Many supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood as a key faction forming the root of Middle Eastern political Islam and the political parties emerging from it try to justify the presence of their parties and their movements with the presence of Christian Democratic parties in the West generally, and in Europe specifically. So when entering into argument with any supporter of political Islam in our region, he will remind us that there are Christian parties in Europe, some of whom have made it to power a number of times without military coups being staged against it, or without it being removed from power by force, as occurred in Egypt when President Morsi won in free elections held for the first time there, or as the Algerian military did to the Islamists who won in municipal elections in 1991.
At first glance, the argument appears sound, but if we delve further into detail, we will find there are large differences between Europe’s Christian Democratic parties and the Muslim Brotherhood organization, or any organization calling for the implementation of Islamic sharia and the Islamization of the organizations of state and society in our region.
The Christian parties in Europe have accepted the secularism of the state and the neutrality of its laws and constitution, as well as the presence of atheists and non-Christians in their countries with equal rights and duties with other citizens without discrimination. They have also accepted the democratic game as it is, i.e., that the ballot box and constitution do not distinguish between citizens on the basis of religion, sect or ethnicity. They have adopted an ideology based on adhering to religious morals represented in the humanitarian and ethical principles present in all religions, those commandments which promote truth, honesty, respect for others, non-aggression, kindness, helping those in need, and not bullying the weak, and whose essence does not differ from the essence of the Islamic religion which we all grew up learning from our parents.
They do not interfere in the daily lives of citizens or try to impose a specific model for living, dressing and behaving, and leave worldly matters to social and legal experts and elected representatives of the people to formulate them as suited to the needs of society and the development of human civilization.
We do not find this among the parties of political Islam in our society, beginning with the slogan “Islam is the solution” and the slogan “The situation of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectifies its first part”, and the demand to implement sharia and its laws and restrictions applied by the Islamic caliphates throughout history — which it considers a solution to all problems of Islamic societies, as if 14 centuries of human effort to develop the life of societies and their laws and constitutions to ease and enable human happiness and find solutions to their problems do not concern us as Muslims — and ending with calls to establish the caliphate and emirates and institute punishments like stoning, lashing, and beheading, and returning to the captivity and sexual slavery advocated by fundamentalist jihadi groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the like.
The experience of people in the modern age has proven that a unilateral ideology that claims to possess an absolute truth able to solve all its society’s problems fails, such as communism and its theory of state ownership of the means of production and the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the nationalist parties such as the Nasserites or Baathists and their typical slogans (no voice is higher than that of the battle for liberation and development, and leadership of the elite for the nation and society), and likewise the Islamist parties, which call for implementing God’s law on earth (and at the same time fighting among themselves over the best interpretation of sharia and the right to represent God and his religion), with the divine sanction held by these calls forbidding criticism under the penalty of takfir (being labelled an unbeliever). All of these ideologies have failed miserably in achieving anything to make their nations stronger or more coherent, or anything to make their people happier or more secure (the former Soviet Union, Syrian and Iraqi Baath, Iran, the Islamic government in Sudan).
Many fear that these parties and ideologies will work on using democracy and the ballot box once to arrive in power and then cancel it, and impose the sanctity and permanence of their ideas, and then work on quashing others and perpetuating their own power (as what happened in Iran), which would lead to producing a new dictatorship built on takfir or accusations of treason, and killing in the name of God or the battle against the enemy.
The arrival of the Islamists of Turkey and Tunisia at the necessity of submitting to the secularity of the state, the neutrality of its constitution, and the modernity of the laws governing the lives of its communities, constitutes a first step toward the emergence of Islamic Democratic parties, which can benefit from the experience of the Christian Democratic parties in Europe and turn into one of the shades of political life and the democratic process in our Arab Islamic region.
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