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New Tunisian Rulers Are Like Erdoğan, ADK

From the Wall Street Journal:

Tunisia Vote Heeded Across Mideast

Historic Polling for Assembly, First in Region Since Arab Spring, Gives Hope to Democracy Activists

By CHARLES LEVINSON
October 24, 2011

TUNIS, Tunisia—Citizens streamed to the polls on Sunday, lining up for hours to cast ballots in a vote that looked poised to be a groundbreaking step toward democracy in a tumultuous region struggling to shake off decades of dictatorship.

Is that what they are trying to say in their headline? We’re still not quite sure.

The moderate Islamist Nahda Party was widely expected to cruise to victory, but fall short of an outright majority in a 217-seat Constituent Assembly, which is responsible for appointing an interim government, determining what sort of government will rule the country and drafting a new constitution.

Why do they bother to even pretend to have constitutions? (See more on the "moderate Islamist Nahda Party" below.)

More than who wins or loses, Tunisia’s vote is being scrutinized and celebrated as a measure of the country’s infant democracy. A free and fair election would mark a sharp break from the beaten path in the Middle East, where elections have long been mostly sham contests with predictable results…

What was unpredictable about these results? And when will there be another "free and fair election"?

Throughout the country of about 10 million people, 7.5 million had the right to vote, but not all registered to do so, though a late amendment to the election law allowed unregistered voters to still cast ballots

Well, that is handy. Of course we are quickly approaching open registration elections, too.

Voters’ inexperience was an issue during the campaign and on election day. Many voters said they were overwhelmed by the nearly 11,000 candidates, over 80 political parties and 116 electoral lists competing, all but a handful of them virtually unknown to most Tunisians…

Of course there was no effort to confuse the voters. To encourage them to vote for the one party that they may have heard of, the hitherto outlawed Renaissance Party, aka the Ennahda or Nahda Party.

The degree to which the country’s Islamist and more secular-oriented parties are able to work together, or at least compete peacefully within agreed upon political and democratic parameters, will be one of the most closely watched issues in coming weeks and months.

Nahda, which is known for its more progressive interpretations of Islam compared with similar movements elsewhere in the region, has stressed its tolerant bona fides throughout the campaign. But many secular Tunisians remain deeply skeptical about the party’s true intentions

As well they might. Here is some more background on the Nahda Party from their admirers at Al Jazeera:

Al-Nahda (The Renaissance)

… Tunisia is one of the most socially liberal Arab countries. Not wishing to alienate potential voters, al-Nahda’s leadership has stressed that it supports equal rights for men and women. “We are against the imposition of the headscarf in the name of Islam and we are against the banning of the headscarf in the name of secularism or modernity,” [its leader Rachid] Ghannouchi told Al Jazeera.

Al-Nahda consciously takes after Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party, with Ghannouchi saying that “if you were to compare it [with another movement], cannot be compared to the Taliban or Iran, the closest comparison would be to the AKP … We admire the Turkish case and those who are in charge of it are our close friends.”

The party also emphasises that it supports democracy, pluralism and, to some extent, working with the West.

Nevertheless, secularists remain wary of al-Nahda, whose party’s strongest support comes from Tunisia’s rural interior. The party is well-organised, and news website Tunisia Live reported that the party has paid for Ramadan meals and wedding ceremonies in attempts to garner votes.

Lest we forget, Turkey’s Justice and Development (AKP) party is the party of Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Their goal is to turn Turkey into an Islamist state.

It is only the Turkish military that is preventing them from doing that. And just barely.

And as MEMRI has pointed out, Mr. Erdogan finds the term "Moderate Islam" to be ugly and offensive:

PM Erdogan: The Term “Moderate Islam” Is Ugly And Offensive; There Is No Moderate Islam; Islam Is Islam

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, August 21, 2007

Speaking at Kanal D TV’s Arena program, PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, ‘These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

And this is the man and the party that Tunisia’s new rulers see as their model and "close friends."

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 24th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “New Tunisian Rulers Are Like Erdoğan, ADK”

  1. sticks says:

    “Islam is Islam and thats it” Yes indeed, but according to the MBM (main bowl movement) Islam is moderate, Obama is a good president and conservatives want grandma to be a dumpster diver.

  2. untrainable says:

    “…Islam is Islam and that’s it.” Wait a minute… isn’t that a racist bigotted position on the muslim faith? Haven’t we been assured since 9/11 that the terrorists are only a small extreme faction and that “moderate islam” is our friend? This would seem to contradict everything we’ve been told to believe about the “religion of peace”. So if there is no moderate Islam, then there are no moderate muslims. And if there are no moderate muslims, then the terrorist faction must fall within the mainstream of muslims. And if muslims are muslims, then mustn’t we assume that they all want to kill us? And if they all want to kill us, then who are our friends again? Moderate muslims? But there are no moderate muslims!

    Reminds me of Harry Mudd. Everything I say is a lie… Now listen carefully.. I’m lying.
    Run the endless loop in your head. Asprin will be available in the lobby.

  3. beautyofreason says:

    I’m reminded of a Saudi Arabian “artist” living in the United States who produced a duplicate of the Two Towers in stacked Korans in order to promote tolerance, his words. I wonder why he expected people to embrace Islam over a monument to Muslim terrorism and if the goal was to be inclusive, why he did not include other religious texts in his sculpture. Stacking in a few Bibles or Gitas or Torahs in with the Korans would be an eyesore for the radical Wahhabi Muslims who rule Saudi Arabia and burns other religious books. But no. Apparently the infidel viewing the art work was supposed to see the smoldering remains of an American city, symbolically reincarnated with Wahhabi-approved interpretations of the Koran, as an act of tolerance.

    Muslims know their religion and the rules are fairly clear. They just take offense when others learn about its core beliefs and find it to be absolutely nutty and oppressive.

    Earlier this year in Tunisia, bearded men raided legal brothels in a red light district called Abdallah Guech Street. In typical Muslim style, the primates arrived after Friday prayers and brought molotov cocktails and knives. They shouted at the women, set the buildings on fire and declared that Tunisia is an Islamic state. It reminds me of the early days of the Iranian revolution: a classroom of young women complained about their education being suspended in the new regime. Those women were raped, taken out into the desert and killed, except for one woman who survived by marrying a Revolutionary guard and lived to tell the tale. It looks like history is going to repeat itself. The religion is considered a “final revelation” by fellow believers, so their antiquated and violent politics will no doubt resurface during the “Arab Spring.”


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