Name a single Arab or Islamic state, which, after a revolution that has overthrown a dictator, came to embrace political pluralism, religious tolerance and equal rights for women.You can't, can you?
The U.S. State Department publishes an annual report on human rights practices in Arab states. It consistently finds all are ruled by variations of dictatorial regimes that oppress their people, deny basic freedoms of press, speech, due process and are intolerant of any faith other than Islam, punishing converts to other faiths (a capital offense in some Islamic nations) and anyone who shares other faiths with their people.
The Arab Human Development Report, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and authored by Arab scholars, examined the world's seven regions. It ranks Arab countries lowest according to their "freedom score."
What is the popular definition of insanity? Isn't it repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results?
After months of uprisings in Arab nations from Egypt to Yemen, we are now faced with one in Libya, which appears to have ousted Moammar Gadhafi. As with the other nations engaged in revolution, what follows is yet to be determined. So is a judgment on whether the replacements will be any better than their predecessors.
In Libya, the National Transition Council (NTC) has published online what purports to be a draft constitution for the new state. It contains much that sounds good and at least one section that ought to be cause for serious concern. The good stuff includes "guarantees," such as, "The state shall guarantee for woman all opportunities which shall allow her to participate entirely and actively in political, economic and social spheres." (Article 6) And "The State shall guarantee for non-Muslims the freedom of practicing religious rights and shall guarantee respect for their systems of personal status." (Article 1)
There is much else to commend in the draft constitution, but then there is this: "Islam is the religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)." (Article 1)
The legal system in Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia law. More than two-dozen other countries operate according to at least some aspects of Sharia law. None of them is known for any of the principles stated in the pluralistic-sounding Libyan draft constitution. By their fruits you shall know them and the fruit in countries where Sharia law is the legal standard is rotten when it comes to tolerance, religious pluralism, a free and independent press and equal rights for women.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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