By now it’s clear: even fellow Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have piled on, the mainstream media is in an uproar, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding he drop out of the race, and the only people who agree with Ben Carson’s statements about a Muslim president, Sharia, and the Constitution are racist, bigoted Islamophobes.
“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” said Carson, and hatemongers everywhere applauded.
The Islamophobes even piled on with hateful statements of their own:
Let’s face the grim truth … There is no evidence whatever that Islam in its various political forms is compatible with modern democracy. From Afghanistan under the Taliban to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and from Iran to Sudan, there is no Islamist entity that can be said to be democratic, just, or a practitioner of good governance.
Oh, the Islamophobia! Ibrahim Hooper and Nihad Awad of CAIR are no doubt gearing up for another press conference to denounce that one, but they’re coming so thick and fast that those guardians of the Constitution may not be able to keep up.
The first basic difference between the political system endorsed by Islam and democracy is that in democracy, the ultimate authority lies with the people. In Islam, however, the ultimate authority doesn’t belong to people; it belongs to God alone. That means that both the ruler and the ruled in Islam are subject to a higher criterion for decision-making, that is, divine guidance.
That would mean that the Constitution would have to give way to Sharia wherever the two conflict, as another Islamophobe makes clear when he says:
Democracy runs counter to Islam on several issues. … In democracy, legislation is the prerogative of the people. It is the people who draw up the constitution, and they have the authority to amend it as well. On this issue we differ.
Supposedly, in Islamic thought only Allah legislates. There is no shortage of Islamophobes who spew this hate.
Another howled that in Islam, “democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place.”
Still another yelped that in Islam, “democracy is evil, the parliament is evil and legislation is evil.”
One Islamophobe went Carson one better, saying not only that a Muslim should not be president, but that Muslims shouldn’t even participate in elections. He had the audacity to claim that “electing a president or another form of leadership or council members is prohibited in Islam.”
These Islamophobes have even tried to convince people that because Islam is a “comprehensive system of governance,” many Muslims reject democracy as “a system whereby man violates the right of Allah and decides what is permissible or impermissible for mankind, based solely on their whims and desires.”
One complained that some Muslims even assert that they can only participate in politics in Western societies “on Islam’s terms.”
These must be the kind of Islamophobic statements Carson was reading when he formulated his hateful, bigoted opinions. Shameful.
So who said the awful statements above? Pamela Geller? Geert Wilders? Some other hatemongering profiteer whom all decent people must shun?
In order, the authors of the Islamophobic statements I quote above are:
- Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya,
- Renowned moderate Muslim and Islamic apologist Jamal Badawi,
- Syrian Islamic scholar Abd Al-Karim Bakkar,
- The leader of Iran’s Shia Taliban, Mesbah Yazdi,
- Australian Muslim cleric Ibrahim Siddiq-Conlon,
- Saudi Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al Barrak,
- A Muslim group in Wales that plastered Cardiff with posters denouncing democracy and exhorting Muslims not to vote, and
- A Muslim group in Denmark that likewise urged Muslims to boycott elections.
Carson’s detractors would no doubt dismiss all these Muslims as “extremists.” All they have to do to make their case, after all, is point to all the thriving Constitutional republics that have Muslim majorities and guarantee freedom of speech, equal rights for women and non-Muslims, and other aspects of traditional Islamic law that Islamophobes claim contradict the Constitution.
In reality, there is not a single country to which they can point. There is no democratic tradition in the Islamic world. There is no history of secular republics, no concept of the equality of all people before the law.
People often invoke Turkey as an example of how Islam and democracy are fully compatible. In reality, the secular Turkish republic was established in an atmosphere of war with Islam, with explicit restrictions placed upon political Islam that were considered necessary so as to rein in its authoritarian, supremacist, anti-democratic tendencies. Now, the Erdogan regime is reasserting Islam’s political aspects. Turkish secularism has been severely weakened, and may not be long for this world.
The absence of Constitutional republics in the Islamic world is no accident. It comes from: Islam’s sharp dichotomy between believers and unbelievers, retarding the development of the principle of equality of rights for all; its blasphemy laws, which hinder the freedom of speech and intellectual development; and its vision of Allah as a solitary and all-powerful despot whose will is absolute — hardly an ideal model upon which to build the idea of parliamentary give-and-take in order to discover the truth or determine the best path.
In Islam, Allah alone reveals the truth and marks out the straight path: Islam.
“We are a different kind of nation,” Ben Carson said as the controversy raged over his remarks. “Part of why we rose so quickly is because we wouldn’t allow our values or principles to be supplanted because we were going to be politically correct. … Part of the problem today is that we’re so busy trying to be politically correct, that we lose all perspective.”
Indeed. Lost in the Carson firestorm is the question of whether or not he was right about Islam and Sharia. He was.
Whatever becomes of his presidential ambitions, Americans owe him a debt of gratitude for, even for a brief period, breaking through the media fog of obfuscation about Islam and allowing for some honest discussion of these all-important matters. Even as he stands on the firing line, that may be the most valuable service this good man performs for his country.