Daniel Pipes ponders the notion of an Islam compatible with democracy.
Just as Christianity became part of the democratic process, so can Islam. This transformation will surely be wrenching and require time. The evolution of the Catholic Church from a reactionary force in the medieval period into a democratic one today, an evolution not entirely over, has been taking place for 700 years. When an institution based in Rome took so long, why should a religion from Mecca, replete with its uniquely problematic scriptures, move faster or with less contention?
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. Pipes breaks down some of the massive hurdles Islam has to leap over in order to embrace democratic ideals.
A point Pipes doesn't touch on is how the modern Western world has treated the various Islamist movements it has run into over the last 50 years. Since Sayyid Qutb gave birth to the modern jihadist movement, elements of the West have been bombarded by various facets of Islamic violence. Whether it has come in the form of stateless entities like al-Qaeda, belligerent theocratic governments or a combination of the two is beside the point.
So how have the elites in America reacted to the decades-long aggression of expansionist Islam? Accomodation, moral equivalence and feckless dhimmitude. Among other pathetic reactions. Then we wonder why Islam continues to pick on us.
Non-Muslims can't do much to reform to Islam. As Pipes notes, that kind of wrenching cultural shift takes a long time. Democratization is not something the West will be capable of accelerating very much.
But that doesn't mean the West has to lay down and accept terrorist Islam's deranged premises about the separation of church and state, the role of women, property rights or religious pluralism. Nor does it have to tolerate the violent acts of murder and mayhem the Qutbist keep throwing at us. Instead of that, the West could decide to tell Islam--through words and deeds--that certain things won't be tolerated. Like honor killings, imposition of sharia, the crushing of religious minorities or female circumsicion.
Would that turn Islam into a religion that welcomes democratic reform? Probably not. But it would probably be better than the subtle message of approval some in the West insist on sending to Islam.