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Can Muslims ever secularize?

Reader comment on item: The Roots of Iraq's Rebellion

Submitted by Pat Kunz (United States), Apr 13, 2004 at 15:48

Is the idea that only Islamic leaders have legitimacy truly an Islamic tenet or is it peculiar to Arab societies? This argument suggests that democracy and Islam truly are incompatible. If only Muslims are accorded legitimacy as rulers, then there can never be true equality in a Muslim-dominated society. If this belief is universal, doesn't it suggest that Muslims should be barred from all western societies because they are inherently incapable of tolerance or acceptance of other beliefs?

This is a defeatist position and it does not bode well for the future of civilization. How many people will die while we wait patiently for a strongman to open Iraqi society? Don't we run the risk that such a leader will be a new Saddam? Isn't that outlook what got us into this mess in the first place? We looked for autocrats who could keep order and we ended up with despots, like Saddam.
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