22 July 2016

The Crisis of Political Islam

First Egypt and now Turkey show the perils of ideological religious parties (and strongman rule), but other Muslim countries are faring better with democracy.

.... More recently, Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have backed Mr. Sisi’s coup in Egypt. The Gulf states, fearing for their own rule, were particularly hostile to the democratic experiment in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring began. Tunisia remains the only country where the heady initial hopes for freedom haven’t been dashed by a military takeover (as in Egypt), a bloody crackdown (as in Bahrain) or chaos and civil war (as in Syria, Yemen and Libya).

Tunisia became the region’s lone beacon of Arab democracy largely thanks to the wisdom shown by the local spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ennahda Party. After the 2013 Egyptian coup, Ennahda, then essentially running Tunisia’s government, took an unusually pragmatic approach.

It compromised on the role of Islam in society during sessions to draft the country’s new constitution and accepted an election that voted the party out. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more