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    What Don’t They Understand About Islamists?

    What Don’t They Understand About Islamists?

    In what will come as a shock to no one who lives in reality, the revolutions throughout the Middle East, while sparked in many instances by people who share western-style democratic values, are turning Islamist, and the Obama administration is dithering and accepting the outcome as a foregone conclusion:

    Via The Washington Post:

    The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region’s politics….

    Since taking office, President Obama has argued for a “new beginning” with Islam, suggesting that Islamic belief and democratic politics are not incompatible. But in doing so, he has alarmed some foreign-policy pragmatists and allies such as Israel, who fear that governments based on religious law will inevitably undercut democratic reforms and other Western values.

    Some within the U.S. intelligence community, foreign diplomatic circles and the Republican Party say Obama’s readiness to accept Islamist movements, even ones that meet certain conditions, fails to take into consideration the methodical approach many such parties adopt toward gradually transforming secular nations into Islamic states at odds with U.S. policy goals.

    Exactly.  The Islamist parties throughout the Middle East use democracy as the device to destroy democracy, even in nations such as Turkey which have a long secular democratic history.

    Which makes the most recent column by Roger Cohen at The NY Times so laughably absurd:

    The Arab awakening is not yet about Israel — I never heard the word “Israel” during two weeks in Cairo — but that could change if another skirmish erupts. Nothing would radicalize regional sentiment, now focused on building rather than destroying, as quickly.

    I guess Cohen wasn’t in Egypt when over a million Egyptians greeted the return an anti-Semitic cleric and chanted “To Jerusalem We go, for us to be the Martyrs of the Millions.”

    The Obama administration could have played a pivotal role in supporting more secular and less extremist forces in the Middle East.  Instead it has sat on the sidelines while commissioning studies, as if the experiences of Iran, Gaza and Lebanon were not lessons enough.

    We are led by political and media elites who are so blinded by a desire not to be seen as anti-Islam, that they have increased the likelihood that tens of millions of Muslims will meet the fate of the people of Iran.

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    Speaking of laughably absurd:

    "The Islamist parties throughout the Middle East use democracy as the device to destroy democracy, even in nations such as Turkey which have a long secular democratic history."

    This statement bears no semblance to reality whatsoever. The right seems to be fond of declaring Turkey a full-on Islamist state just because they don't approve of some of their foreign policy decisions. The fact is that Turkey is as much a secular democracy as it ever was, with a referendum last year (designed to bring the Turkish constitution more in line with EU standards) and a parliamentary election this year. When I asked my Turkish boyfriend if he thought that Turkey would ever become an Islamist state under Sharia law, he nearly spat out his tea in derision at the idea (and he comes from the conservative interior of the country no less). Turkey has one of the most successful economies in the region, and the Turkish government is hardly likely to jeapordize that success by turning back the clock and instituting Ottoman-style law.

    A little perspective: in this allegedly Islamist state women are still not allowed to wear the hijab at public universities or in government buildings.

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