The Overblown Islamist Threat

This article from the New York Times discusses the Islamists in government positions. It suggests to the West and others who ‘fear’ the Islamists, that this fear is overblown. It says that while they do exist, and in places like Tunisia where they have been elected, they know they have a job to do and if the government fails again they will be held accountable. Thus far, Ennahda has said that it will respect personal rights and that women’s rights won’t suffer. The article suggests that if the West tries to contain the Islamists, they will become much more appealing to the voters. One thing that I believe to be a factor in the rise of the Islamists, is that in countries such as Tunisia where there was political oppression, groups like Ennahda were able to mobilize quickly when elections finally came around. Though they were politically oppressed, they still had a political view where as other ‘new’ groups could not mobilize as quickly, nor were they as well known as Ennahda. I think that once  these other political parties gain popularity they will have more support in future elections. If Ennahda proves to be a moderate party, then they might continue to have favorable support, though only time will tell how Ennahda will govern Tunisia. The author of this article touches upon this idea by saying,

“Ennahda understands that it can’t ignore the secular part of the electorate. If the party wants to be as successful in Tunisia’s next election after a new constitution has been written, it knows it needs to present moderate views.”

Right now, instead of trying to prevent the Islamists from coming to power, more emphasis should be placed at how future elections are are carried out, and put more of their focus on whether or not free and fair elections will remain in places such as Tunisia. As the author states,

“…pluralism and a peaceful political landscape that is free of armed groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Pluralism would ensure that neither Islamists nor anyone else could come to power and then deny the right of political organization to others. And peaceful transfers of power are essential for any stable democracy.”

To read the article, click Here!


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