A Post Islamic Revolution

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"A Post Islamic Revolution"

It’s in French, but Olivier Roy has a smart piece in Le Monde on Egypt as a post-Islamist revolution. The key bit:

Cette nouvelle génération ne s’intéresse pas à l’idéologie : les slogans sont tous pragmatiques et concrets (“dégage”, “erhal”) ; il ne font pas appel à l’islam comme leurs prédécesseurs le faisaient en Algérie à la fin des années 1980. Ils expriment avant tout un rejet des dictatures corrompues et une demande de démocratie. Cela ne veut évidemment pas dire que les manifestants sont laïcs, mais simplement qu’ils ne voient pas dans l’islam une idéologie politique à même de créer un ordre meilleur : ils sont bien dans un espace politique séculier.

Roughly:

This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and congrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late 1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.

This is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.” The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth. People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.

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