Friday, May 3, 2013

Despite stalled Arab Spring, Muslim nations grasp for democracy

    Friday, May 03, 2013   No comments

Elections in Pakistan and Malaysia show step-by-step progress to reconcile Islam with secular values of elected government
By the Monitor's Editorial Board / May 3, 2013

Two years on, the Arab Spring has stalled. Only four countries in the Middle East – Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen – have advanced from despotic rule toward democracy, even if slowly.

Yet among the world’s Muslim countries that are already democratic, a similar struggle continues, one to reconcile the world’s second largest religion with secular democracy. Two elections show how this struggle is faring:

On May 11, voters in Pakistan go to the polls in what could be a historic transition – the first democratic transfer of civilian power. Yet while this would signify how the military’s role has lessened in Pakistan, Muslim radicals who denounce democracy as “un-Islamic” have given the secular political parties a hard time – with bombs and guns. Hundreds of people have been killed during the campaign by the Taliban and other militants in an attempt to thwart the elections and create an Islamic state.



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