People who know me irl, know that I can be very, very lazy.
Now it's time that you know that as well!

I promised to respond to this post at eatbees' blog and to the question in general of why I'm afraid of the PJD coming to power.
I made that promise a long while ago. Sorry!
Anyhow, better late than never. Right?

First of all, I have a firm believe that religion and politics should be separated. That no religion or religious community should gather and form a political party. Hence my allergic reactions when somebody mentions the CDA, CU or SGP or confesses to be a member of it. (CDA, CU and SGP are the Christian parties in the Netherlands. Combined they have 49 parliamentary seats out of 150)
Those parties have an ideology based on the Bible. They strife to implement their ideology and policies on a national level. Thereby, indirectly, enforcing a (moderate) religious lifestyle on the rest of the population.
And I don't digg that. I want abortion, condoms, prostitution, blasphemy, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce and euthanasia for all.
If you have moral objections to it, fine, but as a mature individual you are perfectly able to follow your religious lifestyle without needing laws to help you with it.
Of course, a religious party isn't per se repressive on all those subjects. The CDA has homosexual MP's, showing that there are gradations in religiosity between religious parties. And not all non-religious parties are in favor of a free lifestyle.

Now, let me get back to the PJD. In my opinion the PJD is a party that is heavily and totally influenced by religion. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The party really tries to give itself a moderate image. Some members even try to compare the party to the Turkish PJD and claim that we shouldn't be afraid.

But are they really that moderate? I don't think so.
Let me give you some examples of some radical, xenophobic, homophobic and fanatic rants of the PJD. And then you can decide if you want to call them "moderate"

  • 2000: Abdellilah Benkiran verbally abuses a female journalist who dared to wear a t-shirt with short sleeves in parliament.
  • Editor-in-chief Lhassan Sarrat of the Attajdid newspaper, close to the PJD and considered as a mouhtpiece of that same party, sees the Asian tsunami as Gods punishment for homosexuality, sex tourism and child trafficking
  • In 2005, MP's of the PJD claim that a music festival held in Marrakech is used as a pretext to convert people to Christianity
  • March 2003, the PJD, its mouthpieces and other islamist nutjobs launch a witch-hunt against everyone who wears heavy-metal shirts and listen to heavy metal music. They are considered to be devil-worshippers
  • 2006: PJD asks the government to ban the movie Marock because of obscenity (Marock depicts the on-the-ground reality of upperclass Moroccan youth)
  • 2003: The PJD wants the government to control foreign cultural centres so that they can not spread "immoral values" (later this statement is changed into: "we want the cultural centres to implement islamic principles".)
  • In 2004 PJD hotshot Ahmed Raissouni claims that music festivals are "sites of debauch and homosexuality"

And we can go on and on and on.....
But still, they call themselves moderate. I wonder what moderate means to them? Does it mean to enforce their lifestyle on the rest of the population? Does it mean that everyone who doesn't want to wear a headscarf or wishes to listen to Slipknot is a homosexual, immoral, unislamic, convert and an outlaw free to be prosecuted by them?

PJD prides itself on the fact that it believes in democracy. That it wants to participate in a democracy. Well, we have to applaud that.
But I'm afraid that the PJD doesn't fully understand the concept of democracy and all what comes with it.
Democracy rests on 2 pillars: majority rule and minority rights
Democracy doesn't mean that one can oppress others, simply because they gained a majority or they believe they represent a majority. Democracy doesn't mean that 1 victorious party should enforce its principles on the country's minorities.
No, democracy means that a majority can rule a country but that it has to respect and protect the civil liberties of the different minorities.
The PJD seems to forget that in its campaigning and image-editing.

I fear that once the PJD wins the upcoming elections, they will ignore those parts of democracy that aren't suitable for them (even if they are in a coalition government)
They showed us that they really don't care that much about the civil liberties of others. They showed us that when they weren't "in charge". How will they act when they are "in charge"?

I also fear the reaction of the king and his royal cabinet when the PJD comes to power and starts to implement their ridiculous policies.
The king, who wishes to create an image of Morocco that is liberal/open/tolerant, will surely react in a non-democratic way. Of course, the king's reaction won't be something new. Moroccan kings have always reacted strangely and pushed the "democratic" government to the sideline, to implement their own policies. Couscous-democracy, is what I like to call it.
But until now, this happened with (nominal) secular parties in power.
Surely, the reaction of the king will be different when it comes to having an Islamist party in power?

I only hope that when the PJD wins the elections (and this is likely to happen), the king and other parties will react in a normal, civilized way.
It's not likely that the PJD will govern alone, they have to seek a coalition. I hope that the other major parties will have some sense and guts to confront the PJD when it comes to their "social policies"

An electoral PJD-victory makes the future of Morocco look a bit darker. A bit of courage, opposition and vigilance is all we need to make that future look bright again.

1 Comment:

  1. eatbees said...
    "I want abortion, condoms, prostitution, blasphemy, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce and euthanasia for all" -- what a life !!! :p we'll spend our time fornicating, ejaculating, aborting our children, cursing God, and then taking a pill to make a quick exit....

    Ahmed Raissouni, interestingly enough, is the older brother of a very good friend of mine who is a leftist human rights activist and excellent poet. My friend drinks alcohol and lives openly with his girlfriend. Not that this matters to the points you're making, but it shows how Moroccan society is intertwined. A.R. relocated to Saudi Arabia, by the way -- he may feel more comfortable there. He's working on an Islamic encyclopedia, the first of its kind in modern times.

    I think you make an excellent point when you ask whether the PJD is as committed to the "second pillar" of democracy -- minority rights -- as it is to the first, majority rule. One would hope that they understand the idea of alternance. The party in power should protect the rights of those out of power, not just because this is the right thing, but also from self-interest. Democracy works through alternance, so it is guaranteed that the roles of majority and minority will one day be switched.

    You've done a good job of presenting cases where PJD spokespeople or officials have taken extreme-seeming positions, but most of these could be dismissed as "outliers and exceptions." My guess is that Doga would be disappointed that instead of critiquing the meat of the PJD program, you've chosen to stick with a list of inflammatory quotes. We could find equivalent examples in the U.S. for supporters of the Republican Party. I understand your fear that these represent the true, unguarded spirit of the PJD. Yet I want to know, if you were looking for quotes by the PJD that show their commitment to minority rights, couldn't you find those too? It's hard to believe that the face you've shown is the ONLY true face of the party. You certainly haven't shown that they are too dangerous to take power.

    In fact, the way you finish your post sounds almost hopeful. You present the image of an era in which each side will be testing the other to find the limits of the opposition. Isn't this how democracy works? I would take that as progress. You say, "It's not likely that the PJD will govern alone.... I hope that the other major parties will have some sense and guts to confront the PJD when it comes to their 'social policies.' ... A bit of courage, opposition and vigilance is all we need to make that future look bright again." I agree with this completely. In fact, I've used almost exactly the same words.

    The advantage of a PJD victory is that they will be forced to govern, not just criticize. They will be held responsible for their policies. They will have to compromise with forces pulling in the opposite direction. Their presence in government may help to revitalize the left in Morocco, just as six years of Bush in the U.S. has cleared the way for Barack Obama. I have to believe that Moroccan society is strong enough and stable enough to propsper from this experience. What Doga is saying is, we mustn't shy away from democracy out of fear of the dialectic of change. I don't think you disagree with him at all!

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