MIDDLE EAST – Pope criticises West for trying to export “own brand of democracy”
Pope Francis criticised leaders of Western countries for trying to export their “own brand of democracy” to Middle East countries such as Iraq and Libya without respecting indigenous political cultures. Francis has frequently attacked what he calls “cultural colonialism”, in which Western countries seek to impose their values on developing ones in return for financial aid.
“Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure,” said the Pope. “We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account.”
Francis quoted a Libyan who said recently, ‘We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty”, in reference to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was deposed and killed in 2011.
The Pope also said Europe should integrate migrants better and spoke out against “ghettoising” migrants, which was not only wrong but was also misguided in the fight against terrorism. He cited the militant attacks in Brussels in March when three suicide bombers killed 32 people, in which “the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto”. The Pope praised the election of Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor of London as an example of where integration had been successful.