Andy Walton looks at whether there is a "Religious Right" emerging in Britain
These are crucial times in Egypt's transition to democracy
20th May 2012
Earlier this month, millions of people throughout the Arab world viewed, for the first time, a televised debate between two presidential candidates: Egypt's secularist Amr Moussa, and Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futoh.
The debate, which lasted four hours, was unique in itself. This is because for many decades the Arab masses were accustomed to hearing one leader and one candidate. Today, they feel democracy has indeed been attained. They also feel that their next president, whoever he may be, will not be a gift from a merciful providence, or a leader for whom the nation must sacrifice its blood and soul. Instead, they believe he will be an ordinary human being like them. He will be grilled and interrogated, and he may choose to give straight answers sometimes and be evasive on other occasions. In the end, they will choose him by their own free will and according to their own convictions.
From the standpoint of substance, the debate examined at length the vision of the two candidates on how to revive Egypt's economy, health and education. More importantly, it also dealt with the relationship between religion and the state. While Moussa spoke about Islamic values such as justice and equality as the basis of legislation, Abul-Futoh spoke about the implementation of the Islamic laws (sharia) that would assure national harmony and freedom of religion.
Wadah Khanfar | The Guardian
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