Is Islam compatible with democracy?

From Ali in Iraq:

**Is Islam compatible with democracy? **

A question asked very frequently and one that is rarely answered objectively. This question is not new but it has been focused on after OIF, and that led to many people in the US and Europe somewhat switching sides in the way the respond to it or the way they are expected to respond to it, as answering this question is closely related to the war on Saddam’s regime, the change in Iraq and its legitimacy.

Being a Muslim, or at least being born as such makes my response rather difficult and its credibility and objectivity being logically questioned. However, I’ll try.

To begin with I must say I have a problem with the question itself and to clarify this problem in short, I’ll instead ask this question: Is Christianity compatible with democracy? Or is Judaism compatible with democracy?

Before anyone starts yelling at me I would like to provide my answers. I think that one can answer both questions with “yes” and “no”.

“Yes” if we consider western societies as Christian societies and “no” if that means that there’s no need for separation of the church from the state.

The western societies were Christian ones in the middle ages but they’re not now. The church was not only incompatible with democracy, but it actually fought so hard against it as a form of secular government. It did cost Europe some real bloody wars to ‘convince’ the church that it should not use its influence to run things as it wishes.

The American society is a slightly different case and the American readers of this blog can argue in this better than I can, but I think it’s reasonable to say that Americans are generally more religious or has allowed religion some invisible role in politics because they didn’t have to go through a bitter struggle against it to gain their freedom as the Europeans. Still, I doubt that anyone can really say that the American society is a Christian one, as it’s obviously not!

What I’m trying to say is that no religion in its present form is compatible with democracy and both democracy and religion can only co-exist if that religion is marginalized. In my mind all present religions, if you take them from the mouths of their advocators, being Imams, priests or whatever they are called in other religions and look at them with a modern rational mind, are (pardon me) so full of sh*t! (Note that I’m not talking about the core of those beliefs but how they’re presented to us now).

There’s no way one can develop a modern democracy directly from any of those religions simply because all of them declare that they have the absolute truth.

What’s left after that is that it’s not the problem that Islam that is not compatible with democracy but it’s Muslims who are not compatible, or sometimes it’s Arabs. The least I can say about that is that it’s a racist point of view.

We don’t need to democratize Islam, as it wasn’t possible with any other religion. We simply need to separate the mosque from the state, and that could be done violently or peacefully depending on the place and the circumstances. So the right question in my mind is, can we separate the mosque from the state? I for one believe it’s very possible, especially in Iraq.

This is a thoughtful posting on Islam and democracy.

I would, however assert that Christianity is not incompatible with a republican form of government because freedom of conscience and the equal dignity of all humans are bedrock principles of Christianity. Once you establish that then it’s no real leap to self-determination and representation.

This poster is asserting that Islam is no different from any other religion, in that no religion is compatible with democracy. I say he’s wrong because Islam does not propose freedom of conscience and equal dignity. Muslims are more favored than others. As long as they’re adhering to that mindset the fervent Muslims will never allow non-Muslims self-determination.

[quote=StJeanneDArc] I say he’s wrong because Islam does not propose freedom of conscience and equal dignity. Muslims are more favored than others. As long as they’re adhering to that mindset the fervent Muslims will never allow non-Muslims self-determination.
[/quote]

This claim could be made of Judaism as well.

I recommend reading
THE AMERICAN MYTH OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
by Kenneth Craycraft.

Maybe there is an even more fundamental question here,

Is democracy right for everyone?

There is a train of thinking that says each and every soveriegn nation should decide its own form of governmant, and that may mean a rejection of democracy.
China is a prime example, and before anyone tells me about the poor down trodden masses, I have worked there, I have lived with those outside the large cornubation centres so I do have a degree of understanding.
China has had an autocratic leadership for over 5,000 years. In that time it was the most advanced country of its time, including the European nations in both wealth and culture. We in the west are trying to impose OUR form of government onto them (democracy) and yet, when you talk to the normal Chinese man in the street, (yes, a lot of open political discussion went on but the strory of how and where is very complex and difficult to explain here, please just take it as read) the general opinion was “we are quite capable of sorting our own way in the World!”

So the question remains, do we have the right to impose our way of life on others?

In other words, what makes us right and them wrong?

[quote=Norwich]Maybe there is an even more fundamental question here,

Is democracy right for everyone?

There is a train of thinking that says each and every soveriegn nation should decide its own form of governmant, and that may mean a rejection of democracy.
China is a prime example, and before anyone tells me about the poor down trodden masses, I have worked there, I have lived with those outside the large cornubation centres so I do have a degree of understanding.
China has had an autocratic leadership for over 5,000 years. In that time it was the most advanced country of its time, including the European nations in both wealth and culture. We in the west are trying to impose OUR form of government onto them (democracy) and yet, when you talk to the normal Chinese man in the street, (yes, a lot of open political discussion went on but the strory of how and where is very complex and difficult to explain here, please just take it as read) the general opinion was “we are quite capable of sorting our own way in the World!”

So the question remains, do we have the right to impose our way of life on others?

In other words, what makes us right and them wrong?
[/quote]

God granted everyone the right to liberty.

In China, there is no real freedom of religion. Every human being has a right to religious freedom. See the Church’s Declaration of Religous Liberty.

[quote=gilliam]In China, there is no real freedom of religion.
[/quote]

Strange, I have been to Mass in China, and, as a matter of interest, in Saudi Arabia as well. Oh, and again for interest sake, I noticed a post the other day that stated that Saudi was 100% islam. Wrong. There are a number of, albiet small, villages within Saudi that are Christian, (and one Jewish). They are not advertised and very few people know of their location but they are there!!!

Back to China, in China there is no government encouragement of religion but, you can worship if you want. Churches and temples do exist, mainly Christian and Bhudist in the East and Islam in the West. Sporadically some minor official or private citizen will make a little noise and people will put their heads above the parapet but that usually dies down quickly and things return to normal.

The greatest problem for those who celebrate the Mass in China is when some well meaning person from the western world decides to take it upon themselves to make a noise in the press etc. and create a reaction from Peking. The general message from the majority of Chinese Christians is for God sake “SHUT UP” and allow us to worship God quietly in our own way and in safety.

To put things into context I once asked a man from the town where I was working,

"What effect has the communist government on China as a whole?

His response was very revealing, he said;

“The communist government has been in China for a little over 50 years, Chinese history goes back 5,000 years so the’ve been in power for about 1% of our total time, what effect do you think that will have?”

If you look at the average Chinese town or village now, you realise that they have virtually no effect. Most towns and most villages have their own “Council” (for want of a better word) who make all the decisions for their own village of town. They will take cognisance of central government but, believe me if they think they can gain an advantage by ignoring Peking, they do.

I really don’t think Islam is compatible with democracy.
While I prefer democratic government myself,i don’t think democratic politicians necessarily think the same way as the majority of the people.In addition,you can have all sorts of problems in a democracy if there is a large minority doesn’t
much like the Government.
There are Conservatives of different hues.There are Socialists
and Liberals of varying degrees.The best guy i have come across
for defending Catholic Church Teachings is a Liberal.On the other hand,i have seen a Conservative Shadow Minister handing in his resignation because he did not like the position his Party was taking up on homosexuality.I have heard another Liberal
refer to a Labour Party politician as a Communist.The Labour M.P. never challenged it,even though it was done in a very public way.If someone called me a Communist and it wasn’t true,i would be objecting very publicly.
Admittedly,i am mainly referring to the British set-up.However,i
don’t think the United States is really that different.

[quote=Norwich]Strange, I have been to Mass in China,
[/quote]

The Catholic Church in China is not free. You might have attended mass, but the Church is regulated, bishops are appointed by the government and priests are arrested every year.

catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=3&art_id=23824

A Bishop was arrested on Jan 7th of this year.
catholic.net/global_catholic_news/template_news.phtml?channel_id=2&news_id=64361

[quote=gilliam]but the Church is regulated, bishops are appointed by the government
[/quote]

And who choses Anglican Bishops in the UK?

[quote=Norwich]And who choses Anglican Bishops in the UK?
[/quote]

That is by design of the Anglican church.

The Americans that follow the Islamic faith seem to think it is compatible. I have to think it is, when not taken to extremes like the terrorists. If they need to kill all people that are infidels, then not it is not compatible with democracy.

[quote=gilliam]That is by design of the Anglican church.
[/quote]

The Prime Minister has a hand in it.There have been suggestions that Tony Blair,an Anglican,might convert to his wife’s Catholic
Faith and this has been denied.I wonder what will happen when he is no longer Prime Minister.I think it would cause a problem
if he became a catholic while still in his present post and a new Anglican Bishop had to be chosen.

[quote=burnside]The Prime Minister has a hand in it.There have been suggestions that Tony Blair,an Anglican,might convert to his wife’s Catholic
Faith and this has been denied.I wonder what will happen when he is no longer Prime Minister.I think it would cause a problem
if he became a catholic while still in his present post and a new Anglican Bishop had to be chosen.
[/quote]

My understanding is that the Queen is the head of the Anglican Church, not the PM.

[quote=gilliam]My understanding is that the Queen is the head of the Anglican Church, not the PM.
[/quote]

That’s true,but a commission sends names to the Prime Minister who chooses one and advises the monarch.In the following link you have to scroll down quite a bit to find the aforementioned.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England

[quote=burnside]That’s true,but a commission sends names to the Prime Minister who chooses one and advises the monarch.In the following link you have to scroll down quite a bit to find the aforementioned.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England
[/quote]

Thank you

[quote=Norwich]Strange, I have been to Mass in China, and, as a matter of interest, in Saudi Arabia as well. Oh, and again for interest sake, I noticed a post the other day that stated that Saudi was 100% islam. Wrong. There are a number of, albiet small, villages within Saudi that are Christian, (and one Jewish). They are not advertised and very few people know of their location but they are there!!!

Back to China, in China there is no government encouragement of religion but, you can worship if you want. Churches and temples do exist, mainly Christian and Bhudist in the East and Islam in the West. Sporadically some minor official or private citizen will make a little noise and people will put their heads above the parapet but that usually dies down quickly and things return to normal.

The greatest problem for those who celebrate the Mass in China is when some well meaning person from the western world decides to take it upon themselves to make a noise in the press etc. and create a reaction from Peking. The general message from the majority of Chinese Christians is for God sake “SHUT UP” and allow us to worship God quietly in our own way and in safety.

To put things into context I once asked a man from the town where I was working,

"What effect has the communist government on China as a whole?

His response was very revealing, he said;

“The communist government has been in China for a little over 50 years, Chinese history goes back 5,000 years so the’ve been in power for about 1% of our total time, what effect do you think that will have?”

If you look at the average Chinese town or village now, you realise that they have virtually no effect. Most towns and most villages have their own “Council” (for want of a better word) who make all the decisions for their own village of town. They will take cognisance of central government but, believe me if they think they can gain an advantage by ignoring Peking, they do.
[/quote]

You sound like an appologist for the Chinese government.

[quote=Lance]You sound like an appologist for the Chinese government.
[/quote]

Ever been to China? Come to think of it ever been outside the States?

[quote=Norwich]Ever been to China? Come to think of it ever been outside the States?
[/quote]

Not to China but I have been to Panama, Mexico, Canada, Bahamas, Cuba, Poland, England, Italy, Switzerland, France and Lebanon. That enough for you? You ever been to the US? And what does my never having been there have to do with anything? I am anti-communist, I don’t have to live under them to know that, just as I don’t have to work at an abortion clinic to know that I am anti-abortion. I resent you implacation that just because I disagree with you I am a red-neck hick. Now that I think about it it was red-necked hicks who save you sorry European butts in WW II, so get off your high horse.

You may be anti communist and you are quite right to deny it existance IN THE USA. But, if others want to embrace it THATS UP TO THEM NOT YOU!!!

Its called DEMOCRACY

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