Political Islamists arouse suspicion - Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
Today, there is a genuine concern amongst UAE decision-makers that political Islamists are attempting to take advantage of the rise of Islamist parties across the Middle East in order to advance their own agendas. As elsewhere, these UAE political Islamists are allying themselves with liberals and non-liberals alike demanding reform as they plan for the post-reform period in which liberals would ultimately be sidelined. After all, liberals in the region have proven through their naivete to be the biggest losers from the Arab uprisings, igniting the revolutions only to see their influence dwindle in the post-uprising political scene due to their lack of organization.
Moreover, while liberals, including academics, lawyers and businessmen would ideally always stand for the rights of others, including the freedom of expression, the same cannot be said for the conservative Islamists whose entire raison d’être is to rollback what they view as westernisation of Islamic societies.
The challenge with the political Islamists is that they are ideologically restricted through their interpretation of religion and to borrow from philosopher John Stuart Mills they “assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty”. Therefore, should they attain political influence their ideals inspired by “the word of God” are, unlike those of the liberals, neither malleable nor open to negotiation.