Islamotopia and its discontents

The new issue of the Israeli magazine Azure features an excellent article by Uriya Shavit, an expert on Islamic history and theology, who describes and explains the “enormous gulf [that] separates the basic assumptions underlying the Western democratic paradigm from the principles that underlie the Islamist worldview.”

It’s a long article, but anyone interested in a knowledgeable take on what to expect from a Middle East dominated by Islamists will greatly profit from taking the time to read this piece.

Among the perhaps most noteworthy points made by Shavit is his description of the dilemma posed by the popularity of Islamist groups:

“Democracy without the Muslim Brotherhood is impossible, but so is democracy under its leadership. There is no doubt that the Brotherhood enjoys broad support in every Arab country that has undergone democratic revolutions or uprisings in the last year. Elections in which the movement is not allowed to participate will therefore lack popular legitimacy. Moreover, the Brotherhood’s liberal and democratic rhetoric will make it difficult for the legal establishment to disqualify the movement. The inevitable result of its electoral victory, however, will be the formation of a theocracy. It will not permit the scientific and technological revolution of which Arab societies are in such dire need.”

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