Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Archive > Other Views
The Hypocrisy of (some) Arab Liberals
The Hypocrisy of (some) Arab Liberals
It’s strange that they have waited this long to fight for "a better Jordan." While nonviolent Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were being repressed by the government, we did not hear from them this talk of rights and freedoms. When Jordan witnessed the most blatantly rigged elections in its history (in 2007), we did not hear this outrage. We heard mostly a silent acquiescence, in part because Arab liberals have long feared that if there were, in fact, free and fair el
Wednesday, September 24,2008 15:41
by Shadi Hamid Democracy Arsenal

Yes, it is a harsh title for a post. But I"m a bit perturbed. Jordan"s most popular bar/cafe - [email protected] - was shut down last week, essentially because it continued to serve alcohol during the holy month of Ramadan. [email protected] has a liquor license from the relevant government ministries, so it appears that the government"s move to close it down isn"t exactly legal. Moreover, I will readily agree it is an attack on freedom of expression (people should be allowed to drink alcohol if they want to) and the government should reverse its decision immediately. I just got back from Jordan two weeks ago. I was there for about 5 months. I went to Books quite a few times. I like the place a lot, in part because it boasts an amazing view of East Amman. Many of my friends were Books regulars. This is a direct attack on them.

But I"d like to bring up a caveat. I find it ironic that the co-owner of [email protected] wrote this blistering post criticizing the government for an attack of freedom and individual rights. Many others, including bloggers and online activists, are incensed. It appears that there may be an effort to organize a response, protesting the government"s measures, which apparently include the closing down of more than 60 other establishments throughout Jordan. This outrage among Jordanian liberals is - what is the right word? - interesting. We hear them speaking the weightly language of rights and freedoms and democracy. The ownder of Books writes: "Do we just close up and leave the country and lose all our love and loyalty to Jordan? I prefer to fight for a better Jordan and I think everyone should do the same."

It"s strange that they have waited this long to fight for "a better Jordan." While nonviolent Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were being repressed by the government, we did not hear from them this talk of rights and freedoms. When Jordan witnessed the most blatantly rigged elections in its history (in 2007), we did not hear this outrage. We heard mostly a silent acquiescence, in part because Arab liberals have long feared that if there were, in fact, free and fair elections in Jordan and elsewhere, Islamists would win. Their attachment to freedom and democracy is obviously contextual, and is only raised when it is their rights - rather than the rights of others - that are being trampled. For too long, too many Arab liberals have stood by silently, and have cast their lot with Arab autocrats because the devil they knew was better than the devil they didn"t.

And so, time and time again, democracy has been sacrificed in the name of democracy. This is a tragic hypocrisy. Arab liberals have a vital role to play in futhering demoracy in the Middle East. Some have played this role courageously - people, for instance, like Saad Eddin Ibrahim and Ayman Nour, who have spoken out against the repression moderate Islamists. But, unfortunately, many have not.


Posted in Other Views  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Let’s not talk about Saudi Arabia
Engaging the Middle East
How Much Does the Middle East Matter?
9/11: Facts and Narratives
The Boiling Point
A Moderate Islamist is Arrested in Egypt - and What it Means for Us
"I want to be an American" - Obama fever taking over Europe
The Need to Prioritize Elections
Yes We Can
America vs. Americans - how the rest of the world sees us
Bhutto says Bin Laden was Murdered?
The Nuclear Scenario in Pakistan
Thought Experiment - A Muslim Europe?
The NIE and Remembering Things Lost
Will an "Islamic Reformation" Ever Come?
To be an American Muslim?
The Worst Answer of Last Night’s Debate
Looking for Moderate Islamists
Re: Who’s to Blame for the Middle East’s Problems
Understanding the Retributive Impulse
Would Democracy in Morocco be a Good Thing?
How to Rig Elections without Rigging Them: The Case of Morocco
Condi Rice: Rhetoric vs. Policy
Democracy Promotion Needs a Plan of Action
Neoconservatism is Dead
The Problem of Modernity?
Supporting Dissidents in Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood, Ayman Nour
To Engage or Not to Engage?
Drop What You’re Doing and Read This
What Makes a Starbucksist (or how to fight Islamo-fascists with the power of our ideas)?
Maybe it’s Time to Start Getting Scared