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TRADITIONAL ISLAM CANNOT BE A CULTURAL FOUNDATION FOR DEMOCRACY, TOLERANCE OR HUMAN RIGHTS

June 25, 2014

I will post the following at the risk of upsetting some of my Muslim friends but it’s an important one and intended to brainstorm and not upset any of them: Islam, sadly, is incompatible with democracy, tolerance to others or human rights. The only way to observe these is by bypassing it. What I am saying is this: Traditional Islam cannot be a cultural foundation for democracy, tolerance or human rights. Let’s not pretend there is no deep problem within or in Islam. The future in the Middle East, and to a large extent the world’s, depends on this.

Islam must reform to be adaptable to the modern concepts of democracy, tolerance and human rights. As I said before, I am not interested in the non-political part of Islam but I believe its political part sucks. The truth is that it’s not the application of Islam in politics which is to blame but its very political theory which is defective. The defence that Islam is actually peaceful, democratic, tolerant and attentive to human rights; and that what we see in practice is the fault of the Muslims as they apply Islam on the ground and not Islam in its actual teachings, and as embodied in its sacred text whether Quran or Hadith or Sunna or Fiqh or Sharia, is frankly repulsive more than it’s inaccurate. But how many Muslims are brave enough and intellectually honest to face up to this? I know many are but there is no doubt that the majority aren’t and hurry up to defend Islam than see the truth. The effect of this is that the world will continue to witness the evil that has been introduced and created by Islam’s political theory. The abominable acts of the Islamists, of all sorts, that we watch day in and day out, whether in Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and even in the West, are bound to continue because they are driven not be a corruption of Islam but by its very political theory as established in the seventh century and augmented since then by practice.

However, let no one equate Islam with Muslims – there are many good Muslims as there are many bad Christians (or followers of other religions). Further, I am not interested in apolitical Islam, and I do believe there is much in it which is good, but Political Islam, I believe, is pure evil.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2014 4:30 pm

    Thank you! I think the most important part of your post is this: “But how many Muslims are brave enough and intellectually honest to face up to this?”

    I do want to state something that is semantic. In my opinion political [fill in religion here] is evil. When people want a type of democracy that involves basic agreed upon human and civil rights, politics have to be pluralistic and areligious by nature. Any religion that tries to define political ideology will be in a state of oppression, usually.

    With that said, pretty much most religions have to come accept that they have nothing to do with politics and are for the most part content with their own freedom to practice and to “evangelize” in whatever way they want even if it means they’ll lose members to other beliefs or “sins”. The problem is in fact Islam in and of itself does not seem to be content with that. They look for ways to introduce Sharia in its diverse forms, whether “democratic Sharia” or “really hardcore Sharia”. Whatever the case is, any country that is dominantly Islamic cannot help but adopt a constitution that has to be “principled” by Sharia, or at the very least makes Islam the state-sponsored and “better” religion in cases of social family issues. And this is where Islam does need to be reformed. Muslim scholars need to be brave enough to think is the problem really because Islam in and of itself is unable to achieve pluralism and the absolute freedom of religion (even the freedom to apostatize) or it is because Muslims on a grand social scale are backwards compared to other religious peoples, but nonetheless has nothing to do with the religion?

    That is the million dollar question, and this is with full respect to my Muslim friends, who I know many can have liberal political ideas and consider themselves religious, but are simply not the majority of Muslims.

  2. Aicha permalink
    August 5, 2014 11:30 am

    Islam in fact has enough elements in it’s tradition to support democracy and human rights. Just have a look at this conversation with Indonesian scholar Musdah Mulia to get quite a different view.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      August 6, 2014 8:34 am

      With all due respect, all efforts to make us think traditional Islam, as in Koran, Sunna and fiqh, is peaceful, democratic or pro-human rights, will not be convincing as we know the Islamic scriptures and writings very well.

      I know there is a big dilemma there for everyone.

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