When I started warning last winter that Islamic supremacists were in the best position to take advantage of the uprisings in Tunisia (and Egypt), most people were drinking the mainstream media Kool-Aid about a new birth of democracy and freedom. One commenter here at Jihad Watch asserted that “these revolts are spontaneous outbursts against the ruling elite. There is not one shred of evidence of any Islamist involvement.” Another’s scorn was intense: “You are taking advantage of the ignorance of your readers to spoon feed them this nonsense about jihad in tunisia [sic] while the Tunisian people are clamoring for democracy and freedom.”
These comments are indicative of a tendency: Islamic supremacists generally charge their opponents with “ignorance” and treat them with arrogance and contempt, even when those upon whom they are heaping contempt are correct, and even when the Islamic supremacists know that they are correct.
And so on this yet again: I tried to tell you.
“Tunisia Islamists set for big election gains,” from AP, October 16 (thanks to all who sent this in):
(AP) TUNIS, Tunisia “” As the land that launched the Arab Spring heads into historic elections next week, all eyes are on the long-repressed Islamists “” and whether a big victory for them will irrevocably change this North African nation and inspire similar conservative movements around the region.
Many fear that despite vows to uphold democracy, Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party is bent on imposing a theocracy that would roll back hard-won secularism and women’s rights. Others see an opportunity to bring a moderate form of political Islam into the Arab world “” one styled after the successful ruling party in thriving Turkey.
The Ennahda Party was brutally crushed by overthrown dictator Ben Ali in the 1990s, a policy tacitly approved by Western powers wary of militant Islam. Now, in the Oct. 23 election, it is set to become the largest party in the assembly that will write the nation’s new constitution “” largely because it is the best-organized force in the country.
Unlike many Islamist groups in the region, Ennahda has explicitly pledged to champion democratic values and women’s rights, but its secular critics warn the party has a secret agenda to impose hardline Islam.
These fears have been inflamed by the appearance of new ultraconservative groups known as Salafists that have attacked movie theaters and TV stations for showing material they say denigrates Islam.
“Ultraconservatives” don’t generally attack movie theaters and TV stations for showing material they say denigrates Islam.
Once in power, many warn, Ennahda would swiftly seek to put its Islamist stamp on this tourist-friendly nation of 10 million. Tunisia’s post-independence 1956 personal status code was unique in the Middle East and outlawed polygamy, mandated the woman’s approval to get married and set limits on the man’s power to divorce. It also declared men and women to be equal in terms of rights and citizenship.
In January, Tunisians stunned the world with a monthlong popular uprising that overthrew a seemingly entrenched dictator, inspiring similar revolutions across the Middle East….
“We finally get to see whether an Islamic party outside Turkey can be democratic,” said Alexander.