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A democratic Islam

Reader comment on item: A Democratic Islam?

Submitted by Sunil (United States), Apr 19, 2009 at 15:18

Dear Dr Pipes:

While you were publishing your article "A Democratic Islam?" in Jerusalem Post, a big part of Pakistan (SWAT) fell into undemocratic hands. And, a SWAT cleric Sufi Muhammad promptly declared that democracy was in contradiction to Islam and Quran (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Democracy-is-un-Islamic-Swat-cleric/articleshow/4421371.cms).

But you are absolutely correct. You state "Islam's problem is less its being anti-modern than that its process of modernization has hardly begun". No follower of a religion follows its books in absolute. The same is true of Islam. So, Islam is not so much defined by the Quran as it is defined as the sum total of the beliefs held by who claim to be its practitioners. And this is where the opportunity lies.

Any one who believes in the spirit of maximum good of maximum number of people will vouch that democracy brings us closer to that ideal than any other alternative form of government. The process of modernization of Islam will not come by rewriting the Quran (which is impossible to do) but by Muslims' realization that many ideals that they and all other humans share (like universal good and universal brotherhood) are not best served by the principles expounded in Quran. It is not a surprize that while on one hand a cleric in SWAT is pronouncing that democracy contradicts Islam, on the other Muslims are participating in democratic processes whereever they can and --as you state-- are turning out to be good vote getters. Perhaps they are enjoying democracy honestly or perhaps they are using it as a tool to attain power. Only the time will tell.

Until then all free humans who can read, write or talk have their task cut out for them: highlight Islamic hypocricy at as many forums and as many times as possible.

Submitting....

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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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