NSHE STRICT Taliban Islamism may have returned to Afghanistan, but peaceful Islamists in the Arab world have been struggling lately. Called “Islamic democracy,” Nafda was the largest party in the Tunisian parliament until President Kais Saied suspended parliament in July. Just a month later, Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD), Another moderate Muslim costume that led the ruling coalition suffered a catastrophic defeat in polls, losing 90% of the seats it held.
Ten years ago, Islamist parties were on the rise in the Arab world. Often considered more noble and servicing than their rivals, they were well-positioned to take advantage of the democratic revolution that swept the region in 2011. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood won the country’s first free and fair election. After Tunisia adopted democracy, Nafda became an army.And that PJD It was the biggest party in Morocco for 10 years.
“Looking back at the Arab Spring, these parties have come to power with a promise to bring hope and change,” says Hamza Medeb, a think tank at the Carnegie Middle East Center. “They don’t offer it.” The Egyptians soon suffered from Mohamed Morsi. Mohamed Morsi declared himself exempt from judicial oversight and rushed through a flawed constitution. He was expelled by the army in 2013 in a massive protest against his rule.
With Enafuda PJD You may have learned not to go too far from the Brotherhood. For example, when a large-scale protest threatened Tunisia’s democracy in 2013, Nafda compromised over a new constitution and relinquished power. However, due to their willingness to cooperate with their enemies and concessions, some Tunisians have accused them of being opportunistic. “I don’t think I could explain why it was needed,” says party leader Ahmed Garruul.
Even if not entirely responsible, Enafuda has become associated with decades of financial hardship, endemic corruption, and inadequate governance. “By compromising with the economic elite and accepting the status quo, they failed financially,” Medeb said with Enafuda. PJD.. “Compromising with other political parties, they failed ideologically in policy.”
Like Enafuda PJD I tried to disseminate the image of the Muslim. Nevertheless, it had a hard time giving way. It was not possible to stop the law that allowed the therapeutic use of cannabis, promoted French in education (at the expense of Arabic), and reformed the voting system.Last year PJD Prime Minister Saadedin El Osmani (pictured) has vowed to never do business with Israel. A few weeks later, Morocco normalized its relationship with the Jewish state. Critics called the party prickly, weak and incompetent.
Defender PJD It says it ran into Morocco’s most powerful institution, the monarchy. Mohammed VI has given more power to Parliament since the Arab Spring, but most major decisions had to be made by him. He directs economic and foreign policy. The agreement with Israel was hashed by the Royal Courts of Justice. Media threatened by the king have admitted to condemning successes such as the deployment of the covid-19 vaccine, as well as government failure. NS PJD He also accuses rival parties of buying votes.
The party is not the only one who feels the system is fraudulent against it. In Egypt, the Brotherhood faced opposition from police and civil servants who refused to serve, and judges who dissolved the parliament. Intelligence agencies with foreign government support worked to defeat the group. Ennahda did it more freely, but in the end it slammed into Saied. His power grabs are clearly undemocratic, but very popular.
The risk is that Islamists in the Arab world learn dangerous lessons. Why join a political system that is neither free nor fair? Why put your faith in a party that does nothing? It is better to follow the example of the Taliban, who armed and defeated the superpowers. But Gaaloul is optimistic. He believes Tunisian activists and civil society groups will protect democracy. “If they show that they can really make a difference, you no longer even need Islamism,” he says. “You will have democracy run by Islam.” ■■
This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Out of power”.
What’s next for Islamists in the Arab world?
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