Liberal Democracy and Freedom of Religion

18 May

Our politicians have claimed that the new constitution adopted by the constituent assembly amassed by the President of Maldives to revise the current one would pave way for a liberal democracy in the Maldives.

A search of the keyword liberal democracy in Encyclopedia Britannica Online says, “… the democratic system everywhere brought with it growing prosperity, the emancipation of women, recognition of the equal rights of law-abiding individuals and social groups (whatever their origins or beliefs), and a professed commitment to international cooperation—indeed, in the second half of the 20th century no Western democracy made war against any other. The turbulent processes of open debate and decision produced an economic order that was vastly more productive than communist command economies.”

The above is a fact of the global reality. However, our politicians chose to evade that very reality for fear of reprisals and political suicide, as I understood from Minister Nasheed’s recent blog post. The comments to his blog clearly show the emergence of a desire amongst the intellectuals of the nation for all types of freedom that are associated with a liberal democracy, including the freedom to choose one’s faith. This does not necessarily say that they want to give up the Islamic faith.

I would like to restate that the problem will emerge sooner than later. It will be an issue that the politicians will have to face, however much they want to evade it. Just like the multi-party system, the issue can be postponed for the strategic convenience of the present day politicians.

As I have said before in a post on the reasons for overthrowing the government, …the problem to my mind is that we are practising alien concepts such as “democracy”, “liberty”, and “human rights”, without a proper understanding of the core values and evolution of those concepts. It is also similar to a person practising “extreme” Islam without a proper understanding of the fundamentals.

Our ulamas will only tell us that we are doomed. They conveniently fail to guide us to the Right Path. Umar Naseer has joined the pack, though not an ulama himself, telling us the problem and not giving a practicable solution.

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Posted by on May 18, 2008 in Democracy nd Reform, My Concerns, Religion


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