Friday, February 11, 2005


...Er, maybe not always:

Candidates backed by Islamic clerics won races in the Saudi Arabian capital in the kingdom's first regular balloting, an election observer said Friday.

Suleiman al-Oqaili told a press conference at which the preliminary results were announced that he saw the seven Riyadh winners' names on a list circulated via cell phones and the Internet.

"It was promoted as a list that had a religious blessing," al-Oqaili said....

At least five of the winning candidates for the seven electable seats on the Riyadh City Council are believed to be Islamists....


I'm not sure what the ramifications of these results are, but this comes to mind:

In Indonesia, which just achieved its third democratic transfer of power since Suharto's rule ended in 1998, the jihadist movement is growing stronger, as it is in other Asian democracies. In Algeria, free elections in 1990 and 1991 resulted in victories for those who advocated a jihadist theocracy. Throughout Western Europe, the jihadists are becoming deeply rooted among disaffected Muslim youth. Free elections, in short, have not dimmed the desire of jihadists to create a caliphate.

--Richard Clarke in The New York Times Magazine, 2/6/05

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