Tag Archives: Islam

Islam And The Futility Of Trying To Reconcile Its Tenets With Democratic Principals

Adherents to the Koran are forced to believe that there is but one creator. One God from whom all life comes and to whom all life is ultimately sacrificed. The Koran, which I have read in its entirety, insists that you must believe in this creator and live your life serving him and obeying his edicts, or you will be known as an unbeliever, an infidel, and as such will not be entitled to either his mercy or his blessings and a place in his heaven.

In Christianity, which is what the American system of government and our ideas of freedom are founded on — all protestations to the contrary are feeble (polygamy is not permitted, only Christian holidays are nationwide holidays, public officials and judges for the Supreme Court are always sworn in with one hand resting on a bible) — is also primarily a monotheistic religion. However a belief in the Trinity is encouraged and promoted – the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are acknowledged and prayed to. Christianity also permits its devotees to pray to more than the one deity. For instance if you do not like the look of The Virgin Mary, or think that her blessings do not come fast enough, you can pray to St. Jude or if you want a letter guided safely to its recipient, to St. Anthony. Islam permits none of these flights of fancy, and as such is even more intolerant of departures from what is prescribed in the Holy Book. To emend the words of George W. Bush, as far as Islam is concerned, you are either, “with Allah or against Allah”.

This belief in the one creator, the one God, which is hammered into children from loudspeakers five times a day in certain Islāmic countries from the time they are very young, must undoubtedly create havoc in the minds of these same children when as adults, they are suddenly “given” freedom. They are now asked to place their trust in “more” than one person to act as arbiter in their lives. More than one dictator, ergo more than one God. How do they make the intellectual shift so that two contrasting beliefs or “deities” — God and government — coexist in minds that have from very young been fecundated with the idea of just one ultimate power? Can they make this shift? Can they believe that BOTH a Shia and a Sunni, though they may govern in different ways or pass different sentences upon a crime, kneel down and pray to the same Allah? Or in the case of Egypt, which has just had a marvelous revolution to remove the dictator Mubarak, even make the much broader leap, and believe that a Copt can govern according to Islāmic principles, in a state where there is not just one Muslim head who acts as ultimate arbiter? This is at the root of the Islāmic states’ inability to implement the basic “idea” of democracy, and embracing the idea must come “before” its principles can be applied universally in the state.

Historically, and more persistently since the early sixties, subsequent to the wide democratic drives and nation building that the West has indulged in, there have been almost no Islāmic countries in the world in which democracy as we know it in the West, has been successfully orchestrated and in which truly democratic systems of government have thrived. And for those who might cite Turkey as an example, I would only say that democracy in Turkey is shaky at best, and that Turkey is far too “European” a country in so many ways to qualify as an Islāmic state, hence Turkey’s repeated attempts to gain membership in the European Union. Drinking is not proscribed by the government, the use of the hijab isn’t in much use among its women and the principles of sharia law and finance are only now gaining widespread purchase.

In Morocco the people treat their King as a supreme leader and many wonder if he isn’t chosen by God to govern them. In Pakistan all attempts at democracy have failed and there is either military rule, dictatorship or chaos. In India, the world’s largest democracy, and a country with the third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan, staunch Muslims are marginalized and there is very little representation of Muslims in government; their Muslim Vice President, who has about as much power as Dennis Kucinich, maybe less, notwithstanding. In Jordan there is a “benevolent” King in power. In Indonesia, the largest Muslim democracy in the world, the first condition for running for the office of President is that the candidate, “must believe in THE one AND only God.”

I would argue that the West’s lust for “democracy” to succeed in Islāmic states will probably only be satisfied by a sort of marriage between a benevolent dictatorship, in which the tenets of the Koran are upheld by the dictator, and a Western treasury which controls the purse strings, thereby insuring no gross accumulations of wealth by the dictator, which is how these dictators have historically caused their regimes to be brought down by the people whose livelihoods and taxes they have trifled with. Is it lost on our wonderful democracy lusters that the reason revolutions occur in Islāmic states, isn’t because the people want democracy instead of a dictatorship, but because they do not want one man to egregiously misuse the funds of their state.

The West has backed dictators before and still continues to do it surreptitiously. So maybe it is time for those countries in which democracy works best, to stop verifying Einstein’s definition of insanity and truly do some good for the people who live and breathe under the Koran’s influence in Islāmic states and to stop pretending that democracy is palatable to people whose religious ideology is the least democratic in all of organised religion. You can either have democracy — governance shared by many — or religious ideology in which all governance is concentrated in the hands of one man, one God, not both. Many imams and Koranic scholars vehemently support this thought. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Can democracy and all the gross inequalities it has bred in uneducated and refractory societies really persist in its constant failure to improve the lives of ALL the people in these societies?

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