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Iraqi Kurdistan experiencing rising tide of political Islam ‎ 16.12.2011 
Matt Frazer, Press TV, - Erbil

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Video: Press TV

December 16, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Religious leaders in the Kurdistan region have long complained of the ruling secular coalition government constraining their influence. Historically, the Iraqi Kurdish leaders against influence from Baghdad in the south, have been secular nationalists.

However in recent years, the Islamic political parties, in particular the Kurdistan Islamic Union, have been slowly but steadily increasing their share of the vote. Both the Islamic opposition, and the secular opposition, have been keen to draw the February to March anti-government protests in Kurdistan into the broader environment of Middle Eastern revolution.

The opposition parties reject this narrative. They regard the two-party ruling coalition who dominate every aspect of political rule, as being analogous to the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East.

There are those in opposition alleging a kind of conspiracy led by regional President Massoud Barzani's KDP. They allege that the KDP fears the rising popularity of Islamic parties in the Middle East, and are consequently looking for any excuse to crack down on the Kurdish Islamic parties domestically.

However, the KDP has characterized the recent event as a simple local issue that got out of hand.

Historically, religious and secular groups have had an inconsistent and complicated relationship in Kurdistan. In the 1970s, the Kurdish socialists and Islamic groups fought together against Arab rule from Baghdad. And in opposition to the ruling centrist coalition And in opposition to the ruling centrist coalition here in Erbil,www.ekurd.net they find themselves making common cause again.

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