Continued from page 2

She argued that Islamist democracies will able to deliver on people’s social and economic needs: “That’s really at the heart of the debate that we’re having. The expectations aren’t being met.”

Her unvarnished defense of Islamist politics - including that women’s rights are protected under Islam - left at least some members of the audience cold.

Raghida Dergham, senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Hayat newspaper, said she and some around her were furious at the “lovefest.”

“We were dripping pain, watching this,” she said.

Mr. Roth underscored the role that social media plays in enabling mass protests.

“It allowed people to sort of stand up and be counted, without literally standing up,” he said.

“It allowed them to just sort of join a Facebook page and suddenly when there are so many fans of that page, people began to get confidence that even if only a percentage of those people show up in Tahir Square, I may be safe.”

Mr. Ghannouchi agreed.

“The Arab Spring was made, in part, by the media. But not the traditional media - by the new media,” he said.

“I convey my salute to the people of Facebook and Twitter. … I think new media - Internet, Facebook, Twitter - was the leader of this revolution.”