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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.
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