Sunday, January 23, 2011

Coming up next, Islamist Tunisia

For decades, Tunisians espousing political Islam were banned, jailed and forced underground by their country's autocratic regime.

Now they are seeking a place in government - raising fears that Islamic radicalism might take root in Tunisia, long seen by the West as a bulwark against terrorism.

With the promise that democracy will replace dictatorship, members of the outlawed Ennahdha party have taken to the streets, joining daily protests aimed at banishing all traces of the former ruling party of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Such activism by the Islamists - who want a role for Islam in their country's politics - is feeding jitters that extremism may be on the rise in Tunisia, long a Westward-looking nation proud of its modern identity. Women enjoy widespread freedoms, Muslim headscarves are banned in public buildings and abortions, a deep taboo in most Muslim societies, are legal in Tunisia.

Free and fair elections in Muslim societies are eventually always won by Islamist fundamentalist affiliated parties - - always.

Why does this simple fact always take our government and our media elite by surprise?

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