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The European Union has started discussion about reaching out to "moderate" Islamists as a strategy of dealing with terrorism, declaring that their beloved secularism won't hold them back from legitimizing proponents of shari'a:
European Union foreign ministers were urged on Saturday to consider the previously taboo idea of dialogue with Islamic opposition groups in the Middle East to encourage a transition to democracy.
They also discussed ways to strengthen emerging democracy movements in several Arab states and persuade authoritarian governments to relinquish some power and accept the principle of alternation, diplomats said.
On the second day of an informal brainstorming session at a chateau in Luxembourg, the ministers were presented with a paper that suggested, at least in the form of questions, that the EU should reach out beyond its traditional secular interlocutors.
"In the past the EU has preferred to deal with the secular intelligentsia of Arab civil society at the expense of the more representative Islam-inspired organizations," the report said.
"Has the time come for the EU to become more engaged with Islamic "faith-based" civil society in these countries?" asked the paper co-authored by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the bloc's Luxembourg presidency.
One has to wonder whether the EU pays any attention at all to pro-democracy developments already occurring in the Middle East. In fact, if they expect authoritarian governments to agree to "alternation" with Islamists, not only are they completely clueless as to the nature of authoritarianism, they still remain clueless about the nature of Islamists.
In the first place, exactly which Islamist groups qualify as "moderate"? (My friend Brian "Saint Paul" Ward wondered if it refers to Islamists who toss rocks underhand at shari'a stonings.) Hezbollah apparently makes the list, which we considera terrorist organization, and for good reason. Hezbollah also represents the pro-Syrian authoritarianism that Lebanon wants to remove from power. Why would the EU suddenly legitimize Hezbollah just as pro-democracy activists have the Syrians on the run?
This smells like a return to the appeasement and surrender that has been the hallmark of their reaction to Islamist aggression. They refuse to stand up for their own principles, including the secularism that causes them to sneer at those world leaders who practice Christianity openly. Instead of encouraging the people to continue their groundswell towards true democracy and freedom, the EU wants to sell them out for the mirage of stability that all of us bought for decades while the terrorists armed themselves to the teeth.Sphere It View blog reactions
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