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What does ‘moderate Islamist’ mean?

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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 03:21 PM
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What does ‘moderate Islamist’ mean?
In the run-up to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly elections and the aftermath that saw a plurality of seats won by the al-Nahda (Renaissance) party, you may have noticed frequent references in the media to this political organization as a “moderate Islamist” party. This is of course not the first time such terms have been used to denote Islamist political factions: recall, for example, how the ruling AKP party in Turkey is often called “mildly Islamist” (to borrow The Economist’s phrasing).

Unfortunately, however, such terminology can only be characterized as part of what Hussein Ibish, director of the American Task Force on Palestine, calls an “intellectually and politically indefensible rush” to portray Islamist parties as “more moderate or pluralistic than they actually are.”

Take the case of al-Nahda in Tunisia, which outperformed by a factor of two most analysts’ expectations that it would win no more than 20 percent of the seats. The party’s leader, Rashid Ghannouchi, has tried to reassure secularists of his supposedly moderate credentials by pointing to the example of Turkey, which is often viewed as a model for harmonizing secular traditions with Islamism under the allegedly pragmatic AKP.

The comparison is troubling. In actual fact, the AKP government’s record demonstrates how Turkey’s “moderate” Islamists have gradually been reversing the democratic reform process that was initiated in the first three years after the AKP’s rise to power in the 2002 elections. The aim at the time was to win EU membership for Turkey, and given the widespread support among the Turkish population back then for that goal, as well as the fact that the military had intervened to ban the AKP’s ideological predecessor known as the “Welfare Party” in 1998, the AKP pragmatically went along with implementing the reform process.

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Exultant Democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 03:40 PM
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1. The term islamic when used in the west is so overladen with orientalism as to be useless
at least as a starting point for an honest and even handed debate.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 03:47 PM
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3. Orientalism is bunk, IOW the notion that all Muslims = Islamists & Islamists cannot be criticized
Thus, to criticize Islamists is to criticize all Muslims.

Complete crap.

Muslims are the primary victims of Islamists.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-11 03:46 PM
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2. It means
most of them.
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