30 August 2016

How one Tunisian party is separating Islam from politics

.... Mr. Bannani and the Ennahda party are part of a unique Middle Eastern political experiment: They have renounced their Islamist origins in favor of becoming a party that fully embraces Tunisia’s secular order and seeks to work within it.

In other words, they have made the transformation that many Western observers think is necessary to bring stable and vibrant democracies to the Middle East.

Ennahda has critics, both among supporters who feel betrayed and political experts who say the party cannot undo the damage it did to Tunisian democracy in the past.

But Ennahda’s journey from a band of Islamist revolutionaries to a party dedicated to the strengthening of Tunisian democracy offers a rare glimpse at political possibility in the Middle East, others say.

While the lessons from Tunisia are unique and not easily replicated in other parts of the region, Ennahda aims to establish a new tradition of “Muslim Democrats” – voters and politicians guided by their faith but committed to the political system of a pluralistic society. [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more