Does Moderate Political Islam Exist?

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The term “political Islam” has become commonplace after the Arab uprisings of 2011, during which Islamist groups rose to political prominence across the Middle East and North Africa. But what does “political Islam” really mean, and should Westerners fear it?

For most observers, the term refers to relatively moderate Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who have accepted pluralist and democratic practices as a path to bring about their ideal vision of an Islamic state and society. But many critics equate the concept, directly or indirectly, with radical Islamists who collaborate with or readily join violent groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.

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