Secular Governance and the Middle East
In a recent Economist article (July 2, 2011 edition) onSyria it noted, “To many Muslims, secular means godless and wayward.” What constitutes a ‘civil’ democracy? What constitutes a ‘secular’ democracy? Does one still have god present in its structure, if not god, the Ideology of choice. InAmerica that would be God, the triune God, the body of One as Creator, Savior and Sustainer. In the Muslim dominated countries that would be as, possibly, 99 (the attributes of Allah, never fully defined) as Deceiver, Absolute Authority, and the voice of the Quran and its dictates (to include hating Christians and Jews until they all accept Allah as their god.)
Democracy in the Middle-East
Democracy in the Muslim world is a questionable concept, except to say that it would allow for open free elections (without corruption or voter tampering – deception). That is about it. Otherwise it is complicated with the rule of law to be applied, such as civil or theocratic. Civil laws, if they consider the ‘common good’ of every citizen would be fitting, but then religious oppression of non-Muslims would have to be contained. Perpetrators of crimes against Christian, Jews, their churches, and their synagogues would require immediate action, prosecution and punishment. Restrictions on the ability by non-Muslims to proselytize, to announce their beliefs openly, host public forums to hear the Word, would have to be eliminated. How could there ever be ‘freedom of assembly’ (another concept of a democracy) without freedom of religion. Oh the obstacles that must be overcome for all people to live in peace and be free.
Is the secular solution to mitigate, to remove, the hurdles of holy battles, actions taken in the name of Allah, and not in consideration for the good of all mankind? That may be the underlying constant battle, noting the scenes we observe in the Arab Spring. Must god be present in the government – or – could the hearts of each individual worship as they please, open and free to choose as their intellect and minds allow, seeing as the path to a personal eternal life with their selected Prince of Peace as they see it, not as others require it? Is there a scenario where the government would be able to focus on all the people, not just some of the people based on religious or ideological preferences?
The example of a new government in the Muslim world can be found in the Assad family, a minority group of Alawites, who took overSyria(by free elections, but…..). Once in control their families and cronies become as the “mafiosa, demanding a slice of every pie.” (Economist article onSyria– 7/2/2011). If they lose their current battle, then there will be talk of ‘reform.’ What is ‘reform’?
Reform in the Muslim world is an attempt at a balancing act between tribes, or families. The Baath Party, the Alawites, the Sunnis, Shia, and others all putting their hands forward for the grease they can receive to agree to compromise and a leader overall. Meetings in the Mosques are held to make decisions. Is that the place to evolve a secular government? Are Christians or Jews present? What about atheists or humanists?
Hope is in the Youth
The magnitude of the young in the Muslim areas of the world may provide hope. They have been subjected to the traditionalism of Islam, and have been repeatedly reminded that to leave Islam is apostasy. To think and dream and to find one’s personal path is OK as long as it is found between the pages of the Quran. Independent thought, doubt towards Allah, is more than discouraged. So a barrier that must be broken is the influence of Allah, the constraints of Islam and the handcuffs and prisons to hold the traditionalists that begin to think outside Muhammad’s handcrafted (with the aide of literate people that could write post Muhammad’s demise) book and diary. Maybe the continued growth of the Internet, Twitter and Facebook, and the opening of the eyes of the young to opportunities the world as a whole has to offer will bring change, an open dialog with all sects, religions, races, and persuasions to find the ‘common good’ and stay with it.
They are fighting vigorously today; many lives are being sacrificed in the name of ’freedom.’ May it be total freedom they achieve. We can only pray.
Grace and Peace.