America & Iran out of step with democracy and Islam

Even before a single vote had been cast, America had already decided to dismiss the Iranian presidential election. Bush said, “Power is in the hands of an un-elected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.” After the election, America was quick to describe the electoral process as flawed and that Iran was out of step with moves towards democracy in the region.

Yet scrutiny of American actions in the region and beyond demonstrates that it is America that is out of step with democracy. One of the basic tenets of democracy is that elections must be held fairly and free from local or foreign interference.

However, this was not observed during the elections in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. These elections were conducted under foreign occupation, insecurity was rampant, voters were too frightened to vote and the turnout was dubious to say the least. Despite this, America hailed the elections as a victory for democracy.

Furthermore, the selection of the leaders, the formulating of the constitutions and the convening of elections were all conducted under the guardianship of America. America handpicked Abbas, Karzia and Jaffari to oversee the implementation of pro-American policies. In the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, America used the Loya Jirga and Iraqi Governing Council to enshrine American inspired canons that would ensure her dominance over the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Undeterred and unashamed, America still continues to interfere in the electoral process of many Muslim countries Threatened by Islamists, America has taken the precautionary step of postponing the parliamentarian elections in Afghanistan and Palestine. In the case of Palestine, America ordered by Abbas to amend election law, so as to prevent Hamas from winning a majority of the seats in the parliament.

America’s unabashed support for the municipal elections in Saudi-Arabia, the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt and her silence over the low turnout in the Lebanese election (the turnout was higher during Syrian occupation) stinks of hypocrisy and falls way short of the democracy standards that are taught in American high schools.

In comparison, the presidential elections in Iran are much more credible. Elections were conducted in relative safety with a 62% voter turn out. This was 2% higher than 2004 US presidential election. There may have been irregularities as voiced by Rafsanjani but these pales into insignificance when compared to the farce of the 2000 US presidential race.

Rather than preaching to Muslim countries about the virtues of democracy, America should examine its own handiwork at subverting democracy in the region. Surely it is America that is out of step with democracy.

Those who argue that the election of Ahmadinejad will usher in a fundamentalist government are equally mistaken. Since the Iranian revolution, Iran has never been the bastion of Islam. A cursory study of Iran’s constitution inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini shows that it is a secular autocratic state which limits the role of Islam in social, educational, economic, and foreign affairs. The few laws of Islam that are implemented are designed to mollify the Islamic sentiments of the people.

This gives Iran an Islamic appearance, similar to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan which also pretend to be Islamic. Professing Iran to be Islamic, while implementing non-Islamic rules makes the Iranian regime out of step with Islam.

Islam stipulates that Muslims must choose a ruler who will govern all aspects of their lives according to the rules derived from the Quran and the Sunnah. This can only be accomplished by electing a Khaleef and re-establishing the Khilafah State. The Khilafah guarantees legitimate representation for the ummah as well as ensuring that sovereignty belongs to God.