Prominent writers and editorialists in the Arab nations of Tunisia and Morocco say that the “Arab Spring” movement that ousted dictatorial leadership in several nations and installed “elected” Islamists was a good thing.
But probably not the way that was expected.
It showed, they write, the “drawbacks of political Islam,” according to an analysis by A. Mahjar-Barducci, a research fellow at the Middle East Media Research Institute, which analyzes and reports on media trends in that region of the world.
One writer, Rachid Barant, of Kapitalis in Tunisia, said, “Some are complaining and regretting that the revolutions have given birth to Islamist powers. They are wrong. At the very least, the Arab Spring [revolutions] are of great merit in that they opened up the eyes of the people of the country concerned, as well as eyes of the people worldwide, regarding political Islam.”
The writer said, “These Islamists, while pretending to be ‘moderate,’ very quickly – I should say, immediately – revived the practices of the dictators: nepotism – that is, the appointment friends and family members with no proven competence – as well as racketeering and corruption, the instrumentalization of justice (to enforce their ideology], and attacks on liberties!”
Mahjar-Barducci analyzed recent writings of Barnat, an editorial from the Tunisie Numerique, and Fahd Iraqi of the Moroccan weekly Tel Quel.
They were addressing the results of the so-called Arab Spring, which saw, among other changes, an uprising endorsed by U.S. President Obama that ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
He was replaced with Mohammad Morsi, an Islamist who was elected by Egyptians last year, only to be removed from office by the military this year because of citizen rage over his practices and policies.
The writers cited by MEMRI said there should be a lesson learned from the developments of the last two years, where dictators, many times Islamic, are thrown out in favor of elected Islamists.
Protests also have developed against the Islamic Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Turkey.
Barnat wrote that while the fall of a dictator, and rise of an Islamist to power, “was really bad for the countries, it was also a boon.”
He explained that’s because now people “were able to see what the Islamists can do when they are in power. The people also realized that these ‘pious men’ were merely ambitious hypocrites, and that what interested them was not their countries’ supreme interests, but power, money, racketeering, and favors for friends and family.”
He continued, “The people saw them [the Islamists] at the helm! And this is good. People could also understand that this lesson will leave important marks, meaning that when a party is based on religion, it cannot be moderate nor allow liberties, and that deep inside, it has a totalitarian nature, since it is supposed to implement God’s word, basing [everything] on the Shariah which, according to Islamists, is the continuation [of God's word], as [affirmed by] the ‘scholars’ who interpreted the Quran! As such, the Shariah is as immutable as the Quran! But this way of confounding the word of man with that of Allah is an absolute heresy!”
He wrote that “there is nothing worse than utilizing the word of God in order to rule.”
It was in an editorial in Tunisie Numerique where the authors accused the U.S. and Europe of pushing Arab Spring nations toward a model like Turkey, noting that Turkey is not the democratic ideal that perhaps would serve the people.
“By now, we know that the instigators of the so-called springtime had done all they could in order to place on the thrones unsuited Arab leaders, namely Islamists, insisting that all they had to do was to imitate Turkey and its policy,” the editorial said.
“Likewise, it was evident that these Islamists, who had been put into power, were charged with a mission that consisted of introducing the reforms necessary to promote the so-very-cherished dream of a new world order – something that the old leaders of these countries had completely failed to produce… It was this mission, with which the newly appointed leaders were charged, and it was also their agenda, that induced the superpowers [i.e. the U.S. and Europe] to close their eyes to the too-numerous ‘misdemeanors’ of these Islamist governments.”
Fahd Iraqi agreed, in the Tel Quel.
MEMRI reported that his criticism focuses on Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelillah Benkirane, who “is acting like the guide of a religious brotherhood that is operating in order to remain in command for as long as possible.”
The writer compared Benkirane to Morsi, in Egypt.
“Muhammad Mursi succeeded in creating a united front against himself. The Muslim Brotherhood leader, who promised to defend the democratic ideals of the January 25 revolution, and to be president of all Egyptians, very quickly showed his real face. His regime’s liberty-killing and authoritarian moves gave him the image of a bearded man [i.e. Islamist] who aims to hijack the gains of the revolution for the benefit of a religious brotherhood and its political offshoots. At the same time, his cohorts’ inexperience, or rather its incompetence, deceived a population that sought greater social justice.”
He continued, “As a result, the Egyptian youth took to the streets; the opposition united in a coalition against the president; the religious leaders of Al-Azhar and of the Coptic Church disavowed him; and the army brusquely relieved him of his duties by force of arms.
“Unfortunately, Abdelilah Benkirane seems to be following in the footsteps of his Egyptian counterpart….”