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When Western political correctness meets Arab democracy

by Shlomo Avineri

An image of Ataturk who secularized Turkey

An image of Ataturk who secularized Turkey

The Israeli intellectuals explains why the West finds it so difficult to understand upheavals in the Arab and Muslim world. In Europe, secularization rhymes with democratizations, in the Mid-East with horrific regimes such as Assad's, Mubarak's and others present and gone. 
One reason the West is having difficulty understanding what’s happening now in the Arab world is its Eurocentric approach and its efforts to evaluate events using concepts and occurrences that characterized European historical development. When events in the Middle East refuse to fit into this Procrustean bed, the West is often left helpless in its cluelessness.
This lack of understanding is particularly evident with regard to the concept of secularism, which is of major importance given the rise of Islamist elements following the downfall of tyrannical regimes – as happened in Tunisia and Egypt – and given the complex struggle in Syria.

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23 September 2013

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