Saturday, June 05, 2010

Handlery on Islam and Democracy

The 64-thousand dollar question is whether Islam does fit into a democratic system. In a way, the question is not a question. It has been answered numerous times, both in theory and in the praxis. Alas, the results unearthed have always been the wrong, that is non-PC ones. The central problem issues from the concept of the desirable relationship between state and church. Even in case of the devout, in the advanced democratic and mainly Western entities, the principle of separation prevails. Here one would argue that the arrangement is to the benefit of both the worldly and the spiritual order. Islam’s tradition considers that the state is a worldly expression of the heavenly order. This determines not only the purpose of the state but also makes it subject to the supervision of those whose mandate comes from God.

Brussels Journal. HERE.


Paradoxicon said...

This is interesting, if choppily written.

My own conclusion is that Islam is compatible with "pure" Greek-style democracy, but not with modern, constitutional republican forms of government, that assign limits to government, assume equality under the laws, etc. In the Greek system, suffrage was limited to male property owners, and there was no separation between religion and the State. The majority ruled absolutely, with no separate judiciary to which one could appeal to redress miscarriages of justice. We have to be careful, though, to make sure we are adequately distinguishing "Islam" the religion from "Islam" the political theory. If we separate the former from the latter, I suppose, tentatively, that the former could be compatible with a modern republican system, but Islam the political theory is certainly not. I hope that makes sense.

JohnG. said...

Democracy and freedom of cult beeing closely linked, I dare suggest the following petition, by the group "Aid of the Church in need". It demands the obolition of pakistany law against blasphem which virtually makes of each christian there a people guilt of blasphemy, and therefore they liable to strict punishment :

Abu Daoud said...

Paradoxicon -- that assumes that you CAN separate Islam as a religious and political institution, which I would argue that you cannot. Islam, in its truest form, combines the political, religious, and cultural elements. To separate them is a very Western way of thinking, and not in line with traditional Islam. ~Umm Daoud

Paradoxicon said...

I agree with you in principle: that to be consistent, the political ideology must accomopany the religious practice, or the latter loses its 'raison d'etre'. On the other hand, the only "Islam" that exists is the one that is practiced in this particular time and this particular place, and I don't see Islam as being more authoritarian than, say, Second Temple Judaism or 8th or 14th century Byzantine Christianity. I am not necessarily saying that the momentum is there to prompt a "reform" of Islam similar to what occurred in Judaism and Christianity a few centuries ago, but I also do not want to discount the possibility that a "new" form of Islam could evolve that could break with certain elements of its own past without severing continuity altogether. As far as we're concerned in the here-and-now, though, I agree with you.