Democracy comes from the greek words ‘demos’ (people) and kratos (power). It means the power of the people.
Or does it mean the institutionalization- often by force- of western socio-political norms?
The rise of Islam-‘ism’ in Pakistan is democracy in motion. It is the people voting with their feet.
This is the most telling quote in the article:
“Islamists in Pakistan have flourished in part because governments have failed to provide for people’s needs… Islamists fill the gap through their welfare organizations, clinics, mosques, religious seminaries and other networks. The impoverished masses then support their philosophies and political activities.”
Islam-‘ism’- whatever the word means- works for the Pakistani masses, just as Reagan’s “freedom works” quote rang true for his people at his time. Islam-‘ism’, in that sense is not “taking over.” It is winning the election being campaigned every day in every street and every home for the hearts of the people. It represents them. It takes care of them. It is in them, by them and for them. Islam has political implications and Muslims, it should not be surprised, will freely and willingly- that is democratically- democratically elect Islam-‘ist’ leaders. Why wouldn’t they when they outperform their secular government, celebrated by everyone except the people they rule over?
One point should not be confused:
Democracy in Pakistan IS Islam-‘ist’. Islam-‘ism’ in Pakistan IS democracy.
It’s what the people want.
If we question the grassroots, populist rise of a political movement in the face of corrupt, impotent, openly foreign-aligned government, then we question our commitment to democracy. If we block such a movement, we, insofar as we value democracy, are hypocrites.
“Democracy”, we would be saying, “is for us. Autocracy that we support for people who aren’t like us…”
Isn’t this the message we are sending?
One of the core tenets of democracy is people’s right to be what other people think is wrong. Allah Help us if we don’t extend them our full support…