Democracy a fantasy in the Islamic World
Islam is Peace!
Although Islam and democracy have never been in contrast with each other, but in today’s world Muslim nations are mostly dominated by dictators and undemocratic leaders. As a Muslim and Afghan I strongly believe that the peaceful religion of Islam strongly supports democracy and freedom in accordance with its sacred values and deeply denounces tyranny and totalitarian regimes and systems in its sacred domain.
Surprisingly, when talking about democracy the first thing comes to our mind is the west which is considered to be the real voice of modern democracy, but Islam at the same time has also played a critical role in fostering democracy right from its origin and has always been supportive of modernization, economic development, freedom of expression and above all respecting women’s rights within the society, it is worth-mentioning that when the very first caliphate of Islam was being chosen all the Muslims at that particular time had to express their vote of allegiance to him and in another historical incident the second caliphate of Islam was summoned by a woman if not obeying the right path, unfortunately due to the negative and anonymity of certain media platforms when you hear the world Islam there comes an automatic visual of hatred, inhuman and anti democracy religion which is absolutely insane and untrue.
I strongly do believe that there are certain tiny extremist elements as Taliban and Al-Qaeda who have made the peace loving religion of Islam as a tool for fulfilling their personal agendas and introducing a negative picture of Muslims to the rest of the world, but as a whole I believe that Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and pro development and democracy and if followed truly there is no conflict whatsoever between Islamic values and democratic principles.
Women’s rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and convening of transparent elections which are considered the core elements of a democratic nation is strongly supported by Islamic values as well, and should be practiced by each single Muslim nation around the world as it is so dominantly practiced all over the world and as a matter of fact Politics and Islam can never be considered apart from each other and are being considered as a necessity for each other.
Certainly there are some Islamic states which have maintained a noticeable balance between democracy and being Islamic states like Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia that are not only in the limelight for their rapid economic development and social reforms but also emerging as a good model for all post-conflict Islamic countries like Afghanistan to adopt their positive way and maintain a balanced democracy and friendly relationship with the rest of the world.
Barbarism , isolation and tyranny which are the common characteristics of most governments in the Islamic nations have certainly kept these countries far behind their western counterparts in terms of economic development, social welfare, education and fostering of modern technology and unfortunately despite knowing these concrete facts Muslim governments so far have not been able to channel their ultimate focus to institutionalizing democracy in their states while so willingly are still interested in sticking with their policies of confronting the western world and silencing the voice of their nations in bringing change and hope for their future.
Written by: Naser Koshan
University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA
Fulbright Scholar Ms. Economics