Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Non-Islamic democracy is impossible in the Arab world

30 March, 2011

    By Khalid Amayreh

    Many westerners are quite gloomy about the prospects of democracy in the Arab world, following the historic revolutions that have taken (and are taking) place in  several Arab countries. They are worried  that true democracy in Arab lands might bring to power Islamic democrats who would  seek to reconcile human rights, civil  liberties with the Islamic rulings. In other words, they dread seeing the Islamization of democracy.
    Some of  these  critics  are quite ignorant  of the truth about the Arab world and  Islam,  and  with a good  reason.  Decades of anti-Islam incitement, spearheaded by Zionist circles, more or less succeeded in tarnishing the image  of Islam in many western countries, portraying  it  as tyrannical and anti-democratic.
    Others are quite malicious. They know that the adoption of Islam, even  the reinstitution  of the Islamic  political authority,  is  the "natural  way" for  Muslim people. After all, Islam has always been the soul of Arabs.  Indeed,   asking  Muslims to abandon Islam, in favor of imported western  ideas and ideals,  would be  tantamount to  asking them to abandon their human and cultural identity.
    Many, probably most, westerners seem to  lament the demise  of  despicable  tyrants such as Hosni Mubarak, Zeinulabedin Bin Ali. Some are expressing consternation about the imminent downfall of Muammar  Qaddafi, the eccentric  Libyan dictator who has impoverished and murdered his people in  order to appease his megalomaniac tendencies.
    There is of course a clear and large amount  of hypocrisy  in  the Western approach toward reforms in the Muslim world.  The  West, which is not a monolithic power, backed  and shielded Arab dictators for years, fearing that true democracy in the Arab world  would bring to the forefront  a new breed of elected leaders who are more or less unfriendly to western, especially American interests in this part  of the world.
    Nonetheless, western hypocrisy goes much deeper. For while  people  anywhere in the world  should have the natural right to choose their  leaders freely, Muslims are not supposed to  choose leaders who are viewed as opposed to Zionist Nazism or American imperialism.
    There is also  conspicuous moral and logical inconsistency in American and even European stand  on Arab and Israeli democracy.  According  to this inherently duplicitous  western view, it is  perfectly fine  if Jews in Israel elect Nazi-like parties  such as  Habayt Hayuhedi (the Jewish home), Shas, National Union, and politicians like Avigdor Liberman and Benyamin Netanyahu, that adopt clear-cut fascist formulas.  On the other hand, however, Muslims must be constantly warned against Islamic parties  whose political formulas are actually very much similar to those of Christian  democratic  parties  in West.
    We are not denying the fact that there are some extremist  Islamic  groups, such as al-Qaeda that should be fought relentlessly as long  as they behave the way they do.
    However, viewing  a billion and a half  Muslims with different cultures and ways of thinking, as carbon copies of  a tiny, fanatical group is  both illogical and unfair.
    Yes, the west may encourage Arabs and Muslims to show genuine concern for human rights and civil liberties. This kind of interference is innocuous and harmless. But we  Muslims don't like to be told to refrain from electing Islamic parties. After all, we are Muslims, and telling us to not  elect Islamic  parties is  tantamount  to telling us to give  up Islam itself and adopt another religion.
    It should be clear to all that Arabs, like everyone else, have the right to elect their governments and leaders freely  according to their conscience. Moreover, for the sake of  mutual understanding and  constructive future relations between a democratic  west  and a democratic  Arab  world, the former would have to give up  some  of its  cultural arrogance and  accept the timeless truism that people may thoughtfully and sincerely hold different  views and  lead different ways of life.
    After all, God created us different when He could have created us identical.
    I said that whether the West likes it or not, Islam has always been  and continues to be  the zeitgeist (spirit  of the times) throughout the Arab world. Hence, it  is an expression of intransigence or perhaps  ill  will  on the part  of some western circles to warn Muslims in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia against electing parties with an  Islamic agenda.
    The Muslims of Egypt have the right to elect a Muslim democratic party just as Christians in Germany have the right to elect a Christian democratic party.
    As I mentioned above, there is a heavy legacy of misunderstandings, rumors and canards about Islam in the west, some dating back to the  ancient hostilities between Islam and the west while many of the recent  misunderstandings have been disseminated by Zionist circles,  especially through the media over which Zionist  lobbies have quite an influence.
    While Muslims are not obliged to imitate or copy certain western aspects of  democracy, there is nothing wrong in  learning and borrowing from  the rich and long western experience of democracy.
    Having said that, however,   it should be sufficiently clear that Muslims are under no  obligation to   copy or adopt anything that is incompatible with the principles  of our  faith. 


"Palestine is the heart of Arab countries" - PalestineFreeVoice

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