Monday, October 3, 2011

International:  A Post-Islamist Middle East?

In Turkey and Tunisia, culturally conservative parties founded on Islamic principles are rejecting the name Islamist to stake out what they see as a more democratic and tolerant vision.

In Egypt, a similar impulse has begun to fracture the Muslim Brotherhood as a growing number of politicians and parties argue for a model inspired by Turkey, where a party with roots in political Islam has thrived in a once-adamantly secular system. Some contend that the absolute monarchy of puritanical Saudi Arabia in fact violates Islamic law.

The debates are deep enough that many in the region believe that the most important struggles may no longer occur between Islamists and secularists, but rather among the Islamists themselves, pitting the more puritanical against the more liberal.
The notion of an Arab post-Islamism is not confined to Tunisia. In Libya, Ali Sallabi, the most important Islamist political leader, cites Mr. Ghannouchi as a major influence. Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who is running for president in Egypt, has joined several new breakaway political parties in arguing that the state should avoid interpreting or enforcing Islamic law, regulating religious taxes or barring a person from running for president based on gender or religion.

For more, see Activists in Arab World VIE to Define Islamic State by Anthony Shadid and David D. Kirkpatrick, September 29, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

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