Arab Spring shapes new Islamic orders | world | Hindustan Times
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Arab Spring shapes new Islamic orders

world Updated: Sep 27, 2011 00:30 IST
Zia Haq

Some Arab countries are following up their march towards democracy with a far more vital debate: what kind of Islam to have.

As transitional governments — from Tunisia, where the so-called Arab Spring started, to Egypt and Libya — reboot their old political systems and grapple with new legal processes, they are looking towards modern constitutional frameworks.

Street fighters may have been the face of the uprisings, but many of the real backers of the uprisings — for example in Libya - are either constitutional experts or political scientists with established teaching careers in Europe. There are signs of a new Islamic order - one in sync with modern political systems — emerging out of their hands.

“Islam is not a red line that it cannot be crossed,” Ghazi Ghrairi, former Tunisian foreign minister, told Hindustan Times, on the sidelines of the International Forum for Democratic Transitions in Moroccan capital Rabat on September 16-17.

Ghrairi is now the spokesman for Tunisia's High Authority for Achievement of Revolution Objectives, formed after president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted.

“Islam,” Ghrairi said, “will more be a reference point than a pillar.” Tunisians overthrew their long-serving dictator in a January uprising that spread across the Arab world. Tunisian elections are now slated for October 23.

Many Arab Spring leaders believe not everything need be of "western import". "We had a Constitution, but lost it 43 years ago. Many rights are ingrained in Islam and Arab societies," said Yahya al Gamal, Egypt's former chief of Cabinet in the deposed president Hosni Mubarak's government.

As they shift from "sclerosis-marked systems to open societies", in Ghrairi's words, a place for radical Islam looks unlikely.