Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria. Revolutions are breaking out all over within the Arab world.
Egypt. They wanted Mubarak out. They say that they desire freedom. Now, the likely scenario is that they vote in some form of Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islamic government. A government that seems to be heading toward a Sunni version of the corrupt government of Iran. How is that more Democratic than Mubaraks regime? How is that freedom?
The Syrians are doing the same thing. Protesting, demonstrating, rioting in order to get Assad out. They say that they want freedom. They say that they desire Democracy. Yet again, they’ll more than likely get an Islamic Sharia form of Governance based on the model of Iran.
In Lybia, it’s more of the same. Trading Qaddafi for Islamic Sharia under Fundamentalists who wish to force their idea of Islam on the masses.
Is Sharia as dictated by power mad fanatics considered freedom by the people of the Arab world? Trading one form of tyranny for another. Is this Democracy?
I can’t see a difference between a Fundamentalist Islamic Government under Sharia law wherein all are coerced into being “good Muslims” or face imprisonment, beatings, torture or murder and the genocidal regimes of Stalin and Mao. If one substitutes Islam for Maoist Communism, the difference between Mao and Khomeini escapes me. Mao starved his people to death. Khomeini sent tens of thousands of Irani children to clear minefields between his Irani and Iraqi forces during the war that lasted most of the 1980s. He promised that they would be Holy Martyrs and go straight to paradise. What kind of monster sends ten year old children into the middle of minefields? How is that different from Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot. In the end, the only difference between Iran under Khomeini and Iran under the Shah was that the Shah wanted a secular Iran and Khomeini wanted a Fundamentalist Shi’a Iran. Khomeini stepped replaced the leadership of the hated Savak with his own devils and left the torturers and jailers in place. Evin Prison is the same hell on earth under Khomeini as it was under the Shah.
Is this the type of Freedom and Democracy for which Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians and Lybians fight?
American Capitalism is definitely not perfect. Even so, you get a fighting chance. You make your own choices. America may not be completely free. Not as it once was. Still, America has more freedom and more opportunity than most countries. One can complain about America. One can discount America with lies, hyperbole and propaganda. Yet, the truth remains. People from all over the world flee to America in order to join a country that has more freedom and opportunity than nearly any other country in the history of the world. We are free to come and go as we please. We are free to choose a religion. We are free to choose no religion. We are free to dress as we please. No Basiji, Chastity or Morality Police roam our streets beating women for dressing inappropriately.
What is it that Arabs want? What do Muslims want? They say that they want freedom and Democracy. It seems to me they want the power to coerce others into being “good Muslims.” They say that they want tolerance and acceptance. Yet, I do not see tolerance or acceptance being shown to others by many Muslims and especially by governments who claim to be Islamic.
What of the Religious minorities in those countries? Are they entitled to freedom and democracy as well? Are they entitled to freedom of religion? Are they entitled to freedom from religious persecution? Do women have the right to walk down the street unmolested with their hair blowing in the wind. Do women have the freedom to choose their spouse? Can a Muslim reject Islam and become a Buddhist or a Wiccan without a Fatwa being issued against him. Is it the feeling within the Arab-Muslim World that only Muslims are entitled to Religious Freedom?
I know that there are tolerant and accepting Muslims out there. I know that there are Muslims out there who wish only to be accepted as a Muslim and have no desire to force their brand of Islam on any other. I’ve met them in Jordan. I’ve met them in Egypt. I’ve met them in Afghanistan and Thailand, America and Indonesia. I’ve met them all over. One of the nicest people whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is a Muslim Woman in Cairo. She loved Islam. She also accepted that others did not agree with her choice. She was fine with that. She had no desire to force her views on me. For my part, I had no desire to force my views on her. I’ve met people like this all over the world.
I readily admit that there are Christians who would force their Christian ideology on others if given the chance. I’ve met them as well. I find these folks repulsive. I find Muslims who would force their religious ideology on others equally repulsive. Thankfully, we, in the West, have separated Religion from Politics. It still reverberates in the halls of our political bodies. Even so, religion is held in check and kept out of our laws for the most part. I would go further myself and eradicate religion from Politics. Personally, I’d like to see a Taoist Buddhist as President of the United States of America someday.
I am digressing. The question is; “What do Muslims want?”
Freedom for all or freedom only for Muslims within their country?
Democracy would mean protecting the rights of minorities as well as the majority. This is not possible under Sharia Law. Sharia and Democracy are largely incompatible. Democracy means allowing differences of opinion to exist. Freedom means allowing the same freedom for others that one expects to have for oneself.
If a Muslim can not wake up one day and say to himself that they wish to convert to Buddhism and do so without being murdered by the Muslim majority, then there is no freedom. There is only a lie. The concept of freedom goes hand in hand with liberty. To be free means that one is free to make all of one’s choices in life. To be sure, law and order must prevail in some form. Murder must be prohibited and discouraged as well as thievery, rape and other such crimes. Fundamental freedoms must be given to all, though. One of those fundamental freedoms in any Democratic Society is freedom of religion. If this does not exist, the rest is a lie.
If any one cares to explain, please feel free to do so in the comments section? I am truly curious.