“The myth that Islam and democracy are incompatible should be discarded for good. Now we should talk less about the ‘transition to democracy’ and start talking more about the daily trials and tribulations of democracy. The international community should avoid the mistakes they committed in the Maldives,” writes the President’s Special Advisor and head of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Dr Hassan Saeed.
The article is the latest in a series of pieces Dr Hassan has written for local newspaper Haveeru.
“If we take just five countries Egypt (population 81 million), Indonesia (239 million) Pakistan (174 million), Bangladesh (148 million), Turkey (73 million), we see nearly three-quarters of a billion people on the Earth living in countries that would call themselves democracies and the vast majority of whose population celebrate the Muslim faith. The Maldives along with an increasing number of other smaller countries are also now in this position too.
As a result, the myth that Islam and democracy are incompatible should be discarded for good. Now we should talk less about the ‘transition to democracy’ and start talking more about the daily trials and tribulations of democracy. In other words we should see our Islamic faith and our democracy as a mainstream part of our lives. In doing this we demonstrate to the whole world that the extremists and terrorists who claim to act on their faith, without any popular mandate from the population they claim to represent, to be a tiny minority mainly hiding out in small failed states.
Stalwarts of democracies around the world have an obligation to ensure that the emerging Muslim democracies succeed. They should use every possible means to build and strengthen institutions, invest heavily in voter education and development of civil society. These are key to any successful transformation to a democracy. Only then the East and West can start speaking a common language – ie. the language of democracy.”