In Benazir Bhutto’s Islam and Democracy, Bhutto thinks that Islam and democracy are compatible. Bhutto points out people misunderstand the relationship between religion and democracy in Islam world. She first proves that freedoms, the opportunity for education, and liberty are the elements of democracy which Muslim try to seek with the preamble of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. In other words, there is no problem with their religion. Muslim does not conflict with the West or democracy. However, the terrorists try to rationalize their behavior by exploiting the real meaning of the religion.
Muslim’s sacred religion is manipulated by the terrorism and ISIS because of political agenda. It causes chaotic calamity in the Muslim world because people will keep thinking that Muslim world is full of terrorism and dictatorship. Moreover, even some Western countries use their nation’s power to disrupt the growth of democracy in the Muslim world. Bhutto asserts that the statistics on the level of freedom between the Muslim world and non-Muslim which analyzes by NGO are a product of Western manipulation and internal Muslim politicization of Islam.
Benazir insists that Islam and democracy are coexistent if the terrorism, the West, and politicians do not manipulate Muslim’s religion. Although democracy may exist in the Islamic world, it will become “Islamic democracy” if people cannot break the limit and framework of their religion in the Muslim world. Bhutto mentions that their religion is not an obstacle to developing democracy in Islam world. Indeed, Islam does not advocate dictatorship.
Nevertheless, their ideal type of democracy is that the ruler should be elected by the people, but the administer should follow the direction of Islamic rules. In other words, religion still plays a vital role when Muslim think about the political issue. Their religion is influential and significant for the aspects of attitude to democracy. Democracy is not only a matter of free election. It contains human rights, religious tolerance, and gender equality. Therefore, an impartial judge is not made by of God or doctrine in a genuine democracy.
According to the statistic from Ephraim and Yasmin s’ report, they analyze the political attitudes in the Muslim world and the West within seven parts which are the democratic government, democracy’s performance, elected leadership, secular leadership, democratic values, political activities, and gender equality. Apparently, the acceptance of secular leadership and unbelievers is much lower in Muslim-majority countries than the West (Ephraim and Yasmin 126).
The score on the attitude to secular leadership in the West is 66. 8; however, it is only 29. 7 in the Muslim world. Moreover, the score on the attitude to gender equality is only 35. in Islam (Ephraim and Yasmin 124). Although both the West and the Muslim world are inclined to approve democracy, the essence of democracy between the West and Muslim world is different. A real and liberal democracy will not exist in the Islam world because there is 54 percent of Muslim strongly consent that unbelievers are unsuitable for political things and government in accordance with the statistics (Ephraim and Yasmin 130). Some people claims that even though Muslim nations obey the law which is basically made by Allah’s volition, democracy still can develop well in the Islam world.
It is inappropriate to discuss the compatibility or incompatibility with Islam because Islam is suitable for any kind of political regime. People can only explains that Islam does not escape from manipulation of their religion. In Abdelmajid Charfi’s article, he expounds that democracy is the best and system to perform Muhammedian message that is to seek for human rights and responsibility for equality. The reason that the lack of democracy is that Islam cannot modernize their social system.
He points out “Today, the aspirations of Muslim for democracy and the participation of citizens in the public sphere do not differ from the aspirations of other people, irrespective of creed, language or color”(Abdelmajid 71). This shows that he thinks the thinking of democracy is gradually general in the Islam world. Muslim try to engage in the public activities in order to change their own political situation. If the people in the Islam world intend to promote the establishment of democracy, their religion and democracy is compatible and complementary to each other.
Islam is not contradictory to the democracy. In addition, some scholars argue that people should not think the general definition of democracy as the correct definition because this definition of democracy is a kind of western ideology. The real meaning of democracy is ought to derive from many culture. Therefore, the institutional Islamist can also accomplish the liberal and real democracy. In Bassam Tibi’s article, he states “The claim of democracy to universality is generally acceptable to Muslims who subscribe to forms of civil Islam” (Bassam 141).
Bassam believes that no matter what kind of rule which Muslim follows, the fact that Islam world adopt the western democracy is undeniable. The difference between western democracy and Islamic democracy is that Islam believes their religious practice can be applied to the public issue. Furthermore, people cannot deny the development of democracy in Islam just because Muslim-majority places do not totally follow the so-called liberal democracy. Even though Islamists refuse to accept secular democracy, it is not a contradiction. Both these two author imply that Islam can develop the democracy within their own religion.
However, whether their religion has problem with establishing democracy or not, people cannot deny the intense relationship between the religion and governance in Muslim-majority countries. In addition, when people discuss about liberal democracy, it is inevitable to examine the level on tolerance of minor religion. Majority law and rules make sure that the ruler follow the will of his citizens. To prevent the type of despotic majority, the tolerance of minority right and religious liberty is consequential (Milligan et al. 243).
According to the research in tolerance of minor religion in the West and Muslim-majority countries, Scott Milligan, Robert Anderson, and Robert Brym find that the tolerance among people living in Muslim-majority countries is 10. 89 times lower than people in the West. They affirms “Accordingly, we would not expect to find a high degree of tolerance or strong endorsement of other liberal democratic values among people in Muslim-majority countries, irrespective of individual religious practices” (Milligan et al. 245). Because they thinks that the tolerance of religion is related to the development of democracy.
People will not live in a democratic society without the diversity of religion. That is to say, they prove again that democracy is encouraged in the Islam as long as it excludes the unbeliever from participating in the politics. Besides, when it comes to democracy, people have to pay attention to human rights and gender equality either. There is a huge difference between the rule of human rights in the International Bill of Human Rights and in the Islam Declaration of Human Right. Although there is a rule that people have the right to choose the job which they are willing to take, it is based on the religion. This religion infers to Islamism.
In the traditional Islam rule, people can only get the right if they obey Allah’s rule. Accordingly, it clearly stipulate that all authorities belong to Allah in the constitutions of many contemporary Islamic nations. In other words, people have the right to seek for freedom within Allah’s message. The rule is not correct or wrong since every religion has its own doctrine; however, religion exert a vital influence on politics. If the ruler is necessary to disobey the rule in order to protect minority from being exploited human rights, it means this ruler may face condemnation of his people and government (Masmoud 42).
Even though there are some scholars in Islam suggest to develop the liberal democracy which if free from the limitation of their religion ,Masmoud points out “It is unclear whether popular support for democracy can and will actually become transformed into pressure for political reform and democratic openings in the Arab world” (44). Therefore, human right should not be limited to the religion so that people in Islamic world have the ability to establish real democracy. In individual level, Islamic rule emphasize people have obligation to Allah and each other.
Many people think Allah tell them that justice must be supported t everyone. Everyone has to be treated fairly by government. It seems to be democratic. Nevertheless, the justice is made by God. Isalm think that God can judge what impartiality is (Masmoud 4). In accordance with the rule of Islamism, a nation’s authority will not conflict with individual because they both have to follow the law of Allah. On the contrary, sometimes it is impossible for western people to keep democracy and justice without struggling with government because everyone has different opinion.
A genuinely democratic government do not force unite those diverse viewpoint with force. (Arjomand 300). Specifically, whether Islam will be democratized or whether democracy will be Islamized is the central question (Bassam 142). As Ephraim and Yasmin say “Our analysis of the empirical evidence shows that religion looms far larger as a shaper of attitudes in the Muslim world than it does in the West, and that Islam is not currently supportive of liberal-democratic ideas”(132). Thus, Islam currently has Islamic democracy. They are nor democratized yet.
If Islam coexist with the liberal democracy, it is necessary to examine and reform the relationship between their religion and government. People should not regard terrorism as a part of Islamism because every religion is ought to get equal respect for its doctrine. Although Islam does not forbid people developing democratic government, their religion somehow gradually become an ideology which affects Muslim’s viewpoint of democracy and politics in some Muslim-majority places. Consequently, people cannot say that the shortage of democracy in Islam is not related to their religion.