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February 23rd, 2012, by Mikail Barah

Mikail Barah

Islamist parties, excluded from the political sphere for much of the last decade, are now coming to the forefront of Arab politics.

The electoral victories of Ennahda in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt suggest that the future of Arab politics will be dominated by decision-makers with faith-based political agendas.

But the part that religion should play in the new political orders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and how its involvement might be shaped in law and practice, remains the subject of controversy and debate.

The role of religion in Arab politics will be determined by the people of the region. Religious parties and movements cannot be excluded from the political process. But the success of faith-based movements at the polls can exacerbate social tensions.

Recent electoral results seem to indicate that strict secularism will not be an option for the new Arab states in the near future. It is yet to be seen which formula of faith-based politics emerging democracies will adopt, on the spectrum between Iranian-style theocracy or Turkish religion- inflected secularism.

View Mikail Barah’s Global Experts profile.

Read the entire analysis at Eurasia Review

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