Islamic Government is not secular
Submitted by Monte Gardner (United States), Jun 15, 2007 at 21:58
Thanks for your input to this discussion. It's important that we get input on these issues from the Islamic side of things. You've made a number of points in this thread and I would like to address them. Let me start with a general framework.
The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights on Islam
The Declaration of Independence
It should be noted that the UN Declaration on Human rights was rejected by several Arab governments whose leaders explained at the time that they needed a document about Human Rights that was "compatible" with Islam. Thus, my argument about the incompatibility of these ideas is widely accepted in the Islamic world.
So, we have 2 incompatible, yet widely accepted sets of ideas about how nations should regulate their citizens. This is what Pres. Bush meant when he called this conflict "the supreme ideological struggle of our generation".
The primary conflict between these two idea-sets is over the equality of human beeings. Take, for example, the following two statements
I think we can safely summarize the Cairo declaration as stating "All people are equal, but some Muslims are more equal then others".
The issue of secularism is also an important point of disagreement. The Cairo declaration states over and over again that all laws are subject to the Sharia, while Jeffersons Declaration states that governments "derive their just powers from the consent of the goverened." Khomeni and other Islamic leaders have stressed repeatedly that in Islam all political power comes from God.
The failure of middle eastern governments is not due to produce economies and a life for their people is not a failure of secularism. Indeed, it is the lack of democratic liberty, secularism and capitalism that has retarded these countries growth. We see this in Iraq. While the Kurds have welcomed liberty and democracy and have set about establishing a working society based on these principles, the more Islamist sects (sunnies/shias) in central Iraq and Bagdad are now involved in a civil war in which they are killing eachother based on the idea that each side is "not the real muslims". I see no future for central Iraq until they explicitly reject Islamic government as Turkey has.
You also stated:
I think you are projecting Islamic theocracy onto Christian society. The christian teaching on such things was made very clear by Jesus when he stated roughly "my kingdom is not of this world. Were it so, then my followers would fight for me", and "Render unto Ceaser what is Ceasers, and unto God what is Gods". I think many Christians today view the theocracy of Christianity in the middle ages as being wrong, even an aberration of the faith, while there has been simply no significant leadership in the Muslim world that has repudiated Islamic theocracy based on the Sharia. As I mentioned above, the Cairo declaration is widely accepted in the middle east. To answer your question, Muslims would not be comfortable in a Christian theocracy, just as non-muslims would not be comfortable in a Muslim theocracy. They would also not be very safe as the recent history of Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq have testified to. Thus, this is not a conflict between Christianity and Islamic faith, but of democracy and Islamic Theocracy as embodied in the Sharia.
You also stated:
I believe in Democracy. I belive that all people are created equal. I belive that a government that starts from the idea that only one faith is valid, that only one faith can be the source of all that is good, that some people are better if they perform "piety and good deeds" can never treat ALL its citizens fairly. This was the case during what you call the "Golden Age". An age in which those who believed in the wrong sort of God were treated as 2nd class citizens, forced to pay extra taxes, forced to submit to laws which they had no say in, forced to submit to judges they did not elect, forced to live in a system of governance which did not acknowledge their full status as human beeings. Thus, I believe that Democracy, as an idea about goverment is simply superior to Islam as an idea about government.
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