Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Thu93 2020

Last update18:06 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
Democracy halted in Arab World, says Gulf debating forum
Democracy halted in Arab World, says Gulf debating forum
A rare public debating forum in the Middle East has warned Arab rulers that they have allowed democracy to stall in their region.
An audience of 350 people from throughout the Middle East, attending the first of a new series of Doha Debates, voted 64% in favour of a motion stating that ’progress towards democracy in the Arab world has come to a halt.’
Wednesday, September 17,2008 14:33
by www.ameinfo.com

An audience of 350 people from throughout the Middle East, attending the first of a new series of Doha Debates, voted 64% in favour of a motion stating that "progress towards democracy in the Arab world has come to a halt."


Dr Amr Hamzawy, an Egyptian political scientist and Senior Associate at the Carnegie International Endowment for Peace, speaking for the motion, said modern Arab states lacked the checks and balances for parliaments and the judiciary that are fundamental to democracy.


Arguing that freedom of speech and the rule of law had not been established in the vast majority of Arab states, Dr Hamzawy said "from Morocco to Bahrain opposition movements are weak, vulnerable and manipulated by ruling establishments."


He said there were no excuses for not having moved further and faster to democratisation. "We"ve had enough time. There are long periods of liberalisation in our history. We were at more advanced stages in the 20"s 30"s and 40"s than now."


He suggested that there were few excuses for Arab states not to have progressed to democracy if countries like Greece and Chile had successfully extricated themselves from military dictatorships.


Dr Mustafa Hamarneh, CEO of the media company Al Mada, which publishes Jordan"s weekly Al Sijill newspaper, also supporting the motion, said Arab states saw everything from the perspective of the security apparatus.


"We have been unable to build modern Arab states based on equality and rule of law. We don"t see independent media flourishing and the education system is in a shambles. We are at a critical stage in our development."


Speaking against the motion, May Chidiac, a Lebanese television presenter and journalist who lost her left leg and one of her hands when terrorists blew up her car north of Beirut in 2005, argued that Bahrain, Lebanon and Kuwait, where women now have the vote, had moved substantially towards democracy in comparison to their position 10 years ago.


"I lost a hand and I lost a leg, but I still believe we respect freedom of expression in Lebanon."


She said democracy in the Arab world was a case of taking small steps and waiting for the right moment, as with the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. "It is up to the people to resist despotic governments. Sometimes peacefully, sometimes in a different way."


Dr Salah al-Shaikhly, Iraq"s first ambassador to London following the fall of Saddam Hussain, said he believed many Arab rulers were now wary of blatant violations of human rights and that "rumours of the death of democracy in the Arab world were highly exaggerated."


But neither Ms Chidiac nor Dr al-Shaikhly, were able to refute arguments put by the Chairman Tim Sebastian and members of the audience who asked them to provide examples of a single Arab leader who had been voted out of office by popular suffrage.


Posted in  
Related Articles
Morsi: Democracy Conforms To Islamic Shura
Democracy in Egypt
Islamist Parties and Democracy: Three Kinds of Movements
Long Live the Military’s Democracy!
Digital democracy: women activists making IT their own
Those Who Are Tasked to Police This Democracy Are Blinded by Confetti
Egypt State Security Cancels “Eye on Democracy” Show On Al Horra Satellite Channel
Are Arabs fit for democracy?
The uses of democracy
Egyptian Muslim Brother says Mauritania coup reflects crisis in Arab democracy
Jailed Nur urges Obama to back Arab democracy
Egypt: Govt Convicts Democracy Activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim
The US is colluding in the trampling of democracy in Egypt
Arab Islamists, their internal democracy
Is democracy a security issue?
POMED Notes: Islamist Parties and Democracy
Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: Restoring Credibility
EVENT on "Islamist Parties and Democracy"
Do Muslims deserve democracy?
Testimony on the United States and the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy
Survey: Gulf Between Democracy in Theory and Practice
Political parties are the second face of democracy
Ellison spreads word in Egypt about benefits of U.S.-style democracy
Political Islam and Democracy - What do Islamists and Islamic Movements want?
Missing in Action: The Democracy Agenda in the Middle East
Democracy – Egyptian Style
No Democracy in the Arab World
Why Middle East democracy is inevitable
Democracy, Presidential Election and the Lobby
In Egypt, democracy is the only solution
Is Islam Compatible with Democracy?
Democracy – Egyptian Style
What’s Left of Bush’s Democracy Agenda?
Selling Democracy - De Lux Model with Double-Standards Built In
Habib Urges Arab Leaders to Embrace Democracy in Pursuit of Stability
Democracy Day in Pakistan Promises No Pardon for Musharraf
MB and democracy, again
Arrest of Muslim Brotherhood supporters illustrates limits to democracy in Egypt
Egyptian-Style Democracy - Or Pakistani?
Pakistan: Time for democracy