Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Democratic Reform in Muslim Societies: The Case of Egypt

The Bush Administration has made education reform in Muslim societies a key demand, and has earmarked considerable sums of money to fund democratic education. The substantial funds allocated to democratic education in Muslim countries have attracted many organizations involved in democratic training in South American and East Europe. The decision to spend money on democratic education signals a positive change in attitude, and the Bush Administration should be applauded for taking this forward-looking initiative, and for increasing the pressure on the autocratic Middle Eastern regimes to undertake democratic reform.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Faulty Generalizations: Freedom House Cries Wolf

How would the Christian or Jewish communities feel if a research group of some repute visits a dozen of churches or synagogues, finds few books out of several thousands that includes questionable statements about people of other faiths, and then produces a report entitled “Hate Ideology Fills American Churches and Synagogues?” I am sure Christians and Jews would be outraged by such a sloppy and irresponsible conclusion.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Islamic Law, Modern Critique, and Moral Choices

The democratization process in Nigeria, ushered with the demise of Gen. Abacha in 1998, brought with it new demands for the implementation of shari'ah (Islamic Law). By 1999. several Northern Nigerian states announced plans to adopt shari'ah code. The announcements created an uproar and civil strife, and resulted in fatal clashes between Muslims and Christians.

The issue of the implementation of shari'ah resurfaced again in 2002, when a shari'ah court sentenced Amina Lawal to death after being found guilty of adulterous relationship. The case generated great interest, and the shari'ah court's decision was met with international protest and condemnation. Many in the West saw death as an excessive and cruel punishment for an act that falls within the realm of individual and private choice in modern culture.