I had a fleeting sensation of hope yesterday when a poll of 1,000 Egyptians by the Pew Research Center found that 59% percent said that their preferred form of government is democracy. Then a little below the poll found that 82% feel adulterers should be stoned and 84% believe that apostates from Islam should face the death penalty.
The poll captures a long-standing tension in Muslim countries, which favor differing degree of democracy while applying Sharia law and deny basic rights like free speech and association and privacy in the name of Islam. The Egyptians have long been one of the most educated and modern countries in the Arab world. Yet, 95 percent believe that it is a good thing not to have separation of mosque and to allow Islam to play a large role in politics.
Some 85% say that Islam’s influence on politics is good
While 80% think that suicide bombings are never or rarely justified and 70% are concerned about radical Islam, 54% believe men and women should be segregated in the workplace and 77% believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off.
The lack of separation and secular principles will continue to result in the denial of fundamental human rights in Muslims countries until citizens recognize the relationship between such rights and liberty. Democracy is little protection of rights since, in nations with overwhelming Islamic voting blocks, these laws are always popular. This is the very meaning of what the Framers viewed as majoritarian terror or tyranny. Liberty requires citizens to take a type of leap of faith in giving up their ability to dictate the views, associations, and beliefs of their neighbors. That takes a great deal of education to instill such values of governance in a population. Even in this country, many seek to impose their morals on their neighbors through morality laws.
The corrosive impact of Sharia law is well-documented on this and other legal blogs. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech (as well as freedom of religion) are denied in such systems where people may be punished and even put to death for uttering irreligious and minority views. Democracy becomes a tool for opposition in the absence of guaranteed rights of speech, religion, press, and association. Without such protections, it merely allows ordinary people to participate in the oppression of their neighbors.
Source: Globe and Mail