Wednesday, Feb 2, 2005Zaquari on Democracy; Montesquieu on Religion
Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, Al-Qa'ida's leader in Iraq, gave a speech just before the Iraqi elections (23 January 2005). He spoke about democracy, and explained it in clear and simple terms. He understands it as well as we do - perhaps even better. The speech is on MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute):He's evidently heard of Lincoln:
This principle - that is, government of the people [and] by the people - is the very core of the democratic system … and it exists only through this [principle].
He goes on to cite seven principles of democracy:
First: Democracy is based on the principle that the people are the source of all authority, including the legislative [authority].
Second: Democracy is based on the principle of freedom of religion and belief
Third: Democracy is based on considering the people to be the sole sovereign, to whom all juridical matters and conflicts should be referred, and if there is any controversy or conflict between governor and governed, each of them threatens the other to refer to the will of the people and its choice, so that the people should decide on the matter on which is disagreed.
Fourth: Democracy is based on the principle of 'freedom of expression,'
Fifth: Democracy is based on the principle of separation between religion and state, politics, and life;
Sixth: Democracy is based on the principle of freedom of association and of forming political parties and the like, no matter what the creed, ideas, and ethics of these parties may be.
Seventh: Democracy is based on the principle of considering the position of the majority and adopting what is agreed upon by the majority
That's a summary that we could well use in schools. It seems obvious that he's talking about American democracy (and not distinguishing it from the republican form it exists in here).
Zarqawi has a big problem, though: he considers every one of these principles to be evil and perverted, heresy and error.
Going down the list again, take a look at what he thinks is bad about them
"... people are the source of all authority, including the legislative [authority].":
That is the very essence of heresy and polytheism and error, as it contradicts the bases of the faith [of Islam] and monotheism, and because it makes the weak, ignorant man Allah's partner in His most central divine prerogative - namely, ruling and legislating.
"... the principle of freedom of religion and belief":
... a man can believe anything he wants and choose any religion he wants and convert to any religion whenever he wants, even if this apostasy means abandoning the religion of Allah… This is a matter which is patently perverse and false and contradicts many specific [Muslim] legal texts, since according to Islam, if a Muslim apostatizes from Islam to heresy, he should be killed, as stated in the Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari and others: 'Whoever changes his religion, kill him.' It does not say 'leave him alone.'
According to Allah's religion, he has only one choice: 'Repent or be killed.'
"... considering the people to be the sole sovereign, to whom all juridical matters and conflicts should be referred":
This conflicts with and is contradictory to the principles of monotheism, which determines that the arbiter, deciding by His judgment in matters of discord, is Allah and none else
"... the principle of 'freedom of expression,' no matter what the expression might be...":
...even if it means hurting and reviling the Divine Being [i.e. Allah] and the laws of Islam,
"... the principle of separation between religion and state, politics, and life...":
(This is so obviously perverse to Zarqawi that he doesn't really expand on it.)
"... the principle of freedom of association and of forming political parties..."
This principle is null and void according to [Islamic] law for a number of reasons… One of them is that voluntary recognition of the legality of heretical parties implies acquiescence in heresy… Acquiescence in heresy is heresy…
"... the principle of considering the position of the majority and adopting what is agreed upon by the majority...":
This principle is totally wrong and void because truth according to Islam is that which is in accordance with the Koran
He goes on to explain at some length how inadequate the concept of democracy is, and how incompatible it is with Islam:
... democratic experiments have had damaging consequences for the Muslims, causing weakness, controversy, division, and conflict ...Zarqawi's mentor, Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, goes even further:
...democracy is the vile fruit and illegitimate daughter of secularism, because secularism is a heretical school of thought that aspires to isolate religion from life or separate religion from state and law, and democracy is the rule of the people or the rule of the tyrantDemocracy and tyranny: to them, practically indistinguishable concepts. Another cleric manages to bring up the Crusades. Sheikh Abu Omar Al-Sayf, the Mufti of the Jihad fighters in Chechnya, wrote to his Iraqi followers:
"Your Jihad against the Crusaders is defense of Islam, whose enemies are aiming to remove it from the hearts and lives of the Muslims. In this crime of democracy, the ones aiding them [the Allied forces] are members of our people and those who speak in their name, who call their apostasy and corruption 'reform'…
"Democracy [in Iraq] is a victory for the Crusaders, even if they retreat from Iraq and leave their agents to guard the idol of democracy that has become the god worshipped besides Allah.
"Accordingly, the Jihad warriors must wage Jihad against the soldiers of the idol of democracy, whether these [soldiers] be Crusaders or their democratic agents who are apostates from Islam…
Montesquieu on Religion
There's an interesting observation in Montesquieu (to whom our Founding Fathers looked for the three-branch structure of government - executive, judicial, and legislative). He wrote an influential book, Spirit of the Laws (also online here). Considering that he wrote it in 1748, it shows a remarkable understanding of human nature.
That the Catholic Religion is most agreeable to a Monarchy, and the Protestant to a Republic.
WHEN a religion is introduced and fixed in a state, it is commonly such as is most suitable to the plan of government there established; for those who receive it, and those who are the cause of its being received, have scarcely any other idea of policy, than that of the state in which they were born.
When the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the North embraced the Protestant, and those of the south adhered still to the Catholic.
The reason is plain: the people of the north have, and will for ever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not; and therefore a religion, which has no visible head, is more agreeable to the independency of the climate, than that which has one.
-- Spirit of the Laws, Book XXIV, Chapter V
That a moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian Religion, and a despotic Government to the Mahometan.
THE Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the gospel, is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.
-- Spirit of the Laws, Book XXIV, Chapter III
It is a misfortune to human nature, when religion is given by a conqueror. The Mahometan religion, which speaks only by the sword, acts still upon men with that destructive spirit with which it was founded.
-- Spirit of the Laws, Book XXIV, Chapter IV
posted by Mike 12:00