Leaving Islam




Caricatures of Muhammad and Democracy!

By Ali Sina 


It is ironic that we want to build democracies half a word away on sand dunes while the foundation of our own democracy is chiseled away at home. 

Last Sunday in London, the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the election results of the Palestinian Authority surprised just about everyone.    

“I don't know anyone who wasn't caught off guard by Hamas' strong showing,” she said on her way to London for meetings on the Middle East, Iran and other matters.    

“I've asked why nobody saw it coming,” Rice said, speaking of her own staff. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.”   

Democracy cannot be imposed  

But the handwritings were on the wall for those who had a good enough pulse. What the U.S. administration fails to grasp is that democracy cannot be imposed on people who don’t want it.    

Democracy is born out of political maturity – out of recognition and acceptance of diversity. Democracy means diversity of opinions and not diversity of prejudices and freedom to crush opposing choices.    

The Bush administration must be lauded for their commitment to bring democracy to the world. But in their enthusiasm, they seem to be putting the cart before the horse.  

Muslims, have no tradition of democracy and no understanding of it. They confuse democracy with dictatorship of the majority. They exploit democracy to gain power. Once they come to power, they get rid of the democracy and establish Islamic theocracy. Once they come to power, they keep it. A good example of that is Iran , where its Islamic rulers came to power in a referendum and with that democratic vote, they ended the democracy. 

Before we can build democracy, we have to lay its foundation   

Freedom of speech, freedom of beliefs, respect for the rights of the minority and separation of religion from government are the foundations of democracy. Without these you can’t have democracy and yet none of them exists in any Islamic country. Democracy must be built from bottom up, starting first with the foundation.

Also it must be established gradually allowing people to gain experience. Start with municipal elections. Let people learn the process and then move to provincial elections. National elections should be called when the foundation of democracy is laid and taught in schools.   

Yes, democratization must begin from schools. Most school text books in Islamic countries teach nothing but hate. Children in math classes are given problems like: “A Jihadi boy sees 8 Jews. He kills five. How many Jews are left?” How can you have democracy with this much hate and intolerance?   

Instead of calling for plebiscites and elections, the West should help the Islamic countries to lay the foundation of democracy first. Insist on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Protect the freethinkers, the distinct-thinkers, the religious minorities and the non conformists so they can express their views with immunity. This means people must be allowed to criticize the views of the majority without fearing for their lives. There can't be democracy without freedom of expression and without opposition.   

Muslims have no regards for democracy  

The whole concept of freedom of speech is alien to Muslims. They are shocked and perturbed by it.    

Last September, Jyllands-Posten, the Denmark ’s largest daily circulation newspaper, invited the country’s cartoonists to present drawings depicting Muhammad. [See them here]  This traumatized the Muslims all over the world who condemned the cartoons as “blasphemous”.


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