Rule by fanaticism

Rule by fanaticism
: This is why we cannot allow a religious tyranny to replace the secular tyranny in Iraq:

Preaching to tens of thousands worshippers at the Qadhimaya mosque in northern Baghdad, Sheikh Mohammed al-Tabatabi said: “The west calls for freedom and liberty. Islam is not calling for this. Islam rejects such liberty. True liberty is obedience to God and to be liberated from desires. The dangers we should anticipate in coming days is the danger to our religion from the west trying to spread pornographic magazines and channels.”

Under Saddam, Iraq was a secular society. Women had equal rights with men and freedom to dress in western clothes. It was more lax than many of its neighbours about alcohol.

But Sheikh Tabatabi said: “We will not allow shops to sell alcohol and we ask for the closure of all such places and we ask you to use every available means to bring this about.”

He added that women should not be allowed to wander unveiled around Qadhimaya City.

You heard the man: They reject liberty.

Democracy is synonymous with liberty. Human rights, too, are synonymous with liberty. The choice of leadership and law must remain at all times in the hands of the people. If the choice of leadership and law is in the hands of the leaders then that is not democracy or freedom or liberty, it is, by definition, tyranny. And you cannot convince me that any people will willingly choose tyranny.

: See, too, this interesting blog post by Iman. An Iranian, Iman argues that Iranians are racist (Persians v. Arabs) as Arabs are racist (Arabs v. Persians). It’s a complicated neighborhood, that.

The post also touches on some jealousy and jousting that will occur between Shiite clerics in Iraq, which houses the most holy sites of that large slice of Islam, and the clerics of Iran, where Shia leadership migrated because of Saddam’s persecution.

And then it observes:

…an important problem is that Shia clerics mostly are conservative and do not like to involve any political affairs….

They are suspicious about western style democratic governments. Maybe it has different meaning for them like sexual freedom, selling alcohol in shops and the like. History shows that they have had better relationship with dictator kings in compare to elected government.

  • Balbulican

    “You heard the man: They reject liberty. Democracy is synonymous with liberty.”
    No. I heard the man say that Islam rejects “such” liberty, by which I assume he means a definition of “liberty” that does not reflect the principles of Islam.
    I agree wholeheartedly that the people of Iraq must decide on their own political future, regardless of what you, I, or Mr. Bush think of their choices. And as Soren pointed out in another thread, Iraq has been a secular state. But it is also predominantly Muslim, in a region with a strongly theocratic tradition. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise if the result of the “liberation” is an Islamist state.

  • No, B.
    As I’ve said in previous threads: If in one vote the people lose the right to future votes and future choice and future ability to change their leadership and their laws, that is NOT democracy; it IS tyranny
    You are in a logical quicksand that starts with the belief that the people can choose not to have a choice, that they can elect tyranny. That’s the kind of election that is held in China and Cuba, mate. That is not democracy.

  • button

    Jeff, you don’t get anywhere with these people (or other people, for that matter) by being belligerent. There are many other countries that are predominantly Moslem, but not fanatics. Morocco is not a fanatical place and there are others. A lot of progress has been made in Jordan and in some of the Gulf states. Some of this is a matter of education. They are not familiar with the idea that people can be responsible for their own behavior and control themselves. There is still slavery in some societies. The entire world is not at the same level of development and being equally evolved. Maybe the UN will send social workers in or anthropologists. This is going to have to be done certainly with the so-called Palestinians who have been indulging in a very toxic and self-destructive culture.
    Incidentally, I just tried putting a Quick Topic link into an entry on my blog so people can leave a comment or communicate. Boy, was I nervous. I’m not very techie. I don’t think I’ll do it for every entry, just once in a while.

  • to use racism to describe iranian and arab relationship is less than accurate. as a matter of fact there is only a simple regional rivalry happening between these two poeple like of which can be seen between the british and the french. or a common animosity like what is stereotypified between the english and the irish or now between the americans and the french. we dont call the americans “racist” toward the french or vice versa, do we?

  • Balbulican

    I understand your point, Jeff, but it seems to me that there is philosophical quicksand on both sides of that slippery slope (ummm…is there a penalty here for collapsed metaphors?) It is difficult to make the argument that Iraqis are ready for democracy, and that they deserve no less, but to suggest that they might not be permitted to choose a specific form of government if it was the will of a clear majority.
    In part, it’s a practical question. Could any truly democratic system absolutely forbid the creation of an Islamic Fundamentalist Party, or the election of a theocratic head of state? The Weimar Republic looked wonderful on paper…

  • button

    Never mind the quicksand sophistry, Balbulican!
    Did you ever hear about what happened in Chile?!
    Penalty! Penalty for collapsed metaphor!
    When the U.S. says they don’t want something and they won’t tolerate it– they mean it! And never mind the pretty theories.
    I see I should explain something here again. In the U.S. justice system, we have a philosophical premise which is donnee: a person would not voluntarily and cannot CHOOSE to be a slave. Sometimes, a naive person signs a contract in which they appear to give up all their rights. But, nevertheless, the contract is not necessarily enforced. It can be voided as “unconscionable.” Just based on this principle alone or some variety of it, something can be done to stop an ill-equipped person from doing such a thing. [btw, i am not a lawyer, nor do i play one on tv.]