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From Islamists to Muslim Democrats

Tunisia: Islamist party establishes a distinction between politics and religion. To what extent can Tunisia's development affect other countries in the Middle East?

Tunisia led in the 2011 on the so-called Arab Spring with the Jasmine Revolution. While the glow of freedom and democracy abated in Egypt and Syria, Tunisia is the only Arab country to make a real transition from dictatorship to democracy. This development was first and foremost thanks to a strong and well-organized civil society, which in a formidable way unloaded the negotiations for Tunisia's political future in port, and mediated between the Islamists and the secular. Last year, the "quartet" of civilian organizations received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts – but Tunisia has stood as a lone guiding star on the road to democracy in the region.

Nevertheless, it is extremely interesting that a fundamental distinction between politics and the mosque was declared at the recent national meeting of Ennahda, Tunisia's largest Islamist party. This new divide – or "specialization", as some of the party's representatives insist on calling it – means that Ennahda no longer allows its party leaders to simultaneously hold leadership positions in civil society organizations, including religious ones. . .

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