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Dictatorships and Islam

Reader comment on item: Civil War in Iraq?
in response to reader comment: Democracy and Iraq

Submitted by Bader S (Saudi Arabia), Mar 2, 2006 at 04:15

Vinodgupt wrote, "Democracy, like dictatorship, cannot be imposed from above much less from outside. It has to come from within every citizen of the country"

So what you are basically saying is that citizens want dictators and somehow bring them about. I think that you miss a very important point in that dictators, by their nature, impose themselves on the citizens of a country. Dictators hold onto power through violence, terror, torture, propaganda and many other despicable acts that violate basic human rights.

In the Middle East the majority of dictators came out of the military or they belonged to secular political parties that came to power through one form of coup d'etat or another. Having gained power, they ensured that nothing should threaten their dictatorships. In many cases, such as Egypt and Pakistan (though Pakistan is not in the Middle East) these dictatorships were supported by the US and bankrolled by the US tax payer.

The only political organizations that were and are able to threaten these dictatorships are Islamic based. Recent election results in Palestine and Egypt have shown that Islamic organizations can lead to the demise of Western backed dictators.

The question is what will the political rule of these Islamic organizations bring to their people? More dictatorship, more abuse, more oppression, more terror? So far we do not have an example of such a political rule to draw conclusions from. Iran is not a good example because it is a theocracy. Saudi Arabia is also not a good example because it is an autocracy. What will these Islamic organizations achieve through their political rule we may never find out because the West and specifically the US will not give them a chance to prove themselves one way or another -- examples are the response to the Algerian election that gave victory to an Islamic organization and more recently the victory of Hamas.

One thing needs to be clear and that is, if the majority of people in a Muslim country decide they want Shari'a law then that is their prerogative. The same way that if the majority of US citizens do not want to legalize abortion then the minority of the citizens that do want to keep abortion legal will have to live by laws of the majority.

So until we have before us a modern example of a country governed by an Islamic organization -- not an Islamic theocracy or autocracy -- we would be wise not to link Islam with current governments in Muslim states and draw conclusions that are not based on accurate experience and facts.
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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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