Religious Challenges to Constructing a Democratic Iraq Essay Sample

Islam has been Iraq’s dominant faith for centuries. The faith plays an of import portion in every facet of Iraq’s society. to include its authorities. A democracy gives freedom to a nation’s people. encompassing the many features of Christianity. It can be argued that Islam is. and will go on to be a basis of any authorities in Iraq. Likewise. Christianity will be a basis of many democratic states. The challenge is to research the relationship of a democracy in Iraq. and whether the relationship will work sing the prevalent Islam faith. The Challenge of Establishing a Democracy in Iraq

It has been seven old ages since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. and the remotion of Saddam Hussein’s government. One clear aim since the start of the war was to transfuse a authorities where all citizens could bask the same freedoms of other democratic states. However. transfusing democracy in a Muslim society can be immense hurdle to get the better of. The representative characteristics of a democratic authorities may non needfully aline with the spiritual. norms of a Muslim society. To derive an apprehension of the footing of a democracy in Iraq. the history and prevailing faith must be carefully dissected. The history and associated faith. along with the dogmas of democracy. must be carefully unraveled to pull a comparing between the two. Merely so can one determine whether a democracy can boom in Iraq. History of Iraq

Normally known as the place of birth of the universe. or Mesopotamia. to be exact. the country between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is regarded as the possible location of the Garden of Eden. Iraq has been a state of struggle and invasion all the manner back to the 4th century BC. when the vanquisher. Alexander the Great. devastated the country ( Boyd. 2003. p. 4 ) . The Sumerians were the first important swayers. shortly to be followed by Sargon I. the Akkadians. and eventually. the Emmalites ( Boyd. 2003. p. 4 ) . Muhammad’s clip in 610 AD. marked a really of import point in Iraq’s history. During this clip. Islam would come into being. The debut of Islam would convey peace and competition. preponderantly displayed amongst Muslims and Abbasid calif. Centuries subsequently. and the beginning of WW I. British military personnels would occupy the part and enforce their power.

Shortly after the war. the League of Nations gave Britain. Syria. and France authorization over the state. Although the state would go independent in 1932. it would once more fall under British control to forestall a pro-Nazi overthrow ( Boyd. 2003. p. 4 ) . In 1947. Iraq eventually gained its independency. Independence would convey about several decennaries of military leaders rule in an effort to form the authorities. These efforts would finally neglect. until 1968. This would be the twelvemonth. the Ba’ath party would take power ( William. 2000. p. 91 ) . One adult male would rapidly mount to the top. due to much quarrelling amongst party ranks. This adult male. Saddam Hussein. would finally emerge as president and leader of the party until April of 2003. Iraq’s history saw much struggle and adversity throughout. but there was one high spot – the debut of Islam. To better understand the primary faith of Iraq. it’s best to take a expression at its history. History of Islam

Harmonizing to writer. Spencer William ( 2000 ) . in his book. Irak: Old Land. New Nation in Conflict. he notes that Iraq is the “world centre for Islam” ( S. William. 2000. p. 31 ) To derive a better understanding about the people of Iraq. it is of import to take a expression at the history of its chief faith. Islam traces its roots back to the prophesier. Muhammad ibn Abdallah ( 570-632 AD ) . Muslims believe that Muhammad followed God’s instructions through disclosures from the Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad called on the people to admit a religion in Allah ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 5 ) . Allah was the Arabic word for God. and believed to be the God of Abraham. Moses. Jesus. and Muhammad ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 5 ) . Revelations came to Muhammad. get downing in 610 during the 9th lunar month. or Ramadan. until his decease in 632. These disclosures were transcribed in the Qur’an. Author Gregorian ( 2003 ) notes the words of the Qur’an: “It is cult of your male parent. Abraham. He was the 1 who named you Muslims” ( Gregorian. V. 2003. p. 6 ) . “Muslims” would go the name for those who follow the Islam religion. Islam is similar to Judaism and Christianity in that it is a prophetic faith.

This means the reception of God’s messages to humanity through Prophetss. The nucleus maxims of Islam are Towhid. the integrity of God ; Nowbowat. belief in the prophetic mission of Muhammad ; and Ma’ad. belief in the twenty-four hours of judgement and Resurrection ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 7 ) . Additionally. there are five dogmas called the Pillars of Faith that every Muslim must detect as follows: bear true religion in God. and that belief in Muhammad as his prophesier ; to pray five times a twenty-four hours towards Mecca. give a part of his or her income as a revenue enhancement. and one fifth of their income to the hapless ; fast during the twenty-four hours. the whole month of Ramadan ; and do at least one pilgrim’s journey to Mecca. if able. The early spread of Islam was rather singular.

About all the folks of Arabia had converted to Islam in 632. upon Muhammad’s decease. Almost a century after the faiths birth. the Muslim community would turn into one of the largest in the universe ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 11 ) . The Qur’an notes coexiststance with Jews and Christians. and identifies them as “People of the Book” ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 9 ) . Muslims believe it was Abraham and his boy Ishmael who rebuilt the Kaaba in Mecca. which is believed to be the oldest monotheistic temple. Along with Abraham. Muslims consider Moses and Jesus to be great Prophetss. Like Christians. Muslims accept the New Testament. However ; unlike Christians. Islam did non prolong a centralised organisation. ( Gregorian. 2003. p. 14 ) . The decentalisation of Islam would ensue into two chief religious orders ; the Sunni and Shia. Through the disclosures received by Muhammad. and divisions of the faith there is still common dogmas. To understand the faith wholly. an reading of the rules and features is in order. Dogmas of Islam

Islam is a faith based on pluralism. It is believed that the absence of spiritual professionals in the faith led to emergence of several different religious orders. which practiced the religion otherwise. This historically. and common twenty-four hours. has led to challenge and competition among these different religious orders ( Omer. 2003. p. 122 ) . It seems the loan Islam demand is that every bookman construe the Qur’an in conformity with his or her historical background. This will take to a practical apprehension of the faith. One of import observation about the faith and its relationship with authorities is stated by the taking bookman. Omer ( 2003 ) . “Islamic divinity does non incorporate a comprehensive list of injunctions about the theory of political administration. The Qur’an lone references a figure of moral rules. which are relevant to political administration. and non about its cardinal rules and organisational structure” ( Omer. 2003. p. 108 ) .

It has been noted that the Qur’an alludes to past societies and swayers. but focuses chiefly on how these swayers provided justness instead how they formatted the construction of political relations. Slightly similar to beliefs of Christianity and Judaism. parts of the Qur’an identify Acts of the Apostless of evildoing committed by former societies/rulers as evidences for devastation by God. Those who were merely swayers and obeyed God’s orders. were favored. Harmonizing to Omer ( 2003 ) . “Prophets like David and Solomon. who besides served as male monarchs. were the type of swayers who are praised in the Qur’an for moving rightly and pityingly towards their people” ( Omer. 2003 p. 108 ) . As celebrated above. the Qur’an is focused on the moral behaviour of societies instead the format of political relations. With this being said how would it associate to a democracy? To find any relation. the history of democracy should be examined for compatibility. History of Democracy

Democracy comes from the Grecian word demokratia. intending “the people. ” and kratein. intending “to rule” ( Strauss. 1994. p. 32 ) . The Grecian system of authorities was really near to being a true democracy. or regulation by the people. than any other state in history. Every male Athenian citizen was given a opportunity to play at least a little portion in self-determination ( Strauss. 1994. p. 33 ) . Roman democracy was similar to that of Greece. but non to same extent. The Roman authorities was a representative democracy. which had elected functionaries ( magistrates ) such as tribunes. the pretors. the consuls. the pro-consuls. etc. These persons acted for Rome. but did so on the advice of the Senate ( North. 1994. p. 39 ) . In 1215 AD. the Magna Carta opened the door to a more democratic system in England. Although its development wasn’t needfully intended to be a theoretical account for a democratic authorities. it had the interior workings to make a democratic authorities by. Created through an act of rebellion. the papers was solution to feudal administration.

The Magna Carta contained some brawny clauses that in wining centuries evolved into anchor rules of democratic authorities and human rights ( Sharp. 2006. p. 28 ) . In 1628. England’s Petition of Rights stipulated that the King could no longer revenue enhancement without parliament’s permission and the 1689 Bill of Rights provided freedom of address and banned cruel or unusual penalty. These measures would hold an impact on Parliament by giving the people more right to show themselves. These old reforms may non hold made England a true democracy at the clip. but they did integrate democratic ideals that would be finally used to organize the authorities of the United States. With an apprehension of the beginnings of democracy. it’s of import to look at how the predominate faith in America relates to it. Christianity and Democracy

Democracy development matched that of Christianity. dating back to the 3rd century to Aurelius Augustinus. who was really of import for conveying Grecian thought into Christianity. Augustinus. or Augustine of Hippo is a saint and well-renowned expert in the church. He’s besides known by Protestants as ascendant of Protestantism. Augustine purposes were to acquire Christians to acknowledge the differentiation between church and province. His work supported the thought of a incorporate Christian commonwealth organisation ( Maddox. 2002 p. 91 ) . A ulterior theologist. Jean Calvin. would construct upon what Augustine started. Jean Calvin would go a dominant spiritual figure through his widespread Protestant influence and Restoration of the church’s institutional construction ( Graham. 2002. p. 121 ) . Calvin influenced the authorities of Geneva to incorporate the official maps of church and restatement of natural jurisprudence. intending to function the involvements of God’s kingdom ( Graham. 2002. p. 123 ) .

His insisting on the separation of church and province led to the tem “Calvinism. ” Calvinism referred to the opposition against the province to put down Torahs for faith. Calvinism would subsequently distribute to America. with a publicity of spiritual freedom -true dogmas of a democracy. Within the Christian tradition there are differences between Catholicism. Orthodox Christianity. and Protestantism. but all portion a common subject when it comes to Christianity and democracy. Minkenberg ( 2007 ) makes the remark that. “recent informations and cross-time comparings confirm that democracy’s roots are in states which are culturally shaped by Christianity” ( Minkenberg. 2007. p. 887 ) . Furthermore. it can be argued that Western civilisation offprints faith and the province as in conformity with the dogmas of a democracy. The separation is major subscriber to the freedom enjoyed by the Western Civilization ( Minkenberg. 2007. p. 893 ) . It’s hard to state whether faith should blend with the province. but understanding the steering rules of democracy may assist in replying this inquiry. Dogmas of Democracy

Before comparing the relationship between Islam and democracy. a elucidation of democracy is in order. Democracy is accepted by political idea pupils as a agency of administration. prevailing in both traditional and modern societies ( Omer. 2003. p. 107 ) . The construct of democracy good known for its laterality in Western civilisation ( Giovani. 1987. p. 3 ) . Harmonizing to Giovani ( 1987 ) . democracy literally means “power of the people. ” and that the power belongs to the people ( Giovani. 1987. p. 7 ) . The ill-famed values of democracy are human rights and autonomies. and authorities representatives chosen by the people. The basiss of a democracy are characterized by the procedure of election. the constitution of answerability systems and the execution of the regulation of jurisprudence ( Spicker. 2008. p. 252 ) .

Principles. such as human rights and autonomies. must be in topographic point in order for a authorities to be genuinely labeled a democracy. This is includes periodic elections. constitutional authorities. bulk regulation. and handiness of the media ( Omer. 2003. p. 107 ) . Two major signifiers of democracy are direct or indirect. In a authorities based on direct democracy. determinations are taken by the whole organic structure of citizens. Indirect democracy is normally represented by a little group of citizens. who make determinations on behalf of the whole organic structure. Indirect democracy is normally more common. These dogmas are merely some of the demands for a authorities or society to earn the “democracy” label. Understanding the background of Islam and democracy is merely a start. To find whether they can coexist. a comparing is in order.

Islamic Thought vs. the Keystones of a Democracy
Caliphate. emperorship and kingship types of authorities had a long history for Muslim societies. but were non built-in with Muslim beliefs. However. this was non needfully a urgent issue for Islam ( Omer. 2003. p. 106 ) . Harmonizing to Omer ( 2003 ) . the five major spiritual beliefs in the universe ( Christianity. Confucianism. Buddhism. Judaism and Islam ) . Islam has been furthest from democracy ( Omer. 2003. p. 106 ) . Loyalty to the household and to the folk does non aline with the rules of democratic authorities. where as the bulk regulation ( Ben-Meir. 2006. p. 84 ) . Even today. most Muslim states are governed by non-democratic governments. Some of these governments have constructed autocratic constructions under the absolute regulation of a cult leader. a party leader. or a male monarch.

These types of authoritiess do non set peoples’ rights as a precedence to running the state. Whereas. The most cardinal values of democracy are human rights and autonomies. Omer ( 2003 ) states that “it has been apparent that democracy. among its options. is the alone signifier of authorities that strives to vouch the rights of all minorities and persons on the footing of the regulation of law” ( Omer. 2003. p. 107 ) . Even though there are differences between Islamic and democratic idea. there is hope. India’s success at set uping democracy in respects to its nation’s faiths. is testament that Islam and democracy can blend. This leads to the really of import inquiry: can a democracy return clasp in Iraq. sing the Islamic beliefs of the state? Can Democracy Take Hold in an Islamic Iraq?

On one manus ; extremist Islamic attacks or reactive motions. seem to reject everything that comes from the West. This attitude can belie the societal footing of seeking to do democracy in a Muslim state work ( Omer. 2003. p. 132 ) . Another issue for the Iraqi people is the political orientation of political Islamism. The faith is non needfully open to the nucleus values and patterns of democracy. viz. pluralism and power-sharing ( Tibi. 2009. p. 136 ) . On the other manus ; it seems after the remotion of Saddam. faith has become a new credo for opposition against foreign presence. Islam is one time once more being promoted as an across-the-board facet of life for the Iraqi people. Harmonizing to Milton-Edwards ( 2006 ) . “there is now an attempt to procure the individuality of the society – including the province – on the footing of faith” ( Milton-Edwards. 2006. p. 473 ) . Some intellectuals have concentrated on the rebuttal inherent in Muslim fundamentalist statements against democracy.

One of the writers of this discourse. Abdel Karim Soroush. proclaimed that rules of democracy remain compatible with Islam ( as cited in Milton-Edwards. 2006 ) . It seems that the Iraq Muslims need to understand the dogmas of a democratic civilisation in order for it to be successful. Clearly. democratic ideals are most in melody with the dogmas of Islam. non the autocratic political constructions predominating in some states environing Iraq. The system of rights and autonomies under a democracy may non stand a opportunity without the support of the Islam faithful. This is supported by professor Milton-Edward’s mention. ” because of this there is a widespread belief that in Iraq Islam is an inhibitor to the development of democracy in a post-authoritarian. post-war. post-occupation province. My statement here. nevertheless. is that without Islam the development of the Iraqi civil order in footings of both province and state will be stunted. unreal and limited in footings of the development of democratic governance” ( Milton-Edward. 2006 ) . Iraq can change over to a democracy. but Islam needs to play an of import portion in this transition. Decision

Instilling democracy in a Muslim society can be a immense hurdle to get the better of. The representative characteristics of a democratic authorities may non needfully aline with the spiritual. norms of a Muslim society. Looking at the history of Iraq and Islam and comparing it to the history of a democracy. it seems the comparing is black and white. Further comparing of the dogmas of Islam and democracy reveal few similarities. This diffence was highlighted by the many beginnings researching the relationship of a democracy in a Muslim society. Islam contains moral rules refering values that determine the way of societal life.

With this being said. it can be argued that these moral rules are more compatible with a democratic than a nondemocratic government. Democracy and its dogmas did non happen quickly and the same can be said for Islam. This means the freeze of a democratic signifier of authorities in Iraq is traveling to take clip. However. in my sentiment. I believe it could be rather plausible. The footing of Islam is on moral behaviour of societies instead than the format of political relations. as noted above by Dr. Omer. I agree with this impression. as it implies a separation of the province and the faith. Democracy’s publicity of human rights and autonomies and its alliance with Christianity. portions similar nucleus beliefs as Islam. In stoping. we can merely trust there is credence of democracy in an Islamic Iraq. and that one twenty-four hours all Iraqi citizens will bask the same freedoms as other democratic states.


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