Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Moderate" Islamic leaders in Tunisia say all the right things but still want Islam to dominate

Anytime we hear someone say they are a "moderate" Muslim we automatically assume this must be the one, that elusive unicorn known as a moderate, on whom we can hang our hopes and dreams for a secular, democratic Muslim society.  Unfortunately, like the unicorn there are no real moderates within Islam, only those who follow Muhammad as "al-insan al-kamil" or the perfect man, who's behavior is to be emulated for all time, or those who are MINO, or Muslim in name only.  The middle ground is, at this time ethereal at best and nonexistent at worst.

As with Egypt and Libya we fool ourselves, believing that a claimed moderate, or group claiming to be moderate will solve all our problems and bring a new dawn of Jeffersonian democracy.  This is a road of  failure which we doom ourselves to as we desperately latch onto something, anything that will validate our belief that there is no Islamic elephant roaming the desert.

As goes Tunisia the way of Muhammad, so will go Egypt and Libya.  The first dominoes are about to fall, watch for the effect as more North African and Arab countries heave a groan as Islam becomes the only method of governance and spirituality, via sharia of course.

From LeTemps/WorldCrunch September 25 by Julie Gommes


TUNIS – At a meeting last week, Tunisia's moderate Islamist party Nahda (Renaissance) outlined its policy proposals for next month's parliamentary elections. Simultaneous translation headphones, staff hired specifically to answer every foreign journalists’ whim: everything was aimed at improving the party’s image, as Tunisians voters prepare to vote next month. Indeed, Nahda is leading in the polls.
There is no such thing as a moderate Islamist. 
The gathering opened with the assembly chanting verses from the Koran and every speech began with "In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.” This probably won’t improve the party’s image in Tunis, a city that is increasingly Europeanized. But Nahda knows that it’s in villages that it will win seats for the Constituent Assembly. Therefore, the program underlines the importance of fishing and farming, but also stresses the need to raise low salaries and give more to poor families.
Besides outlining the party’s program, Nadha also wanted to emphasize its modernity: "Islamists have always been misunderstood. We only want to keep the most objective principles, like peace and science. Religion is between you and God," confessed Mondher Ounissi, a doctor. Supporters have mastered a well-oiled speech. It is impossible to find out where the campaign funds come from or what kind of society the party has in mind.
Oh you poor dear, it is us who misunderstand the Qur'an or hadiths of Muhammad.  Tell us, where is the objectivity when women are worth half a man(4-11), four male witnesses are required to prove rape(4-15), women are required to submit to sex whenever the husband demands it(2-223) or the requirement that all Muslims must fight non-believers until "...the religion is for Allah alone..."(8-39).  Peace and science sounds good on paper, but since there have been no scientific breakthroughs from the Islamic world in almost 1,000 years the likelihood of that happening is less than zero.  And of course we all know that Islam is a religion of peace, don't we?  
Nahda’s president, Rashid Al-Ghannushi, learned the lessons of the revolution and now advocates "a participative society, a market-oriented economy supported by a new social contract." He says he wants to build "a democratic regime based on the values of Islam." Tunisians may be in for the long haul as there have been repeated talks of “extending the planned two presidential terms.”
An oxymoron of epic proportions if ever there was one.
In the streets of Tunis, these ideas aren’t welcome - especially among the youth: "If I wanted to invite a female friend to a flat I share with friends, she wouldn’t be able to stay overnight. The whole neighborhood would start gossiping. She’d be in trouble," a very young supporter confessed, even though he said he couldn’t see himself anywhere but among Islamists in the future. "It’s a fairer society. Some complain about order and restrictions, but what we’re looking for is dignity."
Read it all

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