By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
"The struggle for the future of the Arab nations has just begun. The best thing that can be said about their uprising is that it was truly 'made in the Arab lands by the Arab youth.' The West including the US can influence events but they learnt from the war on Iraq to do so quietly, behind the scenes. The West especially the US cannot be a reliable supporter of democracy unless its interests are served....
Politicizing religion by imposing a religious doctrine as the sole official faith, as some Egyptians demand, will be a serious setback to the political liberalism and the constitutional democratic state which is a major objective of the Egyptian uprising. Imposing a religious doctrine, even if it is the faith of the majority, opens conflicts and arouses sectarian hostilities. Liberal democracy does not dismiss spiritual questions as unimportant, but because of its importance, it should be left for each citizen to decide for himself or herself.
Despite optimism, the future of democracy in the Arab World is hardly secure because it carries within it the problems of the present moment and the legacy of the past. "