Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
04:51 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
30 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Political Islam on the table at ESCWA talks
Former Prime Minister of Yemen Abdel-Karim al-Eryani, Moussa, Abdel-Salam, and Barghouti attend the panel. (Azakir/The Daily Star)
Former Prime Minister of Yemen Abdel-Karim al-Eryani, Moussa, Abdel-Salam, and Barghouti attend the panel. (Azakir/The Daily Star)
A+ A-

BEIRUT: Political Islam was a major topic of conversation among Arab leaders Monday, the final day of a U.N. meeting in Beirut that focused on democracy in the region. Representing the country that jump-started the so-called “Arab Spring” at a Monday roundtable entitled “Prospects for the future of the Arab region,” Tunisia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rafic Abdel-Salam said Islamists are now part of political life. In Tunisia’s election last year, a once-banned Islamist party won the largest share of votes in the new assembly.

He said that “they will be affected by the political scene,” especially as Islamists did not win a majority of assembly seats and had to form a coalition government in Tunis.

Former Arab League Secretary-General and current Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa said that in his country as well as others in the region, “change toward democracy has an Islamic character.”

Islamist parties have claimed a majority in the recent elections for Egypt’s new parliament. “We cannot question democracy and then challenge the results. This is unacceptable,” Moussa said, adding that he believed Islamist movements are now leaning toward moderation.

“While building a state, we respect religion. We are all interested in listening to the opinions of religious scholars,” Moussa said, but noted that “the main reference for ruling a country is a constitution.”

Naima Djibril, a Libyan judge and member of a council that supports women’s participation in Libyan decision making, took up political Islam through the lens of women’s rights – a topic that was also hot at the roundtable.

“For the Arab woman, there is fear of and concern over political Islam,” Djibril said. But like several other speakers, she added that “we should practice democracy, and if through it an Islamic movement comes to power that carries an enlightened religious discourse, this could make men and women equal,” as she said Islamic law ideally does.

“If the discourse [of political Islam in Libya] is truly enlightened, and returns women’s rights to them, then this will be a great achievement,” she said. She criticized the presence of only one woman on Libya’s National Transitional Council, which has over 40 members, and said there will be “no real democracy if women and young people do not play their part.”

Djibril noted the part Libyan women played in the uprising and lamented that this has not yet brought them into positions of power. Several audience members also expressed concerns that women, as well as youth, both integral in regional protests, will be marginalized in future Arab political systems.

Former Palestinian Information Minister and presidential candidate Moustafa al-Barghouti said he hoped the Arab uprisings would bring a new level of Arab solidarity with the Palestinians. He also called internal democratization key, while conceding that “we can’t build a perfect democracy under occupation.”

For his part, Moussa also noted that one of the main reasons behind the downfall of Arab regimes was their dealings with Palestine.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 17, 2012, on page 2.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Amr Moussa / Arab Spring / ESCWA / islamism / Muslim Brotherhood / Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Annie Slemrod
 
 
Charbel insists civil marriage couple keep sects
 
 
A peek at life in Beirut’s defunct Gaza Hospital
 
 
EU mulls best means to help Lebanon, Syria opposition
 
 
Civil marriage pioneers say their child will have no sect
 
 
For Burj al-Barajneh kids, ‘Los Angeles’ means a place to play
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS