Ikhwanweb Notes: Financial Times Feature on Engaging Political Islam

Ikhwanweb Notes: Financial Times Feature on Engaging Political Islam

Roula Khalaf in her latest feature for the Financial Times argues that Arab democracy has been dealt a blow with the continuous exclusion and crackdown on moderate Islamists who represent the major opposition parties in the Arab world.

Citing opinions of political analysts, Khalaf indicates that the exclusion of Islamists will have several negative impacts:

1-    Weakening democracy

2-    Moderate elements in political Islam will be undermined in favor of more conservative elements.

3-    Consolidating apathy among Arab voters

4-    Islamists will refrain from political participation, and focus on proselytizing and social work.

5-    Islamists will grow more skeptical of democratic values.

But Essam El-Erian is quoted as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood to which he belongs will not be deterred by exclusionist policies and that it “can be patient” because its work “is about change in the future.”

Indeed, engaging moderate Islamists in the Arab world will be a catalyst for greater political and social stability in the Middle East. Repression and exclusion of political Islam will only foster radicalism and decrease hopes for genuine political reform and democratization in a region replete with economic and political unrest.

As for the Muslim Brotherhood, it is unlikely that it will renounce political participation, as Dr. Essam El-Erian confirms, simply because it views political participation as an essential pillar in its reform agenda. Political work is considered a means for enforcing the other desired reforms according to the Muslim Brotherhood, and not a target per se.

Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood”s adherence to democratic values will not be altered since democracy has become a fundamental internal practice that conforms to Islamic principle of Shurah according to the Muslim Brotherhood.