Foreign Policy Blogs

Political Islam is also a Victim

The current issue of Newsweek has an interesting commentary titled, “As Economies Sink, Religious Radicals Suffer Setbacks.” Apparently, the financial crisis is killing the prospects for more political Islam. The examples given are from: Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, and Lebanon. In Turkey, the AKP has lost support after focusing on Islamist platforms instead of Turkish economic concerns. In Indonesia, the people are saying that the government should focus more on economic development – leading to the results in the elections last week. In Iran, President Ahmadinejad is up for re-election, and although it is not clear that the economy will ruin his chances, the Iranian economic woes are seriously hurting the President’s conservative base. Finally, Adam B. Kushner and Solenn Honorine refer briefly to Lebanon and the positive steps the government there has taken to “insulate its leaders from the global crisis by making savvy economic moves.” The voters, therefore, may be able to push for more ideological agendas. This commentary, however, refers only to “voters” and the official democratic processes. Political Islam in societies, which are far less democratic or among the people who aren’t involved in the democratic process, cannot possibly be hurt by the economic crisis. Among the poorest segments of Muslim societies, political Islam will still appear to be a solution to government failures – particularly corruption.

 

Author

Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;

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