Egyptian Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir, a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute and an Islamic scholar, recently spoke to Vatican Radio about the current waves of protests that are sweeping Arab nations in North Africa and beyond.
“What we need first of all is justice, equality, social reform because the gap between rich and poor is far too wide, and this is the real cause of the Islamic fundamentalist movement,” he said.
“We need change, the Arab world must change. We need alternate parties but in our countries there is nothing.” When asked if the Western concept of democracy is applicable to Egypt and the wider Arab world, Fr. Samir said it is “applicable but not yet practicable.”
“If you have authoritarian regimes, they systematically destroy all the leadership so only people who are in agreement with the current system are in power.” In the case of Egypt, he said, “Mubarack nominated his second in command, Omar Suleiman who is a good diplomat, a military officer. But … is this good for the country?”