Moderate Arab countries like Jordan have included Islamists in governments in the past. When Islamists were brought into the Jordanian government in 1990, they tried to introduce segregation between fathers and their daughters at school events. This backfired and citizens simply refused to go along with it. Jordan’s Islamists quickly backed down and dropped the demand. Political inclusion, it turned out, had a moderating effect on Islamists…

Over the next few years, other parties will have a chance to develop in Tunisia and Islamists are likely to get a lower percentage of the vote next time around. They will start winning votes in relation to their actual strength on the ground. While they may be part of leading coalitions in various countries, they are unlikely to gain power outright in any country.

In order to ensure peaceful political competition between Islamists and other political parties, the new Arab democracies need to enshrine two principles in their new constitutions: pluralism and a peaceful political landscape that is free of armed groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.