In its annual report, HRW's Kenneth Roth, executive director, said
“The international community must ... come to terms with political Islam when it represents a majority preference,” he said. “Islamist parties are genuinely popular in much of the Arab world, in part because many Arabs have come to see political Islam as the antithesis of autocratic rule.”Yes, we have to come to terms with Islamism because the West has no other choice when stupid people choose one equally if not more repressive/oppressive system over another, but we don't have to like it. Nor should we.
“Wherever Islam-inspired governments emerge, the international community should focus on encouraging, and if need be pressuring, them to respect basic rights ─ just as the Christian-labeled parties and governments of Europe are expected to do,” he said in the introduction to the report.
He added that the international community “should adopt a more principled approach to the region than in the past. That would involve, foremost, clearly siding with democratic reformers even at the expense of abandoning autocratic friends.”
He advises the international community to encourage or pressure Islamist-led governments to respect basic rights? Well Mr. Roth, that's worked very well in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan (to name a few), hasn't it.
The Arab Spring movement in the Middle East gave those people who fought so fiercely for major change the perfect opportunity to usher in democracy, but it's something they've obviously squandered. The Tunisian and Egyptian majority Islamists have said they will remain moderate, but what guarantee is there that they will.
I'm not saying that autocratic/totalitarian leaders are preferable, but Islamic theocracies are far worse.