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Free elections have occurred

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology
in response to reader comment: Culture and deterrence are the keys

Submitted by Schills (United States), Jun 28, 2012 at 12:29

Sara,

I am glad we now understand each others positions. I do not assume there are free elections. I do however recognize that it is not only possible but has in fact occurred.

At the same time we have the example of Islamists in Malaysia, who won several electoral victories after the first Anwar Ibrahim scandal. When Malaysians experienced that there was nothing of substance behind the slogan, "Islam is the solution," they voted Islamists out of office. What did the Islamist Malaysian parties do? They continued to participate in the electoral process.

Erdogan in Turkey is something of a mixed bag, but he has participated in the political process in a non-violent fashion.

I do not consider elections in Iraq or Afghanistan because elections there have been conducted under an external mandate. Egypt is something of quandry since the country remains under the rule of a military junta so the election of a president has little meaning.

Iran is a prime example of pseudo-elections. Even after declaring candidates ineligible to run on ideological grounds, the hardline Islamists had to stuff the ballot boxes. What is even more puzzling is the powers of the President under the Iranian constitution are circumscribed by the Essembly of Experts, the Guardian Council and ultimately the Supreme Leader. One can conclude that Iranian hardliners believe the illusion of free elections is critically importance to Iranian hardliners.

I personally do not support Islamism, which I define here as a combination of Islam and statism, because I am against statism. That being said, I would much rather have statists participate non-violent in politics, as social-democratics do in Europe, than marginalize statists and push them towards political violence. For this reason I support the participation of Islamists in politics.

Submitting....

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