Sunday, January 22, 2012

Islam and Democracy

Awakening yesterday to the news of the Boko Haram bombing in Nigeria, which left more than 150 people dead, I'm tempted to hope that the twilight of Islam apologists is upon us.

In typical liberal conversations, some conservative strawman says something along the lines of "Islam and democracy are incompatible," and is promptly confronted by Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia as examples of "good democratic Islamic countries."  Not so fast:

They are censoring
Still unwilling to admit their role in the Armenian genocide
Supporting the flotilla against Israel, Hamas, and Iran
It is still difficult for religious minorities

There were reports that local officials harassed persons who converted from Islam to another religion when they sought to amend their identity cards. Some non-Muslims maintained that listing their religious affiliation on the cards exposed them to discrimination and harassment.

Turkey continues to repress the Kurdish people.

So yeah.  Turkey: Model Democracy? Far from it. Not to mention that they dump their low IQ population on Germany, but I find that amusing. 

Now, on to the next Islamic paradise: Indonesia
First of all, you may have heard about the atheist who was sentenced to five years behind bars for saying God does not exist.

Or that Aceh implemented death by stoning for adultery

Secular Paradise?  I think not.

And Finally Malaysia
Continuing repression
“The Malaysian authorities’ crushing of Bersih’s peaceful march showed the government’s true face as an entrenched power willing to run roughshod over basic rights to maintain control.

It is difficult to convert out of Islam
 In April 2000, the state of Perlis passed a sharia law subjecting Islamic "deviants" and apostates to 1 year of "rehabilitation" (under the Constitution, religion, including sharia law, is a state matter). Leaders of the opposition Islamic party, PAS, have stated the penalty for apostasy — after the apostates are given a period of time to repent and they do not repent — is death.
Many Muslims who have converted to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other religions lead "double lives", hiding their new faith from friends and family.[14][15]

Many in the West are cheering the release of Anwar Ibrahim.

But the greater question is: why are there even sodomy laws on the books? Why are gay rights not recognized in Malaysia?

And they're not even willing to promote condoms to stop the flow of AIDS:
In 2007, Malaysia's Ministry of Health was banned from advocating the use of condoms to prevent the spread of the disease due to a concern that such a campaign would be equated with a governmental endorsement of sexual conduct outside of a legal marriage.[17]

Model Democracy?  I think not. 

Even India has issues, and they're not even a Muslim country, though they're usually praised for the lack of extremism among their Muslims, attributed to their open system.  Well, guess what?  Salman Rushdie can't even travel there due to death threats.  So, not quite the bastion of tolerance (among the Muslims) that Fareed Zakaria would have us believe. 

So, is Islam compatible with democracy?  Perhaps, but not a democracy that respects the human rights of all.  


  1. Considering that you read Half Sigma (that is how I got here), you obviously believe in HBD (or aren't extremely offended by it). Knowing what we know about HBD, it seems pretty obvious that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

    It isn't Islam itself, but the people who subscribe to it that are the problem. It would be like observing the violence in Mexico, and the fact that they are predominately Catholic, and concluding that peace is incompatible with Catholicism.

  2. Not quite. My point is that Islam is not compatible with a democracy that respects minority religious rights. And in a broader sense, that includes gay rights, women's rights, and freedom of speech.