I have previously referenced some commentary that asserts that Islamic thought is incompatible with democracy. The Islamic aspiration is asserted to favour an Islamic state, where any electoral franchise is exercised within the parameters of Islamic law. This view is asserted to be fundamentally incompatible with Judeo-Christian perspectives (or, for that matter, virtually any other religious perspective that I am familiar with), wherein the pluralistic nature of the civil state is accepted. It may well be that a society embraces Judeo-Christian values (which seem to me to be, in most respects, values that are shared across all religions), while accepting that the democratic franchise means that the policies of a resulting government may not be entirely compatible with the values of a particular religion.
The treatment of homosexual rights comes to mind as a prime example. Many religions regard homosexuality as a sinful choice to be vigorously opposed, while legislators in many pluralistic democracies evidence great concern for the protection of homosexual rights as being equivalent to the protection of any other human right. This outcome would appear to be impossible in an Islamic state, wherein Islam shares the condemnation of homosexuality found in many Christian belief systems, such as Catholicism. In terms of my own lens, I remain in that group of Catholics who, for various reasons, stay seated and don’t go anywhere, when it’s time for Communion. For me, the Catholic Church remains the only place of consistent comfort and support, but I don’t live the life. Nobody faults anyone for the standback (and at every service, there’s always more than one); it’s understood, with no judgement. For me, it’s still the only safe place.
My friend, Ahmed Abualsamh, recently sent me the latest newsletter from CAIR-CAN, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada. I have previously referenced their comments on the Prime Minister’s “Islamicism” concerns. I still don’t know who is behind this organization, or who its executive is. This is CAIR-CAN’s take on democratic franchise in relation to the forthcoming Ontario election:
In other news this week, Thursday, October 6, 2011 heralds another provincial election – this time in Ontario. With the recent federal elections held in 2011, 2008, 2006, 2004 some may be feeling a little ‘election fatigue’. This should not dissuade you from taking part in the process. As we have seen from protests around the world, this cherished right is not something that is universal. Even today, in Syria and across the Middle East, people are rising up to demand democratic reform including the right to vote.
Voting is also one of the hallmarks of democracy and is an exciting opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard and to have a say in the decisions that will help shape our lives and the direction of our country. One of the most fundamental questions that an election asks is: what kind of a democracy do we aspire to be? After our leaders present their visions, we have to ensure that they follow through on their promises and commitments. Remember, they are accountable to the people. Elections are your chance to let politicians know how they are doing and whether or not you think someone else can do a better job.
If you have not already voted in advance polls, we strongly urge you to make sure you do your part to advance our democracy and to cast your ballot on October 6th. Not only is this your right, it is also your responsibility as a citizen to ensure that our democracy remains healthy and vital. By not voting you are still making a choice – the choice to be disenfranchised and to allow others to determine by whom you should be represented and led.
We hope you will exercise your right as a citizen to vote. Irrespective of the outcome, we should continue to work towards ensuring that our elected leaders live up to their promises and faithfully represent the interests and concerns of all Canadians. CAIR-CAN will continue to work with all elected officials to advance the best interests of all Canadians.
Do your research, and find out what the parties and their representatives are saying about issues large and small from the economy, the environment, healthcare, Canada’s foreign policy, and others. Then, when all is said and done, you will then be able to say that you take your citizenship and all that it entails seriously. Vote.
Perfectly reasonable and encouraging sentiments. Incompatible with advocating an Islamic state…?