Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Victory of Islamists in Tunisia sets ton...

Email:

Victory of Islamists in Tunisia sets tone of “Arab Spring” elections

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Victory of Islamists in Tunisia sets tone of “Arab Spring” elections

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia, Libya, Africa

The success of a formerly banned Islamist party in the Tunisian election is expected to define the post Arab Spring political landscape, as their Egyptian counterparts also anticipate victory and Libya sets up a new regime based on sharia law.

Tunisia_Elections_4X3.jpg
A voter casts his ballot
in the Tunisian election
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Freedom House

The country where the Arab Spring began staged the first elections to emerge from that movement on 23 October. The Islamist Ennahda party emerged with the largest share of the vote, gaining over 40 per cent of the seats in the national constituent assembly.

Commentators expect that the outcome of the Tunisian poll will be repeated in the Egyptian elections this month, and also next year when Libyans go to the polls. Tunisia has long been recognised as one of the most Westernised, secular and liberal Arab nations, so if Islamists have emerged victorious there, it is even more than likely that they will do so in Egypt and especially Libya, where their values are more entrenched.

The ousted leaders of all three countries had kept a lid on Islamists, who have been unleashed in the wake of the respective downfalls of President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

Outlawed to law-makers

Ennahda was outlawed in Tunisia under President Ben Ali on the grounds that it was planning an Islamist takeover of the country. Its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, was granted political asylum in Britain, where he lived for 22 years. He will now play a formative role in the new Tunisia, even though the party did not win an outright majority and its leaders say they intend to seek a coalition or “national unity government”.

Ennahda insists that its approach to sharia is consistent with Tunisia’s progressive traditions, especially regarding women’s rights, and has been making reassuring noises about forming a secular, democratic, Western-style government. But their opponents are not convinced.

Speaking before the election, Issam Chebbi of the Progressive Democratic Party said:

We are very afraid for democracy in this country if Ennahda win. They are lying all the time. They say they are pacifist and want democracy. But they use religion in politics, which is not fair. They are trying to trap people with religion.

The first parliamentary elections since the revolution in Egypt are set to take place this month, and the Islamist parties are expected to emerge with the largest share of the vote. The leading party, the Muslim Brotherhood, like Ennahda, were formerly banned, but they were legalised following the ousting of President Mubarak. Leading Muslim Brotherhood figures have made statements revealing their intention to implement sharia law, while polls have indicated significant support for both the Brotherhood and the role of sharia in the new Egypt.   

Libya’s Islamic order

Meanwhile in Libya, the leader of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalili, has emphasised the central role Islam will play as the country establishes a new order following the death of Colonel Gaddafi. He said on 22 October:

We are an Islamic country. We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.

Jalili’s statement was greeted with cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”). He also said that laws contradicting sharia would be nullified, specifying that polygamy would be legalised, and called for an Islamic banking system. After making the statements, he tried to reassure Western powers who helped to topple Gaddafi that Libya’s new leaders are moderate Muslims.

While the Arab Spring has been hailed in the West as a new era of democracy and secularism for lands once in the grip of brutal dictators, it seems that those regimes will instead be replaced by strongly Islamic systems. And though the emerging leaders of these new orders claim to value Western-style democracy and secularism, there is no place for these concepts in Islam, which does not separate religion from the state, as evidenced in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This bodes ill for the Christian minorities in the region, particularly Egypt where there is a significant Christian community. Anti-Christian hostility has increased markedly there since the revolution and it is feared that this could become institutionalised across North Africa with Islamist parties in power.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Victory of Islamists in Tunisia sets tone of “Arab Spring” elections

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 5 hours ago

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks