Speaking of constitutions, there may be a small kernel of hope for some kind of pluralism to actually take root in Tunisia. There a new constitution is scheduled to be voted on in about four months, and one of the framers will probably be Sheikh Rashid Al-Ghannushi: he is the leader of Ennahda, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like Qaradawi, Ghannushi has lived in exile for 20 years only to return to a large popular following now that the Ben Ali government has been overthrown. However, unlike his fellow Muslim Brothers across the Arab world, Ghannushi fashions himself as a reform Islamist. He claims he is not intent on restoring the Caliphate, he professes support for women’s rights, and he does not take a hardline stance against the status of non-Muslim citizens in Islamic countries. Whether this is straight talk or taqqiya remains to be seen, but at present Ghannushi is certainly outside of the traditional doctrine preached and practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood. Because of this, Western diplomats should be wary of someone who appears to be passing himself off as the Scott Brown of Islam.
A gentle reminder to the believers in the “Arab Spring”: when Poland, Czechoslavakia, Hungary, and even Albania collapsed under the weight of communism, the United States rushed in with organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute. We were usually able to fill the void left by the Soviets because all we were doing was replacing one discredited political system with one that had not yet been tried. In the Arab world we are up against shariah, a system of laws and proclamations that are decreed by God and not subject to the free will of man.
How does democracy take hold in a country where free will is considered apostasy punishable by death? We must not believe in that ourselves because U.S. advisors have helped draft constitutions in both Iraq and Afghanistan that have made shariah the supreme law. And in Egypt, whose constitution also elevates shariah above any manmade statute, the only obstacle standing in its way was the Mubarak regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood has renamed itself the Freedom and Justice Party in time for the upcoming elections. Should they prevail, does anyone believe they will abandon fourteen hundred years of Mohammed’s teachings for some wild ideas from James Madison?
So forgive me, esteemed elders of Fox News, if I do not wax euphoric over the prospect of an “Arab Spring.” I don’t smell the flowers and I don’t hear the robin’s song. The tune that keeps running through my head is Mel Brooks’ “Springtime for Hitler.”