Debate:Is it even possible to install democracy in a Muslim country?

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The problem is that "Democracy" means two things

...and we often get the two confused. The "Democracy" that tugs at people's heartstrings -- the one worth fighting for, the one that is associated with liberty and rights -- is the philosophy of Democracy. This is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." There is also a government type which is called Democracy (hereafter called Democratic Government), which is a government where people vote for things. This type of government is not all that worth getting excited about unless it is built on a foundation of the philosophy of Democracy. We can't give someone a government that is built on that philosophy, because by nature democracy must be "of the people". So, if America gives any other country a government, no matter how much it looks like a Democratic Government, it will never truly be a democracy. And a dictatorship, if put in place by the people, consisting of the people, and working for the people, will be more of a true democracy than anything we can give them. Granted, Saddam's leadership was certainly not "for the people", but our leadership there is not "of the people", so they are equally not democracy. So the answer is "yes, we can give them a Democratic Government, but no, we can't give them Democracy." --ChristianHero

I disagree. In small communities the "Democracy" that tugs at people is possible because the group is small and everyone's say can be heard. As communities grow large, this has generally become impossible. The founders of the US of A (as I understand it), based America's government on the Greek forum, where everyone was heard by the attending community. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, when a group grows large is becomes efficient for sections of the large group to elect or appoint a spokesperson to represent the section in the public forum. In the US of A, this sectionizing is done mainly by geography. Each state (a stand alone member of the US of A) is represented by 2 Senators. And in the other House of Congress, representation is done by population, again with a geographical distribution (mostly). Can these, or some part of these, ideas work anywhere? Well, yes BUT the underlying assumptions need to be agreed to by those who engage in the forum. The idea that everyone should have an equal say is not present in Iraq. In fact, it is strongly objected to by persons who wield weapons to make themselves heard and to quell other voices. The second assumption that worked in the US of A was elected representation. This assumption is also against Iraq traditions. There, the interests of a group have traditionally been a matter of blood or other means of selection rather than by vote. A brief answer to "Is democracy possible in Iraq" could be stated, "yes, but it will need many indidivudals to tolerate new ideas traditionally unsupported." Terryeo 02:49, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

Post Your Thoughts

Read the entry on Turkey.

Yes ...

It depends how you do you interpret democracy. If democracy means walking around naked, not being interested in where your daughter, sister or mom is sleeping tonight, being able to deny the presence of God, drinking alcohol all night and then staggering like an ill-minded animal on the streets, not respecting your parents by putting them in retirement houses when they become old, kicking your children out of your houses when they become 18, not knowing your neighbors after living thirty years door to door with them, having disposable marriages, watching two men kissing each other on the street and yet claim to be socialized and free then the answer is no.

But if democracy means having free right of speech in the ways that God permits (by not doing all of above and some others), being able to question the ruling authority, women's right of voting, equality of women and men in terms of religious moral ethical social conjugal and political rights, respecting each others' lives and possessions, and many many more righteous aspects which have already been explained in the Holy Quran, then the answer is yes.

And if you want to know more about democracy please do read the history of first fifty years of Islam where the complete democracy was introduced to the mankind for the first time.

It is not a matter of me being right or you being wrong, it is a matter between you and your God so contemplate before you leave.


-I think that there are already democracies in The Middle East, but I think some people question that because they see a democracy more as upholding American values, but the Arabs don't seem to want that

If they want it they will take it. (Gosweden)

We're not even democratic.

Quite honestly, our system of government is only very loosely democratic (in that we "vote", but that's it -- more of a Republic), and the structure of our government was based largely on a series of events. As well, there are forms of democracy in the Mid-East, such as Iran which does in fact hold elections (yes, they do). However, the largest problem dealing with countries such as Iraq is that the people are more or less split into a few prominent groups, with a minority of them actually causing the problems. But bleh, I don't want to go into specifics of Middle Eastern politics right now, so yes and no. Yes, a form can exist (under the correct circumstance -- which is why Iraq is a cesspool of a civil war right now -- because of a lack of acknowledgment to the reality of the situation), but not actual democracy.

Rather than represent our own interests, we elect a person who, we hope, will represent our interests for us. Such people are (generally) experienced in the area. Iran would be a democracy except that it has a sort of monarchy of religious overseers who (apparently) can override any portion of the democractic process. For example the religious overseers decared a number of candiates who were going to be voted on by the populace as "unqualified". Terryeo 02:55, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

No ...

Democracy is likened unto a wolf, a fox and a sheep voting on what they will have for supper. The sheep will quickly lose. Democracy is likened unto a man and his dog out in the woods. The man gets real hungry. So he cuts off the dog's tail and cooks it and gives the bone to the dog. The forefathers knew about a democracy. That is why they created a republic.

Comment: I am sorry, but I don't understand what you mean. The United States is a democratic republic. Are you saying that democracy alone is a bad form of government? If you are then I would have to agree with you ... to an extent. After a while, democracy alone begins to falter, as seen in ancient Athens. But building a republic on the foundation of a democracy is a very strong government. If you could please tell me if this was what you were getting at, it would be greatly appreciated. David R

Reply The United States is not a democracy, and "democratic republic" is not the right term either. The U.S. is a republic, a republic is called a "democratic" form of government, but it is not a democracy, and not very similar to a democracy. --TimSvendsen 15:51, 4 February 2007 (EST)

In democracy the people are the government, they propose and vote on the laws, and there is no elected legislature. A republic is different. A republic is better then a democracy because it recognizes the fact that the people in general do not know enough to govern properly. In a Republic the people choose representatives who are (hopefully) better informed and know enough to do the job. A republic takes the strong points of democracy (no tyrants, self government ...) without some of the problems (uninformed government, rule by popular opinion) and creates a better form of government. That said, this debate was meant to apply to all kinds of self government, and was misnamed, it should say: "Is it even possible to install self government in a Muslim country." --TimSvendsen 15:47, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Comment

There is a phrase which has grown so common in the world's mouth that it has come to seem to have sense and meaning—the sense and meaning implied when it is used; that is the phrase which refers to this or that or the other nation as possibly being "capable of self-government"; and the implied sense of it is, that there has been a nation somewhere, some time or other which wasn't capable of it—wasn't as able to govern itself as some self-appointed specialists were or would be to govern it. The master-minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nation, and from the mass of the nation only—not from its privileged classes; and so, no matter what the nation's intellectual grade was; whether high or low, the bulk of its ability was in the long ranks of its nameless and its poor, and so it never saw the day that it had not the material in abundance whereby to govern itself. Which is to assert an always self-proven fact: that even the best governed and most free and most enlightened monarchy is still behind the best condition attainable by its people; and that the same is true of kindred governments of lower grades, all the way down to the lowest.
—Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Dpbsmith 20:45, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Er, I rather suspect it would be better for everyone if, rather than "installing" democracy, one attempted to instill it. Just a thought.

Some nations are born democracies, some achieve democracy, and some have democracy thrust upon them. Dpbsmith 19:00, 8 March 2007 (EST)

For the sake of argument here, let's presume that "republic with democratic elections" is the meaning of democracy in the question. Anything else is a bit nitpicky, that's obviously what's intended in context. This being said, however, something else makes the question rather hard to answer. Turkey has a large Muslim population, and is a republic. Iran is as well, but is most certainly not. Egypt? Syria? Just what country are we talking about here? Those aren't any more similar than the US and the Netherlands, despite the fact that both are predominantly Christian.

So, this being said, it is more than "possible" for a democracy to exist in a Muslim country, it is a fact of life in Turkey. (And perhaps more, but certainly that one offhand.) If we are speaking of Iraq, on the other hand (and whoever wrote the question most certainly thinking of it) ...

Unfortunately, to that one, no. Iraq has been botched terribly, and at this point is likely unsalvageable. There's going to be a long civil war there. I hope very much that I am wrong, but I don't see it ending any other way. I really don't know if it could've ever been salvaged, but at this point I don't think it's possible. Thatguy 00:18, 9 March 2007 (EST)

You can install a muffler or battery but not a Democracy

Comment

Democracy is one of those words that is mostly misused and misunderstood .

Lets look at the definition: “Demos: mean common people “kratos”: means rule so democracy means “ruled by people” There probably are few purer examples of democracy than a lynch mob, As a matter of fact though most Islamic countries are fascist they are better examples of pure democracies than the U.S..

Now let me try to explain that. If the vast majority of a population desire their government to impose sharia law and they believe that infidels should be killed or converted there is nothing undemocratic about that, though the infidel might disagree.

The U.S. is not a democracy. It is a hybrid “constitutional representative federal republic” This is far from a pure democracy. The U.S. is governed by a constitution of laws not of people. Early in the history of the U.S. it’s founders agreed on a set of rules that would limit not only the power and discretion of the government ( it’s self and it’s law) but also it’s people and it’s subsequent elected leaders. Why did they do this? Well they knew that absolute power is corrupting and oppressive in any one entities hands. So, they basically spread it out . Constitutional ( we are ruled by law ) Federation (we are made up of smaller sovereign countries or “states” ) Republic ( we are ruled by consent ) Representative ( we vote for our leaders )

Good gosh. We govern ourselves because we create the laws we live under and we remove the laws we don't like. The Constitituion is a framework (and again, we could and have modified it) the laws fit within. We are not the effect of what has gone before, but use it as a guideline toward changes that will be to our benefit. Terryeo 03:00, 21 March 2007 (EDT)


I love the heading. Most, if not all, of the world's democracies were not "installed" by outsiders (although many, many hated regimes were), but were worked towards and fought for by the populations of the countries involved. PS, I tried installing Democracy 2.1, but it crashed my hard drive and printer. Human 22:58, 3 May 2007 (EDT)

I agree with Human. Democracy can be inspired, but not installed. Ironically, it sometimes emerges in what could from a narrow nationalist standpoint be considered the defeat of an existing democracy (see India). User:Amyz 14:28, May 18, 2007 (EDT)

Yes

Yes, Indonesia is the the world's third largest democracy, and the world's largest Muslim country. There you go. --WOVcenter 18:15, 8 March 2007 (EST)

We're talking extremist, e.g. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have a strong foothold and will not abandon it without Jihad. --Hojimachong 18:19, 8 March 2007 (EST)
So, should the original question read "Is it possible to install a democracy in a country that's run by radical mideastern fundamentalist Muslims?". Perhaps the question should have been more precise. And what do you mean by "not abandon it without Jihad"? Indonesians aren't exactly fickle, and I don't think they'd abandon their power anytime soon without some sort of struggle (literal definition of jihad). Oh, and Lebanon and Yemen are middle-eastern Muslim republican democracies.--WOVcenter 18:42, 8 March 2007 (EST)
I guess I should be more precise in my answer too. Installing democracy strikes me as fundamentally naive. The very nature of democracy is supposed to be power derived from the people. Coming in and artificially imposing a democracy strikes me as nearly impossible, especially in such a foreign environment. Yes, democracy is possible in a predominantly Islamic country, no, "installing" it probably is an incredibly naive idea. Bush, bleh.--WOVcenter 18:54, 8 March 2007 (EST)

No ...

Its not possible to "install" democracy. It is something that must evolve of the people. The question that needs to be asked is is it even right for us to try to install our system on anyone else? Why are we so assured that the way we do things is the only way that they can be done that will work. We came to our democratic system through our own will and process. No other country or people are going to replicate that process so why should they replicate the result? Little Suspicious

No ...

You Said That "We came to our democratic system through our own will and process." However that is not true, Thomas Jefferson once said "I would not want any man to judge me, unless he believed that someday god would judge him" The founding of this nation was based on christain principles. Our "democracy" was a system spoken of in the book of jeremiah: "The lord is our lawgiver, the lord is our judge and the lord is our king" The reason why democracy is not working in Iraq is because they are trying to create a government under muslim principles, contrary to the very foundation upon wich america was formed, the word of god. Freedom only works if you have responsibility. the only way that "democracy" will work, in any country is if the people in that country turn their hearts to god, the creator.

Not for long ...

Oh, a representative government can be set up easily enough. The problem is that in a democracy, people will vote for who they want to rule them. And in a highly devout Muslim country, what the people want to rule them is a group of very religious Muslims who are completely and openly dedicated to upholding the principles of the Koran. That is, oppressive theocrats who want woman to be covered and banned from education, think infidels should be killed on sight and have the long-term objective of taking over the world with an Islamic Superstate. Oh, its a democracy all right - its a government that carries out the will of the people. And if they people (Or at least the men, as women would either be forbidden from voting or prevented by intimidation and violence) want to live under the type of government that considers the Koran to be the unalterable defining document of law... well, thats exactly what they will vote in. - BornAgainBrit

Erk...Okay, first, learn to spellcheck. It's not that hard. Actually, while I'm here, why don't I do just that. Now, spelling errors aside, you're doing some interesting things here. What's wrong with upholding the principles of the Koran? I could just as easily say all hardcore Christians should be banned from public office because they uphold the principles of the Bible. But aside from that, you're rather interestingly blending 'devout Muslim' with 'rabid extremist.' Sorry, but they're not quite the same. Why should a country dedicated to the Koran (and not, for instance, modern Islam) have any problem with women being educated or walking around unveiled? The Prophet himself married a woman 15 years his senior who ran a well-to-do trading company. My point here is that you're taking the extremists from a religious group and extrapolating back to the religion - it's both ignorant, incorrect and impolite. - Reasonless

Ironically, one of the most democratic middle eastern countries was Iran. Under the oppressive shahs and imperialist Great Britain, the Iranian people demanded for a parliament and rights to all people. They even elected Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh who was primarily secular and supported the highest levels of religious freedom and freedom of speech under this Iranian's time in power. The only issues people had with him was that he believed so much in political freedom (he did, after all, allow the communist Tudeh party operate and his National Front was in a coalition with Tudeh) and did not support Great Britain's corrupt Anglo-Iranian Oil Company exploiting their natural resources for little Iranian profit. The only time Iran was not democratic was when America and Great Britain overthrew the lawfully elected Mossadegh, so Mohammad Reza Shah could rule Iran with an iron fist, and when the fundamentalists came along,they were so dissolutioned with western society, they decided to become an insular country. It sucks, but i can see why they'd do it. I'd certainly be pissed if some random country took advantage of my homeland.

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