Western analysts suggest that Islamic movements in post Arab Spring North Africa could follow Iranian Islamic Revolution. That is not correct. Iranian model is a shii centric theocratic movement built on Vilayet Faqih political concept where shite clergy known as Ayatollah are supreme leaders of the state. Sunni muslims have a different approach. Ottomans were the last sunni rulers under the Islamic model of government, the Caliphate. Its abolishment after Ottoman defeat in WWI caused a vacuum unprecedented in past 1300 years of Islamic history, because muslims had always lived under an Islamic Caliphate since the establishment of the first Islamic State in Medina. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stepped in by forming the first Muslim political party in a post Caliphate era. Their goal is the return of the Caliphate as the ideal Islamic government. Muslim Brotherhood has transformed into a popular democratic party promising to uphold secularist state constitution. Hence, their new caption ‘moderate Islamic party’ has won them admiration from the media.
North African Muslims in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are generally sympathetic to the Brotherhood considering them as genuine Muslim political party with level headed politicians who can negotiate with world powers. Unlike former dictators who looted state coffers Muslim Brotherhood leaders are thought to be clean and caring. Under privileged population in Arab countries have benefited from Brotherhood’s soup kitchens and charity schools where service is far better than government institutions. In war torn Palestine, especially Gazza, Hamas run hospitals and schools are preferred over others for similar reasons. Salafist parties exist in a small way but with large funding base from oil rich countries. They are hardliners whose vision of the world is narrow, at best.
Muslim Brotherhood is the most appealing political party in North Africa due to their social visibility and moderate attitude towards global order. Additionally, Turkey’s Justice and Development party has played a positive role in promoting Muslim Brotherhood in its former provinces. Newly elected political parties resemble the Turkish model more than any other. But they definitely do not resemble Vilayte Faqih model of Iran.
- How Will The Muslim Brotherhood Govern? (npr.org)
- The Muslim Brotherhood’s New Power in Egypt’s Parliament (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Sami Moubayed: Will There Be Another Arab Spring in 2061? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Egypt’s radical Salafis approach secular rivals (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Kamran Bokhari: The Many Shades Of Islamists (huffingtonpost.com)
- Who is lying? Obama or the Muslim Brotherhood? (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)