Islam, Democracy & Western Culture

Islam, Democracy & Western Culture

Today, suspicious rightist groups with links to international Zionism have increased their attacks on Muslims and Islamic beliefs in the West. Under different pretexts including anti-terrorism, Muslims are being harassed. With the suspicious murder of Dutch Filmmaker "Theo Van Gogh", the western media, particularly the Europeans have conducted a new wave of anti-Islam campaign. The perpetrators of these propaganda attacks that have further intensified in Germany and the Netherlands have come up with brazen calls on Muslims to either give-up their religion and accept the western values, or to leave Europe. A German daily newspaper by whipping up emotions recently went on utter blasphemy against the Holy Quran. He alleges that Muslims do not have a critical evaluation of their beliefs and scriptures. This shows how ignorant the writer of the article Herbert Prantel is? He does not have a proper awareness of Islam and is being taken for a ride by devilish groups. A glance at the verses of the Holy Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet and his infallible successors makes it clear that Islam is the religion of thought, rational reasoning and conscious criticism. Almighty Allah has asked human beings to accept the principles of Islam through proof and logic. Islam is the religion of humanity without any discrimination of race, language, color and class. It is actually the code for the perfect life. In Islam awareness, knowledge and insight have a special status and several verses of the Glorious Quran as well as the Traditions of the Infallibles urge mankind to contemplate and acquire knowledge for discovering the truth and firming up their beliefs in monotheism and humanitarian principles. It is thus natural that criticism is one of the essential factors for acquisition of knowledge and thinking. Islam has let the room open for criticism and debates for removing doubts, providing that such discussions are aimed at arriving at the truth. In Verse No.17 and 18 of Chapter Zumar, Almighty Allah says:

“As for those who stay clear of the worship of fake deities and turn penitently to Allah, there is good news for them. So give good news to My servants-- who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [interpretation] of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect”.(39:17-18)

A glance at the Verses, it should remove any doubt about the rationality of Islam. In other words, Islam not only does not fear criticism but it invites all towards a conscious selection of truthful ideas and statements, and not blind following. But, what Islam frowns upon, is ridiculing and mocking of others, in view of the fact that the Prophet and his infallible successor (PBUTH ALL) have taught the Ummah to respect the thoughts of others and to deal with them logically and reasonably without insult. The impeccable behavior of the Prophet while dealing with the idolaters is a clear testimony in this regard. Islam does not allow an illogical and unreasonable assault even on those who profess false beliefs, let alone ridiculing Christians and Jews, whom it calls People of the Book since they were given heavenly scriptures. Islam is the most perfect of all divine religions and the last and most comprehensive code for mankind revealed by Almighty Allah, superseding all beliefs. Muslims believe in all divine messengers including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others (peace be upon them all). The Holy Quran stresses that there is no difference among prophets. It says :

"The Apostle has faith in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and all the faithful. Each[ of them ]has faith in Allah, His angels, His scriptures and His apostles.[ They declare, ]" We make no distinction between any of His apostles." And they say," We hear and obey. Our Lord, forgive us, and toward You is the return."(2:285)

Muslims hold the view that divine religions like the current Christianity and Judaism have unfortunately undergone certain distortions and are not the exact code that was revealed by Almighty Allah to Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus respectively.  

The Holy Quran points to irrefutable facts in this regard and invites mankind to discuss in a frank, fair and polite manner to discover the truth. The Holy Quran even challenges those who do not believe to bring at least a few lines matching its timeless wisdom and unrivalled eloquence of words, a challenge that none has ever succeeded to take up despite the fact that the Arab world has given birth to famous Christian scholars of the Arabic language, all of whom have stood in awe of its dynamism. The rationality of Islam and its critical approach is thus in contrast to the yellow journalism of the western media and the insults to which western officials and authors stoop in the name of democracy. Insult to divine religions and the Prophets stems from a weak logic and reasoning. The German Writer, Herbert Prantel in his newspaper article says that sacred books including the Holy Quran and the Bible should not be placed higher or even parallel with what he likes to call the fundamental culture of the west. By fundamental culture, he means western liberal democracy and seems to be oblivious of its flawed nature. He likes to ridicule divine religions but is not ready to accept even a healthy criticism of the hopeless system of western democracy. This shows the ignorance of Islam in the West, which seems to be still entrapped in the absurd ideas of the medieval ages. These poor souls should understand that it was Islamic culture that freed Europe from the dark ages and it was the translation from Arabic into Latin of Islamic scientific works that inspired the Renaissance and the subsequent Industrial Revolution by first freeing the European mind from the rigid domination of the Church. But how could one call western liberal democracy a fundamental culture? This is open to discussion. Professor Werner Schiffauer of Germanys Frankfurt University defines fundamental culture as a culture prevailing in society on which the different strata have unanimity. However, Professor Schiffauer admits difficulty in imposing this culture on a multilateral society with different cultures and traditions, but nevertheless is arrogant enough to say that western liberal democracy should be imposed on all including Muslim countries no matter how offended they feel. German Sociologist, Professor Ms. Irmgard Pinn also holds similar views and calls on Muslims in Europe to give up their religion and become absorbed in western society. Ms. Pinn adds: "The Muslims who preserve their culture and traditions, who go to mosque, and perform their religious duties, should be expelled. Thus liberalism, which claims to accept criticism, is in fact more fundamentalist in its negative aspects than the accusation of fundamentalism it levels at Muslim rationalists. Cardinal Jozef Ratzigner the Head of Papal Council in a conversation with the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” says: "Europe has descended from a Christian culture to harsh intolerant world." In the Muslim world for instance, people of different religions including the Christian and Jewish minorities live in respect and peaceful co-existence with their Muslim compatriots. Thus, Islam is more rational than western liberal democracy and more egalitarian in its appeal to all including the Europeans and this is what the chauvinists are afraid.

In the Previous Edition, we said the West has been trying to market its flawed system of liberal democracy as the fundamental. We pointed out that this is nothing but a cover for imposing decadent western values on the people of the world, since the fundamental culture should have acceptable common values for any society, the characteristics which western democracy sorely lacks. In the countries that claim to have liberal democracy, different modes of administration according to different interpretations of this vague term are in vogue. Western theorists have come with contradictory interpretations of democracy and have not been able to present any conviction version of this much bandied about word. The former Soviet Union and other communist states of East Europe used to call their system of governments as democratic. At the same time, many despotic Third World countries the hands of whose rulers are dipped in mass massacres never have any inhibitions in calling their system of government as democratic. The Zionist entity that has been illegally founded on Palestinian soil and which daily sheds the blood of the sons of soil and criminally destroys their homes and farmlands, is unabashedly called the only democracy in the Middle East by the US and European states. Another example of the democratic system is US, a country that seeks global hegemony at the expense of attacking and occupying other countries, and ruining the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world with its looting of their natural resources and embroiling them into political and other problems. Meanwhile even inside in western states, the approach of people and even officials towards democracy is different. Some consider the liberal democracy systems to be synonymous to being irreligious and removal of all manifestations of spirituality from the society, while others consider the existence of different schools of thought including the divine religions as tolerable. For this reason, we see the manner of the European countries attitude towards the religious beliefs of Muslims is different. In some countries like France, women are deprived of observing their birthright of Hijab or decent head covering. Now a question is raised as how can democracy with such different and often contradictory approach be a common basis for all countries? In western countries, under the name of democracy, cases of violation of freedom are manifest, the likeness of which does not even happen in Third World countries. For instance, Nazi Germany is said to have killed a number of Jews during Second World War in addition to killing millions of fellow Christians. However, Researchers, like Frances Professor “Roger Garaudy”, have rejected reports of Hitler killing the Jews as fabrications by the Zionists as part of their efforts to usurp Palestine. But the point that ought not to be missed is that, Hitler rose to power through the ballot box and western democratic principles. Thus, it is clear that democracy has no principles and moral restrictions and could be twisted as deemed convenient. In other words, anyone in power can interpret it as it suits his own interests, as is the case with the current administration of President “George Bush”, who in addition to terrorizing the world has plunged the US into economic misery with his weird policy of exempting the rich from taxes and burdening the poor. On this basis, we see that self-oriented governments under the title of democracy ignite the flames of war and embark on massacring the innocent people. This form of government is in sharp contrast to the humanitarian nature and laws of Islam. According to Islam, the fundamental culture should be shaped on the basis of the common inclinations of all human beings, namely the human nature. Nature is not something that can be reversed by the will of rulers, and likewise, despite attempts to taint the societies characteristics, human nature always strives towards virtues such as honesty, humanism, respect of parents, sense of justice, dislike for oppression and at the same time, it deters persons from telling lies, committing treachery, corruption, oppression and practicing discrimination in society. These values are highly respected and cherished by all societies and in all ages. For this reason, they should be the basis for the worlds fundamental and common culture, and it is here that Islam comes to the rescue. The other noteworthy point is that divine religions, particularly Islam, lay utmost emphasis on the human nature and its inherent virtues. Actually, nature and religion both stem from one source namely the Almighty Allah. This is why religion is called the path of actual prosperity of mankind. Islam as the last and the most comprehensive code of behavior for mankind has values that are universally accepted in contrast to the decadent culture of western liberal democracy. In addition to the peace and prosperity of the human race in the world, Islam promises and guarantees salvation in afterlife in perfect coordination with mankind nature. In contrast to the highly flawed manmade system of liberal democracy, the designer of Islamic values and teachings is the One and Only Creator, Who is familiar more than any other one else with all affairs including the human characteristics, and neither stands to gain profit nor loss. In view of these undeniable factors, it is better for westerners to pay attention to the lofty principles of Islam instead of trying to insult this progressive religion as the ignorant among them are doing. A religion that is in coordination with human nature and strives for peace, humanitarian values, justice and spirituality, should undoubtedly be considered as the Fundamental Culture of the entire human race. Unfortunately, certain segments of the western mass media, instead of trying to understand the dynamism of Islam, are attempting to present a distorted image of Islam to their societies. They are feverishly trying to portray Muslims to the European and American public as violent and terrorists. The Head of Papal Council, Cardinal “Joseph Ratzinger”, who has seen through the sickening plot of the US, the Zionists and their European agents, says in this regard: Muslims have a firm faith in Almighty Allah and the Day of Resurrection. That’s why they adhere to a series of religious beliefs and spirituality, the same thing that we in Europe have long lost. Therefore, it is clear that in order to create a common human culture, one should seek the principles that take into consideration the interests of all human beings and not a particular set of exploitative industrial states. The requirement for this is the impartial study and recognition of different ideas, since only divine religions, particularly Islam, and not western liberal democracy, have the perfect infrastructure for the universally accepted fundamental culture of the human race.