Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Islam and democracy

Adel Darwish expresses concern regarding the fact that some of the NCF Media Working Group may have misunderstood his comment on Islam and democracy, and took it as a criticism of Muslims.

"I meant Islamists political leaders who are now influencing both governmental policy and media in the region that is forced to spread the message. I didn't mean the populace - although the latter of course never think for themselves.

"The fact is that fundamentalist faith ( any faith) is incompatible with democracy. You only look at what the Vatican said in 2004 ( that Democracy was blasphemous and man's law should never replace god's law); or the fundamentalists in Israel ( near 200,000 of them) who don't serve in the army, or pay tax or vote as they believe it is sinful for the Jews to have a state, hence they don't recognise Israel !

"Same applies to Muslim clergy ( and all of them and that what I meant by all, but unfortunately you misunderstood it) who believe that all Muslims should follow god's laws not man's laws, hence they reject democracy.

"There isn't one single government in the Middle East today which has not compromised itself and gave in to Islamists blackmail, and trying either to appease them or appear to be more Islamic. If you name one single exception of a government from the Atlas Mountains to the Persian Gulf, I will be happy to learn something new.

"One case in point was the Egyptian ministry of information ( although the minister is among the most westernised and enlightened), banning an issue of the Guardian Weekly and a German magazine from sale and display on the stand because they published an essay that included quotes from the pope's lecture; while, for example the very subject of the pope's lecture( Hellenistic philosophy's analysis of the faith) was covered in two volume excellent book by the late existentialist Egyptian philosopher Dr Abdel Rahamn Badawi, some 60 years ago ' the Fundamentals of Hellenic philosophy' published in French and Arabic by Dar al-Maaref in Cairo. He had the same quotes and even worse quotes about Islam and how it was spread by the sword and the illogical interpretaton of the work of god etc. Yet. it was not banned and Cairo university students were reading it openly.

"Hence was my comment when I said all of them ( i.e. those making public opinion, government and media ) are under influence of clergy who believe in the fundamentals of Islam which is and will never be compatible with democracy, except, when there is a separation between state and church, and the national constitution doesn't mention that one faith was the source of legislation. This for example was like how Egypt used to be before the 1952 military coup with multi-party parliamentarian democracy , hence books like Taha Hussein's ' al fitna al-Kubra' ( stronger than Salman's Rushdie's) or Dr Badawi's books were never banned.

"But because it is precisely now that ALL governments in the region are appeasing Islamists, then democracy will have no chance ( there are other factor of course).

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