|Full text PDF:||http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/26763/|
This thesis has focused on debate surrounding the commitment of the Arab Spring’s neo-Islamists to democracy and pluralism. It examines neo-Islamism as a tendency that emerged within the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood movement and its pro-democracy affiliates in the Muslim World that uses politically liberal sets of concepts, for tactical or strategic purposes. Neo-Islamism is distinguished by an ethical and theological emphasis on Islam that combines social conservatism with political moderation. Neo-Islamists are united in the view that Sharia law is not an immediate reform priority. However there are divisions over whether this is a tactical pause in the ultimate pursuit of shariatisation, whether it should be diluted if introduced at some future point, or whether it should never be introduced. This study has brought to light six preferences of neo-Islamism as a socio-political phenomenon: gradualist Islamisation, modernisation, moderation, nationalistic Islamism, and pragmatism in Western relationships. It has been shown, through the case study of Tunisian Ennahda Party, that neo-Islamism employs tactical measures such as gradualism and pragmatic relations with the secularist elite and the West, and implements ideological reforms related closely to the concepts of democracy, civic participation and peaceful transitioning of power.