Over the years, I have not hidden my opposition to Sharia-based legal systems and the types of grotesque forms of justice that they mete out to their citizens. There is little good news from this area of the world as revolutions in Libya and Egypt go careening toward Islamic states. However, this week we have a modicum of good news. Tunisia’s governing Islamist party has decided to oppose a move to make sharia law the main source of legislation in a new constitution. They appear to be doing better than our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan who are increasingly applying harsh Islamic principles.
Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi told journalists “We are not going to use the law to impose religion.” That may be the single most encouraging statement I have seen in months. While I still oppose religious based parties and campaigns (including in our own country), this is a critical start for Tunisia in possibly following the model of Turkey rather than Iran.