“Hello from Fjordman. Here comes the second part of the essay, which will consist of at least five parts, explaining exactly why Islam is incompatible with democracy. It is published in cooperation with the Gates of Vienna blog. The first part is here.”
According to Salim Mansur, associate professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, “Democracy is in a cultural sense an expression of the liberal modern world that situates the individual as the moral center of politics and society. (…) It is the idea of the inalienable rights located in the individual, rights that need to be protected, nurtured, and allowed the fullest unhindered expression that makes democracy so morally distinctive from other cultural systems. From this liberal perspective, the common error about democracy is to view it as a majority system of governance. In a democracy based on individual rights, on the contrary, it is the protection of the rights of minorities and dissidents that reflect the different nature of politics within the larger context of democratic culture.”
This definition is opposed to an illiberal democracy, which is “similar to what Samuel E. Finer, a professor of politics and government, wrote about in Comparative Government as ‘faÃ§ade democracy,’ a bowing of the head to the idea of democracy by the tiny elite of those in power as a means to enhance their legitimacy and perpetuate their authority.”
One great obstacle to establishing democracy in this cultural sense in Muslim countries is that Muslims have been taught from birth that non-Muslims can’t be expected to enjoy the same kind of rights as Muslims do.
The Wall Street Journal ran a piece entitled “Reviving Mideastern Democracy: We Arabs Need the West’s Help to Usher in a New Liberal Age.” It was written by Saad Eddin Ibrahim, chairman of the board of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, who has been jailed several times for his pro-democracy work in Egypt. Mr. Ibrahim thinks the prospects for democracy in the Middle East are surprisingly good:
“In previous decades, authoritative voices said that Germany, Japan, Slavic countries and even Catholic societies would never, could never, be democratic. I am not speaking of popular prejudices here, but of high-level scholarship and expert consensus. Batteries of learned naysayers honestly believed that there was something about German, Japanese or Slavic culture, or about Catholicism, that was fundamentally and unchangeably hostile to democracy and democratic values. . . .”
But in the words of the celebrated 14th century historian Ibn Khaldun himself: “in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, says Ibn Khaldun, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations” (Muqaddimah, trans. Rosenthal, p. 183).
As Robert Spencer commented, “Those are not words of openness, tolerance, and democracy. And they are still widely held in the Muslim world.”
Ibn Khaldun wrote about Christians: “We do not think that we should blacken the pages of this book [Muqaddimah] with discussion of their [Christian] dogmas of unbelief. In general, they are well known. All of them are unbelief. This is clearly stated in the noble Koran. To discuss or argue those things with them is not up to us. It is for them to choose between conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death.”
According to the book The Legacy of Jihad (page 29), “In The Laws of Islamic Governance al-Mawardi (d. 1058), also examines the regulations pertaining to the lands and infidel (i.e., non-Muslim) populations subjugated by jihad. This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel population had to recognize Islamic ownership of their land, submit to Islamic law, and accept payment of the poll tax (jizya). Al-Mawardi highlights the most significant aspect of this consensus view of the jizya in classical Islamic jurisprudence: the critical connection between jihad and payment of the jizya. He notes that “[t]he enemy makes a payment in return for peace and reconciliation.” Al-Mawardi then distinguishes two cases: (1) Payment is made immediately and is treated like booty, however “it does, however, not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future” (2) Payment is made yearly and will “constitute an ongoing tribute by which their security is established.” Reconciliation and security last as long as the payment is made. If the payment ceases, then the jihad resumes.”
There are also other limitations on dhimmis. In 2005 it was announced that the first Christian church in Qatar since the 7th century was to be built on land donated by the reform-minded Emir. The church will not have a spire or freestanding cross, in accordance with traditional dhimmi laws where Christians are forbidden to display crosses. Clive Handford, the Nicosia-based Anglican Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf, said: “We are there as guests in a Muslim country and we wish to be sensitive to our hosts … but once you’re inside the gates it will be quite obvious that you are in a Christian center.” Christianity was eradicated from most Gulf Arab states within a few centuries of the arrival of Islam.
Even in Malaysia, one Muslim majority country frequently hailed as “moderate and tolerant,” hundreds of Hindu worshippers watched in horror as workers, mostly Muslims, brought down the roof of their temple and smashed the deities that immigrant Indian workers had brought with them. “We are poor and our only comfort is our temples and now we are losing that also,” Kanagamah said in Tamil, the language spoken by ethnic Indians who form eight percent of Malaysia’s 26 million people and mostly follow Hinduism.
“The demolitions are indiscriminate, unlawful and against all constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship,” according to human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar. He said temples are demolished by the authorities as illegal structures but the same authorities make it impossible for devotees to get a permit. He cited the case of a Catholic church nearby which got a permit to build a church after 30 years of trying. “What does this say about freedom of worship?” he asked. Well, it says that Muslim authorities are still operating according to the classic provision of the dhimmi laws, that non-Muslims must not build new houses of worship or repair old ones.
According to Sita Ram Goel, Imam Hanifa “had recommended that Hindus, though idolaters, could be accepted as a ‘People of the Book’ like the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians, and granted the status of zimmis. The Muslim swordsmen and theologians in India happened to follow his school of Islamic law. That enabled them to ‘upgrade’ the ‘crow-faced infidels’ of this country to the status of zimmis. Hindus could save their lives and some of their properties, though not their honour and places of worship and pilgrimage, by paying jizyah and agreeing to live under highly discriminative disabilities. The only choice which the other great Imams of Islam – Malik, Shafii and Hanbal [the founders of the four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence] – gave to the Hindus was between Islam and death.”
From Western apologists we often hear that the “communal strife” on the Indian subcontinent is “mutual.” If this is the case, why is it that in Pakistan non-Muslims have been all but wiped out, and the few remaining Christians and Hindus suffer continuous harassment and abuse. The population of Bangladesh was about thirty percent non-Muslim a few decades ago. Now that number is down to ten percent. Contrast this decline with the fact, due to higher birthrates, the number of Muslims within the Republic of India has actually increased during the same period. Do these statistics indicate “mutual hostility” or simply persecution of infidels?
In Pakistan’s Sindh province there is an alarming trend: Muslims kidnap Pakistani Hindu girls and force them to convert to Islam. The worried resident Hindu community has resorted to marrying off their daughters as soon as they are of age. Alternatively, they migrate to India, Canada or other nations. Recently, at least 19 such abductions have occurred in Karachi alone.
“Have you ever heard of an Indian Muslim girl being forced to embrace Hinduism? It’s Muslims winning by intimidation. It’s Muslims overcoming a culture by threatening it, by abducting young girls so that an entire community moves out or succumbs to the Muslim murderers,” human rights activist Hina Jillani says. Hindus and Christians in Pakistan are looked down upon. “That is why they have to take up inferior jobs; their chances of rising in any field are low.”
The Muslim superiority syndrome runs deep. In Milestones, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb writes about “a triumphant state which should remain fixed in the Believer’s heart” in the face of every thing. “It means to feel superior to others when weak, few and poor, as well as when strong, many and rich.”
“When the Believer scans whatever man, ancient or modern, has known, and compares it with his own law and system, he realizes that all this is like the playthings of children or the searchings of blind men in comparison with the perfect system and the complete law of Islam. And when he looks from his height at erring mankind with compassion and sympathy at its helplessness and error, he finds nothing in his heart except a sense of triumph over error and nonsense. (…) Conditions change, the Muslim loses his physical power and is conquered, yet the consciousness does not depart from him that he is the most superior. If he remains a Believer, he looks upon his conqueror from a superior position. He remains certain that this is a temporary condition which will pass away and that faith will turn the tide from which there is no escape.”
Underlying this Muslim supremacist mentality, there is also the idea of Arab supremacy. Again according to Qutb, “What are the Arabs without Islam? What is the ideology that they gave, or they can give to humanity if they abandon Islam? The only ideology the Arabs advanced for mankind was the Islamic faith which raised them to the position of human leadership. If they forsake it they will no longer have any function or role to play in human history.”
Of course, there are those who would dismiss Sayyid Qutb as “an extremist,” since his writings such as Milestones and especially In the Shade of the Qur’an have inspired countless Jihadists since his execution at the hands of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime in 1966. But Qutb’s ideas about Muslim supremacy are on firm Islamic grounds.
According to Hugh Fitzgerald, “within Islam, a supposedly universalist religion where all Muslims in the ummah are equal, there is a special place for the Arabs.” The Koran is written in Arabic, and “was delivered to, given to, revealed to, the Arabs, that best of people. That best of men, Muhammad, was an Arab, and so were the Companions. The Qur’an itself should ideally not be read in any language other than Arabic (the Arabic in which it was written, not in any simplified or updated version). Qur’anic recitation is in Arabic. The students in Pakistan or Indonesia or elsewhere who pass their young lives memorizing Qur’anic passages are essentially memorizing Arabic, a language that they do not know at all, or understand most imperfectly. Yet it is 7th century Arabs, real or imaginary, who must serve as a guide to existence. (…) In Saudi Arabia there is apartheid: the signs ‘Muslim’ and ‘Non-Muslim’ are everywhere. But ‘Muslims’ are further divided into Arab (first class) and non-Arab (second class). This has not escaped the attention of the many Muslim non-Arabs who live in Saudi Arabia — or at least not the attention of all of them.”
This Arab supremacy is underestimated by infidels as a weapon against Islam: “Part of weakening Islam is to show many Muslims that Islam was simply an Arab invention and export, a poisoned chalice that has lain low higher, and superior civilizations. This is likely to resonate especially in Iran among those who have had their fill of the Islamic Republic of Iran — that is, every thinking and morally aware person in Iran.”
In Morocco, activists complain that Berber influence in political and economic life remains limited. “We’re not Arabs, bring out the real history,” chanted hundreds of Moroccan Berbers during Labor Day marches with slogans in their Tamazight language and banners written in Tifinagh, the Berber script. Berbers are the original inhabitants of North Africa, before the Arabs invaded in the seventh century. The Moroccan constitution says the country is Arab and Islam is its religion. The proportion of Berbers is not officially known but independent sources say they represent the majority of the population. The total population of Berbers in the world is estimated at twenty-five million, mainly concentrated in Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia.
Islamic ideas about inequality are already being exported to the West. Two men were killed in a row involving a group of second generation immigrants in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2005. According to imam Abu Laban (who was later responsible for whipping up hatred against his country of residence because of the now famous cartoons of Muhammad in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten) the thirst for revenge could be cooled if 200,000 kroner were paid by the family of the man who fired the shots. 200,000 Danish kroner is approximately the value of 100 camels, a number based on the example of Muhammad himself. The idea of blood money originates from the Koran, 2.178: O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness.
Politiken, a left-leaning, intellectual newspaper championing multiculturalism in Denmark, argued that the principle of blood money might be worth considering. Luckily, they were met by an outcry from angry citizens. There are at least two major problems with this Islamic “justice.” The first is that it is settled between families, tribes or clans, not in a justice system administered by the authorities where it is a matter concerning the individuals involved, not the entire clan. We had similar tribal vendettas in the West at one time, but we left this practice behind a long time ago, as Muslims should have done. The biggest problem will come if this tribal system were to undermine the Western justice system to the extent that Westerners, too, would revert to tribal law in order to protect themselves.
Many commentators in Denmark failed to understand the worst part of the blood money concept. Not only is it pre-modern and anti-individualistic, but the compensation to be paid is fundamentally inegalitarian. Muslim men are the only full members of the Islamic community. All others have fewer rights due to their religion, their sex or their slave status.
The rates for blood money mirror this apartheid system. A Saudi court has ruled that the value of one woman’s life is equal to that of one man’s leg. The court ordered a Saudi to pay a Syrian expatriate blood money after he killed the man’s wife and severed both his legs in a car accident six months earlier. The court ordered $13,300 compensation for the man’s wife, and the same amount for each of his legs. Under Islamic law, the life of an ex-Muslim is worth nothing at all. He is a traitor, an apostate, and can be killed with impunity.
In the April 9, 2002 issue, The Wall Street Journal published the concept of blood money in Saudi Arabia. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation as follows:
*100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
* 50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
* 50,000 riyals if a Christian man
* 25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
* 6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
* 3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman
In a Saudi school textbook, after the intolerance was supposedly removed, the 10th-grade text on jurisprudence said: “Blood money for a free infidel. [Its quantity] is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is ‘of the book’ or not ‘of the book’ (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc).
Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel.”
As Ali Sina says, “According to this hierarchy, a Muslim man’s life is worth 33 times that of a Hindu woman. This hierarchy is based on the Islamic definition of human rights and is rooted in the Quran and Sharia (Islamic law). How can we talk of democracy when the concept of equality in Islam is inexistent?”
He thinks that the Islamic system of government is akin to Fascism:
“¢ It is marked by centralization of authority under a supreme leader vested with divine clout.
“¢ It has stringent socioeconomic control over all aspects of all its subjects irrespective of their faith.
“¢ It suppresses its opposition through terror and censorship.
“¢ It has a policy of belligerence towards non-believers.
“¢ It practices religious apartheid.
“¢ It disdains reason.
“¢ It is imperialistic.
“¢ It is oppressive.
“¢ It is dictatorial and
“¢ It is controlling.
According to Sina, “Islam is political and political Islam is Fascism.”
At Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, Muslims are displaying their superiority syndrome.
The largest student group on campus, the Muslim Students’ Association, has monopolized use of the multifaith room. Eric Da Silva, president of the Catholic Student Association, said the group looked into using the room for mass but was told by RSU front desk staff that the room was “permanently booked” by Muslim students. “No one is trying to take away the space from the Muslims, we just don’t want to be stepping on their toes,” said Da Silva. He stressed that the group found another space to hold mass and the conflict was quickly resolved. The space, which was divided to separate males from females, had rows taped on the floor for prayer and Islamic decorations adorning the walls, was only accommodating to Muslims. A Canadian Federation of Students task force tackling cultural and religious discrimination was brought to campus by members of the MSA, but it only addressed the problem of Islamophobia.
Raymond Ibrahim, a research librarian at the US Library of Congress, warns in the Los Angeles Times against giving in to Muslim supremacists:
“In the days before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Hagia Sophia complex in Istanbul, Muslims and Turks expressed fear, apprehension and rage. ‘The risk,’ according to Turkey’s independent newspaper Vatan, ‘is that Benedict will send Turkey’s Muslims and much of the Islamic world into paroxysms of fury if there is any perception that the pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims.’ Apparently making the sign of the cross or any other gesture of Christian worship in Hagia Sophia constitutes such a sacrilege. Built in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia – Greek for Holy Wisdom’ – was Christendom’s greatest and most celebrated church. After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts from Arabs, Constantinople – now Istanbul – was finally sacked by Turks in 1453, and Hagia Sophia’s crosses were desecrated, its icons defaced.”
The Turks didn’t have to worry. The Pope behaved in perfect dhimmi fashion during his visit to the formerly Greek, Christian territory now known as Turkey. Ibrahim believes that “The West constantly goes out of its way to confirm such convictions. By criticizing itself, apologizing and offering concessions – all things the Islamic world has yet to do – the West reaffirms that Islam has a privileged status in the world.”
This blindness to the threat posed by the ingrained Islamic Superiority Syndrome has huge consequences when trying to export “democracy” to Islamic countries such as Iraq.
In September 2005, the patriarch of Baghdad for the Chaldeans told Iraqi officials about Catholic bishops’ fears that the constitution “opens the door widely” to discrimination against non-Muslims. Article 2.1(a) stated: “No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.” The bishops’ statement concluded: “This opens the door widely to passing laws that are unjust towards non-Muslims.” Glyn Ford, British MEP, joined former Tribune editor Mark Seddon and Andy Darmoo, head of Save the Assyrians, to sound the alarm on behalf of Assyrian Christians: “Prevented from voting in the elections, in recent months many have had their land occupied and stolen, their churches firebombed and their families attacked. Isn’t it time that the international community began championing the rights of Assyrians and other minorities before it is too late?”
A group of Muslim men seized a seven year old Mandaean boy, from an ancient Gnostic sect in Iraq, doused him in petrol and set him alight. As the child was being burnt to death the Muslims were running around shouting, “Burn the dirty infidel!” “Many women physicians have been killed, women in the police forces, reporters and journalists,” Rajaa al-Khuzai, president of the Iraqi National Council of Women said. Now “women are very easy targets,” especially high-profile women such as herself, she added. This oppression of women and non-Muslims is in full accordance with Islamic sharia and was depressingly predictable.
Although Christians made up less than four per cent of the population they formed the largest groups of refugees arriving in Jordan’s capital Amman in the first quarter of 2006. In Syria, forty-four percent of Iraqi asylum-seekers were recorded as Christian since December 2003. They were fleeing killings, kidnappings and death threats. “In the schools the children now say that a Christian is a kaffir [infidel].” The Catholic bishop of Baghdad, Andreos Abouna, was quoted as saying that half of all Iraqi Christians have fled the country since the 2003 US-led invasion. Some warned that in twenty years all Christians in Iraq will be gone. “It was easy for the Americans and the British to have supported us when the churches were bombed – it was a historic opportunity – but they did nothing. If they had supported us financially, for example, we could have protected all the Christian families in Mosul.”
U.S. President George W. Bush said he would accept it if Iraqis voted to create an Islamic fundamentalist government in democratic elections. “I will be disappointed, but democracy is democracy.”
Is it really equivalent, Mr. Bush?
This brings us back to Plato’s criticism of democracy as just an advanced form of mob rule. And without any constraints, checks and balances, that definition is correct. Benjamin Franklin said that “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” This is why he and the other Founding Fathers wanted the USA to be a constitutional Republic, not a pure democracy.
It is strange that the United States wanted to export to Iraq a naÃ¯ve concept of democracy, one that provided too few rights and guarantees for individuals and minorities, one that their own Founding Fathers had specifically rejected for precisely that reason. And this did not even include an assessment of Islam, in which harassing and persecuting minorities and suppressing individual liberty is a matter of principle.
Non-Muslims and women in Iraq are now paying with their lives for that naÃ¯ve mistake.