September 28, 2012

OUR KIDS STILL JOKE...:

The Arab Spring Still Blooms (MONCEF MARZOUKI, 9/27/12, NY Times)

The democratization of Tunisia, Egypt and other countries has allowed a number of extremist free riders into the political system. But it has also definitively refuted the myth that democracy and Islam are incompatible. Islamists are political actors like any others: they are no more pure, more united or more immune from criticism than anyone else.

Islamist parties are now free to take part in political debates and to win seats in legislatures and governments. However, these political changes have also rendered the divisions among Islamists more apparent than ever before.

Islamists span a wide ideological and political spectrum. Yet many observers still seem to believe that extremist Salafi groups represent a majority. They are wrong. Radical Salafis who advocate violence and Shariah constitute a very small minority in Tunisia -- and even in Egypt they are vastly outnumbered by more moderate Islamists. They are a minority within a minority, and extremely unpopular among both religious and secular Tunisians. They do not speak for all Tunisians, Arabs or Muslims.

The goal of these violent extremists is not political participation; it is to create chaos. We should not forget that before attacking American symbols, these extremists had degraded Tunisian symbols, like the flag and national anthem.

Despite their small numbers, the danger they pose cannot be dismissed. Tunisia's economy depends on the millions of foreign tourists who visit each year. If Salafi extremists were to attack just two or three foreigners in Tunisia, it would destroy our tourism industry and ruin our country's peaceful reputation. As a democratic government, we support the Salafis' freedom of expression, but advocating violence is a red line. Those who cross it will be arrested.


...about how obsessively the Tunisians we met thanked America for supporting the Revolution.

Posted by at September 28, 2012 8:27 PM
  

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