The outcomes of recent Arab uprisings have confirmed the organizational superiority and appeal of Islamist political parties in a number of countries in the Middle East. This new form of Islamism appears to be compatible with democracy, a free society and a modern economy, and its ascendancy may foreshadow the political future of the region and the roles of domestic, regional, and international actors.
The International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy cordially invites you to a luncheon presentation entitled Democratic Transition in the Middle East: Between Authoritarianism and Islamism, featuring Mokhtar Benabdallaoui, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, with comments by Samer Shehata, Georgetown University.
Mokhtar Benabdallaoui will explain why Islamists have embraced democracy instead of fundamentalism and why the appeal of Islamists exceeds that of leftists and liberals in the Arab world. He will assess the challenges of shaping Islamist political thought in a democratic direction, the prospects of Islamist governments accepting diversity and differences of opinion, and the ways in which Islamists may reconcile conflicting religious and political ideas from across the Arab world. Drawing upon the example of Islamist political parties in four countries—Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon—Mr. Benabdallaoui will consider how ascendant Islamists have influenced societies across the Middle East and conclude with an assessment of the main stakeholders in the Arab Spring, their propensity for reform, and the prospects for further change in the region. Samer Shehata, an assistant professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, will provide comments.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 12 noon–2:00 p.m. (Lunch served 12:00–12:30 p.m.) 1025 F. Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004 Telephone: 202-378-9675 RSVP HERE (acceptances only) with name and affiliation by Tuesday, July 10.
Mokhtar Benabdallaoui is a professor of Islamic studies and director of the Doctoral Center for Studies in Politics and Religion at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco. He is also founding director of the Center for Humanities Studies and Research, a Casablanca-based nongovernmental organization that carries out a broad range of activities under the auspices of the Civic Forum, including civic education workshops, publication of the quarterly journal Rihanat, and conferences on democratic reform. During his fellowship, Dr. Benabdallaoui is studying the evolution, activities, and impact of Islamist parties in the Arab world and intends to publish his findings in the form of a book.