Friday, March 04, 2011

Islam and dictatorship

Islam and dictatorship

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Thu, 03/03/2011 11:08 AM | Opinion, The Jakarta Post
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Whether or not Islam is compatible with democracy is a misleading question. Islam and democracy are two different entities, although both cannot be divorced when dealing with politics in the Muslim world.

In Indonesia, for instance, Islam and Muslims are two themes that cannot be ignored, from the period of the country’s independence to the era of reformation. The same rings true in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries. Islam and politics are interwoven.

Islam, like any other religion, is an old system of beliefs. Democracy is a new advancement of a modern political system. Each can complement the other. Collision between the two can also occur.

Those who apologetically insist that Islam teaches democracy and those who cynically reject the compatibility of democracy and Islam treat the religion as a monolithic entity. Both sides see Islam as one religion embraced by the same Muslims in many different countries and generations. They all disregard many other aspects, such as culture and economy, which of course play the same important role as religion does in society. Equally interesting is that the two sides see Islam and Muslims, the teachings and the people, the religion and its adherents, as the same.

In fact, Islam cannot be defined easily, as this religion has been present for a long time and has been embraced by various Muslims at different times and in different areas. All interpreted Islam uniquely and differently from each other.



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