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Democracy In Islamic Countries

Democracy is more and more frequently spoken of in the context of democratic invasion of the world. Somehow it is believed by the majority of the experts who have the authority in the field, that democracy is the best form of state organization ever, and, basically, the quality of the state is, or at least, ought to be measured primarily by how much of democracy it presupposes. This is being said from the citizen-centered point of view. The rights and the interests of an individual, of a citizen in the state are believed to be the central value. Meanwhile the state itself is meant to serve this central value, to satisfy the needs of an individual. Meanwhile it is not necessarily discussed or questioned, whether or not this individual is so full of virtue, that the entire state ought to serve him.

This point of view may not be necessarily free of any criticism. Moreover, every civilization, every regime, every ideology comes in with a number of concepts, which are entirely understood only within the given culture. Thus, the “democracy” in its western understanding will not necessarily be an absolute value for the people in the Arabic world. At least, it may be seen in somewhat different light. This is, in fact, the most significant hurdle to democracy in the Islamic world. There may be a similar concept in Islamic culture, which resembles democracy, including, for instance, the norms of Shura. But then again they are somewhat different in their essence. And the aspects, in which they are different, are being overlooked by those who expect the Islamic world to share the democratic values.

Another important challenge is that democracy naturally developed in the Western world. It belongs there. Meanwhile we are now trying to feed the Islamic world with ready-made democracy, developed within the realities of the Western World. Just as anything brought in and promoted artificially, this also causes certain protest and lack of acceptance.

On the other hand it is obvious, that a few factors have contributed into popularization of democracy and western values throughout Islamic world. First of all, there is certain coincidence, which must have been noticed. Democracy appears to be one of the best driving forces for the economical growth. It is worthwhile noticing, that in a number of European countries where the state does not rest on a significant amount of natural resources, average people are doing much better than in the rich with natural resources Islamic countries. This may be one of the motivations for democracy. On the other hand, among the people from Islamic world increases the number of those, who desire to tie their future with Europe increases. Thus, obviously, democratic values are more and more valued by average people in the Islamic world. Average people get to know more and more about democratic values takes place the process of “disenchantment” of certain myths, traditionally related to the Western world.

Thus it appears to be very likely, that Islamic world is to become more democratic in the foreseeable future. However this democracy may not necessarily be quite similar to the democracy of western tradition. There may be certain deviations, which will complement the ideology to meet the standards and understandings of the people in Islamic countries. It is wrong to see such deviations as something “incorrect”. It is a sort of mutation, which is inevitable, once a plant is put into a soil, which is foreign, strange to it. The plant may go on growing and appear to be very useful and important for the new ecosystem. But it will mutate to adjust to the new living conditions, and such a mutation should not be seen as a sickness.