The Iranian revolution of 1978-79 influenced relations between Islamists and the Left in two ways:
Muslim-majority countries: The falling out of Khomeini and the Tudeh (communist) party created bad relations. For a recent example: If one opposes the Islamist AK Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) in Turkey, one votes for a leftist party.
Of course, these patterns do not always hold, but so far there has been so systemic break. Here are signs of rapprochement of Islamists and Leftists in the Muslim world:
Abdelilah Benkirane, secretary-general of the PJD announced that "L'alliance avec les socialistes de l'USFP est même souhaitée par tout le monde au sein du PJD" ("Everyone within the PJD hopes for an alliance with the socialists of the USFP"). Lahcen Daoudi, another PJD leader, added that the two parties have found "plusieurs points communs qui peuvent constituer une base pour l'élaboration d'une plate-forme de travail" ("a number of commonalities that can provide a base to build a common platform").
Mohamed Elyazghi, first secretary of Morocco's socialist party, USFP.
These amicable feelings are not undisputed, however: Driss Lachgar, a member of the Political Bureau of the USFP, noted that the USFP is in the government and PJD is not, therefore:
Il est de ce fait impossible, que ce soit pour le PJD ou pour l'USFP, qu'on travaille ensemble. Ceci est en fait inimaginable. Les bases d'une telle alliance sont inexistantes, sauf si l'un des deux partis change de positionnement.
This makes it impossible for the PJD or the USFP to work together. That is unimaginable. The grounds for such an alliance do not exist, unless one of the two parties changes its positions.
Egypt: Mustafa Naggar, 29, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mohammed Sherif, 23, a self-styled revolutionary socialist are finding common ground, according to Daniel Williams in "Rivals Unite to Challenge Mubarak." The two
find common cause in the struggle to end the 27-year reign of Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak. Promoting their message through blogs like hundreds, if not thousands, of other young political activists they agree that Mr. Mubarak, 80, must go and that Egyptians need to end the historic animosity between Islamists and secular democrats that has bitterly divided Arab politics for a century.
Mr. Naggar, 29, and Mr. Sherif, 23, became acquainted through their Web sites and describe themselves as newly found friends. Interviewed in cafes on opposite sides of Cairo, they displayed remarkably common sentiments, given their distinct roots. "We must reach a middle ground," said Mr. Naggar, a dentist. "We need to understand that to achieve democracy is more important than holding on to old ideologies." His blog is decorated with an olive branch and often features a photo of someone praying. "We can't be always antagonistic," said Mr. Sherif, a government computer technician. "I think democracy can respect the beliefs of the people, so long as the beliefs are not imposed." His blog is adorned with the clenched socialist fist.
Both young men reject Islamic rule in Egypt. Naggar: "Better to have a civil state with Islamic references." Sherif: "We have to recognize that Egypt is majority Muslim and increasingly religious." They also agree on a model that could work, the AK Party in Turkey. Revolutionary socialist Sherif allows that "It has been successful in Turkey and would be even more successful in Egypt. The party respects the religion of the people but also responds with laws that the people want."
Logo of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Williams finds that the two men "typify a younger group of Egyptians who challenge the notion that secular democrats and Islamic activists are locked in an immutable struggle." Hala Mustafa, editor of Democracy Review, observes that their coming together "is a real development, potentially a new generation that is neither just liberal or Islamist." (April 15, 2009)
Turkey: Susanne Güsten in "Pious Turks Push for Labor Justice" tells how some Islamists are losing patience with the AKP's "capitalism with ablutions."
After almost 10 years in power, Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., is coming under pressure from a new generation of Muslims calling for more social justice and democracy, in a trend that could change Turkey and offer new perspectives to societies in the Middle East searching for ways to combine Islamic values with a modern pluralist state, analysts said.
The article quotes Murat Somer, a political scientist and expert on political Islam at Koç University in Istanbul: "The A.K.P. was born of the marriage between moderate Islam and global capitalism. The younger generation of some Islamists has a different take on social justice. They focus more on economics and a class-based understanding. There is a basis for this movement. It did not come out of nowhere."
Güsten sees this change resulting from the huge increase in wealth since the AKP reached power almost a decade ago, with the gross domestic product going from €244 billion in 2002 to €551 billion in 2010. "The economic upswing and social realignment," she writes, "have caused a new chasm to open within the pious masses that carried the A.K.P. to power against the secularist elites in the military, bureaucracy and judiciary a decade ago." (May 9, 2012)