The thought-provoking perspectives of the comments I'm receiving on my last post deserve a fuller response. I agree that Iran's electoral process- "democracy" is too loaded a word- is more advanced than that of most of the countries in the Middle East. For one thing, "assembly" in itself is not illegal in Iran; under Egyptian martial law- operative for the past 30 years- an unauthorized "assembly" of more than 5 people is prosecutable.
Which is one of the reasons the Muslim Brotherhood are the best organized opposition; the government cannot prevent assembly in a mosque. By law, there are no religious-affiliation parties allowed in Egypt, specifically to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from contesting elections. That has not prevented them from organizing and fielding "independent" candidates.
On the other hand, the official, secular opposition parties have been completely emasculated by the regime; from the secular, like my late uncle's Wafd party and Ayman Nour's Ghad, to the left wing. As a result, only the Islamists offer a credible opposition, and they draw their appeal to the masses from that credibility even more than from Islamic symbolism.
Unfortunately, this state of affairs leads to one of two outcomes: the paralysis of a status-quo where the bogey-man of Islamist takeover prevents democratic reform; or a radical change to electoral reform that does indeed lead to an Islamic party coming to power. In the latter case, it is possible that an Islamic party in Egypt would be no more fundamentalist or oppressive than that of Turkey, and that it might yield in due course to other, secular parties. Possible, but there is no guarantee. And in Egypt's case, there is a sizeable Coptic minority that would be understandably nervous about such an outcome. It's also possible that a secular party migth win in a free election. At the moment, though, there is none that looks poised to take advantage of free elections.
"Freedom" means different things in the context of Arab/Muslim culture. Justice is the concept that embodies all the virtues of government. Justice means rule of law; security and freedom from chaos; freedom from the arbitrary exercise of power by the ruling class; a minimal standard of living to maintain the dignity of the man in the street. The ballot box, in this concept of freedom, is never an end, and not always a means.