As Muslims reassert the power of Islam in their societies, western regimes, their media outlets and so-called thinktanks have gone hoarse proclaiming the Muslims’ alleged failure.
Between April and May 2013, several Western media outlets and soft-power institutions predicted how Islamic movements are bound to fail and will ultimately be forced to become secular. Publications of various political orientations, all of them one way or another proponents of Western neo-colonialist hegemony, assumed that all Islamic organizations would be forced to submit to the so-called democratic secular principles of governance. It is unlikely that the numerous publications within the same period of time were a coincidence. They are probably related to the upcoming presidential elections in Islamic Iran, the only country since the time of al-khilafah al-rashidah where Muslims have to a large extent reclaimed their Islamic identity. No matter what one’s opinion of Iran, this fact is acknowledged even by the staunchest opponents of the Islamic state. Dogmatic attacks against the Islamic model of governance masked as “intellectual discourse” are also linked to the fact that since the start of the Islamic awakening process in the Arab world, Islamic socio-political organizations have dominated elections in the Muslim East.
Without going into great detail about what the proponents of Western neo-colonialism have said, it is important to identify two main ideological dogmas put forward by secular pundits of Western neo-colonial agenda. The narratives run as follows: 1) religion (read Islam) inevitably leads to totalitarianism, and 2) use of the electoral process means secularization and a sign that Islam cannot govern a state.
The first narrative was promoted on the webpage of the Qatari regime’s TV channel, al-Jazeera, in an article titled, “The Logic of Democracy” by Creston Davis and Santiago Zabala. The second narrative was projected in a research paper under the heading, “Democratization Theory and the ‘Arab Spring’” published in the April 2013 edition of the Journal of Democracy, a publication of the neocon “NGO” the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). These were not the only publications that promoted this dogma between April and May 2013; there were several others.
We will refrain from the worn-out debate about how democracy and Islam are compatible; this defeatist debate is imposed by Western neo-colonial soft-power centers. The din of Allah (swt) does not need to be compatible with democracy or any other system to be legitimate. Muslims should stop falling into this trap that imposes a secularist dogma as a benchmark for debate related to one of the aspects of Islam. Instead we will explain the socio-political reasons why the above- mentioned dogmas are being put forward today.
Let us analyze why Western pundits are going into overdrive trying to prove that the Islamic model of governance will fail. While there are several reasons for this, the main answer lies in the fact that the socio-political opium of the masses called democracy has failed. Let us repeat this: democracy is a failure and we should not feel shy about saying so. Western corporate media does not fear saying that Islam is a failure, so why should Muslims shy away from openly challenging this imperialist dogma? There is no need to be “politically correct” about this.
In order to understand this issue we should not look at the skyscrapers and iPhones made by the so-called democracies, but on realities manifested by democratic regimes. Let us examine some basic facts and figures about the so-called beacons of democracy.
In light of these statistics, it is not surprising that recent revelations in a study by the Washington-based Pew Forum, published on April 30, show the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world want the Islamic legal and moral code, the Shari‘ah, as the official law in their countries.
It is no longer in doubt that the democratic model of governance has lost its appeal for the Muslim Ummah and many others in the world. Speaking in Toronto in January 2013, the veteran Muslim East correspondent Robert Fisk clearly stated that people in the Muslim world did not have much faith in democracy. Fisk said that they saw “Western democracies” supporting the worst kinds of tyrants — Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Husain, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and others — in their societies. Covering the events in Tahrir Square not once did Fisk hear calls for democracy; nor incidentally did they raise photos of Osama bin Laden or the flag of al-Qaeda.
Globally, the evolving situation highlights the fact that economic, social and political calamities brought upon the world by secular democracies, by far outweigh their exaggerated benefits.
Globally, the evolving situation highlights the fact that economic, social and political calamities brought upon the world by secular democracies, by far outweigh their exaggerated benefits. Over the past five decades, Western regimes have invested trillions of dollars in military, economic and political power to make sure that South America remains capitalist, secular and democratic. Today the reality on the ground shows that the trend of Liberation Theology in South America has eliminated democracy and will continue to grow. Economic, social and political policies of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela show that policies strategically opposed to capitalism and secular democracy are the ones that are responsible for eliminating poverty and increasing political participation of people in South America.
The flawed dogma projected by Western soft-power centers that the Islamic movements’ participation in the electoral process means secularization is deliberate. It is meant to imply that Islam and freedom are opposed to each other. The aim is to create an environment where the elimination of Islamic socio-political forces would be regarded as a natural course of action on the way to achieving “freedom.” Promoting incompatibility between Islam and elections tries to promote a more sophisticated form of suppression of Islamic forces through “free” elections that would choke Islamic organizations through fake Western-designed political processes as witnessed in Algeria and Bahrain.
The socio-political agenda behind the two narratives above aims to promote the idea that Islam and Islamic organizations are not able to address issues of human, women or minority rights without assistance from Western secular ideology.
The socio-political agenda behind the two narratives above aims to promote the idea that Islam and Islamic organizations are not able to address issues of human, women or minority rights without assistance from Western secular ideology. Such narratives try to create the impression that Islam is not concerned about the rights of people. Further, it is meant to project the idea that being progressive and forward looking means to be secular and Western, and to be considerate of others’ rights and become civilized, one has to adopt Western concepts.
Such dogmas are easily exposed by the fact that electoral politics are an integral part of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as successful Islamic movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas. Suzanne Maloney, a former US State Department policy advisor and current Brookings researcher on Iran, admitted this in May 2013 but in a subtle way. In an article analyzing the upcoming presidential elections in Iran, Maloney wrote: “with the registration of prospective candidates, and already the campaign promises an utterly fascinating ride through the unpredictable politics of the Islamic Republic… four years ago, many observers — including myself — argued the blatant orchestration of Ahmadinejad’s reelection had all but extinguished the relevance of the electoral dimension of Iran’s convoluted governing system. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and many academics forecast that Iran was descending into a military dictatorship. So many of these predictions now appear off the mark, as external analysts and politicians all too often find when interpreting Iran.” While imperialist in its nature, Maloney’s approach on Iranian elections clearly highlights the fact that an Islamic system in Iran dismantled the main soft-power myth of democratic imperialism, that is, electoral politics is the monopoly of the Western political system. To continue on this path Muslims must articulate Islam’s definition of elections, freedom of speech and rule of law. This must be constant and it must be promoted in a sophisticated and coordinated manner.