Democracy's Islamist Defenders

Chokri Mahjoub / Zuma Press

Tunisian security forces clash with Ansar al-Shari'a members in Ettadhamen, where one protester was killed and several others wounded

Tiny Tunisia became the Arab world's unlikely trendsetter two years ago when its people confronted and toppled their autocratic President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, in turn inspiring uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East. Tunisia has now launched a second, equally important campaign that may further redefine the world's most volatile region. In a stunning about-face, elected Islamists have begun taking on radical brethren who invoke God to violate man-made law in a democracy. "This is a turning point in the revolution," Mondher Ben Ayed, an Islamist businessman with close government ties, told me at the Doha Forum in...

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