Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue927 2022

Last update02:07 AM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Activites
Obama hints acceptance of elected Islamists
Obama hints acceptance of elected Islamists
President Obama hinted Thursday that the United States would for the first time accept the results of Middle East elections won by Islamist parties.
Friday, June 5,2009 04:35
by Eli Lake WashingtonPost

President Obama hinted Thursday that the United States would for the first time accept the results of Middle East elections won by Islamist parties.


In contrast to the Bush administration, which boycotted groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah even after they performed well in elections, Mr. Obama said, "America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments -- provided they govern with respect for all their people."


Those words carry particular significance because on June 7 Lebanon is expected to hold an election where Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group, could win a plurality of votes.


It was also a message to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, whose members running as independents won 88 seats -- 20 percent of the Egyptian national assembly -- in 2005 despite widespread cheating on behalf of the government.


Several members of the group were in the audience at Cairo University as the president spoke. Egypt holds parliamentary elections next year.


In 2006, Hamas won an outright majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, leading the Bush administration to restrict ties with the government.


The Obama administration has kept the basic conditions set forth under the Bush administration for contact with Hamas. The group must renounce terror, recognize Israel and adhere to past agreements before obtaining U.S. recognition.


In his speech Thursday, Mr. Obama warned Islamist parties that win power through the ballot not to use that power to block others from contesting future elections.


"This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others," Mr. Obama said. "No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy."


Soon after the Muslim Brotherhood"s gains, the Bush administration began to unwind its democracy promotion agenda in Egypt, cutting civil society funding from $50 million in 2007 to $20 million in the administration"s last budget.


In Egypt, Mr. Obama also avoided allowing himself to be photographed with Gamal Mubarak, the son of President Hosni Mubarak. Such a photo would have signaled U.S. approval for the elder Mubarak"s efforts to transfer power to his son without a fair election. Gamal Mubarak, who met with President Bush in 2006 in Washington, did not get an audience with Mr. Obama when he came to the U.S. in April.


Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said he approved of Mr. Obama"s comments on democracy.


"Partly this is a message to the Mubaraks of the Middle East that they cannot use the specter of Islamist parties being empowered to deter the United States from promoting democracy," Mr. Malinowski said. "He is saying in principle it is not who you are, but what you do that matters."


The Source

Posted in Activites , Human Rights , Obama  
Related Articles
Obama must challenge authoritarian alternatives to democracy
President Obama Speaks to the World’s Muslims: An Early Assessment
Obama and Egypt: actions speak louder than words?
Obama speech heralds New Beginnings for promoting democracy?
Egyptian Public to Greet Obama with Suspicion
MB Chairman Will Respond to Obama’s Speech on Saturday
Obama Speaks to the Muslim World
Obama Insinuates Internationalization of Jerusalem
katatni Praises Obama’s Speech, Urges For Real Change in US Policies
Hamas: Obama’s address to the Muslim world will be judged through his sincerity
Muslims want actions, not words, from Obama
Muslim Brothers Make the Obama Cut
Obama’s subtle shift on Islamism
Gov’t committee against siege invites Obama to visit Gaza
Cairo prepares for King Tut Obama
Egypt Prepares For Obama’s Visit
Muslims want actions, not words, from Obama
Ten MB MPs Are Invited for Obama’s Speech
Muslim Brotherhood Will Attend Obama Speech in Cairo
Muslim Brotherhood in audience for Obama Cairo speech - Feature
Obama in the Muslim World
Obama Told to Support Mideast Democracy