Janadriyah festival explores Islamic political movements


Published — Sunday 7 April 2013

Last update 9 April 2013 10:37 am

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A symposium was held at the Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the emergence of Islamic political movements in the last few years in the aftermath of the "Arab Spring."
A series of speakers agreed that the Arab Spring, which brought political Islam to power, has shown weak and poor political administration and that their visions on democracy and freedom conflict with views of other political parties.
They also agreed that some of the political parties in these countries are experiencing marginalization and that the demands they made at the beginning of the revolution were ignored.
Speakers added that political Islam in Arab countries is still struggling to find its way and it is difficult to judge the results of their experience in such a short period of time. They stressed that changes would not materialize easily or instantly and that only scientists and intellectuals would bring about such changes.
The speakers said the Egyptian and Tunisian experiences could not be taken as models but might give indications as to how Islamists deal with the requirements of positive change. In the meantime, the political Islamic movement began to change, they said.
However, some of the speakers voiced criticism against the Islamic political movements on the grounds that conservatives had unveiled their plans and ambitions to seize power, bringing the values of the civil state backward, notably their tendency to emphasize on the issue of security and the formation of militias, mirroring the Iranian model, the critics said.
Other speakers said that political Islam showed signs of change in terms of political vision and tolerance prior to assuming office, but soon went on to marginalize others when they assumed power. In that sense, Islamic conservatives are no different from other “nationalists” who ruled in Syria, Iraq and Libya for decades and who marginalized Islamists and put them in prison, they said.
Other intellectuals have said that the rise of Islamism and the downfall of others came to boost the value of the democratic process and that other objective factors, including education, media, telecommunications and openness, would push this progressive trend forward.
No political party can ensure continuity in power unless it respects the rule of law and the will of society, civil community organizations and think tanks being key contributors to new ideas and political processes, the speakers concluded.
The speakers were Mohammed Al-Hilwa from Saudi Arabia, Said Harib from the UAE, Dhia Rushwan from Egypt, Abdulhamid Al-Ansari from Qatar, Ali Al-Bariadi from Saudi Arabia and Abdulrahim Ali from Egypt.

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