BRUSSELS, May 7 (KUNA) -- The European Parliament Tuesday is hosting a
debate aimed at understanding what political Islam is amid the issue of
democracy and Islam and Europe's relations with the ruling Islamic parties in
Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
Opening the meeting, Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament's
foreign affairs committee, said Islamic parties rose as the strongest
political contenders for power at the 2012 elections, in particular in the
three Arab countries.
"They are likely to do well in future elections in other countries also,"
There is a strong need, he stressed, for the EU to rethink its relations
with its southern neighbours and establish link and to bring democracy and
Piere Vimont, executive secretary general in the EU's External Action
Service, said there is a need to explain what political Islam is to the
"We should ask questions, exchange views, give our own experience and have
a fruitful dialogue," he said and underlined that the EU is on the side of
democratic transition as it unfolds in the Arab Spring countries.
Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, Egyptian Member of Parliament and spokesman of
the foreign relations committee of the Freedom and Justice Party, praised the
process of rethinking in Europe in its relations with its southern neighbours.
"The concept of neigbhour is very important in the Arab Islamic culture,"
he underlined but also condemned western colonialism for creating a
"inferiority complex mentality " in the Arab Muslim world and a "superiority
complex " in the minds of westerners.
He called for the start of "a new day, new ways of thinking "of both sides.
"The moderate voices in the Arab world and Europe can do much together," he
said and added that a new term called "Muslim democrats "is emerging in his
Dardery called on Europeans to help reforms and fix the institutions to
fight corruption in Egypt adding that " we are not asking for charity but for
Gebad El-Haddad, senior advisor, Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice
party in Egypt, noted that for the first time the European Parliament has
invited a Muslim Brotherhood representative although many other political
parties from Egypt had been invited by the EU Parliament.
"The Muslim Brotherhood has suffered from an extensive demonization
campaign for over five decades inside and also outside Egypt," he stressed and
said there was a "tremendous amount of disinformation " about the group in the
He called for the "need to rebuild bridges of trust" and to separate "facts
from fabrication "and urged the EU Parliament not to believes what is
published in the media about developments on Egypt.
He said that parliamentary elections could be held in Egypt in September
Mustapha El Khalfi, Moroccan minister of communications said that after the
outbreak of the Arab Spring , Morocco chose a third path making necessary
reforms without losing stability.
"We have developed a very unique model in the region," he stressed.
Elhabib Choubani, minister of relations with the parliament and civil society
in Morocco also spoke about the peaceful democratic changes in his country and
noted that monarchy has been a facilitating factor in this process.
The Members of the European Parliament posed a number of questions to the
speakers on human and women's rights, rights of Christians, compatibility of
democracy and Islam, and so on. (end)
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