Gee, and after all those promises to the gullible western media.
Tunisia, Egypt Islamists signal bigger religion role
Islamists in both countries strike more Islamic tones despite months spent reassuring critics.
PARIS – After months of reassuring secularist critics, Islamist politicians in Tunisia and Egypt have begun to lay down markers about how Muslim their states should be — and first signs show they want more religion than previously admitted.
Islamist parties swept the first free elections in both countries in recent months after campaigns that stressed their readiness to work with the secularists they struggled with in the Arab Spring revolts against decades-long dictatorships.
With political deadlines looming, the Tunisian coalition led by the reformist Islamist Ennahda party and the head of Egypt’s influential Muslim Brotherhood both made statements this week revealing a stronger emphasis on Islam in government.
Popular List, an Ennahda coalition member tasked with writing Tunisia’s new constitution, announced on Monday its draft called Islam “the principle source of legislation” — a phrase denoting laws based on the sharia moral and legal code.
On Tuesday, Egyptian Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie said his group wanted a president with “an Islamic background.” That term is vague, but not as vague as the conciliatory “consensus candidate” talk heard from most parties until now.
Secularists in both countries warned voters against trusting the Islamists and these subtle changes could have come straight from a secularist playbook on how Islamists would gradually insert more religion into the political and legal systems.
Will Ghannouchi keep his promises?
Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, a leading reformist Muslim thinker during his years in London exile, reassured secularists last year by agreeing with them that the first article of Tunisia’s constitution should remain unchanged.
The article, which said Tunisia’s language was Arabic and religion Islam, was “just a description of reality … without any legal implications, he told Reuters in November. “There will be no other references to religion in the constitution.”