image courtesy of Atlas Shrugs
July 12, 2008
By Salim Mansur – for the Toronto Sun
In How Democracies Perish published during the late Cold War years, Jean-Francois Revel, French political philosopher, offered a rich meditation that remains compelling in the post-9/11 world of Islamist terror and rampage against the West.
Revel wrote about the paradox of democracy when facing an internal enemy – as were the communists with their totalitarian agenda – since his “right to exist is written into the law itself.”
This is how Revel explained the dilemma: “Democracy can defend itself only very feebly; its internal enemy has an easy time of it because he exploits the right to disagree that is inherent in democracy. His aim of destroying democracy itself, of actively seeking an absolute monopoly of power, is shrewdly hidden behind the citizen’s legitimate right to oppose and criticize the system.”
In the post-communist world of Islamist terror, democracy in the West also is threatened by the misguided view of those individuals indicating readiness to accommodate demands generally advanced by Muslim mosque-based organizations.
The most recent example of such misguided view is the opinion offered by Nicholas Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, that Islamic law or Sharia could be introduced in Britain.
Lord Phillips’ opinion concurred with that of Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Neither of them, in offering their weighty opinions, took into account the reality of a large portion of immigrants, including many Muslims, making home in Britain after fleeing from Sharia-ruled countries of the Arab-Muslim world.
Lord Phillips expressed his views at a Muslim Centre in East London where a sprinkling of Islamists would have been present. He probably would not recognize an Islamist apart from a Muslim, nor – giving him the benefit of doubt – would he have been likely informed that the demand for Sharia in Britain and elsewhere in the West originates with Islamists deceptively indicating this is a commonly shared request of all Muslims.
Islamists residing in the West are agents of another totalitarian ideology – Islamism – that is more insidious than communism since it wears the mask of religion. Their push for Sharia is acceptable to individuals such as Lord Phillips and the Archbishop of Canterbury because, in upholding multiculturalism, they willingly suspend their critical faculties when it comes to dealing with other faiths and cultures, in particular Islam.
Sharia is a legal system derived from the Qur’an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, and devised by Muslim scholars more than a millennium ago to dictate just about every aspect of individual living and thinking.
It is a closed system disallowing any innovation based on a modern reading of Islam’s sacred texts, and it is violently at odds with liberal-democratic values.
The Islamist demand for introducing Sharia is strategically conceived to render Muslim populated areas in a multicultural Britain – and similarly in other western democracies – as Sharia-based enclaves set apart from the majority population.
The evidence of havoc Islamists have wrought across the Arab-Muslim world is overwhelming, and since Sept. 11, 2001, this evidence is daily news.
Yet a growing elite opinion in Britain, defying logic and history, has taken hold in support of Sharia while remaining unmindful of consequences and dismissive of the peril as Revel reminded of how internal enemies push their agenda to fatally weaken democracies.