Islamic democracy

This election news from Nigeria should help sober up those who are still enthusiastic about the demands for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Violent protests erupted across Nigeria’s largely Muslim north on Monday as youths angered at President Goodluck Jonathan’s election victory torched churches and homes and set up burning barricades. The vote count showed Jonathan, from the southern oil-producing Niger Delta, had beaten Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler from the north, in the first round.

Observers have called the poll the fairest in decades in Africa’s most populous nation but Buhari’s supporters accuse the ruling party of rigging. Results show how politically polarised the country is, with Buhari sweeping states in the Muslim north and Jonathan winning the largely Christian south…. A Reuters tally of results put Jonathan on nearly 23 million votes to just over 12 million for Buhari.

A 66-34 is hardly Bush-Gore in 2000 or the Coleman-Franken senatorial election in Minnesota. It is, in fact, an absolute landslide. It also tends to suggest that Muslims will not necessarily wait until they are in the majority to demand governing power, which could have some interesting implications for countries such as Britain and the Netherlands.