1300 years ago, the flag of Islam brought something eerily like democracy to a world ruled by currupt relics of a theocratic state. What if the fires of Islamic democracy spread back to Mecca?
June 29, 2010: President Obama meets with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office.
Living in a Christian tradition, my view of history saw the 7th century explosion of Islam as a the first crusade, a holy war with the crescent and scimitar presaging than the cross and long sword .
I missed the point. Today, I think our allies in Saudi Arabia may may be in for a terrible surprise because they, the heirs of the Prophet, have long forgotten His teachings about democracy.
Thirteen centuries ago, Islam rose from the primitive tribal chaos of the Arabia and spread like wildfire across much of the corrupt residuum of the Byzantine Empire. The tribal armies of Caliph U
(c) David Horsey. Click on image for rest of strip.
mar and his successors could not have won if Byzantine rule were not already dying.
According to Reuters, “In a testy personal telephone call on Jan. 29, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah reportedly told President Obama not to humiliate Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the U.S. withdrew its aid program, worth $1.5 billion annually.”
King Abdullah need to read his Quran through the eyes of the protesters in Tahrir Square.
Where we see Islam through the veils of hooded Saudi women and golden robes of their sheikhs, the Quran talks of bringing the realm of order and freedom to ther lands of chaos and corruption. Modern Muslims look to the Prophet’s tole as governor of Median, a town with Jews, Christians and Muslims, as a model of fairness and inclusion of the people in their government.
Khomeni understood this and, I believe, sincerely saw a way to creat an Islmain democracy. The idea of Islamic democracy is difficult. There is no real precedent. Muhamud’s role in Medina was that of a tribal judge, providing equity in a small community. Once his successors ruled of empires, Islam inevitably acquired Sultans, Kings, and Emperors. The idea that a Sultan’s inevitable corruption would be counterbalanced by the teachings of the Quran never worked.
Egypt may represent a new start.
King Abdullha’s throne looks very, very ripe.