Two, Three, Many Gazas Strips

by Mark Krikorian

The WaPo reports hopeful news from Gaza: When you put Islamists in charge of a country, they screw it up and alienate the people:

The militant Islamist movement surged to a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in 2006 with promises of clean governance and a reputation for terrorist tactics against Israel, which had withdrawn from Gaza the year before. But after five years of Hamas administration, many in this besieged strip say it has lived up to neither. Hamas is fast losing popularity, and recent surveys indicate that it would not win if elections were held in Gaza today.

As enthusiasm for Islamist parties grows in the Arab world and prompts questions about what shape political Islam will take, some say Hamas’s path from violent opposition movement to de facto government could be instructive: The Gaza-based rulers, many analysts say, have become more pragmatic and more self-interested — a bit more like common politicians. Whether that means Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has altered its extremist ideology is far from clear.

But whether Hamas has “changed its ideology” is irrelevant — once they’re in power, they have to actually do something, and since Islam is simply incompatible with modern life, they can only fail. (And it doesn’t hurt that this is the Middle East, where whoever is in power will start stealing the people blind.)

As I never tire of pointing out, the only way Islam will reform itself is for Islamists to come to power and for the people to finally learn, deep down in their bones, what a dead end Islam is in the modern world, as an increasingly large share of the Iranian people have finally come to realize. This isn’t going to happen quickly, nor will it be pretty, but it’s the only way — no amount of invading by us or earnest lectures from pseudo-Muslims living in the West is going to change the cultural mindset of people in the Islamic world.

The Corner

The one and only.