Is Democracy Compatible With Islam? British Expert Explores Opinions of British and American Muslims
His talk revolved around his report on views of 400 British and American Muslims on democracy in the light of Islam. The objective of the presentation is to encourage wider discussion and understanding in the West of Muslim attitudes to democracy in the context of Islam.
The question of the relationship of democracy and Islam was examined. The opinions of lay Muslims throughout the US and Britain were sought in discussions on democracy, human rights and the rule of law among 400 lay Muslims living in Britain and the US in 38 groups involving 250 hours annotated comments. The discussions were held with a similar number of Anglican and Episcopalian lay people. As the Report closely concerns the question of an inherent "clash of civilizations" it has been put on the website of the United Nations high-level group, the Alliance of Civilizations, which is dedicated to responding to the threat of such a clash .The Muslims who participated in the study were business and professional people, school teachers, their spouses and students. Lay people were consulted because there is a division of opinion on the issue among Muslim scholars and clerics.
Muslims did not find democracy incompatible with Islam and therefore there was no inherent' clash of civilizations'. None of them accepted democracy as a principle or ideal. Islam is the only principle/ideal and it is “drawn down from heaven." Muslims regarded democracy only as a pragmatic means of government with views ranging from "democracy is probably the best (of a bad lot- as Winston Churchill said) in practice" to considering it to be unattractive for a Muslim country. However in a democracy in a Muslim country "nothing shall happen contrary to the Qu'ran".
Amédée Turner introduced the Project and Report in around 35 minutes. Questions and discussions followed. It was agreed that IIIT would facilitate more discussions of the report in the United Kingdom, France and other parts of Europe.
The Report is published on the UN Alliance of Civilizations website at: