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Islamists may "fail" but they don't willingly unelect themselves.

Reader comment on item: Combating the Ideology of Radical Islam

Submitted by Matthew Kennel (United States), Apr 14, 2003 at 13:59

The Islamists in Iran have indeed "failed" their populations, but there is still no evidence that they are willing to give up any significant power (in ways that matter to the West) in truly free elections nonetheless.

The Islamists may win one fair election but that would be the last fair such election. Witness Mugabe to see how easy it is to rig an election and get away with murder in a country with superficially democratic legal institutions.

I think that the central problem is that many of the Islamists literally and explicitly do not believe in liberal democracy, viewing it quite correctly as yet another anti-clerical Western ideology, as was atheist communism and socialism.

It's not a peripheral concern to their ideology, but central.

Imposition of Islamic law is generally in opposition to the noisy political work of a democratic legislature---in their mind G-d is supposed to make the laws (with their scholars interpret them), not mankind.

As far as I know there has never been any successful combination of liberal democracy with strong clerical and religious influence, and most of the modernization and democratizing movements were somewhat to centrally anti-clerical, from the USA, the French Revolution, and Ataturk.
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