Sunday, August 25, 2013

Democracy and Islamic Law

Studying the Ottoman Empire?  Here's a great essay about the impact of the breakup of that empire and the rise of Islamic law from the magazine section of the BBC News Magazine.

Roger Scruton, a writer and philosopher, argues that while Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, created a secular country in which loyalty to the new country was first and loyalty to religion was second, other parts of the former empire in North Africa and the Middle East, did the opposite.  States like Iraq, Iran and even Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, created Islamic states where loyalty to Islam comes first and loyalty to the state comes second. 

Scruton argues that states based on religion cannot succeed. He argues that secular law adapts but rebellious law, like Sharia, does not. "When God makes the laws, the laws become as mysterious as God is. When we make the laws, and make them for our purposes, we can be certain what they mean." 

This is an interesting argument students could debate.  Thanks to Tom Whitby for tweeting the link.

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