In 1989, after the Algerian Constitution was changed to allow multiparty democracy, he co-founded the totalitarian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which rapidly grew to enjoy success in the ensuing local elections. Algerians identified with the party's condemnation of parliamentary democracy as a French idea. Madani contended that the Islamic essence of November 1954 was betrayed by the Charters of Tripoli and Algeria, along with other charters upheld by Houari Boumediene and Chadli Bendjedid.


In 1991, soon after FIS had finished a strike and massive demonstrations in Algiers, he and his second-in-command Ali Belhadj were arrested and jailed on charges of threatening state security. In late 1991, FIS won the first round of parliamentary elections, which were then called off by the military, which banned FIS. He remained in jail throughout most of the Algerian Civil War which followed. In 1997 he was released from jail and placed under house arrest.


In 2003, having served his 12-year term, he was released from house arrest and banned for life from all political activity. Since then, he has been living in Qatar, where allegedly he has been agitating for the imposition of an islamic state and the prohibition of the Shiite clergy, which led to him being placed under house arrest in 2005. Afterward he fell ill with terminal neurosyphilis and retired from political and social life.

Politically, he was widely considered to represent the moderate wing of FIS, contrasted with Ali Belhadj's more hardline views. His positions included free markets, early Islamic education, Arabization of education and government, segregation of the sexes, and sharia-based law. He expressed support for democracy, but with the reservation that it could not override Sharia law.

His mental and physical health is said to be deteriorating at a very fast rate; this is apparently due to neurosyphilis from which he has been suffering since at least the mid seventies when he was allegedly raped by millitants from another hardline group.


External links

* [ Al Jazeera profile]



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