Selasa, 9 Oktober 2012

Waiting For Arabs Spring Of Ideas: Tariq Ramadhan

Dunia Mencermati Setiap Perkiraan Politik Yang Bakal Digerakkan oleh Mohamad Morsi
The Islamists have legitimacy, having paid a heavy price in opposing dictatorships for decades. They have made electoral gains in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia by adapting to the shifts in power brought about by the protesters and cyberactivists. Yet they are facing contradictory expectations: they must remain faithful to their Islamic credentials while facing foreign pressure with regard to democratic processes, economic policies and relations with Israel. No figure embodies these contradictions more than Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s new president, who tried last week to forcefully rebut President Obama’s absolute defense of free speech at the United Nations.
But calling for limits on offensive speech is no solution. We don’t need more laws. We need courageous scholars and intellectuals who are willing to discuss topics their fellow Muslims don’t want to hear: their failings, their tendency to play the victim, the need to take responsibility for their actions. Only that sort of leadership will halt the tide of religious populism and emotionally driven blindness of the masses.

While the example of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P., is interesting, it cannot be a reference for the entire Middle East. Turkey has a unique history; its challenges are not the same as those of the Arab world. The Arab Islamists, even as they celebrate their electoral successes, may well be entering a far more sensitive period of their history. They may lose the Islamic credibility they had as opposition forces, or be obliged to change and adapt so much that their political program is abandoned. Winning might be the beginning of losing.

Meanwhile, Salafi and Wahhabi groups with literalist interpretations of Islam have become more visible and politicized over the last five years. Having for decades refused political participation — equating democracy with kufr (rejection of Islam) — they are now slowly engaging in politics.

Some of these groups (known as salafi jihadists) have turned to violent radicalism. Others, financed by Islamic institutions in Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf oil monarchies like Qatar and Bahrain — supposed allies of the United States — have entered mainstream politics, where they promote a religious, anti-democratic populism that plays on emotions, demonizes the West (especially America) and actively undermines the struggle for democratic reform.
There is a danger that the model of Afghanistan — where in the 1980s the Taliban, supported by the Saudi and American governments, became the main force of resistance to Russian domination — may be repeating itself.

There can be no true democracy in the Middle East without a profound restructuring of economic priorities, which in turn can come about only by combating corruption, limiting the prerogatives of the military, and, above all, reconsidering economic relations with other countries and the gross inequalities of wealth and income within Muslim countries. The emergence of a dynamic civil society is a precondition of success. Concern for free and critical thought must take the form of educational policies to build schools and universities, revise outdated curriculums and enable women to study, work and become financially independent.

The Arab world has shaken itself out of its lethargy after decades of apparent resignation and silence. But the uprisings do not yet amount to a revolution. The Arab world must confront its historical demons and tackle its infirmities and its contradictions: when it turns to the task, the awakening will truly have begun.