A vote for Gorran could make the south of Kurdistan more Islamist

By Mufid Abdulla:

Gorran conference 2013; photo Sbeiy

Gorran conference 2013; photo Sbeiy

Last July, Babakr Dray, one of Gorran’s most high-ranking members and director of the Wusha company,  told Awene newspaper that Gorran “will not approve any rule in the parliament unless it is approved by Sharia law” This would mean that any new law in the Kurdistan parliament would have to be rooted in Islamic law. Gorran’s ability to get things done and make progress has caused observers to marvel. For several years many ordinary people have hoped that Gorran’s virtues would win out, and the party would help take our country in the right direction.  However, to me it now seems that Gorran could be headed towards a disastrous cultural revolution which might conjure up an economic catastrophe.

At the moment Gorran’s leaders seem to be Islamic in orientation though not fundamentalist: AKP style. Yousif Mohammed, the leader of the Gorran list in the September 2013 parliamentary elections, is an ex-Islamic League member and he hasn’t hidden the fact that he believes in an Islamic society. The director of KNN TV, Hushyar Abdulla, has a similar background as a former member of the Islamic Union. Havel Abubakir, the candidate for leader of Suli council, worked for several years inside the PUK, then the Islamic Union and now he is working with the Gorran movement. Imagine if he wins the leadership of the council – what might happen in the city and its surroundings? It is possible that he might ban all off-licenses, licensed restaurants and bars, advocate the separation of boys and girls in the universities of Kurdistan, and so on.

In the last election, Gorran did best in the rural areas of Suli region; a significant percentage of their vote also came from small and medium-sized towns. Gorran won a majority in towns like Halabja and Darbanidkan, for example. However, in Suli City, which should be Gorran’s heartland, the party did less well. I believe this is because voters there tend to be more critical and forward-thinking.

The leaders of the Gorran movement have become increasingly impressed by the AKP’s style of rule and their economic policies. This is arguably a reason why they are attracting people from the Islamic League and Kurdistan Islamic Union. But Gorran’s rank and file members have not been consulted about this trajectory.  At the party’s first conference in Erbil in 2013, delegates were not allowed to elect the leadership. Members of the national executive were appointed by recommendation of the leader, Nawshirwan Mustafa.

This is a time of huge challenges and, of late, many people have become sceptical that Gorran can solve them. Of course Kurdistan will never really be like Turkey. But Gorran is a fiery orator who can rouse a crowd and Gorran is playing with fire. Religion should be never be mixed with politics: it should not be brought into the equation. Recent crises in Egypt, Syria and Tunisia are obvious examples of how religious politics can damage the economy, distort the fabric of society and aggravate civil war. Gorran should not let Islamist-minded individuals control the politics of the movement.

2 Responses to A vote for Gorran could make the south of Kurdistan more Islamist
  1. kurd
    April 16, 2014 | 10:17

    Despite this problem that you mentioned in your article, the people do not know laugh or cry for it!?
    but the main problem is that why people want to change political power for Nawshirwan Mustafa
    instead of change for themselves?!!!
    Nawshirwan could not do anything for puk members what can do for Gorran members in future?!!
    there are no difference among all parties in the south but some are white dog and others are black dog

    Nawshirwan and his fellow leaders are another wolf in clothes of sheep

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