Can Islam and democracy exists side by side? Columnist K. Selim of Algeria’s Le Quotidien d’Oran contests the notion that a free election can happen ‘only once’ in Arab countries, and warns those who have led uprisings in Egypt and Algeria that the eyes of the world are upon them – and most are against them.
For Le Quotidien d’Oran, K. Selim writes in part:
“Bush or bin Laden: Since September 2001, this false, cursory choice has been imposed on Arab societies both by their own regimes and by the West. The idea that a democracy could exist among Arab nations has been confined to those naïve individuals who failed to grasp that a free election happens only ‘once’ in our countries.
“The protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt, however, have compelled a revision of opinion. No one now dares assert that Arab societies must choose between dictatorship and Islamism. These two great events will have long-lasting effects, even if they aren’t automatic; and they demonstrate that Arab societies are receptive to agents of change other than Islamists. There are other forces capable of influencing how the situation evolves.
“Tunisian and Egyptian Islamists confront a historic responsibility. Up to now, they have served as a foil, permitting the powers that be to reject democracy. They are now in a position to prove that they can be agents of it. They know they’re being watched, and that every Bush and bin Laden on earth is against them.”
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