Religious Challenges to Constructing a Democratic Iraq
Table of Contents
The challenge of establishing a democracy in Iraq
History of Iraq
History of Islam
Tenets of Islam
History of democracy
Christianity and democracy
Tenets of democracy
Islamic thought vs. the keystones of a democracy
Can democracy take hold in an Islamic Iraq?
Islam has been Iraq's dominant religion for centuries. The religion plays an important part in every aspect of Iraq's society, to include its government. A democracy gives freedom to a nation's people, embracing the many characteristics of Christianity. It can be argued that Islam is, and will continue to be a cornerstone of any government in Iraq. Likewise, Christianity will be a cornerstone of many democratic countries. The challenge is to explore the relationship of a democracy in Iraq, and whether the relationship will work considering the prevalent Islam religion. The Challenge of Establishing a Democracy in Iraq
It has been seven years since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime. One clear objective since the start of the war was to instill a government where all citizens could enjoy the same freedoms of other democratic countries. However, instilling democracy in a Muslim society can be huge hurdle to overcome. The representative features of a democratic government may not necessarily align with the religious, norms of a Muslim society. To gain an understanding of the basis of a democracy in Iraq, the history and predominant religion must be carefully dissected. The history and associated religion, along with the tenets of democracy, must be carefully unraveled to draw a comparison between the two. Only then can one ascertain whether a democracy can thrive in Iraq. History of Iraq
Commonly known as the birthplace of the world, or Mesopotamia, to be exact, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is regarded as the possible location of the Garden of Eden. Iraq has been a country of conflict and invasion all the way back to the fourth century BC, when the conqueror, Alexander the Great, devastated the area (Boyd, 2003, p. 4). The Sumerians were the first significant rulers, soon to be followed by Sargon I, the Akkadians, and finally, the Emmalites (Boyd, 2003, p. 4). Muhammad's time in 610 AD, marked a very important point in Iraq's history. During this time, Islam would come into being. The introduction of Islam would bring peace and rivalry, predominantly displayed amongst Muslims and Abbasid caliphs. Centuries later, and the beginning of WW I, British troops would invade the region and impose their power. Shortly after the war, the League of Nations gave Britain, Syria, and France authority over the country. Although the country would become independent in 1932, it would again fall under British control to prevent a pro-Nazi overthrow (Boyd, 2003, p. 4). In 1947, Iraq finally gained its independence. Independence would bring about several decades of military leaders rule in an attempt to organize the government. These attempts would ultimately fail, until 1968. This would be the year, the Ba'ath party would take power (William, 2000, p. 91). One man would quickly climb to the top, due to much quarrelling amongst party ranks. This man, Saddam Hussein, would eventually emerge as president and leader of the party until April of 2003. Iraq's history saw much conflict and hardship throughout, but there was one highlight - the introduction of Islam. To better understand the primary religion of Iraq, it's best to take a look at its history. History of Islam
According to author, Spencer William (2000), in his book, Iraq: Old Land, New Nation in Conflict, he notes that Iraq is the "world center for Islam" (S. William, 2000, p. 31) To gain a better...
References: Ben-Meir , A. (2006). Challenges to democracy in the Arab and Muslim world. Alternatives:
Turkish Journal to International Relations, 5, (1&2), 82-91.
Boyd, H. (2003). Iraq 's troubled history. The New York Amsterdam News, 94 (13), 4.
Giovinni, S. (1987). The theory of democracy revisited. [Part 1], [The Contemporary
Gregorian, V. (2003). Islam: A mosaic, not a monolith. Brookings Institution Press,
Milton-Edwards, B. (2006) "Conversation with Abdol Karim Soroush." Intellectuals: The Powerless Wielders of Power.
Minkenberg, M. (2007). Democracy and Religion: Theoretical and Empirical Observations on the Relationship between Christianity, Islam and Liberal Democracy. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33, (6), 887.
North, J. (1994). Democracy in Rome. History Today, 44, (3), 39.
Ömer, C. (2003). Islam and Democracy: A Theoretical Discussion on the Compatibility of Islam and Democracy. Alternatives: Turkish Journal to International Relations, 2, (3&4), 108,
Sharp, C. (2006). Magna Carta. British Heritage, 27, (3), 28.
Spicker, P. (2008). Government for the people: the substantive elements of democracy.
Strauss, B. (1994). American democracy through ancient Greek eyes. History Today, 44, (4), 32.
Tibi, B. (2009) Islamism and Democracy: On the Compatibility of Institutional Islamism and the
Political Culture of Democracy
William, S. (2000). Iraq: Old Land, New Nation in Conflict. Twenty-First Century Books,
Please join StudyMode to read the full document