Friday, April 27, 2007

[islam] fine in a muslim world

I live and work in a Muslim republic, within part of the government and surrounded by Muslims. This republic has always been Muslim, the way of life and the architecture is largely Muslim and there's absolutely nothing to be said about that.

I'd marry a Muslim girl tomorrow.

Our government here sees Britain as a Christian country, regrettably maybe but there it is. This doesn't prevent great warmth on both sides when we visited Britain earlier in the week and that's one reason "trade" is such a positive field of international activity - it is all-accepting and diplomatic and the only criterion is mutual benefit.

Tim Worstall detests the DTI and they seem to be having their problems just now but internationally, the DTIs of the world go a long way towards smoothing out differences and preventing conflict. I've observed this happening at close quarters. They really can slant the strategy to the best advantage of business, locally.

That's why I believe the government should be run by business or people who understand business and not by Imams or Archbishops. And that's why there is, in my view, dismay in Turkey and delight in France at this moment.

Two aspects in a middle-east online article illustrate this:

In Turkey, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, 56, a pious religious conservative, has been nominated for the presidency of Turkey by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He seems certain to be confirmed in the post by a parliamentary vote on Friday. This has alarmed liberal Turks who fear that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy of secularism will be eroded.

In a warning against radical Islamism, Turkey’s outgoing President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer -- himself a stalwart secularist -- went so far as to declare that Turkey’s secular system was facing its gravest threat since the founding of the Republic in 1923.

It would be an unmitigated disaster in Turkey. So much work has gone into the secularization and a rejection by the EU could well drive it into the arms of the jihadis. That's why, though I think Sarko is infinitely preferable to Segie, it would not be so good for Turkey.

The article continues:

In France, presidential front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy makes no secret of his distaste for militant Islam -- and perhaps, if the truth be told, for Arabs and Muslims in general -- especially in the form of alienated youths of North African origin in the rundown suburbs of Paris and other French cities.

He is viscerally opposed to the entry of Turkey - a country 99 per cent Muslim - into the European Union. He is the only French presidential candidate to make his position on this issue absolutely clear. If he is elected President, Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Commission in Brussels are likely to face serious obstruction from Paris.

Not wanting to seem softer on crime than her rival, Ségolène has suggested that youthful troublemakers should be sent to military boot camps. But, this apart, she projects a gentler, more caring image than Sarkozy.

And this is why Segolene would be a disaster for France. She is playng catch-up-policy the whole way, her party machine is a mess and her platform keeps changing according to the prevailing political wind. And yet, in Turkish terms, she would be preferable.

Sarko is remembered for this sort of thing as well:

More controversially, however, he praised the Algerian army for cancelling the second round of general elections in 1992, thus preventing an almost certain victory by an Islamist party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). "Algeri was very brave to interrupt the democratic process," Sarkozy said. "If the army had not acted, one could have had a Taliban regime in Algeria."

He failed to mention that the army coup triggered a 10-year civil war in the 1990s in which well over 100,000 people died -- and of which this month’s suicide bombing was worrying evidence that the struggle is not yet over.

And this article "failed to mention" that it was precisely the FIS which triggered the atrocities in Algeria. What middle-east online is saying is that because the French prevented the FIS coming to power, that the FIS revenge massacres were the fault of the French. Not even I would accuse the French of that.

This article gives a different take:

Western pressure led to elections in 1991. The Islamists were leading and would've won. But the generals decided to cancel the elections. That's when it turned into all-out war between the Islamists and the Army.

The biggest Islamic guerrilla force was the AIS, connected to the FIS, the Islamic party that would've won the elections. But AIS looked like squeamish moderates compared to the GIA, another Islamic militia that does its killing south of Algiers.

So, in a nutshell, Sarko is better than Segie for France. If Sarko gets in, this will impact on Turkey, which needs the EU membership to both stay secular and to act as a possible bridge between the western and eastern worlds. A little like Egypt once did.

1 comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You were in the Uk earlier in the week? I hadn't thought of Turkey needing the EU membership to remain secular but it's a good point. I'd like Sego to win in France but I don't think she will.
Btw, what is that bit of code at the end of your post? I've seen similar on a few blogs and do not understand. [No doubt I am being dense again.]