Friday, July 13, 2012

Gwynne Dyer's "Good News" About the Arab Spring

Grim Dire's primary claim: when it comes to Islamic "democracy," we kafirs are so freaking prejudiced/ignorant/dumb. Lucky we have Grim to edify us:
The relevant question is not whether a party is Islamic; it’s whether it is democratic. The distinguishing feature of the Islamic parties that have emerged in post-revolutionary Arab countries is that they have almost all chosen barely-modified versions of the name of Turkey’s ruling Islamic party, the Justice and Development (AK) Party.
The AK party has governed Turkey with remarkable success for the past 10 years. The economy has flourished, the army has finally been forced to stop intervening in politics, and you can still buy a beer almost anywhere in Istanbul.
AK is a socially conservative party, of course, like Germany’s Christian Democratic Party or the Republican Party (aka the White Christian Party) in the United States.
But like those parties, it respects the constitution, civil rights and the voters’ choice. It’s hardly surprising that its leader and Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, was greeted as a hero when he visited Cairo shortly after the revolution.
There is no good reason to believe that Islamic parties in Arab countries will behave worse than secular parties, any more than we would worry if a secular party in Germany were about to lose to a Christian party. In fact, the Christian Democratic Party currently leads the coalition government in Germany, and civil rights are still safe.
The Western prejudice against Islamic parties, and local prejudice as well, comes from a confusion between Islamic and Islamist groups, the latter being the English word for fanatical groups that reject democracy and advocate violent jihad against infidels and heretical Muslims.
This confusion, sad to say, is often deliberately encouraged by Western and local interests that really know better, but want to discredit those who oppose them.
You say Islamic and I say Islamist--and in the immortal words of Turkey's Erdogan, "Islam is Islam, and that's it"--so let's call Grim's whole tirade off (off base, off side, off balance, just plain off).

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