12 May 2010

Pamphlet: Democracy in Crisis: How the Islamic Political System ensures Good Governance

On the day of the general elections in the United Kingdom (6 May 2010), the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the pan-Islamist revolutionary party active in many Muslim as well as western countries, released a pamphlet titled "Democracy in Crisis: How the Islamic Political System ensures Good Governance".

The full text of the pamphlet can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Democracy [...] is the established order in a chaotic and unstable world, where every critic of democracy is viewed with heretical suspicion. [...] For every civilization, for every country for every tribe, for every time – goes the mantra – democracy is the claimed answer to all our ills. [...] In addition to elections, Western democracies also champion a separation of state and religion, liberal values towards personal conduct, as well as capitalism, with its policy of unbridled free markets. Western societies promote individualism, hedonism and utilitarianism, with faith and morality kept strictly to the private arena. There is very little evidence that the people of Kabul (never mind Kandahar), Baghdad or Cairo support or accept that Islam should be marginalised in society and kept solely to the confines of the mosque, nor would most accept that a person has freedom to view pornography or commit adultery. Nor would most agree with laws permitting alcohol, gambling establishments or free market capitalism with all its adverse impacts; yet these are all norms in Western democracies. [...]

"Yet the problem of secular democracies originates not from bad implementation but shaky theoretical foundations. The view that laws become superior to other laws based on the number of people voting for them is as absurd as it is dangerous. We certainly don't decide scientific progress based on the number of people who support a position, if we did then Galileo, Copernicus and the hundreds of scientists who spoke truth to power and who struggled against public opinion must have been wrong. We decide trials based on the quality of evidence not on the numerical superiority of witnesses on any particular side. If people, as they did in the 1930's, vote for a populist leader who would later kill millions of Jews and start a world war, does this validate their choice just because they constituted a majority at a point in time. No it doesn't. [...] It is the active promotion of secular democracy abroad while simultaneously abandoning it at home that is the brazen hypocrisy. In rolling back democracy at home, the West has lost its moral leadership to preach to countries abroad, seriously undermining the pro democracy activists abroad it claims to support. [...]

"Theocracies at their heart believe that there is a group or leaders who are infallible and who have an exclusive right to interpret the word of God, where no one is allowed to challenge their interpretation and anyone doing so is condemned. Muslims believe Prophets are selected by God but that subsequent political leaders are not. Their legitimacy must emanate from the authority of the people. The Islamic political system is not theocratic in nature with anyone allowed to challenge any ruling by either scholars or the head of state. [...] The Islamic system would take the money out of modern politics. The electoral circus every four or five years [...] in the West positively encourages the growth of money in politics forcing politicians to either raise grotesque amounts of money for re-election or maximise their own wealth before they get booted out. The Islamic system, though not immune from the temptations on offer, seeks to actively detach both finance and the interests of corporations from politics [...].

"No one – including the head of state, their family, or any religious scholar – is above the law. And unlike the West where justice is skewed to those that are more powerful and wealthier, Islamic courts have historically – and will do so in the future – exercised justice for the weak, minorities and the less well off. [...] We do not believe in arbitrary arrest or torture or rendition or internment. Every person has the right to a presumption of innocence, a right to privacy and a right to a fair trial. Secular democracies do not have a monopoly over respecting the rights of its [sic] citizens. [...] There are also clear constitutionally enshrined Islamic prohibitions on torture and abusive behaviour amongst other things – applied to the police, armed forces and security services as well as the general population – as a protection from such forceful rule [....]

"The failure to acknowledge the Khilafah State as an alternative, despite its resonance with hundreds of millions of Muslims is not surprising. Western political leaders are more at ease comparing their way of life with the low benchmark of brutal dictators of the Middle East (despite propping up these same leaders for years) than in actually arguing the substantive issues of which political system would be better for the Muslim world. [...] In practice there is a huge gap between the reality of democratic countries and the rhetoric. [...] Debt is rising as democratic states continue to pander to their populations for short-term electoral considerations. The financial crisis of 2008 driven by the unholy trinity of democracy, capitalism and liberalism brought the world to the brink of disaster. We should learn the lessons before its [sic] too late. [...] What we need today is fresh thinking, not another model of secular democracy or some diluted set of reforms. It is a system so bankrupt that the world needs radical new alternatives, intertwined with new values and a new ethos of politics serving the public not a wealthy elite. This is the essence of the Islamic alternative."

The pamphlet includes case studies on the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Afghanistan, as well as a Q & A section on the Islamic Caliphate (Khilafah) system as an alternative to democracy.

1 comment:

  1. Do we need a Referendum For A New Democracy?

    Are you concerned about the future of democracy? Do you feel democracy is under attack by extreme greed in countries around the world? Are you sick and tired of: living in fear, corporate greed, growing police state, government for the rich, working more but having less?

    Can we use both elections and random selection (in the way we select government officials) to rid democracy of undue influence by extreme wealth and wealth-dominated mass media campaigns?

    The world's first democracy (Athenian democracy, 600 B.C.) used both elections and random selection. Even Aristotle (the cofounder of Western thought) promoted the use random selection as the best way to protect democracy. The idea of randomly selecting (after screening) juries remains from Athenian democracy, but not randomly selecting (after screening) government officials. Why is it used only for individual justice and not also for social justice? Who wins from that? ...the extremely wealthy?

    What is the best way to combine elections and random selection to protect democracy in today's world? Can we use elections as the way to screen candidates, and random selection as the way to do the final selection? Who wins from that? ...the people?