Thursday, July 09, 2009

Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad: "democracy . . . is an infidel regime"

Sada Al-Jihad
Pro-Jihad Islamist Magazine
(Image from MEMRI)

I recall explaining to a skeptical Korean audience on September 11, 2002 that the 9/11 attacks of the previous year were not merely a consequence of America's foreign policy but also an expression of Al Qaeda's hatred for American democracy. I even quoted one of Al Qaeda's spokesmen, Suleiman Abu Gheith:
America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited. (MEMRI: Special Dispatch No. 388)
Anti-American sentiment in Korea was peaking at that time, so my words didn't go over particularly well, but most Islamists still seem to hate democracy, for Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad tells us:
Though our clerics [i.e. salafi jihadi clerics] have spoken of democracy and clarified that it is an infidel regime, I will cite for you Wagdi Ghneim, who is known for his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, who are the greatest proponents of democracy in our time. He stated in his book Divine Shura and Manmade Democracy (Rabaniyyat Al-Shura wa-Wadh'iat Al-Dimuqratiyya): 'Democracy is erroneous from its foundation. Allah's religion [i.e. Islam] considers it wrong, and anyone who believes in it, promotes it, confirms it, accepts it, or acts according to it . . . is an apostate, even if he has a Muslim name and falsely claims that he is a believing Muslim -- because in Allah's religion, Islam and democracy are absolutely incompatible.'" (MEMRI: Special Dispatch No. 2434)
Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad is a hardcore Salafi Islamist who dislikes even the Muslim Brotherhood's flirtation with democracy and cites one of the Brotherhood's intellectuals to demonstrate the inconsistency. I suspect that the Brotherhood's interest in democracy is purely instrumental, a means to power and not an end in itself, but even that instrumental concession goes too far for Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad.

Why is he so opposed to democracy? He tells us the fundamental reason:
"The dangers of democracy are clear for all to see, since it directly impairs tawhid [the belief in Allah's unity]."
By this criticism, he means that a Muslim should live only for Allah and follow only his laws, an imperative contradicted when Muslims submit to manmade laws, for this means that Muslims are submitting both to humanity and to Allah simultaneously, an insult to Allah and a division of Allah's unity through the sin of shirk (i.e., associating something nondivine with the divine Allah).

This shirk -- this democracy -- leads to moral deterioration:
"Human history has never known villainous massacres such as those of the era in which democrats emerged. World Wars I and II are evidence of the extent of the democrats' moral deterioration and their failure to take into account the simplest of [moral] principles of life customary among people in past eras."
I suppose that Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad would have preferred the nondemocratic regimes to have emerged victorious in those conflicts . . . even though those same nondemocratic regimes were also not Muslim. And if they had won, he might have decided that they, too, were full of democrats, for he sees democrats everywhere:
[On the one hand] are piled up all the democrats -- Christians, Jews, atheists, Hindus, Shi'ites, Zoroastrians, apostates, hypocrites, Murji'ites, and Ash'arites -- and [on the other hand are] the ranks of the Muslims clinging to the path of Allah.
Abu Taha 'Abdallah Al-Miqdad includes an image of Ayatollah Khamenei casting his vote in the recent Iranian election as evidence of that Shi'ite regime's democratic apostasy, but perhaps he will have softened his criticism on that since the election seems to have been less than fully democratic.

Be that as it may, the continuing hatred of most Islamists for democracy is useful to know as a reminder of one primary motive for the jihadist terrorism that the world confronts.

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At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Malcolm Pollack said...

Excellent post, Jeffery. This point - that there is at the very heart of Islam a fundamental rejection of separation between church and state, one of the pillars of modern Western culture - is, it seems, either unknown to, or willfully ignored by, a great many here in the West, including many of those who ought to know better.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Malcolm. The great test for Islam (and consequently for us non-Muslims) is whether or not Islam can reconcile itself with the crucial, modern division between religion and state.

Even other religions continue to have difficulties in not stepping over that dividing line, so I really wonder if Islam can learn to restrain itself.

We will find out.

Jeffery Hodges

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