From Arab Spring to post-Islamist summer - The Hindu
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Published: October 12, 2011 00:12 IST | Updated: October 12, 2011 00:12 IST
From Arab Spring to post-Islamist summer
Women take part in a demonstration against Muammar Qadhafi at the Green Square in Tripoli, Libya. After a spate of revolutions, West Asia is in a stage of transition, seeking new leaders. File photo
Regional observers increasingly feel the real contest for power in the Arab world will take place within political Islam.
Having blown away three odious dictators — Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Qadhafi of Libya — pro-democracy campaigners are now seeking a new set of leaders, hopefully on the basis of free and fair elections. Even as Tunisia awaits its election later this month and Egypt in November, and as Libya's fractious amalgamation of political groups deliberates on a transition road map, new formations are entering the political arena in the hope of making an impression on their country's destiny. In the heat of political activism, not confined in the region to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, political formations of a wide variety, with Islamic roots, appear taking the lead in preparing for victory in the polls whose conduct is soon likely to become the focus of intense debate. As people in large parts of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) wade through the political flux, many of them seem drawn to two fascinating trends within political Islam — one which supports co-existence of democracy and religion, and the other which eventually wants to establish a theocracy, after cleverly bottling up the effervescent forces for change that continue to rock the Muslim world. Many astute observers of the region are beginning to conclude that the post-Arab Spring battle of the ballot would be held, not primarily between Islamists and secularists. Rather, the battle for political space will be fought among Islamists themselves: between those who take their cue from Turkey and Malaysia that separate politics from new-age Islam, and others which want governments to abide strictly by their interpretation of a pristine Koranic code. Some of the most creative Islamic scholars, well attuned to the historic changes taking place in WANA, are asserting that it is misleading and dangerous to stereotype, as violent and intolerant, their religion which, they say, is infused with a mind-boggling variety of ideological currents. In a recent debate with a secular challenger, Tunisia's Islamist politician and theoretician, Rachid Ghannouchi said: “If the Islamic spectrum goes from Bin Laden to (Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, which of them is Islam?” He added: “Why are we put in the same place as a model that is far from our thought, like the Taliban or the Saudi model, while there are other successful Islamic models that are close to us, like the Turkish, the Malaysian and
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can steer the former enclaves of the Ottoman Empire to prosperity and peace.. who established himself as a powerful orator. An advocate of “regional ownership. Ghannouchi is not the only one who accepts secular state principles. therefore. In Egypt. however. trying to strike a balance between religious conservativeness and demands of liberal democracy. in any case. models that combine Islam and modernity?” His Ennahda party is expected to do well in Tunisia. Erdogan's charismatic presence in Cairo caused one admiring television talk show presenter to gush that the Prime Minister is “a man who is admired not only by a large sector of Turkey but also by a large sector of Arabs and Muslims.From Arab Spring to post-Islamist summer . Sallabi may show his true colours only after he has scaled current obstacles and assumed a position of power. talks about the prospects of regional integration. not surprising that when Mr. made a strategic visit to Egypt. His vision is strong on economic integration and political alignment. not alone but in collaboration with the Arabs and the Iranians. he asserts. at the same time. post-Arab Spring. Mr.thehindu. Many of the region's Islamists. The Al-Wasat has been accorded formal recognition after Mr. who. Ahmet Davutoglu. Sensing his electrifying influence. With the growing influence of the “Turkish model. especially among youth. he was accorded a welcome befitting a rockstar. In Libya. It also advocates that women be allowed to stand for presidency. Erdogan last month. demonstrating self-confidence and assertiveness in taking up the cause of the Palestinians — a move that has deeply and positively resonated among the region's masses. which earlier splintered from the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey is targeted by its detractors as a
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. which. Gender or religion. Despite their limited resources. Sallabi. many of whom have been associated in the past with the Muslim Brotherhood. He has advocated that the State distance itself from the interpretation or enforcement of Islamic law. including the deposed President Hosni Mubarak.” Mr.. tolerant and extrovert. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party. it has also been received with deep animosity by hardliners belonging to some of the traditional Islamic parties. the Turks have struck a chord among vast multitudes. Erdogan's leadership has ignited hopes for a better future among millions in the predominantly Muslim-populated region. It has two Coptic Christians and three women as part of its top 24-member leadership. Mr.” Al Jazeera quoted him as saying: “We support pluralism and justice. Critics.” Mr.The Hindu
http://www. warn against gullibility. In all three countries. a former Muslim Brotherhood heavyweight. has been significantly influenced by Mr. Turkey's cerebral Foreign Minister.” Salafi groups rooted in the belief of restoring pristine Islam in the modern era are emerging as Mr. democracy and secularism that will yield a society which. has on many occasions vowed to support ideological inclusiveness. These groups are also reorganising themselves rapidly throughout WANA. is prosperous.com/opinion/lead/from-arab-spring-. must not be the yardstick for barring an individual from running for presidency. under Mr. It is. also known as the New Center Party. said Egyptians should aspire for a “secular state.
the Indonesian models. many believe is the architect of his country's imaginative foreign policy. a well-entrenched party which was long suppressed by Egypt's authoritarian and military-oriented secularists. who claims that relations between Islamists and secularists are “strong. which resembles the European Union in its incipient stages. in the coming days. The Al-Wasat Party. The premier has arguably demonstrated that it is possible to have a winning combination of Islam. during his Cairo visit. The reasons for Turkey's popularity in WANA are not difficult to gauge. Erdogan's appeal rooted in post-Islamism — a movement which reconciles liberal democracy and Islam — has spread rapidly in the region. are taking their cue from Turkey. which. and leaves open-ended the possibility of military cooperation in the future. that it has antagonised many in the conservative ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. He recognises that Turkey.” Muslim Brotherhood leaders roundly rebuked him. the Salafists have announced their intention to run for parliamentary elections under the banner of the Al-Nour. should not be the preserve of any religion. Davutoglu appears engaged in framing a model of regional cooperation. Erdogan. It may not be surprising if.” The “Turkish model” has found a wide following among youthful Islamists. saying Mr. While Mr. In an interview with The New York Times. Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh. Mubarak's exit So powerful is Turkey's appeal. which acquired legitimacy after Egyptian authorities officially registered it as a political party. imparted credibility to its vision of modernising the region to a level that is at par with the best in the world. Libya and Tunisia — the crucible of the Arab Spring. has been expelled from the party after he unilaterally declared his intention to run for presidency. It should also not be involved in regulating religious taxes. Libyans have the right to build a democratic state and political parties. sophisticated. Mr. while welcoming Islamic values and practices as a positive force within the cultural and social domains. Ali Sallabi has emerged as a leading Islamist. Turkey's decisiveness has in turn. Erdogan's fiercest critics.
Syria and the Lebanese Hizbollah are united in defence of Mr. therefore.ece © The Hindu
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. be possible to move the pieces on the Syrian chessboard.com/opinion/lead/from-arab-spring-. in line with its larger vision of inclusive regional integration.thehindu. Achieving ideological success across the region would be vital for. only if Turkey. Iran. Keywords: Arab Spring. So far.com/opinion/lead/from-arab-springto-postislamist-summer/article2529040. Its inability to force Mr. 2013 1:18:43 AM | http://www. It may. West Asia crisis..The Hindu
http://www. Assad to budge from his authoritarian ways can also be attributed to Turkey's insufficient engagement with Iran. instead of confrontation alone. The Turkish leadership is also facing an uphill task in Syria.thehindu. failure to do so would leave open the political space for radical rejectionists.. fight for democracy Printable version | Nov 19. engages this trio meaningfully. Assad's regime.
country which has imperial ambitions of establishing Pax Turkana.From Arab Spring to post-Islamist summer . whose long espoused disdain for democracy and liberty has been well established. where President Bashar Al-Assad's regime has rejected its call for military restraint and reform. inspired by the 400-year reign of the Ottoman Empire in the region.