of Muhammad and Democracy!
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
for meetings on the Middle East,
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.”
cannot be imposed
But the handwritings were on the wall for those who
had a good enough pulse. What the
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
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
, 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.
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,
’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