In Islamic countries, by definition, all forms of government must have an established religion - Islam. America is based upon a core Constitutional value that the federal government cannot establish a state religion. This was embedded in the U.S. Constitution by our Founding Fathers to prevent any one Christian denomination from becoming predominant. Why? Because of their experiences in England in particular and in Europe in general. Kings were guaranteed life long rule based upon their divine right as king. Kings headed not only the government but the church. The rights of the citizen were subject to the dictator. Citizens were damned if you do (by the state) and damned if you don't (by the Church). If you opposed the king you opposed God, a lose-lose situation for freedom of religion and individual liberty.
Fast forward to the recent elections in Tunisia. Tunisia is the place where the "Arab spring" began when Mohamed Bouazizi poured inflammable liquid over his body and set himself afire outside the local municipal office. His act of protest cemented a revolt that ultimately ended the 23-year reign of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and spread across the Middle East. Since Bouazizi's death Tunisia has gone through a process to reach elections. Many journalists are focused on the electoral process - are the voters voting in large numbers, is the vote proportional and is the process being followed. What they are missing is the end result - the taking of a majority of the seats by the "moderate Islamist" Nahda Party.
A Wall Street Journal
column titled, "The Arab Spring's First Election
" states, "The manner of the first vote in the wake of the Arab Spring is as important as the outcome, though that's a bellwether, too." I cannot disagree more. We saw HAMAS come to power in the Gaza strip in a democratic manner. That manner is called one man, one vote, one time. HAMAS is a terrorist organization with front organizations around the world and in the United States (CAIR, MSA, etc.). The outcomes are more important than the process.
Charles Levinson in his Wall Street Journal
column, "In Tunisia Vote, Hints of New Model
", reports, "In an election viewed as a template for emerging Mideast democracies, Tunisians appeared poised to offer a new narrative: an assembly composed largely of an Islamist party promising a moderate platform, and two secular parties that have pledged to work with it." But is it?
May I humbly suggest to Charles this is not a new model, rather it is an age old model. My questions are: How long will the secular parties last? How long will it take to rewrite the Tunisian constitution to place the Qur'an as the preeminent guide to all law in Tunis? How long before shariah becomes the law of the land in Tunis? History and recent experience tells us - not long.
Charles reports some doubts among the people, "Many Tunisians, of course, remain deeply suspicious of Nahda's public face of tolerance and moderation. Small protests have broken out in the capital against the movement since Sunday's vote. Meanwhile, the country's political transition is still in its infancy, and, despite the parties' vows to work together, deep differences in world views still divide the country's Islamist and secular politicians." [My emphasis]
Here is a graphic of the Tunisian election results courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
In 1917 Nikolai Bukarin, Communist Director of Industrial Development in the former Soviet Union, stated, "We asked for freedom of the press, thought, and civil liberties in the past because we were in the opposition and needed these liberties to conquer. Now that we have conquered, there is no longer any need for such civil liberties."
May I suggest that moderate Islamic parties have a history of using civil liberties to gain power and then repress them when in power. History has a peculiar way of repeating itself.