The New Mideast: Less Ideology, More Practical

Corruption, law, services are the issues driving debate
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2011 10:46 AM CST
Lebanese Muslim men praying in a Beirut mosque.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

(Newser) – Spurred on by the successful revolution in Tunisia, activists across the Middle East are moving away from ideology and theology, in favor of more practical and secular demands, such as ending government corruption, instituting the rule of law, and easing economic suffering, reports the New York Times. “Ideology now has taken a back seat until we can get rid of this nightmare confronting everyone,” said one longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. “This nightmare is the ruling party and the current regime. This is everyone’s nightmare.”

Although political Islam is still a strong force in the region, its appeal is declining because the movement's leaders, such as the ayatollahs in Iran or radical al-Qaeda, have not improved people's lives on a practical level. “It’s not the age of ideology anymore," said an Egyptian scholar at Notre Dame. "This concern about ideology and certain political orientations of Islamism is really over."

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