I would recommend bookmarking this, or alternatively printing it out and after reading it leaving it behind on a bus or a bar somewhere so others might read it. This needs to be understood by as many as possible.
Is Islam Compatible With Democracy and Human Rights?
Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society 22 June 2009
” Islam has never favoured democratic tendencies…” Hurgronje 
” The Democratic system that is predominant in the world is not a suitable system for the peoples of our region… The system of free elections is not suitable to our country” King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
At least King Fahd has had the honesty to admit the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy. Meanwhile Western Islamic apologists and modernising Muslims continue to look for democratic principles in Islam and Islamic history.
[A] Human Rights and Islam
Let us look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and compare it to Islamic law and doctrine.
Article 1 ” All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood “.
Article 2 ” Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status “.
Article 3 ” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person ”
Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms ”
Comments: (1) Women are inferior under Islamic law; their testimony in a court of law is worth half that of a man; their movement is strictly restricted, they cannot marry a non-Muslim
(2) Non – Muslims living in Muslim countries have inferior status under Islamic law, they may not testify against a Muslim. In Saudi Arabia, following a tradition of Muhammed who said ” Two religions cannot exist in the country of Arabia “, non _ Muslims are forbidden to practice their religion, build churches, possess Bibles etc.
(3) Non-believers — atheists (surely the most neglected minority in history) — in Muslim countries do not have “the right to life “. They are to be killed. Muslim doctors of law generally divide sins into great sins and little sins. Of the seventeen great sins, unbelief is the greatest, more heinous than murder, theft, adultery etc..
(4) Slavery is recognised in the Koran. Muslims are allowed to cohabit with any of their female slaves (Sura iv.3); they are allowed to take possession of married women if they are slaves (Sura iv.28); the helpless position of the slave as regard his master illustrates the helpless position of the false gods of Arabia in the presence of their Creator (Sura xvi.77).
Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Comments (1) We have seen what punishments are in store for the transgressers of the Holy Law: amputations, crucifixion, stoning to death, floggings. I suppose a Muslim could argue that these were not unusual for a Muslim country, but what of their inhumanity? Again a Muslim could contend that they are of divine origin and must not be judged by human criteria. By human standards, they ARE inhuman.
Article 6 Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
The whole notion of a person who can make choice, and can be held morally responsible is lacking in Islam; as is the entire notion of human rights.
Articles 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 deal with the rights of an accused person to a fair trial.
Comments (1) As Schacht has shown under the Sharia considerations of good faith, fairness, justice, truth, and so on play only a subordinate role. The idea of criminal guilt is lacking.
(2) Revenge for a killing is officially sanctioned, though a money recompense is also possible.
(3) The legal procedure, under Islam, can hardly be called impartial or fair, for in the matter of witnesses all sorts of injustices emerge. A non _Muslim may not testify against a Muslim. For example, a Muslim may rob a non _Muslim in his home with impunity if there are no witnesses except the non_ Muslim himself. The evidence of Muslim women is admitted only very exceptionally and then only from twice the number required of men.
Article 16 deals with the rights of marriage of men and women
Comment (1) As we shall see in our chapter on women, women under Islam do not have equal rights: they are not free to marry whom they wish, the rights of divorce are not equal.
Article 18 ” Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance “.
Comments (1) Quite clearly under Islam, one does not have the right to change one’s religion, if one is born into a Muslim family. Applying double standards, Muslims are quite happy to accept converts to their religion, but a Muslim may not convert to another religion, this would be apostasy which is punishable by death. Here is how the great commentator Baydawi (c.1291) sees the matter:
” Whosoever turns back from his belief, openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever you find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard “.
Comment (2) Statistics on conversions from Islam to Christianity, and therefore apostasy, are hard to establish for obvious reasons. There is, however, a myth that Muslims are impossible to convert. On the contrary we do have enough evidence of literally thousands of Muslims abandoning Islam for Christ from the Middle Ages to Modern Times; the most spectacular cases being, amongst others, those of Moroccan and Tunisian princes in the 17th century, of the monk Constantin the African. Count Rudt – Collenberg has found evidence at the Casa dei Catecumeni at Rome of 1087 conversions between 1614 and 1798.According to A.T. Willis and others between two or three million Muslims converted to Christianity after the massacres of the communists in Indonesia, in 1965, described earlier [chapter x] In France alone, in the 1990s, there are two or three hundred converts to Christianity from Islam, EACH YEAR. According to Ann Mayer, in Egypt conversions have been ” occurring with enough frequency to anger Muslim clerics and to mobilize conservative Muslim opinion behind proposals to enact a law imposing the death penalty for apostasy “[Mayer177]. Ms. Mayer points out that, in the past, many women have been to tempted to convert from Islam to ameliorate their lot.
Comment (3) Those who convert to Christianity and choose to stay in the Muslim country do so at great personal danger. The convert has most of his rights denied him, identity papers are often refused him, so that he has difficulties leaving his country; his marriage is declared null and void, his children are taken away from him to be brought up by Muslims, and he forfeits his rights of inheritance. Often the family will take matters into their own hands and simply assassinate the apostate; the family are, of course, not punished. [Gaudeul]
Article 19 ” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers “.
Comments (1) The rights enshrined in articles 18 and 19 have been consistently violated in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In all three countries, the rights of their Bahai, Ahmadi and Shia minorities respectively have been denied. All three countries justify their actions by reference to Sharia. Christians in these countries are frequently arrested on charges of blasphemy and their rights denied.
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