Reuters - Video



Islamist movements show democracy and liberalism not synonymous: Hamid

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 - 03:34

Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the new book, ''Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East,'' says that Western assumptions about the post-Arab Spring era failed to take into account deep religious and cultural conservatism in the region.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

I'm going to Molly for writers here at the Aspen ideas festival and joint bank daddy had meet his fellow at the Brookings Institution. He's also the author of the new book temptations of power Islamist and a liberal democracy. And you Middle East. -- thanks for being here thanks for having me how did Islamist philosophy. Changed. After the endemic democratic openings that were created during that. -- -- What is the before now so I think there was an assumption on the part. You know western observers that. More democracy would mean that -- -- would move to the political center. Maybe they would become more moderate that you would have this kind of natural process. Where cross where politics trumps ideology. Right. But I think what we found was something quite different that Islamist groups were pushed further to the right. Under these democratic openings and a couple reasons for that. One is that we're talking about societies that are deeply conservative. So for example in Egypt are large majorities that want to see -- slam. Play a greater role in society. They wanna see more mixing of religion and politics for example there was one very interesting polling result. From 2012. Where 61%. Of egyptians who preferred the Saudi Arabian model of religion in government. Over the Turkish model 61 to 17%. And there's a lot of different polling results to this effect. Now what people say and what they actually do there might be a gap there but I think it's fair to say that there is a desire to have. You know. A greater. Sense of religiosity in public life. And wanting to have that be reflected. Now so what that means that if there's a popular demand. Than someone has to supply at right. So even in groups like the most some brother had wanted to go to the political center they would have to be very concerned about their conservative base. And that's why I talk about it Tea Party effect. So it's not just the Middle East but even here in the US you have a situation where the far right is tracking the center right further write words. When you talk about is romance. If Carolina's -- diversity within that group is you see it are are they really just. One salad and a coalition from country to country yet -- talk about political Islam we're talking about a very broad spectrum and very diverse. So on the kind of more moderate end of the spectrum we have. Groups like enough and a which was the ruling party in Tunisia for a certain period of time. And they've really been able to reach out to secular groups. They were governing in coalition they made major compromises on the constitution that's one end of the spectrum. Then you have groups like the Muslim Brotherhood then further to the right you have the seller fees that are ultra conservative. They had a very textual literal -- approach to Islamic law. Then if you go even further you have the -- Fiji had these groups like I aces who are brutal vicious and who won impose. Their vision of the Islamic state through sheer force. And they have no interest in participating in the democratic process they see democracy. As being alien. As being a kind of sign of disbelief. So when we talk about it islamists. We have to make these careful distinctions I think. Caddie Jimmy thank you so shanks for having me my pleasure.

Islamist movements show democracy and liberalism not synonymous: Hamid

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 - 03:34

Top News »

The Exchange »

Moving Pictures »