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Are you sure there is nothing in Islam against Democracy?

Reader comment on item: The Citizen of the 21st Century: How Far, How Fast?

Submitted by Karl Ericson (United States), Jul 18, 2002 at 17:21

You wrote: "there is nothing in Islam that necessarily contradicts democracy". Tell that to the Muslims.

Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammed, as of 12/4/01 is the judge of the Shari'ah court for the United Kingdom, the Secretary General of The Islamic World League, the principal lecturer of the London school of Shari'ah, the Leader of Al-Muhajiroun & the Spokesman of The International Islamic Front. On his web page The Humiliation of Muslims by America he criticizes the UN for propagating the Kufr (non-believer) ideology of Democracy. (see http://www.primechoice.com/philosophy/muscreateparanoia.htm for more information about this.)

Abul A'la Mawdudi, founder of the Jamaat-i Islami in India, has argued that if democracy is conceived as a limited form of popular sovereignty, restricted and directed by God's law, there is no incompatibility with Islam, but Mawdudi concluded that Islam is the very antithesis of secular Western democracy based solely on the sovereignty of the people. (Quoted in Esposito and Piscatori, Democratization and Islam, p. 436. See also Abul A'la Mawdudi, A Political Theory of Islam, in, Donohue and John Esposito, eds. Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 253-54.) On the other hand, Sayyid Qutb, a leading traditionalist theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood, executed by the Egyptian government in 1966, objected to the idea of popular sovereignty altogether: Qutb believed that "the Islamic state must be based on the Quranic principle of consultation or shurah [on the interpretation of Shari'a], and that the Islamic law or Shari'a is so complete a legal and moral system that no further legislation is possible or necessary." (Quoted in Hudson, "After the Gulf War," p. 436. For more on Qutb's views on Islam, see John L. Esposito, ed., Voices of Resurgent Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983))

In addition Jamie Glazov in an article titled Why Islam Hates Democracy wrote:

In the eyes of Islam, the very notion of democracy is demonized. In Islam, after all, Allah is sovereign, which means that humans constructing their own laws is sinful. The Koran and Sharia Law give Muslims all the laws they need...

In Islam, democracy, as well as the very notion of the freedom of human conscience, represents a dangerous deviation from the Koran and the Sharia. Elections are seen as a form of blasphemy. They are Satan's vehicle to destroy the Koran
(See http://www.primechoice.com/philosophy for more info about this)

Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech to the House Government Reform Committee on September 20, 2001, also argued that hatred of democracy fuels hatred of the West.  He explained: "The soldiers of militant Islam do not hate the West because of Israel, they hate Israel because of the West.  They see it as an island of Western democratic values in a Muslim Arab sea.  This is why they call Israel the Little Satan, to distinguish it clearly from the country that has always been and will always be the Great Satan -- the United States of America."

Armand De Decker, president of the Belgian senate, in regard to the Belgium's 350,000 Moslems said: "We've got to defend our values, our liberty, our democracy with open eyes, knowing that they most certainly intend to destroy them."

I do not think it is a coincidence that the one democracy in the Muslim world, Turkey, is a secular democracy.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (45) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
khilafat is islamic style democracy [100 words]Syed Mohammad AliJan 20, 2005 04:1619786
What nonsense [8 words]TerryFeb 19, 2007 17:4119786
For Syaed and his bogus Arabic and he ain't no Arab and another potential tourist to Mecca I mean Makkah [125 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 20, 2007 07:2919786
Khilafah is islamic style democracy. [47 words]NiyaziFeb 14, 2008 04:5519786
purpose of Khilafat [80 words]Abdul AliMay 26, 2008 14:5519786
One can't exclude Politics from Khilafat [104 words]Asif ShahzadJun 7, 2008 13:3319786
Khilafat considered in politics [144 words]Abdul AliJun 9, 2008 13:2319786
No open society-No democracy! [150 words]Dan L. NicholsJul 22, 2004 13:5516053
islam, christanity and democracy... Reply to Sam TANIOS, July 19, 2002 [483 words]fanJul 8, 2003 10:209921
A Christian's point of view [143 words]Fred InglisMay 24, 2008 23:179921
Turkey , Islam and Ataism [43 words]Ronald BarlowFeb 11, 2003 09:526540
Islam IS and ISN'T compatible [296 words]Waleed ShirzoiNov 22, 2002 16:554153
Christianity [157 words]Fred InglisMay 27, 2008 21:554153
Ignorance is bliss [394 words]Iqbalur RehmanNov 22, 2002 06:254145
Moderation can happen, but is not natural [68 words]Henk TwerdaAug 13, 2002 17:541843
Turkey: fascistic, racist, tyrannic and extremely nationalistic! [291 words]Christian ArameanAug 5, 2002 20:141637
Democracy and Islam....Hard Questions [184 words]D. WallsJul 29, 2002 12:271466
An islamic nation with democracy [269 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
syam rudraJul 23, 2002 20:191407
Democracy and Islam [76 words]A. AhmedJul 23, 2002 18:281405
Thank you, Dr. Pipes! [50 words]Ali FarshidiJul 22, 2002 09:471387
1The ideal of self-government [83 words]Steve SaafJul 21, 2002 16:261383
Islam and Democratization [368 words]Kevin DonovanJul 21, 2002 06:441380
A clear and present danger [101 words]Danny BoncaJul 20, 2002 20:571376
Correction to Ericson post [117 words]Annette R. FloystrupJul 19, 2002 21:191370
reviews site [30 words]reviews siteFeb 10, 2007 19:221370
1Muslim Countries' Lack of Democracy [219 words]Amy MackJul 19, 2002 13:261361
democracy and muslim Umma [209 words]sajjadMay 12, 2009 13:551361
Islam and democracy [101 words]Sam TANIOSJul 19, 2002 09:121351
Islam compatible with democracy? [120 words]Tom DykhuizenJul 19, 2002 01:081349
No democrcy in Islam [173 words]F. ShawkiJul 18, 2002 21:461347
read it [155 words]muslimMay 13, 2006 04:391347
democracy??? [13 words]omerMar 12, 2009 15:411347
don't surprise like that [378 words]HatemJun 25, 2009 19:221347
human rights [209 words]eelhoollaNov 29, 2009 07:331347
Islam says WHAT??? [6 words]This guyFeb 10, 2010 15:171347
1Muslims & Democracy [217 words]Gerald GerjekianJul 18, 2002 20:191345
Citizen of the 21st Century [141 words]F.W. ThorntonJul 18, 2002 19:551344
All is confusion [116 words]Fred InglisMay 26, 2008 19:341344
Democracy and Islam [279 words]James SofkoJul 18, 2002 19:421343
"Nations of Citizens" versus "Nations of Inhabitants" [83 words]David JacobJul 18, 2002 18:581341
Ah, and history of Islam says what? [274 words]SheerahkahnJul 18, 2002 18:341340
Are you sure there is nothing in Islam against Democracy? [544 words]Karl EricsonJul 18, 2002 17:211338
Questions for Moslem Leaders [757 words]YJ DraimanMar 28, 2011 09:591338
Islam NOT compatible with democracy [269 words]Tom ClearJul 18, 2002 16:001337
WOW! [44 words]Howard L. MorryJul 18, 2002 15:431335

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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