West should embrace “Arab Spring” Islamists — Qatar

Friday, 2 December 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

LONDON (Reuters): Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani was quoted on Thursday as saying Islamists were likely to represent the next wave of political power in the Arab world and that the West should embrace them.

Thani said in an interview with the Financial Times that moderate Islamists could assist in fighting what he called extremist ideology.

“We shouldn’t fear them, let’s cooperate with them,” said Thani, whose Gulf Arab state is home to Al Jazeera television.

“We should not have a problem with anyone who operates within the norms of international law, comes to power and fights terrorism,” he said.

In Egypt, which is holding its first free election in six decades, the Muslim Brotherhood expects to pick up two-fifths of the vote for an assembly that might limit the power of the generals.

The Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and best-organised Islamist group, hopes its new Freedom and Justice Party will secure a solid platform in parliament, saying it hopes to form a coalition government once polls are over in January.

Tunisia ousted its leader in the first “Arab Spring” revolution this year, and in the country’s first democratic election Tunisians elected a coalition government in October led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.