Now that the concept of political Islam is being recognized by pundits and commentators out side the blogospher, weâ€™re seeing attempts by those pundits and commentators to try to deal with it.
This blog, and hundreds of others like it, know that political Islam is the non-violent strategy of Islamists to inject their jihadist ideology into non-Muslim and Muslim countries in the attempt of overthrowing democratically elected freedom loving governments and what are called current moderate Muslim ones.
If one holds the position that the ideology of Islamism is as much a threat to freedom and world peace as fascism and communism, then its obvious no one should allow it to gain any kind of political power. We see how every day the â€˜democraticallyâ€™ elected governments of Gaza, the PLO, Iran and Pakistan run roughshod over every personal freedom and civil right that the Islamists deem a threat to their theistic ideology.
But there are some who believe we should allow Islam to have a voice in the political process to close the door on â€˜extremistsâ€™ who would advance the Islamist agenda.
Endy Bayuni, writing in the Washington Post, holds such a position. In his piece titled Don’t Send Islam Underground, but to Ballot Box, he states that Political Islam is a fact of life in countries with large Muslim populations and we should allow them access to the ballot box as we have done in the past with other ideologies that have used the political process in democratic countries to advance their agenda.
Indonesia and Turkey, two such countries, have had to deal with this issue for decades. Indonesia’s own experience tells us that suppressing or banning political Islam is not the answer. General Suharto tried this when he ruled Indonesia for three decades until 1998, and political Islam simply went underground, making detection of its activities — some of which were violent — even more difficult.
If political Islam is accepted as a fact of life, then its presence must be accommodated in any democratic political system. That means the Islamist political parties are allowed to contest elections, but like other political parties, they must abide by the rules of the game called democracy.
Obviously, those Islamist groups who preach violence or even engage in terrorism don’t count, and must be dealt with by the law. But Islamist parties that adhere to democratic rules and principles have legitimate claims to operate and take part in elections. Secular parties concerned about the country turning into a theocratic state must then confront political Islam through the ballot box.
And thereâ€™s the problem. Allowing a political party that promises to overthrow the very democratic processes that it uses to gain power is the weakness in Mr. Bayuniâ€™s argument. Hitler was voted into office and soon thereafter, used the power of the government to name him as dictator. This was a much the fault of the German people who swallowed his lies in return for prosperity as the Parliamentary form of government and itâ€™s need to have consensus between the many different parties into order to form a government. Unlike our republican form of democracy â€“ thereâ€™s a winner and a loser and the loser has to wait until the next election to gain power – Iâ€™ve written before of the dangers of a parliamentary form of government and how it can be used by special interest parties to steer a nation into disaster.
Mr. Bayuni, like most liberals, is banking on the power of endless discussion and debate to resolve a countryâ€™s problems. What he doesnâ€™t understand or refused to see is that there are those who will use the democratic process to make sure that such discussion and debate is null and void once they gain political power.
But letâ€™s give Mr. Bayuni the benefit of the doubt and use history to defend his position.
Anti-democratic ideologies like fascism in the 1930s and communism in the 1950s were allowed to form political parties and partake in the democratic political process. Any fool could see that their ultimate aim was not to improve the lot of citizens but to control them. Yet, we allowed those anti-democratic parties access to and participation in our political process.
We went to war with two fascist ideologies â€“ Nazism and Shintoism â€“ and declared them illegal to practice in the political process. We fought a cold war with communism and defeated their ideology with the power of our economics. Fascist and Communist parties that survived were eventually marginalized in the democratic institutions around the world. Right wing and communist parties exist but little attention is paid to them in the free democracies.
Mr. Bayuni thinks that such marginalization can happen eventually with Islamic parties who have the same goals as the fascist and communist parties.
But this anti-democratic ideology is far different from those of the past. Those anti-democratic ideologies were secular while Islam is not. They wanted to survive the conflict while Islamists would gladly eliminate itself in the process if they were guaranteed to be victorious. Those parties represented a comparatively small world population with feeble attempts at demographic domination compared to the rapidly expanding Muslim population in democratic countries.
Though we knew and understood clearly the goals of past anti-democratic ideologies and watched them closely, the ideology of Islamism and its plans for world domination is not fully understood by our political leadership whose vision of the threat has been blurred by political correctness and multiculturalism. If all parties in all democratically elected countries saw the threat for what it is and reported to their general public, the intent of political Islam and its plans of execution â€“ allowing intimidation of Islamâ€™s critics, blind to infiltration of the Islamist ideology in our government, institutions and organizations, and the disinformation that spews from such â€˜civil rightsâ€™ organizations like CAIR and the Muslin Student Association â€“ then it would be safe to allow Islam access to the ballot box for it would be defeated time and time again like many marginalized parties.
But as of now, we would only be letting the camelâ€˜s nose into the tent â€“ and the entire camel will soon follow claiming democracy has spoken.
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