By Michael Youssef
May 17, 2013
In our deeply partisan politics of today there is one area where it is hard to find the truth spoken by either Republicans or Democrats. It is the idea that Muslim people yearn for democracy. This is a glaring short-sightedness that both sides hold in common.
To be clear, many of my Muslim friends long for Western-style democracy and freedom. But they are always thwarted (and always will be) by the majority view that prevails in their countries. That is why even those friends of mine would admit that democracy is incompatible with Islamic ideology.
Knowledgeable people will agree that our modern form of democracy is a delicate rose that bloomed in the soil of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation turned the people of the Dark Ages back to the Bible, with its deeply rooted respect for the individual.
Some misguided Republicans and Democrats who think that the ideology of Islam can be rehabilitated and made compatible with Western Christian values.
The Bible unequivocally declares that God values “the individual.” God not only created a man and a woman to be compatible in every way, but God gave man the management responsibility for His creation—thus God placed “the individual” at the helm of importance.
The Christian faith testifies to the fact that although humans fell out of favor with God by disobeying His command not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden and therefore bringing sin and death into the world. God saw fit to redeem them at a colossal cost to Himself—by dying for the sins of the world on a Cross. Such is the value he places on us.
That is the soil that gave Western democracy its ideals.
Now enter some misguided Republicans and Democrats who think that the ideology of Islam can be rehabilitated and made compatible with Western Christian values.
Neither political side understands that, contrary to the biblical view of man, the root of Islamic ideology declares that man is of no consequence. Allah is. The human individual is of no value; he is only to serve the whim of Allah, his prophet, and the successors (caliphates) of the prophets of Islam.
Democracy and freedom rise from the bottom up, whereas Islam is a top-down ideology—Allah, whose words they claim to have received, is all that matters.
So when George W. Bush often said that freedom is “God's gift to humanity,” thoughtful people needed to ask some important questions.
Such as, which God gave this “gift” to humanity? Yahweh, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or Allah of 7th century Arabia?
As well intentioned as President Bush’s administration was, a cursory look at our effort to bring democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and Egypt offer proof of the apparent impossibility of the task.
And when President Obama speaks of Muslims yearning for freedom just as Americans do, one must ask: whose definition of freedom is he talking about?
Well over 90 percent of the Islamic states that signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and the right to freedom of religion that is contained within it—would immediately qualify it by declaring that “freedom” means freedom to be a slave of Allah and nothing more.
That is why the definition of freedom is so important. Using that emotive word sounds good in the Western press, but it is meaningless in Islamic culture. Just take a look at the president’s efforts in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt for confirmation.
To get a taste of the dominant view of Islamic ideology, one need only watch the countless videos of Islamic religious leaders available on the Internet. Videos like the one of Egyptian Cleric Sheik Murgan Salem after the Boston bombing will help sceptics understand why I hold such contrarian opinions.
Those men do not speak only for a few; they speak for the vast majority. Regardless of whether it’s the one who declares that U.S. aid is a Jizya (under Islamic law, Jizya is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria) that infidels must pay to Muslims, or the one who says that Islam will one day dominate the West, they all prove the folly of not facing the facts.
As long as that folly is shared in a bipartisan fashion, the prospects for peace in the world will remain bleak.
Deep in their soul, most Republicans and Democrats would attest to the eternal truth that “the truth will set you free.” Therefore, all they need to do is return to that well of truth, draw from it the water of life, believe it and speak it. It will free them of fear—fear of political correctness, of offending with facts, of declining popularity.
This is my prayer and the prayers of millions of truth-loving people around the world.
Dr. Michael Youssef is founder and president of Leading the Way Ministries and founding pastor, Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. Born in Egypt in 1948, Michael Amerhom Youssef studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia and was ordained as a minister there. He moved to America with his wife, Elizabeth, in 1977 and in 1978, received a master’s degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He later earned a doctorate in social anthropology from Emory University in Atlanta.