Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Muslim Success in Indonesia

Is there such a thing as "moderate Islam?" Can nations that are majority Muslim move towards freedom and democracy, away from repression, terrorism and autocracy? Two columns in the Christian Science Monitor covering Indonesia answer that question in the affirmative. Read about the Giant Muslim Success and why Democracy and Islam can go together.
With 155 million eligible voters, Indonesia directly chose its president for the first time on Monday, as well as electing local, regional, and national legislators. The voting was largely peaceful and, despite many complexities, conducted on one day (although official results are two weeks away).

Democracy can't work in a Muslim country like Afghanistan, they say, because of the dictatorial grip of the warlords. It won't work in Iraq because the country is in chaos. It won't work in Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, or the rest of the Arab world because of autocratic rulers and Muslim extremists.

Such critics in the US conveniently dismiss the presence of some 4 million to 7 million Muslims in their land who remain true to their religion but thrive under democracy and revere it. But even in predominantly Muslim nations there are examples of burgeoning democracy.