Can the U.S. Be a Model of State-Religion Relations for the Arab World?

Worshippers on their way to perform Friday afternoon prayers in the courtyard of Ezzitouna Mosque, Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy).
Worshippers on their way to perform Friday afternoon prayers in the courtyard of Ezzitouna Mosque, Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy).
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As the U.S. presidential campaign finally wraps up, the Middle East is taking away some very negative messages about American culture that will diminish America’s ability to be a model for good governance and to influence outcomes in the region. Iran’s media has even used a broadcast of the U.S. presidential debates to validate the regime narrative of America’s corruption and weak moral values, and Iran’s own preference for strict religious codes of conduct. But Arab states working to avoid extremism and authoritarianism still seek virtue in the American experience, even if they are not yet ready to embrace democracy […]

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