Which Is Stronger, Democracy or Islam?

by Robert Wolfe (May 2013)

How did this situation come about? Neither in Egypt nor in Tunisia were the Islamists the guiding force behind the uprisings. Avowedly secular elements also played a role, and the majority of the youthful demonstrators certainly wanted free elections and an end to dictatorial rule but seem to have lacked a clear idea of precisely what sort of system they wished to establish in place of the dictatorship. It was only after the uprisings had succeeded that the Islamists surged to the fore, and the reason for this is above all that they were the only ones with an already formed mass organization. Even though the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had been subjected to numerous repressive measures by the Mubarak regime, it was nonetheless still able to operate much more freely under that regime than the democratic and secular forces. It could always take shelter behind the facade of religion, which had an established place in Egyptian society, while secular democracy was viewed as a profoundly subversive force by the Islamists and the Mubarak regime alike.

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