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PostAre Islam and Hinduism Compatible with Democracy? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 09/01/21 2:22 am)
Excellent essay by Muqtedar Khan (August 31st). His point of view is very well presented and the facts related are really worrisome.
But this Bastian Contrario remains rather perplexed.
How do Hinduists and Islamists invoke democracy when neither of their creeds recognizes the separation of Church and State? Their respective cultures do not have the concept of "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God."
Muqtedar's essay is mostly reporting a truthful and dangerous situation, but believing that India at present is a genuine democracy is only wishful thinking.
Furthermore, we may cite the two following points:
1) The Babri Masjid mosque of Ayodhya was shamefully destroyed by a Hinduist mob on 6 December 1992. It was built in 1528-29 by general Mir Baqr per order of the Mughal Emperor Bubur on a previously destroyed temple dedicated to the god Rama. The terrain where the mosque was built is still called Rama's Fort.
2) Islam did not arrive in India by peaceful missionaries. Rather it was imposed by the Islamic invasion. The first was by the Turkic Mahmud (998-1030), who invaded Punjab and the Indo basin. Later, in 1191, all Hindu temples were destroyed as per the usual Muslim custom.
Finally, the Sultanate of Delhi ruled over much of the land until the first Europeans arrived--Portuguese, French, Dutch and British.
Practically only the extreme south remained free from the Muslim invaders.
JE comments: Muqtedar Khan's essay does address the belief, still prevalent among Hindus today in India, of Islam being a "foreign" religion imposed by invaders. I believe a similar sentiment exists in Iran, despite the Islamic nature of the governing regime. Please correct me if I've oversimplified a vastly complex situation.
The crux of Eugenio's comments above is that Islam is not suited to a secular society. The Prophet himself was both a religious leader and a warrior/empire-builder in the worldly sense. I don't know enough about Hinduism to make a pronouncement there, but India despite its political warts has maintained the trappings of representational democracy since independence. Its democratic track record is stronger than many accepted democracies in the Christian world.
Is there any reason liberal democracies seem to flourish best in Christian societies? No one has been able to answer why--or even if--this is the case. The separation of Church and State is an Enlightenment principle, dating only from the 18th century.