: Alt.Muslim wonders about the form of democracy that can grow in Iraq.
When al-Qaida links couldn’t be found and the search for weapons of mass destruction didn’t move our allies into action, bringing democracy to the suffering people to Iraq became the new raison d’etre for “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” But what does democracy mean to a people who have never practiced it? How do you bring a society from tribal identifications with ethnic or religious groups into an arena where respect for the will of the majority forms the foundation of the state?
The writer debates the role of Islam — the Turkish model or (unspoken) the Iranian model? I didn’t make clear in my post on Iraqi democracy below that religion can be involved in a democracy, of course but it can’t replace democracy. England, Italy, Israel, Ireland and many other countries have official state religions. Yes, my American DNA brings with it a strong belief in separation of church and state to insure the freedom of both. But it need not be an absolute. Still, I do see a clear line: Do the people get to choose their leaders and their laws or does a religious leadership choose both for them? One is democracy, the other is religious dictatorship.