Islam and Democracy

(Times-UK) Editorial - The American motive in co-sponsoring the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative was to further debate about democracy in a region all too willing to defend an authoritarian exceptionalism. It was also to tackle terrorism at its roots. The singular and terrible achievement of extremist Islamist clerics from Saudi Arabia to Finsbury Park has been to present a distorted and highly selective view of the Koran as an authoritative one that brooks no dissent. In recent months, moderate Muslims have noted that a 7th-century text deserves better than a 7th-century interpretation. At the same time, non-Muslims across Western Europe have abandoned the silence about Islamic fundamentalism once required by political correctness. Democracy's failure to take root in key Arab Muslim countries is a sign not of incompatibility but of work still to be done and the durability of dictatorships.

2004-12-16 00:00:00

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