The “rights of God” and the dead arise in the Arab Spring 191

This article by Leo Igwe is from the secularist paper, the Daily Times of Nigeria:

There are concerns that the Arab Spring could be hijacked by parties with islamic agenda, and politicians who want to impose sharia law on the states.

There are clear indications that politicians in the region are campaigning and mobilising on the basis of Islam. They are playing the islamic religious political card to gain power. They have mistaken the secular wind of  Arab Spring to an Islamic revolution. Many parties and politicians are seeking to win votes by promising to implement sharia law and enthrone islamic theocracy in furtherance of ‘the revolution’.

For instance, many secularists, feminists and human rights campaigners were shocked by the pronouncements of the leader of the National Transitional Council in Libya, Mustapha Abdul Jalil. Shortly after the death of Col Gaddaffi, Jalil declared that sharia would be the basic source of the laws in ‘Free Libya’. That all laws that were not consistent with the teachings of Islam would be repealed. He voided the law against polygamy and lifted restrictions imposed by the Gaddaffi regime on the number of women that men could marry.

In Tunisia, where it all started, the country’s main Islamic party has emerged victorious in the Arab Spring’s first elections, taking 90 of 217 seats in the new assembly. There are fears that this party could use its position to roll back the gains the country had made in steering the state away from religion and in protecting the rights of women. The party leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, has pledged that the rights of every Tunisian would be protected by the new authorities.

“We will continue this revolution to realise its aims of a Tunisia that is free, independent, developing and prosperous; in which the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured because Tunisia is for everyone,” he was quoted to have recently told party supporters at a press conference.

An emulsion of  incompatibles!

Personally I tried to understand what he meant by the ‘rights of God’. Afterall, God is not a human being. Or the rights of ‘the Prophet’ – obviously referring to Mohammad. And Mohammad died centuries ago. Anyway, that is a clear sign of the enormous influence religion, particularly Islam, wields in the country’s politics. That is a clear sign of the struggles ahead of all lovers of freedom, democracy and human rights in the region in the years ahead.

Also in Egypt, the islamist party is expected to emerge victorious whenever the country holds elections. The party of the influential Islamist group – the Muslim Brotherhood  [calling itself] the Freedom and Justice Party – is the party to beat in the parliamentary elections coming up soon.

Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the spectre of political Islam and its opposition to universal human rights and progressive values is haunting and threatening to undo the Arab Spring.

While we are not at ease  with the concept of “human rights” or “natural rights”, and prefer to say that  people “should be free to …” rather than “have a right to …”, we understand that freedom is what the  secularists of the “Arab Spring” desire. And Islam is freedom’s opposite: an ideology of subjugation and enslavement.

Secularists and human rights campaigners are calling for –

Complete separation of religion from the state;

Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes;

A separation of religion from the educational system;

Freedom of religion and atheism as private beliefs;

Prohibition of sex apartheid and compulsory veiling.

And he ends by saying:

Politicians should strive and uphold the ideals of freedom, secularism, democracy and human rights in contemporary Middle East and North Africa. These are the values people fought and died for. These are the values at the heart of the Arab Spring.

We accept that these are the ideals some people are striving for in the Arab revolutions, and some people have fought and died for. We applaud those brave idealists. We agree that their values should be the values at the heart of the Arab Spring, and the politicians and parties that uphold them should form the post-revolution governments.

But, as the writer observes, Islam is in the ascendancy. The vast and ignorant army of the dead Muhammad is intent on imposing sharia law.

The people of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya are more than likely to find themselves even worse off than they were before the revolutions.