Skip to main content

View Diary: Free speech under attack in Denmark: Convicted for criticizing Islam (174 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Christianity is shielded in this way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimbeaux, wu ming

    There are blasphemy laws in most of these countries covering the disparaging of Christianity.

    Islam is inherently hostile to democracy, free speech, women's rights and everything we progressives are supposed to stand for.
    So is Christianity. Democracy was created to the extent it was in defiance of Christianity. I'm not sure why some progressives ignore the fact that Christianity endorses some pretty horrible things. It isn't as if there's an ideology or religion out there that doesn't have a horrible history.
    •  Islamic groups state hatred of democracy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      outright. There are umpteen Islamist groups that say outright, explicitly, that Islam is opposed to democracy. They put it right in your face -- they carry signs saying "Islam will destroy democracy," "Freedom go to hell," etc. They write position papers on how they plan to replace Western democracy with sharia law, and they're very serious about getting it done. It's true that there are also Christian Dominionist nutcases, quite a few of them, and we need to watch out for them, but the anti-democracy forces within the Islamic world are very powerful and organized, and we really need to take the threat seriously, not poo-poo it with a little handwave and "Oh, well, Christians are crazy too."

      •  p.s. There are Muslims who disagree, of course (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with the anti-democracy line. But they tend to be not well organized, and the few organizations that exist -- like Zuhdi Jasser's American Islamic Forum for Democracy -- are badly outnumbered.

        I just want to be clear that I'm not saying that Islam has to be opposed to democracy. Only that a frighteningly large number of well-organized, determined Islamist groups believe that it is.

      •  The largest Muslim country in the world (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg, Noisy Democrat, Lost and Found

        is a Democracy. That couldn't happen if Islam was incompatible with democracy.

        •  Indonesia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noisy Democrat

          has no official religion. The largest country (by population)  with Islam as the official religion would be Pakistan, where democracy is not quite working out like it was designed. There may be a country that is both officially Muslim and a functioning democracy. It's not coming to mind.

          •  It is a majority Muslim country (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg, Lost and Found

            and is the most populous Muslim country in the world. It's also a democracy. This refutes the idea that democracy is more incompatible with Islam than with Christianity.

            •  No, not really (0+ / 0-)

              Mexico is officially Catholic. As are Argentina and Costa Rica. Greece is Greek Orthodox. Denmark, Iceland and Norway all have official Christian religions as does England. Can you think of a country with Islam as the official government religion with a functioning democracy?

              •  The European countries you list (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                are majority atheist. They have a token Christian official religion. And I don't know that you want to hold Mexico up as some sort of bastion of democracy. They're about where Pakistan is right now.

                And when you look at the material conditions present in the various officially Muslim countries then I think you can find where the real issue lies. Most religions are resistant to democracy because democracy denigrates the power of religion in the state. Islam is not special in that respect.

                You can look to the Christian Dominionists here in the US for a better example. The difference is that we in the US have managed to defeat the regressive religious forces while people in various Muslim countries are just getting started and we have been supporting the dictators.

                •  Ok, then conversly (0+ / 0-)

                  Are there any majority Christian countries that don't have democracy? There may be some of those too, but none come to mind.

                  And Mexico is not Pakistan. Their democracy may be far from perfect, but the military is not in control of the government.

                  •  The drug cartels and the military are in (0+ / 0-)

                    effective control of various large swaths of the country. And Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy that isn't controlled by the military. And the lack of involvement in the government of Mexico is a relatively recent thing.

                    Are there any majority Christian countries that don't have democracy?
                    Russia would be the big one. They technically have democracy, but practically speaking it's a dictatorship.
                  •  Pinochet's Chile, Somoza's Nicaragua (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Castro's Cuba, Hell, most of Latin America for most of its history. At this moment, there are fewer, true.

                    Cuba still is majority Christian and lacks democracy.  

                    •  Cuba (0+ / 0-)

                      That one should have come to mind. Versus every single majority Muslim country where Islam the official religion is not a democracy.

                      •  Except that Pakistan is a democracy. (0+ / 0-)

                        As is Bangladesh.

                        They're far from perfect, but they are democracies.

                        And you can add Uganda to the list of Christian nations. And, as I pointed out, Russia.

                        •  I'm pretty sure (0+ / 0-)

                          Russia has no majority religion.

                          •  About 80% of the country belongs to (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mikey, JDsg

                            the Russian Orthodox Church.

                          •  Wikipedia says something very different (0+ / 0-)
                          •  I had old numbers, sorry/ (0+ / 0-)

                            Either way, you're really desperate to paint Islam as anti-democratic. Russia is a country that isn't democratic and is officially Christian even though the majority of people aren't Christian. I'm not sure what about that says that Christianity is cool with democracy.

                          •  I'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

                            why you're so desperate to paint Islam, when mixed with official government structure, as not being an impediment to democracy. The evidence seems pretty overwhelming. Almost all countries with official religions that aren't Islam are democracies. Almost all countries with Islam as the official religion are not democracies.

                          •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Almost all countries with official religions that aren't Islam are democracies.
                            Except for the huge number of counter examples that you were given. And the fact that the majority of those Christian nations that are democracies are former colonialists that still regularly attack Muslim nations might have something to do with the discrepancies. Countries that are Christian and democracies are democracies in spite of Christianity, not because Christianity is conducive to democracy. And you've ignored the counter example of democracies that are Muslim nations.
                          •  I haven't ignored anything (0+ / 0-)

                            There are a couple possible examples of officially Islamic countries that are democracies. Pakistan, which is only arguably a democracy and Bangladesh.  Maybe you want to call Iran a functional democracy? And a couple officially Christian countries that are not democracies.  On balance, I don't think it's close.

                          •  You've ignored everything except religion (0+ / 0-)

                            You really want to blame Islam for a lack of democracy. Ignoring of course all the Muslims fighting for democracy. These are people who have lived under foreign sponsored dictators for decades. I'm sure that has nothing to do with it though.

                            And if Islam is as much of an impediment then you'd expect that it wouldn't matter the official religion is.

                          •  And which (0+ / 0-)

                            Muslim countries are being attacked by former colonialists? Iraq...Afghanistan...Libya. Is it those attacks that keep all the rest of the non-democracies from adopting democracy? Would any of those targets be democracies if not but for attacks by former colonialists? Are they arguing in Saudi Arabia "if only those colonialists weren't attacking our neighbors, we could be a democracy". I don't think that's happening. In SA or any other country. That's not much of an argument.

                            I'm hopeful that Egypt may become a functioning democracy with respect for human rights. Same with Libya, Iraq, Yemen and others. Maybe even eventually Syria. So far it hasn't happened.

                •  Actually, it's a myth that the Nordic countries (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JDsg, AoT

                  are majority atheist.  The numbers vary wildly based on what sort of questions you ask / how you  measure, of course.  On the high end you can look at church enrollment figures - 3/4ths of Icelanders are members of the Church of Iceland.  But that's misleadingly high because kids automatically get enrolled in their parents church when they're born and many people don't take the time to unenroll.  On the other end of the spectrum you could point out to the 2011 Gallup poll that showed that 60% of Icelanders find religion unimportant in their lives - but that's different from atheism.  I think Eurobarometer 2010 gets it best: 31% believe in a personal god, 49% believe in a spirit or life force, 18% don't believe in a god or life force, and 2% don't know.  Now, not all of that 18% is strictly atheist, but the majority is.  

                  Compared to other countries in Europe, Iceland is slightly higher than average atheist, but not abnormally so.  We have particularly high rates of irreligion and of belief in a spirit or life force (out of all of Europe, only Estonia beats us out in this regard, and only by a smidge), but not atheism.

                  Note that there's also a lot of folk beliefs here.  About 10-20% of people firmly believe in the Álfar/Huldufólk (Elves/Hidden People), for example, and about half the population isn't willing to rule out their existence.  It's usually something people don't like to talk about for fear of getting made fun of, but really, is that any crazier than the rate of belief in say, ghosts or alien visitors in the US?  They're not usually thought of as literal, physical people, but more like the kami in Japanese cosmology.  For example, my boyfriend isn't 100% convinced that they're real but he tends to think they are.  He sees it in sort of sci-fi terms, that there's another dimension weakly interacting with ours and their world occupies the same space as ours and sometimes crosses over.  I like to joke with him that this must mean that for every story there is of a person being saved or harmed by an elf there must be some elf out there saying, "Man, I was out gathering berries today and nearly fell off a cliff, but then I heard the voice of a human, looked down and saw that the ground was giving way!  A human saved my life!" and all of his friends going, "Sure, sure, whatever..."

                  Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

                  by Rei on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:37:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  That doesn't deny the fact that a *very* (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          large Islamic movement believes that democracy is evil and idolatrous -- because it replaces God's law (sharia) with man-made laws. In their eyes, we are bowing down and worshipping the judgments of fallible human beings (the US Congress) and so we are wallowing in idolatrous filth.

          This is why so many countries in the Middle East are experiencing clashes between pro-democracy and pro-Islamist factions.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site