Political Islam Has Arrived. Now What?

Islamic parties have won large majorities in the governments of Tunisia and Egypt although the revolutions of the Arab Spring were considered largely secular. How will the US react?

What's the Latest Development?

Over the weekend, a new political era began in Egypt as the first parliamentary elections took place since the popular uprising which removed former-president Hosni Mubarak. "The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s dominate political and religious force, won 47% of the 498 seats in the lower house of parliament, according to official final results." During Mubarak's corrupt rule, the Muslim Brotherhood was kept from political participation and its members were widely known to be tortured.  

What's the Big Idea?

The liberal activists who were instrumental in the overthrow of the government were squeezed out by much larger political forces, winning only seven seats in the parliament. This echos the elections held in Tunisia which also brought Islamic parties to power. Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth writes: "Islamic parties are genuinely popular in much of the Arab world, in part because many Arabs have come to see political Islam as the antithesis of autocratic rule." Political Islam is a new reality for the international community.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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