Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Islamic Democracy by Bukay

Can there be an Islamic democracy?

The following article assumes the current political climate and equates that with religion. They have barely acknowledged but not given any value to the Democratic roots of Islam. It appears like they want to slap their definitions on to Islam.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) upon his death bed, did not nominate a successor, he was all powerful at that time and could have easily appointed Ali, his son in law, cousin and his dear daughter's husband, who held similar values as the Prophet. But he chose not to have dynastic system of governance with his people. The idea was to have the new leader be elected, through consensus.

On the spiritual front, the Prophet did not want clergy ruled states, he was specific; he told his followers on his last sermon, follow the book, this is all there is to it. There is no middle man between you and your God.

On the administration of the state, he had created a model with the Madinah pact, giving equal opportunities, rights and obligations to all the citizens of Madinah regardless of their religion or tribal affiliation. Then he chose not to appoint the leader, as that was not his preferred way, he was setting an example for consultation and democracy.

I relate that incident with my own, when I did my MBA program's capstone class. It was un-structured, un-organized and un-planned. My Professor Bernie Cunningham sat in the back of the class as an observer. Leadership evolved, and program was developed from it.

The writers conveniently forgot the master book on the subject - Democratic roots of Islam by Dr. Abdul Aziz Sachedina.

Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress
Can there be an Islamic democracy?
Review Essay
by David Bukay
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2007

Are Islam and democracy compatible? A large literature has developed arguing that Islam has all the ingredients of modern state and society. Many Muslim intellectuals seek to prove that Islam enshrines democratic values. But rather than lead the debate, they often follow it, peppering their own analyses with references to Western scholars who, casting aside traditional Orientalism for the theories of the late literary theorist and polemicist Edward Said, twist evidence to fit their theories. Why such efforts? For Western scholars, the answer lies both in politics and the often lucrative desire to please a wider Middle East audience. For Islamists, though, the motivation is to remove suspicion about the nature and goals of Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and, perhaps, even Hezbollah.

Western Apologia
Some Western researchers support the Islamist claim that parliamentary democracy and representative elections are not only compatible with Islamic law, but that Islam actually encourages democracy. They do this in one of two ways: either they twist definitions to make them fit the apparatuses of Islamic government—terms such as democracy become relative—or they bend the reality of life in Muslim countries to fit their theories.

Among the best known advocates of the idea that Islam both is compatible and encourages democracy is John L. Esposito, founding director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and the author or editor of more than thirty books about Islam and Islamist movements. Esposito and his various co-authors build their arguments upon tendentious assumptions and platitudes such as "democracy has many and varied meanings;"[1] "every culture will mold an independent model of democratic government;"[2] and "there can develop a religious democracy."[3]

He argues that "Islamic movements have internalized the democratic discourse through the concepts of shura [consultation], ijma' [consensus], and ijtihad [independent interpretive judgment]"[4] and concludes that democracy already exists in the Muslim world, "whether the word democracy is used or not."[5]

If Esposito's arguments are true, then why is democracy not readily apparent in the Middle East? Freedom House regularly ranks Arab countries as among the least democratic anywhere.[6] Esposito adopts Said's belief that Western scholarship and standards are inherently biased and lambastes both scholars who pass such judgments without experience with Islamic movements[7] and those who have a "secular bias" toward Islam.[8]

For example, in Islam and Democracy,[9] Esposito and co-author John Voll, associate director of the Prince Alwaleed Center, question Western attempts to monopolize the definition of democracy and suggest the very concept shifts meanings over time and place. They argue that every culture can mold an independent model of democratic government, which may or may not correlate to the Western liberal idea.[10]

Only after eviscerating the meaning of democracy as the concept developed and derived from Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece through Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in eighteenth century America, can Esposito and his fellow travelers advance theories of the compatibility of Islamism and democracy.

While Esposito's arguments may be popular within the Middle East Studies Association, democracy theorists tend to dismiss such relativism. Larry Diamond, co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, and Leonardo Morlino, a specialist in comparative politics at the University of Florence, ascribe seven features to any democracy: individual freedoms and civil liberties; rule of the law; sovereignty resting upon the people; equality of all citizens before the law; vertical and horizontal accountability for government officials; transparency of the ruling systems to the demands of the citizens; and equality of opportunity for citizens.[11] This approach is important, since it emphasizes civil liberties, human rights and freedoms, instead of over-reliance on elections and the formal institutions of the state.[12]

Esposito ignores this basic foundation of democracy and instead draws inspiration from men such as Indian philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Sudanese religious leader Hasan al-Turabi (1932-), Iranian sociologist Ali Shariati (1933-77), and former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami (1943-), who argue that Islam provides a framework for combining democracy with spirituality to remedy the alleged spiritual vacuum in Western democracies.[13] They endorse Khatami's view that democracies need not follow a formula and can function not only in a liberal system but also in socialist or religious systems; they adopt the important twentieth century Indian (and, later, Pakistani) exegete Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi's concept of a "theo-democracy,"[14] in which three principles: tawhid (unity of God), risala (prophethood) and khilafa (caliphate) underlie the Islamic political system.[15]

But Mawdudi argues that any Islamic polity has to accept the supremacy of Islamic law over all aspects of political and religious life[16]—hardly a democratic concept, given that Islamic law does not provide for equality of all citizens under the law regardless of religion and gender. Such a formulation also denies citizens a basic right to decide their laws, a fundamental concept of democracy. Although he uses the phrase theo-democracy to suggest that Islam encompassed some democratic principles, Mawdudi himself asserted Islamic democracy to be a self-contradiction: the sovereignty of God and sovereignty of the people are mutually exclusive. An Islamic democracy would be the antithesis of secular Western democracy.[17]

Esposito and Voll respond by saying that Mawdudi and his contemporaries did not so much reject democracy as frame it under the concept of God's unity. Theo-democracy need not mean a dictatorship of state, they argue, but rather could include joint sovereignty by all Muslims, including ordinary citizens.[18] Esposito goes even further, arguing that Mawdudi's Islamist system could be democratic even if it eschews popular sovereignty, so long as it permits consultative assemblies subordinate to Islamic law.[19]

While Esposito and Voll argue that Islamic democracy rests upon concepts of consultation (shura), consensus (ijma'), and independent interpretive judgment (ijtihad), other Muslim exegetes add hakmiya (sovereignty).[20] To support such a conception of Islamic democracy, Esposito and Voll rely on Muhammad Hamidullah (1908-2002), an Indian Sufi scholar of Islam and international law; Ayatollah Baqir as-Sadr (1935-80), an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric; Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), an Indian Muslim poet, philosopher and politician; Khurshid Ahmad, a vice president of the Jama'at-e-Islami of Pakistan; and Taha al-Alwani, an Iraqi scholar of Islamic jurisprudence.[21] The inclusion of Alwani underscores the fallacy of Esposito's theories. In 2003, the FBI identified Alwani as an unindicted co-conspirator in a trial of suspected Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders and financiers.[22]

Just as Esposito eviscerates the meaning of democracy to enable his thesis, so, too, does he twist Islamic concepts. Shura is an advisory council, not a participatory one. It is a legacy of tribalism, not sovereignty.[23] Nor does ijma' express the consensus of the community at large but rather only the elders and established leaders.[24] As for independent judgment, many Sunni scholars deem ijtihad closed in the eleventh century.[25]

Amplifying Esposito
Esposito's arguments have not only permeated the Middle Eastern studies academic community but also gained traction with public intellectuals through books written by journalists and policy practitioners.

In both journal articles and book length works as well as in underlying assumptions within her reporting, former Los Angeles Times and current Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Robin Wright argues that Islamism could transform into more democratic forms. In 2000, for example, she argued in The Last Great Revolution that a profound transformation was underway in Iran in which pragmatism replaced revolutionary values, arrogance had given way to realism, and the "government of God" was ceding to secular statecraft.[26] Far from becoming more democratic, though, the supreme leader and Revolutionary Guards consolidated control; freedoms remain elusive, political prisoners incarcerated, and democracy imaginary.

Underlying Wright's work is the idea that neither Islam nor Muslim culture is a major obstacle to political modernity. She accepts both the Esposito school's arguments that shura, ijma', and ijtihad form a basis on which to make Islam compatible with political pluralism.[27] She shares John Voll's belief that Islam is an integral part of the modern world,[28] and she says the central drama of reform is the attempt to reconcile Islam and modernity by creating a worldview compatible with both.[29]

In her article "Islam and Liberal Democracy," she profiles two prominent Islamist thinkers, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the exiled leader of Tunisia's Hizb al-Nahda (Renaissance Party), and Iranian philosopher and analytical chemist Abdul-Karim Soroush. While she argues that their ideas represent a realistic confluence of Islam and democracy,[30] she neither defines democracy nor treats her cases studies with a dispassionate eye. Ghannouchi uses democratic terms without accepting them let alone understanding their meaning. He remains not a modernist but an unapologetic Islamist.

Wright ignores that Soroush led the purge of liberal intellectuals from Iranian universities in the wake of the Islamic Revolution.[31] While Soroush spoke of civil rights and tolerance, he applied such privileges only to those subscribing to Islamic democracy.[32] He also argued that although Islam means "submission," there is no contradiction to the freedoms inherent in democracy. Islam and democracy are not only compatible but their association inevitable. In a Muslim society, one without the other is imperfect. He argues that the will of the majority shapes the ideal Islamic state.[33] But, in practice, this does not occur. As in Iran, many Islamists constrain democratic processes and crush civil society. Those with guns, not numbers, shape the state. Among Arab-Islamic states, there are only authoritarian regimes and patrimonial leadership; the jury is still out on whether Iraq can be a stable exception. Soroush, however, contradicts himself: Although Islam should be an open religion, it must retain its essence. His argument that Islamic law is expandable would be considered blasphemous by many contemporaries who argue that certain principles within Islamic law are immutable. Upon falling out of favor with revolutionary authorities in Iran, he fled to the West. Sometimes, academics only face the fallacy of what sounds plausible in the ivy tower when events force them to face reality.

What Ghannouchi and Soroush have in common, and what remains true with any number of other Islamist officials, is that, regardless of rhetoric, they do not wish to reconcile Islam and modernity but to change the political order. It is easier to adopt the rhetoric of democracy than its principles.

While time has proven Wright wrong, the persistence of Esposito exegetes remains. Every few years, a new face emerges to revive old arguments. The most recent addition is Noah Feldman, a frequent media commentator and Arabic-speaking law professor at Harvard University. In 2003, Feldman published After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy, which explores the prospects for democracy in the Islamic world.[34] His thesis rehashes Esposito's 1992 book The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?[35] and the 1996 Esposito-Voll collaboration Islam and Democracy.[36] Even after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Feldman argues that the age of violent jihad is past, and Islamism is evolving in new, more peaceful, and democratic directions.[37] Included in Feldman's list of Islamic democrats[38] is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamist theoretician who has endorsed suicide bombing and the murder of homosexuals.[39]

While most academic debates do not exit the classroom, the debate over the compatibility of Islam and democracy affects policy. Feldman pushes the conclusion that the Islamist threat is illusionary. Accordingly, he argues that Islamist movements should have a chance to govern.[40] Feldman concludes with the prescription that U.S. policymakers should adopt an inclusive attitude toward political Islam. "An established religion that does not coerce religious belief and that treats religious minorities as equals may be perfectly compatible with democracy," he explained in a September 2003 interview.[41]

Shireen Hunter, a former Iranian diplomat who now directs the Islam program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also repackages Esposito's general arguments in her book, The Future of Islam and the West: Clash of Civilizations or Peaceful Coexistence?,[42] and, more recently, in Modernization, Democracy, and Islam,[43] her edited collection with Huma Malik, the assistant director of Esposito's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Both books deny the Islamist threat and try to reconcile Islamic teachings with Western values. She seeks to counter Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilization[44] and gives an assessment of the relative role of both conflictual and cooperate factors of Muslim-Western relations. She argues that the fusion of the spiritual and the temporal in Islam is no greater than in other religions. Therefore, the slower pace of democratization in Muslim countries cannot be attributed to Islam itself. Although Hunter acknowledges that Muslim countries have a poor record of modernization and democracy, she blames external factors such as colonialism and the international economic system.[45]

Other scholars take obsequiousness to new levels. Anna Jordan, who gives no information about her expertise but is widely published on Islamist Internet sites, argues[46] that the Qur'an supports the principles of Western democracy as they are defined by William Ebenstein and Edwin Fogelman, two professors of political science who focus on the ideas and ideologies that define democracy.[47] By utilizing various Qur'anic verses,[48] Jordan finds that the Islamic holy book supports rational empiricism and individual rights, rejects the state as the ultimate authority, promotes the freedom to associate with any religious group, accepts the idea that the state is subordinate to law, and accepts due process and basic equality.

Most of her citations, though, do not support her conclusions and, in some cases, suggest the opposite. Rather than support the idea of "rational empiricism," for example, Sura 17:36 mandates complete submission to the authority of God. Other citations are irrelevant in context and substance to her arguments. Her assertion that the Qur'an assures the "basic equality of all human beings" rests upon verses commanding equality among Muslims and Muslims only, plus a verse warning against schisms among Muslims.

Gudrun Kramer, chair of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the Free University in Berlin, also accepts the Esposito thesis. She writes that the central stream in Islam "has come to accept crucial elements of political democracy: pluralism, political participation, governmental accountability, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights." In her opinion, the Muslim approach to human rights and freedom is more advanced than many Westerners acknowledge.[49]

Islamist Rejection of Esposito's Theory
Ironically, while Western scholars perform intellectual somersaults to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and democracy, prominent Muslim scholars argue democracy to be incompatible with their religion. They base their conclusion on two foundations: first, the conviction that Islamic law regulates the believer's activities in every area of life, and second, that the Muslim society of believers will attain all its goals only if the believers walk in the path of God.[50] In addition, some Muslim scholars further reject anything that does not have its origins in the Qur'an.[51]

Hasan al-Banna (1906-49), the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood,[52] sought to purge Western influences. He taught that Islam was the only solution and that democracy amounted to infidelity to Islam.[53] Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), the leading theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood, objected to the idea of popular sovereignty altogether. He believed that the Islamic state must be based upon the Qur'an, which he argued provided a complete and moral system in need of no further legislation.[54] Consultation—in the traditional Islamic sense rather than in the manner of Esposito's extrapolations—was sufficient.

Mawdudi, while used by Esposito, argued that Islam was the antithesis of any secular Western democracy that based sovereignty upon the people[55] and rejected the basics of Western democracy.[56] More recent Islamists such as Qaradawi argue that democracy must be subordinate to the acceptance of God as the basis of sovereignty. Democratic elections are therefore heresy, and since religion makes law, there is no need for legislative bodies.[57] Outlining his plans to establish an Islamic state in Indonesia, Abu Bakar Bashir, a Muslim cleric and the leader of the Indonesian Mujahideen Council, attacked democracy and the West and called on Muslims to wage jihad against the ruling regimes in the Muslim world. "It is not democracy that we want, but Allah-cracy," he explained.[58]

Nor does acceptance of basic Western structures imply democracy. Under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic adopted both a constitution and a parliament, but their existence did not make Iran more democratic. Indeed, Khomeini continued to wield supreme power and formed a number of bodies—the revolutionary foundations, for example—which remained above constitutional law.

Is Islamic Democracy Possible?
The Islamic world is not ready to absorb the basic values of modernism and democracy. Leadership remains the prerogative of the ruling elite. Arab and Islamic leadership are patrimonial, coercive, and authoritarian. Such basic principles as sovereignty, legitimacy, political participation and pluralism, and those individual rights and freedoms inherent in democracy do not exist in a system where Islam is the ultimate source of law.

The failure of democracies to take hold in Gaza and Iraq justify both the 1984 declaration by Samuel P. Huntington and the argument a decade later by Gilles Kepel, a prominent French scholar and analyst of radical Islam, that Islamic cultural traditions may prevent democratic development.[59]

Emeritus Princeton historian Bernard Lewis is also correct in explaining that the term democracy is often misused. It has turned up in surprising places—the Spain of General Franco, the Greece of the colonels, the Pakistan of the generals, the Eastern Europe of the commissars—usually prefaced by some qualifying adjective such as "guided," "basic," "organic," "popular," or the like, which serves to dilute, deflect, or even reverse the meaning of the word.[60]

Islam may be compatible with democracy, but it depends on what is understood as Islam. This is not universally agreed on and is based on a hope, not on reality. Both Turkey and the West African country of Mali are democracies even though the vast majority of their citizens are Muslim. But, the political Islam espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists is incompatible with liberal democracy.

Furthermore, if language has an impact on thinking, then the Middle East will achieve democracy only slowly, if at all. In traditional Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, there is no word for "citizen." Rather, older texts use cognates— in Arabic, muwatin; in Turkish, vatandaslik; in Persian, sharunad— respectively, closer in meaning to the English "compatriot" or "countryman." The Arabic and Turkish come from watan, meaning "country." Muwatin, is a neologism and while it suggests progress, the Western concept of freedom—understood as the ability to participate in the formation, conduct, and lawful removal and replacement of government—remains alien in much of the region.

Islamists themselves regard liberal democracy with contempt. They are willing to accommodate it as an avenue to power but as an avenue that runs only one way.[61] Hisham Sharabi (1927-2005), the influential Palestinian scholar and political activist, has said that Islamic fundamentalism expresses mass sentiment and belief as no nationalist or socialist (and we may add democratic) ideology has been able to do up until now.[62]

Why then are so many Western scholars keen to show the compatibility between Islamism and democracy? The popularity of post-colonialism and post-modernism within the academy inclines intellectuals to accommodate Islamism. Political correctness inhibits many from addressing the negative phenomenon in foreign cultures. It is considered laudable to prove the compatibility of Islam and democracy; it is labeled "Islamophobic" or racist to suggest incompatibility or to differentiate between positive and negative interpretations of Islam.

Many policymakers are also conflict-adverse. Islamists exploit the Western cultural desire to accommodate while Western thinkers and policymakers attempt to ameliorate differences by seeking to find common ground in definitions if not reality.

Into the mix comes Islamist propaganda, portraying Islam as peace-loving, embracing of civil rights and, even in its less tolerant forms, compatible with all democratic values. The problem is that the free world ignores the possibility that political Islam can threaten democracy not only in Middle Eastern societies but also in the West. The legitimization of political Islam has lent democratic respectability to an ideology and political system at odds with the basic tenets of democracy.

Esposito's statement that "the United States must restrain its one-dimensional attitude to democracy and recognize [that] the authentic roots of democracy exist in Islam"[63] shows a basic ignorance of both democracy and Islamist teachings. These conclusions are exacerbated when Esposito places blame for the aggressiveness and terrorism of Islamic fundamentalism on the West and on Said's "Orientalists." It is one thing to be wrong in the classroom, but it can be far more dangerous when such wrong-headed theories begin to affect policy.

David Bukay is a lecturer in the school of political science at the University of Haifa.

[1] John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 211-2; John O. Voll and John L. Esposito, Islam and Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 18-21.
[2] Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 211-2; Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 18-21.
[3] Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 211-2; Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 18-21; John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, "Islam and Democracy," Humanities, Nov./Dec. 2001.
[4] John L. Esposito and James Piscatory, "Democratization and Islam," Middle East Journal, Summer 1991, p. 434; John O. Voll and John L. Esposito "Islam's Democratic Essence," Middle East Quarterly, Sept. 1994, pp. 7-8; Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 27-30, 186; Esposito and Voll, "Islam and Democracy"; Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 49-50; John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 45, 83, 142-8.
[5] John L. Esposito, What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 159-61; John L. Esposito, "Contemporary Islam," in John L. Esposito, ed., The Oxford History of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 675-80; Esposito and Piscatory, "Democratization and Islam," p. 440.
[6] "Table of Independent Countries 2006," Freedom in the World, 2006 (Washington, D.C.: Freedom House, 2006).
[7] Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 203-4.
[8] John L. Esposito, "The Secular Bias of Scholars," The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 26, 1993.
[9] New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
[10] Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 6-8, 27-30.
[11] Larry Diamond, et. al., eds., Democracy in Developing Countries (London: Adamantine Press, 1988), pp. 218-60; Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino, "The Quality of Democracy," Journal of Democracy, Oct. 2004; Robert A. Dahl, Ian Shapiro, and Jose Antonio Cheibub, eds., The Democracy Sourcebook (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003).
[12] See Robert A. Dahl, On Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
[13] Esposito, The Oxford History of Islam, pp. 661-7; Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, pp. 137, 141, 181-3, 231, 245-6; Esposito and Piscatory, "Democratization and Islam," pp. 436-7.
[14] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, "Political Theory of Islam," in Khurshid Ahmad, ed., Islam: Its Meaning and Message (London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1976), pp. 159-61.
[15] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, Islamic Way of Life (Delhi: Markazi Maktaba Islami, 1967), p. 40; Esposito and Piscatory, "Democratization and Islam," pp. 436-7, 440; Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 125-6; Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 23-6.
[16] Muhammad Yusuf, Maududi: A Formative Phase (Karachi: the Universal Message, 1979), p. 35.
[17] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, "Political Theory of Islam," in John J. Donahue and John L. Esposito, eds., Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 253.
[18] Voll and Esposito, "Islam's Democratic Essence," p. 7.
[19] Esposito, The Islamic Threat, p. 126.
[20] Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiyah, "Mas'alah fil-'Aql wal-Nafs," in A.A.M. Qasim and M.A.A. Qasim, eds., Majmu'a fatawat Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (Riyyad: Matba'at al-Hukumah, 1996), vol. 9, pp. 47-9; Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, "Political Theory of Islam," in Ahmad, Islam, pp. 149-51; Sayyid Qutb, Milestones (Ma'alim fil Tariq) (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1990), pp. 111-3, 130-7.
[21] Voll and Esposito, Islam and Democracy, pp. 27-30, 186; Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 49-50; Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, pp. 45, 83; Esposito and Piscatory, "Democratization and Islam," p. 434.
[22] See, for example, J. Michael Waller, Annenberg Professor of International Communication, Institute of World Politics, statement before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Oct. 14, 2003.
[23] Clifford Edmond Boseworth, The Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960), vol. 9, s.v. "shura."
[24] M. Bernard, The Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960), vol. 3, s.v. "idjma."
[25] Joseph Schacht, The Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960), vol. 3, s.v. "idjtihad."
[26] Robin B. Wright, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran (London: Vintage, 2001), pp. 256-73, 292-9.
[27] Robin B. Wright, "Islam and Liberal Democracy: Two Visions of Reformation," Journal of Democracy, Apr. 1996, pp. 65-7.
[28] John Voll, Islam: Continuity and Change in Modern World (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1994), pp. 378-87.
[29] Wright, "Islam and Liberal Democracy," p. 67.
[30] Ibid., pp. 67-75.
[31] "Soroush among Those For and Against," interview, Jameah (Tehran), June 16, 17, 1998; John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, Makers of Contemporary Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), ch. 7.
[32] Abdol Karim Soroush, Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of Abdolkarim Soroush (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 123-55.
[33] Ibid., pp. 245, 247.
[34] New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003.
[35] Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[36] New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
[37] Feldman, After Jihad, pp. 222-7; "‘Islamic Democracy' in a New Iraq: An Interview with Noah Feldman," Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service, Sept. 30, 2003.
[38] Feldman, After Jihad, p. 182.
[39] "The Qaradawi Fatwas," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 78-80.
[40] Feldman, After Jihad, pp. 210-21, 228-30, 234.
[41] "‘Islamic Democracy' in a New Iraq: An Interview with Noah Feldman."
[42] New York: Praeger, 1998.
[43] New York: Praeger, 2005.
[44] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).
[45] Hunter, The Future of Islam and the West, pp. 19-28, 106-14.
[46] Anna Jordan, "The Principles of Western Democracy and Islam,", Dec.1998, accessed Nov. 17, 2006.
[47] William Ebenstein and Edwin Fogelman, Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1980), pp. 170-8.
[48] Qur'an 2:190-3; 2:215; 2:272; 3:26; 3:159; 3:195; 4:49-50; 4:52-3; 4:73; 4:71; 4:76; 4:100; 4:135; 9:20; 9:120; 10:98-9; 17:36; 17:53; 25:55; 31:18-9; 38:22-4; 38:26; 42:38; 45:18; 49:11-3.
[49] Gudrun Kramer, "Islamic Notions of Democracy," Middle East Report, July-August 1993.
[50] Faris Jedaane, "Notions of the State in Contemporary Arab Political Writings," in G. Luciani, ed., The Arab State (London: Routledge, 1990), pp. 247-83; Hamid Enayat, Modern Islamic Political Thought (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982), pp. 69-139.
[51] Ahmad, Islam: Its Meaning and Message, pp. 159-61.
[52] Richard Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 209-94.
[53] Hasan al-Banna, Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna (Berkeley: California University Press, 1978), pp. 142-54.
[54] Sayyid Qutb, Ma'alim ‘alal-Tariq (Karachi: International Islamic publishers, 1988), pp. 73-8, 80-1, 112; Sayed Khatab, The Political Thought of Sayyid Qutb: The Theory of Jahiliyah (London: Routledge, 2006).
[55] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, Political Theory of Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1976), pp. 13, 15-7, 38, 75-82.
[56] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, "Suicide of Western Civilization," in Wakar Ahmad Gardezi and Abdul Wahid Khan, eds., West versus Islam (New Delhi: International Islamic Publishers, 1992), pp. 61-73.
[57] Geneive Abdo, No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 107-36.
[58] Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch Series, no. 1285, Sept. 8, 2006.
[59] Samuel P. Huntington, "Will More Countries Become Democratic?" Political Science Quarterly, Summer 1984, p. 214; Gilles Kepel, The Revenge of God (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), p. 194.
[60] Bernard Lewis, "Islam and Liberal Democracy: A Historical Overview," Journal of Democracy, Apr. 1996, p. 52.
[61] Ibid., pp. 53-7.
[62] Hisham Sharabi, Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 136.
[63] Esposito and Voll, Islam and Democracy, p. 31.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.