Liberal as in Liberty and Freedom. Iranian as in Cyrus and Ferdowsi.
Islam, Freedom, Democracy
For all the talk and thought that goes into this topic, the answer is very simple: Islam is not compatible with freedom, nor it is with democracy. We need not set up a complex decontruction scheme or a hermeneutic reading of religion to find the asnwer. The answer sits simply in Qur'an, the foundation of whatever may be ever called Islam. In the fourth chapter (Surah
) of the book, titled "Women" (al-Nesa'
) lie some of the most foundational rulings of Islam regarding freedom of opinion, role of women, etc. Verses 88 and 89 read
What is the matter with you, then, that you have become two parties about the hypocrites, while Allah has made them return (to unbelief) for what they have earned? Do you wish to guide him whom Allah has caused to err? And whomsoever Allah causes to err, you shall by no means find a way for him. [4:88]
They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper. [4:89]
Here, Qur'an lays the basis for killing whomever comes to the conclusion that he does not want to be a Muslim anymore--the apostates. They are deemed "hypocrites" who are misguided by no other than Allah (God) himself. Once they choose to act on their personal belief, they must be killed wherever they are found
. This ruling has been used over and over again in the history of Islamic societies to kill those who chose differently from not just their fellows, but their parents and grandparents. The same law applies equally forcefully to those who have converted to Islam. There is no way back!
In recent history (1988) Ayatollah Khomeini infamously issued an edict (fatwa
) to kill Salmun Rushdie, the Indian-Muslim-born British writer, deeming him an apostate for his book, The Satanic Verses
. The fatwa
also included "all those involved in its publication who are aware of its content," resulting in the death of the Japanese publisher of the book and injuries to a few others.
Now, what is freedom, if not to change one's mind? And what is democracy without the chance to choose differently? Islam is neither free, nor democratic, if for the sole reason that apostates must be, and are killed.