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Moderate Islamists win landmark vote in Tunisia and what this means.


Moderate Islamists win landmark vote in Tunisia and what this means.


And We Thought The NBPP At Voting Polls Was Threatening
Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party Ennahda, banned for decades, emerged as the official victor in the nation’s first free elections, taking 90 of 217 seats in an assembly that will write a new constitution, the electoral commission announced on Thursday.
The announcement on national television of final results in Sunday’s landmark voting capped an ebullient period for this small North African country, which inspired the Arab Spring as it moves toward democracy after more than a half-century under one-party systems.
Don’t Gloss Over The Violent Texts
By Tawfik Hamid
In regards to Islam, the words “moderate’” and “radical” are relative terms. Without defining them it is virtually impossible to defeat the latter or support the former.
 Radical Islam is not limited to the act of terrorism; it also includes the embrace of teachings within the religion that promote hatred and ultimately breed terrorism. Those who limit the definition of radical Islam to terrorism are ignoring?and indirectly approving of?the Shariah teachings that permit killing apostates, violence against women and gays, and anti-Semitism.
Moderate Islam should be defined as a form of Islam that rejects these violent and discriminatory edicts. Furthermore, it must provide a strong theological refutation for the mainstream Islamic teaching that the Muslim umma (nation) must declare wars against non-Muslim nations, spreading the religion and giving non-Muslims the following options: convert, pay a humiliating tax, or be killed. This violent concept fuels jihadists, who take the teaching literally and accept responsibility for applying it to the modern world. Moderate Islam must not be passive. It needs to actively reinterpret the violent parts of the religious text rather than simply cherry-picking the peaceful ones. Ignoring, rather than confronting or contextualizing, the violent texts leaves young Muslims vulnerable to such teachings at a later stage in their lives.
Mr. Hamid, a former member of the Islamic radical group Jamma Islamiya, is an Islamic reformer and a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.editors note: I Googled  Jamma Islamiya and was redirected to included link.  shera~


Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement in Tunisia, greets supporters after the announcement of the country's election results in Tunis on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

However, there was an immediate hitch as unrest hit the town of Sidi Bouzid, where the protests that toppled Tunisia’s strongman began, after electoral officials invalidated six lists of the fourth-placed party whose leader is a native son.
Soldiers in Sidi Bouzid fired warning shots after hundreds of alleged party supporters flooded the streets and burned tires, according to a witness reached by telephone, Attia Athmouni.
Ahead of the voting, Mr Hamdi, owner of the Mustaqila satellite television channel based in London, had broadcast promises to give Tunisians free healthcare, new factories and thousands of jobs. Electoral officials ultimately invalidated five lists tarnished by financing violations and one led by a former member of the ruling RCD party — now banned.
The voting carried other surprises, such as the second place, and 30 seats, won by the Congress for the Republic party, founded in 2001 by noted human rights activist Moncef Marzouki, a doctor who had lived in exile in Paris.
The third-placed party was the centre-left Ettakatol, or the Democratic Forum for Labor and Freedoms, led by Mustapha Ben Jaafar, also a doctor. It won 21 seats in the constituent assembly.
Ennahda’s leading role in fashioning a new Tunisia was evident shortly after the vote. However, electoral authorities had said they were slow in announcing full results because they were taking care with counting and verifying.
The assembly will form an interim government to replace the one in charge of this small North African nation since protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee in January. He took refuge in Saudi Arabia.
The Tunisian protests inspired similar movements in other Arab countries, including successful revolutions in Egypt and Libya, which was proclaimed liberated last Sunday as Tunisians went in droves to the polls.
International observers have praised Tunisia for an exemplary election.  The path ahead remains fraught with difficulties.more


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