Dreaming of Spring in Tunisia
Americans should think twice before applauding the victory of the Islamist party Ennahdha in Tunisia, in “what will likely be a long and brutal lesson for Tunisia on what happens when religion is enchained with politics,” The Westminster Institute reports. The Ennahdha Party is headed by the ‘great Islamic reformer’ Rashid Ghannouchi whose objective is to institute Sharia law. Tunisian Christians will be among the first to experience the cruel ramifications of the Arab Spring.
By Katharine Cornell Gorka
10/27/2011 Tunisia (Westminster Institute) – The whole world seems to be agog with the victory of Islamists in Tunisia. “Moderate Islamists,” they are called. “A historic milestone on Tunisia’s path from autocratic dictatorship to a government that respects the will of the people,” declares Hilary Clinton. “As the first country in the region to put democracy to the test at the polling booth, Tunisia is once again leading the way,” declared British Prime Minister David Cameron. “…An important step forward,” said President Obama. But forward towards what?
The Islamist party Ennahdha has won a strong victory and few seem concerned about it. Indeed many seem to think democracy now has a foothold in the Arab world. But we are like Dorothy in a field of poppies. We have been anesthetized by Ennahdha’s soothing words and now we are dreaming of spring. Ennahdha has been clever about putting a moderate face on its Islamist identity. They claimed to strike a balance between modernity and Islam. They made a lot of noise about putting on their list Souad Abdelrahim, a female candidate who does not wear the veil. They said they will protect human rights and the rights of women. They said that their approach to Sharia is consistent with Tunisia’s progressive tradition. Hence Western politicians, analysts and media outlets are now using the term “moderate Islamist” without a trace of irony. That is a victory in itself. But “moderate Islamism” will likely prove as fictional as the Wizard of Oz.
The victorious Ennahdha Party is headed by Rashid Ghannouchi. Once touted by John Esposito as a great Islamic reformer, Rashid Ghannouchi described himself as the pupil of Khomeini. On the eve of the Kuwait war, he said, “We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world…” He also said, “The greatest danger to civilization, religion and world peace is the United States Administration. It is the Great Satan.”