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What the Arab Spring can learn from the history of the Catholic Church and democracy

2012-05-19

David Forte
Professor of Law, Cleveland State University (USA)

"One of the things that I've been researching is how Catholicism moved from an initial position against liberal democracy in the 19th century because of persecutions by Napoleon and the French Revolution to as not only embracing it but becoming one of it's great sponsors in Christian Democracy.”

Professor Forte met with members of Rome's Acton Institute, a conservative think tank that promotes individual freedoms with religious principles.

They say the Church's support of democracy can serve as an example to countries that are transitioning from autocratic regimes to a representative government. In Egypt, where elections have boosted the Muslim Brotherhood, observers say this could tension relations with neighboring Israel.

David Forte
Professor of Law, Cleveland State University (USA)

"So far as I know, all the presidential candidates have been supporters of Hamas, against Israel in the past. So the continuation of peace with Israel looks very iffy with the development of the Muslim Brotherhood's strength.”

Egypt is also home to a large population of Coptic Christians, that make up around 9% of Egypt's 80 million people. The protection of religious freedom and maintaining good relations with neighbors are two prescriptions that Professor Forte and other observers hope to see carried out in these emerging democracies.


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