Never judge an Islamist by his beard: new Arab rulers reveal sleazy underbelly
As the debris from the revolutionary storm to power has begun to settle on the new Islamist forces that be, we cast an eye over the region’s religious revolutionary guard to assess how those untouchable bearded arbiters of the state are getting along. From the shadows of their erstwhile underground stations, while Arab dictators ruled them, to rehabilitated positions as leading lights to steer post Arab Spring states, the climb to their high horses has been a reply to repression, and a long time coming.
Still, society is keen to test those in power, and no rulers more than those reigning in religious robes. Laymen, atheists or bystanders of moderate Muslim stripes might be just a little tempted to judge those holier than thou governing under the auspices of the heavens.
Promises to rule by total application of Sharia all the way to softer plans to Islamicize the already-conservative Arab way of life, or at least get tough with the West, is there enough substance to their talk and threats? At least 6 months since some Islamist regimes started ruling Arabs, we start a tab to log Islamist contradiction all the way to outright scandal.
Hypocrisy feelers out, we should remind ourselves of the job description of those we judge. Above all else, these holders of public office should be sticking to the revolutionary remit the people charged them with executing on their democratic behalf: the constructing of a state made up from institutions and rule of law as building blocks. Oh, and then practicing what they preach- whether it's a holy jihad or a puritan law.
The Islamist bigwigs have come out of the woodwork into the harsh light of day and laid bare their beards for tooth-combing. Previously they were hindered from putting their money where their Muslim mouths were, whether kept on a tight underground leash in Egypt or suppressed and snuffed out in Libya where state TV prime time viewers were privy to their suffering and executions.
Now that they’ve been let out to rule, have they given us anything to quibble or cringe over, or have they maintained their public veneer as the pristine pious God Squad with no flies on them? Are they merely religious crusaders come to atone for the sins of the Arab dictators who ruled with eccentric personalities and skewed secular codes? Now that they are armed to the teeth with ‘democracy’ and charges of sedition at their disposal, can they deliver on what the people deserve rather than misguidedly want? Some are pointing out that there could be an atheist backlash on the rise.
Can the bar set from the revolutionary idealism of 2011 prevail under these servants of God’s law? Or does the human side of Islamist government belie a more banal truth, where seedy deeds trump the good ones. Fake noses, flashy beards, false promises - these are just some of the scandals that have rocked a resurgent Islam in the Middle East halls of power today. It's a case of do what I say, as ruling Islamists have struggled to practice what they preach across the Maghreb and the newly revolutionized Arab club.
Exposing an Islamist ring seething with scandal and sleaze, beneath the surface, can we assume that God-given power corrupts absolutely? The true colors of Islamist leaders, painted in a shady palette, presented.
Have your say: Are the new breed of Islamist rulers walking on thin ice as they rack up a tab of hypocrisy and scandal? Or are we just splitting beard hairs, fault-finding in an right-wing arena bound to be rife with flaws. Is this just Tory-sleaze in Arab politics?