Western-style democracy and Muslim culture: Can the two be reconciled?

Westerners do not understand the Eastern mind.

The Bush administration appears to assume that the Western (Christian) concept of democracy can and should be imposed on a conquered Muslim culture who are presented as eagerly waiting to receive the promised benefits of “freedom and democracy.”

As prescribed in the Koran, however, a religion such as Islam requires its adherents to be subservient to their clerics. In practice, a Muslim world is a theocracy.

Anyone who believes that a Muslim nation can be effectively governed by a constitutional republic like the United States is out of touch with reality. Both nations are governed by world views that have been shaped by historical conditions unique and valuable unto themselves. The Muslim culture and world view is narrowly portrayed in the West which cannot penetrate its’ core riches, insights and values.

Speaker: Dr. Saren Azer, Research Scientist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary / University of British Columbia

Dr. Saren Azer is a Kurdish refugee who came to Canada in 1994. He is a human rights activist and over the last two decades has been widely involved in international human rights and environmental issues. He has worked with a number of non-governmental organization including Amnesty International, the International Society for Peace and Human Rights and Doctors with out Borders. In late 1980 and early 1990 he served in medical capacity during the Iran-Iraq war and also the first Persian Gulf War. In his professional life he is an expert in respiratory medicine and does research in asthma and other chronic lung diseases at the University of British Columbia.

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