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May 21, 2006

Some Advice From A Muslim Friend Of Democracy: On Democracy As A Goal In The Muslim World And The Necessity For Education And Economic Reform First

Sudanese Thinker now lives in Malaysia, dreams of his home in Sudan, and supports democracy. However, he feels that America is going about spreading democracy in the wrong way. With the possible exception of Iraq, which is a moot point since we are already there (he says in a PS: Fix Iraq as soon as possible!), he strongly believes what other liberal Muslims have told me in direct conversations: Other than the liberal Muslims who support democracy, the majority want no democracy, no secularism and most certainly no Western ideology being "forced on them", and the key to democracy is education and by extrapolation (from his post), economic reforms ("the word "democracy" means something very different to the average Arab Muslim citizen who is too busy struggling daily to make ends meet"):

(...) If they want something then it's two and two things only... the Khilafa system which is an Islamic system with similarities to democracy to return and for a great Muslim Ummah to rise once again.

... However Arab Muslims are without a doubt divided ... This divide amongst us can be attributed to simply one thing... education or the lack of it. America can continue its war in the same way but the final outcome will be the exact opposite of what it has planned for. A change is therefore necessary for such an outcome to be avoided. If Americans are to win, the perception towards democracy in the Muslim world must be fixed. That is something Americans are not in control of but can help in.

Education in the Arab Muslim world is the key which must be focused on and we Muslims must try our best to continue our efforts in pursuing that goal as this is in our interests and those of the West. This war to "liberate" will only truly liberate if it is accompanied by education. So far all America has been doing is focusing on the former which is "liberate". I don't blame the Americans for this, but I so desperately hope they start to realize the word "democracy" means something very different to the average Arab Muslim citizen who is too busy struggling daily to make ends meet. Philosophizing about this word is out of question. Therefore I stress again the need for education. I also stress the continuation of peace efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that anti-Israeli sentiments in the region can at least start decreasing.

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SudaneseThinker links to a February post at Egyptian Observer that offers a similar opinion, but puts it in the context of Arab countries not having yet deciphered how to integrate Islam in to the 21st century:

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Posted by Richard at May 21, 2006 8:42 PM





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