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Towards Successful ’Marriage’ Between Democracy, Consultation
Towards Successful ’Marriage’ Between Democracy, Consultation
There is no single European model of democracy as much as its details are concerned, although the European countries are similar to each other in the general structure of rule; this is because there a difference, in terms of the relation with religion, between the Latin model
Saturday, April 28,2007 14:34
by Rashid al-Ghannoushi* IkhwanWeb

There is no single European model of democracy as much as its details are concerned, although the European countries are similar to each other in the general structure of rule; this is because there a difference, in terms of the relation with religion, between the Latin model, specifically the French model which is known since at least 1905 for the severe separation between state and religion due to the circumstances of establishing it; this led for example to the crisis of the veil (headscarf) to show the difficult merging of millions of French Muslims, while there is effect for such a crisis in other Western democracies in Scandinavia or in England. Also, there is a difference in the extent of the state centrism, while the French hard-line model is extremist in its view to the state as a maker and guardian of the identity of the nation, while this is different in decentralist and federal democracies.
It is worth noting that a part of the Arab, and even the Turkish, system is attributed to their being affected by the French model more than other models like the Anglo-Saxon, where there is a clear recognition of mutliculturalism inside the country. I think that this model, the Anglo-Saxon  is the nearest one to the Islamic experience in rule when Amirs of the regions princes were enjoying a wide freedom in their relations with the centre "the Caliph". Therefore, the hard-line centralism in the French democratic model and this model"s irrecognition of citizens" multiculturalism, makes it deal with them as individuals instead of dealing with them as entities whose identities should be respected inside the country. This caused a crisis in the Turkish model which is affected by the French model, making it unable to accept the ethnic and cultural pluralism in the Turkish structure, represented in the Kurdish group for example, making the army merge it forcefully.
There are also the disadvantages that has become seemingly, due to their familiarity, part of the identity of democratic, namely the material philosophy and the secular and epicurean values. As a mater of fact, there is no indissoluble bond between both of them; democracy has done well inside religious environments while it moved more closer to a dictatorship in a secular environment, and in religious environments as well. Economy is considered a key axis in the Western democratic model for the cultural and political lives; it is a standard for every thing, because it provides opportunities for growth and progress; however, but this model destabilized all balances set in the society, because money is not every thing in the human life and isn"t the most precious thing. The human being is not only a body; this model was seemingly established on making the human being a thing and making him forget that he was breathed from the Spirit of Allah and why he was created. The human body has its legitimate demands, but alleviating them shouldn"t be carried out at the expense of the demands of the soul with its important needs that the system of values dominating the secularist democracy attempt to make human beings forget them and delete them from their daily cares. This led to disintegrating networks of social contact in the big cities embracing democracy; these cities turned to huge cement blocks in which the sociable and arrogant human being is about to evaporate and disappear due to suffering from isolation after making the family structure about to become extinct for the institution of economic production. Due to the fact that the family and values of life and manners are a natural part of the human being and society, their disappearance is an indication that there is an aggravate crisis, a sign that the sunset of this civilization is approaching.  It is true that, demographically speaking, the West and its followers are on the way to extinction; this is because reproduction means hope and confidence in the future and confidence in the life partner; all these spiritual elements are about to disappear giving way for instincts- like sex- to work outside ethics making them give their back to marriage, motherhood, and fatherhood; an economy and philosophy of life which are based on profit and benefit don"t give any motive to these values; they are actually against these values that establish the institution of marriage. The liberty of instincts expanded the primordial manners that religions were revealed to mend them; they gave way even to speaking about " new forms of the family" on which western democracies are competing to recognize, making the Evangelical church on the danger of disintegration between those disapproving or approving the same-sex marriages, there is even a disagreement among priests who consider Christianity a love, and this form of marriage is a from of love!
This deterioration in values and sticking to principles of profit, production, hypnotism and force destroyed and fragmented the traditional fabrics of the societal entities that were woven under religions; their evils extended from inside this democracies and outside them. Inside them, the gap between the rich and the poor expanded to the extent of the emergence of the homeless and shelterless in the world"s most prosperous countries; also, the foundations of the democratic system started to erod, including respecting human rights, judicial independence and that the security services abide by the rule of law; all these principles are eroding due to anti-terrorism laws that started to unjustly discriminate among citizens; they consider any Muslim for example a suspect in advance, leading to firing at him just for suspicion.
Outside these allegedly democratic Western courtiers, these Western democracies were originally founded on the idea of the nation-state that doesn"t include in its values and rights all human beings; it includes only its citizens. Its law which is caring for its citizens is the leading source of authority for defining justice or injustice, good or evil; this actually implicated the most deep-rooted democracies in imperial and colonial wars and genocides against peoples and civilizations, the latest of which are the moral scandals committed by the US army and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and in its secret renditions and public prisons against peoples who committed nothing wrong against them. This includes also the western democracies" support to the corrupt regimes to guard their interests, at the expense of those peoples" aspirations for liberation and democracy. The support to the Zionist entity is a model of the Western injustice and of the divorce between their politics and ethics and religion; this included making Palestine people starve after displacing some and torturing others because they, the Palestinians, exercised their right in democracy… not to mention the international economic relations that the Western democracies imposed on most peoples all over the world; these imposed economic relations are based on looting for the western center.
Although we can continue to detail the injustices committed by the western democracies on people inside these countries and outside them, but we think that this was not a result of the democratic system that came to give useful solutions for the dilemma of centralizing power in the hands of an individual or individuals and to elevate the value of freedom, supremacy of law and rule of citizens; all this is true and useful; these injustices are just a result of the material philosophy that spawned this kind of democracy. Democracy can flourish in another environment for another philosophy of life and can bring in better results.
We think that Islam with its comprehensive view towards human beings, as individuals and a group, body and soul and if it is purified from mars of extremism and misunderstanding, can produce an equation for rescuing the cultural heritage within framework of a believing moral humane democracy. Islam has, with its principles, refined values and cultural experiences, a history of a tolerance to religious, ethnic and ideological pluralism that didn"t destroy idols adulatory like Zaidis in Iraq; the history of Islam hasn"t been marred by any ethnic or religious cleansing. Islamic countries still have, despite the backwardness and injustice that Muslim majorities are facing, minorities that enjoy security, and have churches, synagogues and even pagan temples.
The Jews themselves enjoyed the right of citizenship in the first Islamic model produced by the founder of Islam, in a constitution that approves pluralism, and they were never persecuted under Islam, and the abode of Islam was their refuge whenever they faced any persecution in Western countries. Iraq is still a base of the strongest Islamic Empire that contains a mosaic of ethnicities, doctrines and religions; Iraqi cults haven"t launched a horrible sectarian infight except under occupation; Sarajevo in central Europe was an oasis of pluralism against the extremism of Serbians and Croatians and their hate to multiplicity. "Let there be no compulsion in the religion" and "Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion" are of the greatest principles on which the Islamic gathering was founded. Nowadays" human rights declarations came as a result of what it boded. Islam is still flowing all over the world- despite the foolish reactions of some of its followers- a peaceful message that beats, with its currently weak countries, all other doctrines. Islamic movements are still generally, despite injustices and exclusion, stick to patience and peaceful means and search for any space of freedom to work and expand, rejecting any means of violence except for the sake of driving out occupiers, a right which is recognized by all. Thes Islamic movements still consider human rights and democracy in tackling disagreements on the local and international level, apart from repression and intimidation, as the best incarnation of the values of Islamic consultation and its Qur"anic call for human brotherhood {O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another.} Al-Hujrat.
The problem does not lie in persuading Islamic movements to adopt democracy because democracy is their antidote; the problem lies in persuading western democracies of them to rely, for guaranteeing their legitimate interests, on the real representatives of the Islamic nation, not on a worn out and corrupted elite whose tyranny spawned terrorism. This is despite the fact that terrorist thought, methods and groups are mere exceptions in the general context and that they are found in any nation and civilization, mostly emerging in the long eras of injustice and prisons of tyrants. The table are mostly turned against the plotter. They claim that there is an Islamic terrorism to justify supporting dictators; western leaders show their support and praise to corrupt and repressive rulers, under claims that lack credibility and a blatant aggression on oppressed peoples to increase their owes. Is this pragmatic policy attributed to the shortsightedness of these countries in seeking their interests without aspirating to the future and considering supporting principles and peoples as a key guarantee in securing interests and safe future relations with the Islamic nation. Is it a crime, according to the west, that when our peoples refused to adopt modernism through rebelling on revelation, identity, history and heritage, turned to Islam to make it their gate to modernism, democracy, human rights, unity, universality and liberation within a comprehensive faithful context which is considered a base for a dialogue, meeting, coexistence and acculturation between all civilizations, and particularly between the closest two civilizations and religions: the Islamic civilization and the Western civilization .. Islam and Christianity?. Were they slips of the tongue those words uttered by Bush and others who declared their enmity, hatred to and targeting Islam, a war on "terrorism " and "fundamentalism" without giving accurate definitions for them; the chiefs of the British ruling and opposition parties targeted the moderate Islamic movements, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood. Are these deep-rooted enmities towards Islam the main background behind most western policies towards Islam, its movements, institutions and even its countries, except for the submissive countries that play their role in the war against " terrorism and fundamentalism"? We hope that this isn"t the right interpretation, given the size of interrelations between the Islamic world and the Western world in a way that may mean, in two decades time, that these divisions will be meaningless, particularly in a country like France which contains the biggest Islamic minority in western Europe, and this minority"s role is expected to grow to make France the strongest and widest bridges of communication, exchange and meeting between two peaceful worlds to enjoy together freedom and justice and to enrich each other. Russian President Vladimir Putin set a precedent when the demanded an honorary membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as part of an effective reading into the future in a modesty that doesn"t contain that conceited ambition which is still haunting some Arab and western secularists for dismantling and reassembling Islam according to a worldly perspective in order to accept it and its movements if necessary, giving a blind eye to its divine nature that gave us the authority in exercising diligence, not creation, and provided us with faculties of meditation so that we can know our God to worship and obey, not to make and use {He said: Worship ye that which ye yourselves do carve} ( AS-Saffat: 95). Muslims need for democracy as a system for reactivating centuries long broken-down consultation is as important as the need of western democracy that escaped from Allah - because of exceptional circumstances- and which is exploited for the sake of specific sections of people, apart from all mankind, humanity, for a material, spiritual, social and value system to save the contemporary modernism and take part in building a future in which technology is to turn the world into one village. So as not to make it a battleground between masters and slaves, there should be a comprehensive monotheistic human view, which available, objectively speaking, only in Islam as deep and true concept {O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another.} Al-Hujrat.

* Rashid al-Ghannoushi is the leader of the Tunisian Islamic Renaissance Movement

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