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Islamic countries should stop calling themselves Islamic

Reader comment on item: Why Egypt Will Not Soon Become Democratic

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jan 20, 2017 at 00:40

Dear Dr Pipes,

The nations that identify themselves inseparably with a specific religion must be considered inferior in the community of nations.

In your essay "Why Egypt Will Not Soon Become Democratic" you very correctly say that "democracy is more than holding elections and it requires the development of civil society, meaning such complex and counterintuitive institutions as the rule of law, an independent judiciary, multiple political parties, minority rights, voluntary associations, freedom of expression, movement, and assembly."

Then, how would we know that Egypt or any other Islamic country is a democracy? Or, for that matter, how would we know that any other, so called, democratic country is indeed democratic? Social attitudes take very long periods to change. The foundation of what we see in America today was laid several centuries ago in Europe. So it may be a very long time if we wait for the Islamic countries to develop different attitudes required for democracy and even then we may not be sure that these countries are democratic enough.

There is a simpler solution. We can almost guarantee that a country is not a democracy if it says that it is not a democracy. It is safe to conclude that any country that has the word 'Islamic' in its constitutional name is not a democracy.

Consider the case of Bangladesh. Since it independence in 1971, it has played Russian roulette with being a secular country or not. Some times Bangladesh adds 'Islamic' to its name and other times it drops that from its name. Even when it becomes a constitutionally a secular country it keeps Islam as the state religion. It is said that functionally it is an Islamic country.

Though I will not call Bangladesh a modern secular nation, I will still admire Bangladesh as a country that probably has a small faction of population that appreciates the value of human rights and democracy.

The rest of the world must demand that Islamic nations drop the world Islamic from their constitutional names. It will not change the public attitudes overnight but it will remove the legal basis for Muslim citizens to expect special rights to them and deny those rights to others. In the community of nations, a nations that constitutionally identifies itself with a religion can rightly be called an inferior nation.

If this principle is applied to Israel where will it leave Israel? I am not sure if Israel is constitutionally a Jewish nation. But I think that it is irrelevant. All religions are parts of our common human heritage. If small religious entities are created in small regions of the world so connection of those regions with certain religions is recognized, that will be an admirable ting to do. So a small Islamic nation in Mecca, a small Sikh nation in Amritsar, and a small Christian nation in Vatican will indeed be welcome. On the contrary, an Israel will be objectionable if it gets 100 times bigger than what it is.

I will repeat that the nations that identify themselves inseparably with any religion must be considered inferior in the community of nations.


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 (43) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Islamic countries should stop calling themselves Islamic [519 words]PrashantJan 20, 2017 00:40235590
Mincor correction in my message above [128 words]PrashantJan 21, 2017 01:07235590
1Egypt is the canary in the gold mine [124 words]StasJan 20, 2013 04:37202681
Secular anything is better than a theocracy [185 words]PrashantJan 22, 2017 15:05202681
1Good points [134 words]Peter HerzFeb 11, 2011 19:38182555
1hmmm, i think ive seen that sword logo before [31 words]gemFeb 11, 2011 19:02182551
1Islam and the Future of Planet Earth [14 words]MorganFeb 11, 2011 15:58182546
4About Democracy in Egypt [739 words]Rafi LaufertFeb 11, 2011 07:25182539
Why Egyot will not soon become democratic [174 words]sufi imdad ali soomroFeb 10, 2011 23:37182523
Treaty [39 words]Barry BlackFeb 6, 2011 16:35182370
Ptolomeu and Egyptians [80 words]Breno LimaFeb 6, 2011 14:13182368
1Egypt's status: More of the same or just about [309 words]JACQUES HADIDAFeb 6, 2011 13:41182365
5The Muslim brotherhood flag/logo revisited [122 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 6, 2011 09:26182360
3Illusion and desillusion [123 words]Gabriel AngeFeb 6, 2011 06:55182357
1Illusion and disillusion [291 words]Gabriel AngeFeb 7, 2011 05:23182357
2Democracy in Egypt? No chance [78 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 6, 2011 06:26182355
"Commonality of Values" [43 words]Aminu Adamu BelloFeb 6, 2011 03:52182353
1prospects of democracy in egypt [162 words]prakash khatiwalaFeb 6, 2011 02:23182352
1No chance for democracy [17 words]Sylvia S.Feb 5, 2011 16:22182334
1Look at History [167 words]AfriconFeb 5, 2011 15:19182333
Egypt [12 words]Jon PuriznahskyFeb 5, 2011 13:58182326
4no democracy without religious freedom [103 words]alan glaserFeb 5, 2011 13:31182322
Democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not Egypt? [29 words]SkepticFeb 5, 2011 12:14182319
A sense of right and justice [95 words]Paula Clare YatesFeb 5, 2011 07:18182311
1Election troubles? What troubles? [76 words]UgriFeb 5, 2011 03:43182306
Muslim Paranoia - Why Egypts will not advance to democracy anytime soon [113 words]David MacKAYFeb 5, 2011 02:01182305
Pipes makes sense - where in history have we seen anything different - even the American revolution wasn't a rush job. [106 words]DallasFeb 5, 2011 01:45182304
1Requirements for democracy in Egypt [74 words]yonatan silvermanFeb 5, 2011 00:00182302
Hosni Mubarak [49 words]seadog4227Feb 4, 2011 22:09182295
Fear Not [86 words]Barry BlackFeb 4, 2011 20:37182291
2Mr Pipes is hopefully wrong [256 words]Devils advocateFeb 4, 2011 18:23182284
To Devils advocate [107 words]John in Michigan, USAFeb 4, 2011 22:41182284
4Democracy starts in the womb. [178 words]batya daganFeb 4, 2011 17:54182283
Democracy and Theocracy [24 words]M. MoussaFeb 9, 2011 07:41182283
Hello Moussa [85 words]batya daganFeb 10, 2011 22:06182283
4free egypt [243 words]havasFeb 4, 2011 17:29182280
1Democracy In Egypt [22 words]Clifford IshiiFeb 4, 2011 20:00182280
Egypt not soon Democratic [9 words]Victoria ConroyFeb 4, 2011 17:04182279
Interpreting a poll of Egyptians [338 words]John in Michigan, USAFeb 4, 2011 15:12182277
The Ikhwan May Well Come to Power [71 words]JamesFeb 4, 2011 15:03182276
2Democracy in Egypt [32 words]AceFeb 4, 2011 13:01182271
on target [53 words]Howard BrownFeb 4, 2011 12:33182270
And if there is a vote, hopefully not :One person, one vote, one time." [115 words]Edmund Onward JamesFeb 4, 2011 11:25182267

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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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