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A new addition is expected to the Lebanese political scene, which would seriously contribute to its contrasting colourfulness. Apparently, Lebanese Salafists are looking to establish a political party to participate in the 2013 electoral elections and the beyond scene.

This could a bit advanced for them considering they don’t usually recognise post-Caliphates states, so some internal rifts within their movement is possible.

But I see this as a positive development. Although I do not support religious politics or parties, but I think they should be welcomed to the ‘game’, if they wish to ‘play’ a fair game. This development, if it happened, will make us have an official address for this branch of Islamic fundamentalism in Lebanon. So you would know where to go if you need to talk to them!

It also indicates the Salafists are heading to recognise the state of Lebanon and its institutions. They seem to be looking to take a cut of that cheese – via the ballot boxes, which is – presumably – what democracy is about. The Arab Spring allowed similar Islamist movements to surface, with a dose of confidence, but it also got them to accept the democratic means, at least in general terms… and for now.

This move could be similar to the entrance of Hezbollah to the Lebanese parliament in 1992 after the Lebanese war ended. Hezbollah at the time called itself the ‘Islamic revolution in Lebanon’ and was openly calling for the establishment of a ‘Islamist state’. Who they thought they could form an alliance with Michel Aoun?

Anyway, this is Lebanon, where most political parties are sectarian based. The Salafists could be just being domesticated into the system, and it’s up to the Lebanese people to decide their size. Obviously, the one who needs to carefully watch this is Saad Hariri.

Photo credit: MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/GettyImages

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