Democracy and Islam don’t mix
Perhaps he was reacting to the violence of the Arab Spring. In any case, François Hollande, President of France, felt the need to say Islam and Democracy are compatible. He made this “politically correct” statement in view of France’s burgeoning Muslim population. But an American expert on Islam, Professor Daniel Pipes, has also asserted this compatibility. See here.
This political correctness (or disingenuousness) amuses me. Surely a historian of Pipes’ caliber knows that Islam, in its 1,400-year history, has never produced a democracy. And surely Israeli political scientists who expatiate on, and offer solutions, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also know this. A modicum of knowledge of political philosophy would inform any political analyst of several reasons why Islam and democracy are incompatible. Allow me to offer the following a lesson in Poli Phi 101. This should be mandatory in Israeli universities, especially those that devote little serious attention to the founder of political science, Aristotle. In contrast to Aristotle, one can place Machiavelli’s knowledge of politics on a postage stamp.
Democracy v. Islam
Freedom v. groupthink
- Freedom, including freedom of speech, is one of the two cardinal principles of democracy. In contrast, Islam is strictly authoritarian, which is why Islamic media work under state control.
- The other cardinal principle of democracy is equality. Islam, however, is strictly hierarchical. Top-down leadership is a fundamental principle of Islamic theology. Authority runs down from Allah to Muhammad and from Muhammad to the imam, the ruler of the regime.
- Democracy bases itself on the primacy of consent or persuasion. This adorns democratic societies with a certain easy-goingness and civility. Not only do people readily sweep past grievances aside, but political opponents can be friends despite their differences. They resolve these differences by mutual concessions, and usually make lasting agreements. In contrast, Islamic culture runs on the primacy of coercion. Agreements between rival factions do not really terminate animosities, which is why such agreements do not last.
- Since democracy runs on the primacy of consent, the pursuit of peace is the norm of democratic regimes. In contrast, since Islamic culture runs on the primacy of coercion, the policy norm of Islamic regimes is intimidation and conquest. Jihad (holy war) is Islam’s highest moral imperative, which is why Muslim violence will be found throughout the world.
- Democracy emphasizes the primacy of the individual. But Islamic culture emphasizes the primacy of the group, be it the village or the extended family. The individual Muslim has no identity outside the group. To the group he owes all his loyalty. This is one reason why internecine conflict has been endemic among Muslims throughout history.
Present v. past
- Contemporary democracy lets individuals pursue their private interests and have diverse values or “lifestyles”. In contrast, Islam binds everyone to the substantive values in the Quran and in Islamic law (the shariah).
- Contemporary democracy inclines toward moral relativism. Islam emphasizes absolutism. When moral relativism does not degenerate into moral reversal, contemporary democracy conduces to tolerance. But Islam conduces to intolerance. Admittedly, Islamic regimes tolerate non-Islamic minorities, but only as dhimmis, virtual pariahs.
- Whereas democratic societies live in the Present (the Now), Islamic culture exists under the aspect of Eternity. The past dominates Islamic mentality. Therefore revenge for past injuries is a dominant motif of the Islamic world. And given their group loyalty, Muslims are religiously bound to wreak vengeance against those who have slighted the honor of any Muslim.
- The openness or publicity of democracy stands in striking contrast to the hiddenness, secrecy, and dissimulation (taqiyya) characteristic of Islam. As the intellectually liberated Muslim sociologist Sonia Hamady writes about Arabs: “Lying is a widespread habit among the Arabs, and they have a low idea of truth.”
- Whereas contemporary democracy has its roots in a mild secularism, Islamic culture has its roots in a cruel religion. Even Arab leaders who are not devout Muslims identify with the basic goals of Islam. The radical separation of religion and politics one finds in democracy is foreign to Islam.
God-given rights and dignity
- Before succumbing to evangelical atheism, democracy in the West had its roots in the Judeo-Christian concept of man’s creation in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Islamic theology rejects this concept as blasphemous.
- Democracy, consistent with Genesis 1:26-27, affirms the moral unity of mankind. But Islam relegates non-Muslims to apes and dogs.
- Democracy, before its corruption, extolled the primacy of reason. Meanwhile, Islamic theology exalts the primacy of will. Hence, consistent with the unqualified omnipotence Islam attributes to Allah, the Taliban proclaimed: “Throw reason to the dogs; it stinks of corruption.”
The preceding array of indisputable facts demonstrates that Islam and Democracy are incompatible. What amazes this researcher is that eminent scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes, as well as Israeli statesmen like Benjamin Netanyahu, have either obscured these facts about Islam, or deem them unfit for public consumption, even though the disciples of Mohammad are unabashedly dedicated to Israel’s annihilation and constantly display their genocidal intentions by murdering Jewish men, women, and children!◙