In the modern vernacular an Islamist is a person who wishes to spread Islam and Islamic law, often by any means they deem necessary. A law and a way of life foreign to the west and even beyond what many would consider civilized. An example can be found in the case of a woman and her children who were sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The atrocious sentence handed down in Egypt was for breaking Islamic law and converting to Christianity. Last spring the new government in Tunisia sentenced a woman to prison for being naked in front of men, despite the fact she was being raped at the time.
These and many other examples can be seen as signs that the so called Arab Spring was just a thinly disguised Islamist takeover. A take over that has meant less freedom, not more, for the people of those countries. The west, especially the Obama administration, have shown great reluctance to criticize the new Arab Spring governments for their human rights violations. They seem too busy basking in the glow of its success to wallow in the more unseemly consequences of its aftermath. As Christian persecution escalates and protections for individuals who do not tow the Islamic line plummets the response from the west has been a collective yawn. Actions that make their criticisms of of the atrocities committed by those not in the Arab Spring club seem hallow and political.
In fact the west as a whole and the U.S. in particular are loosing influence in the regions of the Middle East and Northern Africa just as they are needed most. Radical Islam is advancing across the regions with a pace not seen since the Ottoman’s and the Moors. The message being carried forward seems to be that the Islamist movement will take control by political means if possible, by bombs and guns if not. To all of this the West remains mostly mute.
In Arab Spring countries the Islamist takeover has been done mostly via protests and the ballot box. Something that shows yet again not all societies are up to the rigors of self-rule*. That encouraging self-rule where many if not most believe force is an acceptable method to get ones way is incompatible with freedom. The truth is it is immoral to encourage self-rule in societies for whom the right of individuals to follow their conscious is foreign. For such societies democracy is merely a way to legitimize ruthless dictatorial rule. Presently those in power are ignoring this truth and consequently endangering us all.
Today terrorist’s groups are forming more quickly than the world can keep up with them. Al-Qaida, declared all but dead by President Obama, is also being reconstituted in hundreds of forms across the Muslim world. All signalling that the world is become a much more dangerous place. It seems across Africa and the Middle East long smoldering Islamist desires are catching fire. The raid on the compound in Benghazi, the escalating war in Mali, the kidnappings in Algeria, the questionable affiliations of the Syrian rebels and the ongoing fight in Yemen are but a short list of examples that can be cited. Like a pack of wolves, the Islamist see the west’s crumbling resolve as a signal it is time to go for the kill.
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*This is not to say everyone in these countries are radicals incapable of respecting the rights of minorities. The Muslim neighbors of Christians that surrounded churches to protect them and those protesting the mistreatment of women shows that is not true. Their actions, no matter how heroic, do not dispel the fact that the majority voted for strict Islamic governance. Additionally the existence of these forces of moderation within the Islamic world only seems to harden the resolve of those holding more radical ideas. Hopefully one day the forces of moderation will win out but at this point that day looks to be far off for much of the Muslim world.
A few examples of the rising influence of Islamist groups
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