Islamic Salvation Front
Algerian Islamist party (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS). Founded in 1989 by Abbasi Madani, Ali Bel Hadj, and al-Hashimi Sahnuni, the FIS eschewed democratic structures; Bel Hajj and Sahnuni in particular openly opposed democracy and the national constitution. FIS holds that the religious scholar alone is permitted to interpret religion and law and provide political leadership. Equality, expressed in coeducation, gender mixing at the workplace, and universal national citizenship rights, is the evil through which the West seeks to destroy Islam and maintain world dominance. The overwhelmingly popular party was poised to win the 1992 elections when the National Liberation Army (ALN) staged a coup d'etat and banned the FIS (April 1992); thousands of its members were sent to detention camps in the Sahara. After offering an amnesty in 1999, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika secured the disbanding of the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), the armed wing of the FIS.