The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms

Universal-Publishers, 2006 - 249 pages
While politicians and media pundits debate the success of U.S. attempts to instill a democratic government in Iraq, author and social scientist Elie Elhadj, Ph.D., explains why thoughts of a democratic Arab-Muslim nation are nothing but fantasy."Arab people are characterized by obedience to a hierarchical authority, Syrian-born Elhadj states. Western-style democracy can never fill this cultural mandate."Elhadj explains how Muslim Arab political and religious leaders raise the tenets of Islam in a shield against democracy in order to protect their power. Constant preaching by Islam's religious leaders, instructing Muslims to blindly obey their leaders, has created an attitude of political quietism in regard to the tyranny of Arab rulers and ambivalence towards democracy, Elhadj says in his book.Using Syria and Saudi Arabia as the archetypal Arab governments, The Islamic Shield outlines the numerous reasons why genuine democratic reforms are not likely to emerge in Arab countries for a very long time. Instead, Elhadj proposes that a benevolent dictatorship may be a more hopeful and realistic expectation, especially since democratic elections are likely to result in the election of a theocratic dictator rather than a secular democratic one. A benevolent dictatorship would fulfill the goal of reducing Arab rulers' cruelty, which fans the flame of Islamic extremism and Jihadism, he states.Jihadism and its causes are examined in detail by Elhadj. He makes the case that Jihadist terrorism is fueled by the oppression and frustration of the Arab masses that results not only from tyrannical Arab rule, but also from the perception of biased American policies in the Middle East. Combined with the growing influence from extremist factions within Islam, these oppressions form a vicious cycle of violent confrontation, Elhadj says."Islamist extremism alone does not cause terrorism," Elhadj states: "What Islamist extremism does is to turn political frustrations into religious crusades."The United States may even have created a set-back for themselves in the effort to democratize the Middle East, Elhadj says. As the United States deposed the Arab World's most secular regime in Iraq, a theocratic leadership aligned to Tehran emerged with potentially far-reaching regional political and religious consequences.

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Table des matières

Environmental economic religious and local and foreign political influences that help perpetuate a culture of obedience to dictatorial authority in Ara...
The role of Islamic culture in shaping Arab societies and governance
Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia its impacts on state governance religious extremism terrorism and prospects for genuine religious and democratic ref...
Secularism in Syria and the prospects of democratic reforms
Four possible strategies to counter Jihadists terrorism
Countering Jihadists terror taming religious orthodoxy
Countering Jihadists terror removing the domestic spark through democratic governance and poverty alleviation
Countering Jihadists terror removing the foreign spark through a resolution to the ArabIsraeli conflict
Countering Jihadists terror removing the foreign spark through termination of the US occupation of Iraq
The likelihood that the strategies to fight terrorism outlined in Chapters Four Five Six and Seven might be attained successfully
A look into the future
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Page 13 - Americans are asking: Why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

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