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Islam and the Arab Revolutions
Article from Bulletin/Magazine
The Economist (http://search.proquest.com/) vol. 399 no. 8727 (Apr. 2011)
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The sight of corrupt old Arab tyrants being toppled at the behest of a new generation of young idealists, inspired by democracy, united by Facebook and excited by the notion of opening up to a wider world, has thrilled observers everywhere. Those revolutions are still in full swing, albeit at different points in the cycle. In Tunisia and Egypt they are going the right way, with a hopeful new mood prevailing and free elections in the offing. In Libya, Syria and Yemen dictators are clinging on to power, with varying degrees of success. And in the Gulf monarchs are struggling to fend off demands for democracy with oil-funded largesse topped by modest and grudging political concessions. So far these revolts have appeared to be largely secular in character. Westerners have been quietly relieved by that. Not that they are all against religion. Still, Muslim countries may well make choices with which the West is not comfortable. But those inclined to worry should remember that no alternative would serve their interests, let alone the Arabs', in the long run. Islam will never find an accommodation with the modern democratic world until Muslims can take responsibility for their own lives. Millions more have a chance of doing just that. It is a reason more for celebration than for worry.
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