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Last updated: 18 May, 2007 - Published 08:01 GMT
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Forum: Is Islam compatible with democracy?


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Abdul-Rahoof Adebayo Bello In Omupo, Nigeria

Yes, I believe there is a crisis among African Muslims as well as their Arab counterparts otherwise the American invasion of Iraq, the sensless killings in the Israel and Palestine and the bullying of Iran by the policeman of the world would be been checked.

There is a contradiction between some aspects of democracy and Islam. Much as Islam is a religion of peace, it restricts some liberties that are regarded as fundamental human rights in democracy.

What African Muslims need is the right to practice their religion according to the Sharia principles. They also need to be more united and reconcile themselves with the tenets of the Holy Quran

Sirajo Bashir in Ibi, Nigeria

Muslims in Africa, especially in Nigeria don't value their religion simply because of worldly materials (money) that is why this thing is happening.

Balde Hassana in Dakar, Senegal

Islam is peace. People should know God brought Islam to help people be more tolerant and more sympathetic. I wonder why people always justify crime by adding Islam.

Islam is peace like democracy is peace. Jihad is not to kill someone or to ignore cultural values of a person. Islam has its own rules and people should respect it. People have to know killing has never been tolerated and those who kill will be driven to hell. Islam is democratic.

Onyekezulu Iyasele in Nigeria

True Islam seeks to be the political system in countries and indeed the whole world. Where religion is the political system democracy can't exist there. Theocracy is what it is called, I think.

King Johnson in Sydney, Australia

Democracy and Islam are two different things, truly, all most Muslims need and want is democracy for perfection.

Omar Dohanny in Casablanca, Morocco

"No churches in Mecca lead Vandi Alpha to conclude 'Islam does not like competition and is not tolerant' therefore incompatible with democracy". On a visit to the Vatican I confess to never seeing a mosque and I have noticed that the Vatican and the Spanish Catholic Church have consistently refused to allow Muslims to pray in the Great Mosque of Cordoba. The Spanish expelled the Muslims in 1492 and have forbidden Muslims from any participation in religious activities, namely prayer. So what democracy are you talking about?

Toyin in Ibadan, Nigeria

Islam is not compatible with democracy or even fundamental human rights. As long as Islamic teachers insist that there is no room for others who do not think like them they are simply obstacles to progress and peace.

When Christians can openly preach in a "Muslim" country, or when artifacts are not destroyed because they are considered idols, when converts from Islam are not condemned to death, then Islam can be considered beneficial to humanity.

Jonathan Teckham in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Islam and democracy can only be compatible if there is a change of attitude. Our problem in Africa is not Islam or democracy, it is about the attitudes of the people.

Looking at Islam and democracy, they set the right platform for a successful nation; embedded in the teachings of Islam and democracy are truth and fairness that I don't think have been followed by Africans and their leaders.

What is in the mind of Africans is corruption and wickedness which are condemned outright by Islam and democracy. I think Africans will have a true democracy and Islam together if they are genuine and exhibit the right attitude.

Ruf in Lagos, Nigeria

Did anyone say a Islam as religion is tolerant? The peace Islam talks about is when all the opposition are in subjugation or are all dead. This is exactly what democracy is not

Musa Kalawa in Los Angeles, USA

 Muslims don't need Western democracy. Islam has its own democratic principle, which is guided by the Quran.

Of course there is a continually growing crisis among Muslims, especially those in Africa. The biggest crisis affecting them is the lack of true African identity.

We allowed these foreign religions to invade and banish our previous forms of worship and we allowed ourselves to be indoctrinated into Arab/European form of worship.

Until we decide to completely abandon these imported religion forced on us, peace will never prevail in our beloved continent of Africa.

Africans, give back what due the Arabs, the European what is due to Europe. I see nothing wrong with the way our great ancestors once use to reach the Almighty God!! It was also a very efficient form of worship.

Muslims don't need democracy, I mean Western democracy. Islam has its own democratic principle, which is guided by the Quran; so please do not confuse the two.

Abubakar-Garba Isa in Abuja, Nigeria

Islam is more compatible with democracy than any other religion. The problems come from the misconceptions people have about Islam, other religions always focus on the bad interpretations of Islam rather than the positive.

Hilina in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

People should be aware that extremists do not represent the views/values of all Muslims. The challenge to any politician is to keep religion out of politics and vice versa.

Ali Mohammed in Kampala, Uganda

Islam is all about truth and facts and not fiction. Allah had already decided democracy in the holy Quran so there is no man who can change that fact. It is only self-interested people that come up with issues that confuse the Muslim umah and if you think there is crisis among African Muslims it is because they are not believers.

It is clearly spelt out in the Quran that Islam has five pillars which don't support violence. It is the human greed thing that makes some African so-called Muslims use borrowed cultural methods in the name of Islam to obtain leadership.

The Quran clearly points out the qualities that a leader should have. Let's teach our children the true interpretation of the Quran's teachings so as to avoid ignorance and greed in the name of democracy.

Felix Imafidon in Navan, Ireland

 You cannot grow up to learn how to be democratic, it has to be a way of life and this has eluded Africans and their myopic leaders to date.

Islam is not the only thing that is not compatible with democracy. Everything about us African is not compatible with democracy. Democracy for me is absolute freedom and this regrettably does not play a part in our upbringing on the continent. You cannot grow up to learn how to be democratic, it has to be a way of life and this has eluded Africans and their myopic leaders to date. It is foreign and will forever remain foreign to us.

Jethro Gboeah Togar in Buduburab, Ghana

Islam is a religion that is affililiated with war. How can there be discipline when they are carrying out suicide bombings around the world. On that note, I will say Islam is not compatible with demacracy because democracy has to do with successful competition not distruction.

Hayatudeen Bello in Kaduna, Nigeria

Islam is a true religion from Allah and those criticizing the religion are doing it out of ignorance. Therefore, African Muslims must wake up for the proper propagation of Islam in the continent.

Proud2be_muslim Moto in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

I would like to ask who is the real terrorist? Who is bombing countries like Afganistan, Iraq and Somalia with war planes, killing innocent people? Is this carnage all done by Muslims? No, we know these are done by Americans and their hypocritical alliance.

Please leave the Muslim world to live alone. We have our own true democracy given by the True God Allah. If you are jealous of our way of life we invite you to join us, then you will get the true taste of peace.

George Anyii in Kampala, Uganda

Without sounding intolerant, i wish to say that I find Islam incompatible with democracy. Islam discriminates against Moslem women and preaches violence against non-Muslims who they call infidels. Islam has no respect for members of other religions. Look, for example, at the number of churches in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen, as opposed to the number of mosques in Christian nations like France, Italy and the U.S.

Paul Malok Kuol in Rumbek, Sudan

The question is good but it is difficult to conclude how Islam defines democracy unless you are a Muslim and you can answer this question in relation to Koranic verse of democracy. As a Christian, democracy is a God-given and it should be applied to evey human being.

Rashi Ahmed in London, UK

Islam is not compatible with the democracy of the terrorist West. These so-called democracies of UK and USA have destroyed two Islamic countries in the name of the introduction of democracy there. Aren't they ashamed of their evil democracy? Islam is not compatible with this democratic nonsense.

Vandi Alpha, The Hague, The Netherlands

Issue of competition? Saudis pay for mosques to be built in the West but don't permit churches in Mecca
Islam in Africa like Christianity is imported. If what is practised in its place of origin is what is to be followed to the letter, then Islam could not be seen to be compatible with democracy. Reason. Why is it that the Saudi goverment makes millons of dollars available to build mosques in cities like Rome but does not allow a church to be built in Mecca?

Islam does not like competition and is not tolerant. Democracy on the other hand is about healthy competion and tolerance. I know of a case in my country in Africa where a proposed marriage between two people who were in love was not allowed because the man was not a Muslim. Is that democracy?

Hussein Masimbi in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

There is a problem of perception. Many people are selfish and they become judgemental of others and forget that everybody has to do as they think it is right.

No matter what, there will always be differences in beliefs. We should respect this and not judge people, we should respect them as they respect us and respect themselves.

Religion is love and belief is a tool for judging people and discriminating. Take me for who I am and I will take you for who you are, by doing that, this world will be a better place.

Abdi Abdulkadir in Mwembetanga, Zanzibar

Islam is a true religion, the religion of all the prophets, from Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus and the last one Muhammad (peace be upon them all) does not need any kind of human theologies. Muslims of Africa and all over the world need to practise Islamic teaching as a complete way of their day to day life and not only in their masjids.

Khalif Soomaal, Edmonton, Canada

Islam can't be compatible with democracy. Islam doesn't let you follow your negative desire it teaches you disiplne and how to live in Allah's land without arrogance. Democracy lets you do whatever you want - no restriction - and we all know when there is no restriction humans behave worse than animals.

Fatuma Ismail, Melbourne Australia

Islam is a religion of peace, respect and brotherhood so I actually do not see why people who don't understand it just condemn it. Being a Muslim lady, I strongly believe that whatever I am doing, I am doing it out of my will. Why do some people believe that we Muslim women are under pressure while in the real sense it's not true?

Adow Duaale in Nashville, USA

Islam is the pure and perfect religion from Allah but heedless people misinterperate it. Islam forbids evil and that is best way of life on this planet.

Malith Kur in London, Canada

The site of a recent suicide bomb attack in Casablanca, Morocco
 Extremists do not define the difference between Islam as a religion and Islam as a political ideology.

The brand of Islam that has dominated the minds of many African muslims has in most cases, been the extreme one.

This leads to many problems because the extremists do not define the difference between Islam as a religion and Islam as a political ideology.

Until all Muslims in Africa define the difference between their faith and politics, African muslims will remain in unending crisis.

We see the results of this religiopolitical turmoil in the Horn of Africa, Somalia and the neighbouring countries are facing refugee and security crises because of Islamic confusion in the region.

In Africa, Islam is in crisis and so are the Muslims of Africa. They must first be independent from influence of the outside forces such as al-Qaeda whose agenda is to cause religious and political troubles in Africa.

Khawja Latif in Morden, Canada

Islam is democratic in nature. The politics of power and dynasties turned it into a machine to autocratic rules. In Islam the most powerful person is the Judge (chief justice). Honesty, modesty and openness is the way of life, but all good aspects are snatched away by the sultans, emperors and kings to plunder the wealth of Muslim nations.

Abera in Baltimore, USA

Great question! Not at all. Islam is one of the most fragile religions in the world for misinterpretation. That is why we see Muslims killing his fellow Muslim. That is why we see a lot of bloodshed in the world.

Nobody is free to even criticize Islam. Salman Rushdie is a case in point. Islam wouldn't rest until it converts all peoples of the world to Islam.

Whether one religion is democratic or not is judged by its followers day to day activities. Muslims have shown the undemocratic nature of the religion.

Abba Farmand in Tehran, Iran

What Muslim society needs is unity among Islamic schools of thought and good leadership. Also Muslim must learn more about Islam and Islamic beliefs.

Babu Sami in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

All western leaders who are trying to be the advocate of democracy knows more than any other ordinery person that ISLAM means peace. However they are manupulating and creating hatered against Muslims because of their islamophobia.

Anyway, what I want to say is that regarding religion, there is no problem between Africans, and such debate is not a burning issue - the major African problem which should be discussed is poverty.

Alieu Sannoh in Pweto, DR Congo

Islam is a religion of peace, respect, humility and democracy. In the history of mankind, Islam has contributed to democracy, peace and respect; but today in the world, not only Africa, people and mostly the west, do want to respect the culture of Islam.

Snowden M'madi in Lilongwe, Malawi

Islam is compatible with democracy. It's just that in most African states Muslims are a few, and their opinions and needs are not met and heard. They are oppressed.

Islam has some good teachings if you listen and read the Quran, but I do not agree with the Jihad belief.

Dine with them, involve them in the political affairs, accord them the status that they deserve commensurate with their educational status and Africa will be a peaceful continent to live on.

Mohamed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 Democracy in the West allows a homosexual to be a leader of a Church. Muslims, however, do not have choice on matters which Allah has decided.

Democracy in the West allows a homosexual to be a leader of a Church. Muslims, however, do not have choice on matters which Allah has decided; Muslims can exercise their free will only when they are not contradicting the Sharia.

But in the present world, a leader or a country is democratic as long as it satsfies the interest of the West/US.

If this is democracy one cannot be a democrat and at the same time a Muslim.

Brian Deller in Malaga, Spain

In theory, Islam is a peaceful religion, FOR MUSLIMS, but it is perceived as an intolerant one by those who are five hundred years further along the history line i.e. those in the Western democracies.

Why? Because Muslims are doing what the Christians did in Europe 500 years ago: killing others of the same faith in their personal quests for power, so don't try to assert that Islam is peaceful. In theory yes, but in practice NO.

So all Muslims must make up their minds now. Is the future for you and your children an unnecessary death, or is it a coming into the 21st century with the benefits that it will bring? You have to give it serious thought forgetting the extremist propaganda and having the strength of character to make the right choice, democracy and progress to real peace.

Mussa Pascal Bwereko in London, UK

YES Islam is compatible with democracy, but a real Muslim will never be a puppet compromising just to make the west happy. It will be the greatest weakness to all Muslim countries.

So Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine, Burundi... why? The West wants to change the voice of the people by force? Is that democracy? Please don't judge before you get judged let the people decide - it's their right.

Abbas Daramy-Bassey in London, UK

Thanks to brother Gamal for his creative and original thinking. The word Islam portrays one-ness of "belief" that God/Allah is the creator and owner of the faith. Without unnecessary abstract elasticity of thought, I do not think that crisis would be iminent.

A mode of turbulance does not seem to reflect on the mood of greater majority of Muslims. A clever Muslim would prefer to continue the journey of the aims and aspirations of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace of allah be on him and all peaceful followers).

Obaahemaa Nanayaa Kyeraa in Accra, Ghana

Islam is not compatible with democratic governance as it followers claim. If it is, then why the massacres, suicide bombings, killing innocent souls in the name of Jihad? Such a God is not worthy.

A God who supports peace but supports Jihad is questionable. Muslims should practice as they preach and embrace democracy.

Shehu Shaba in Niger State, Nigeria

The new president of Nigeria, Umaru Yar'Adua
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was elected as the new Nigerian president in highly criticised elections

Democracy, if well practised, is all about justice and that is what Islam preaches. In this light, we will agree that the two are compatible to some extent. But democracy as it practised today, most especially in Africa, and to be precise, in Nigeria, falls short of the Islamic standard.

Afolarin Ishola in Oyo, Nigeria

Every religion must realize that there will never be a time when everyone will practise their religion - and even if everyone does; it is definitely not possible for everyone to have exactly the same opinion in the practise.

Democracy though definitely not perfect, proffers the fairest means for selection of leaders. All muslims must therefore shun any selfish and sanctimonious stands that only suggests that they do not believe in the peace they speak so much about.

A Mohammed in Abuja, Nigeria

The greatest point of departure between Islam and democracy is that while the essential goal of democracy is materialism whereby the end justifies the means, Islam aims to ensure that the greatest good reaches the greatest number and believes that all - the leaders and the led - shall give account of their stewardship before God on Judgement Day.

Ezekiel Sesay Wallace a Sierra Leoneon in Modesto, USA

I think Islam is compatible with democracy, because the God they preach has given us the power to make choice between good and evil. This is basically what democracy is about, the power given to the citizens to choose a leader that they want to rule them.

The only thing that is projecting Islam as a religion to be afraid and scared of is the idea of suicide bombing and the beheading of innocent people on camera in the name of Allah.

Islamic leaders have failed to stop or condemned this actions. Most times they not even killing the enemy rather their brothers of the same faith. Iraq is a perfect example, hundreds are being killed every blessed day. Where is the Islamic love?

Dauda Massaquoi in Toronto, Canada

The question should actually be is democracy compatible with Islam? Democracy provides a facade and high ideal that it works for society and culture. I strongly disagree for these reasons:

 The question should actually be is democracy compatible with Islam?

1. Democracy, although it says 'government for the people by the people', it is not strictly true. In the African context, it does not take into consideration those smaller tribes in the country and unless a tribe completely assimilate into a larger tribe, there is never any opportunity for those tribe members to become leader of their country.

2. The constitutions that many African countries inherited from the colonial masters are severely flawed for the same reason because they give the upper hand to majority tribes to continue to rule. If we separate religion from politics, there is a danger that the rich and powerful will have the upper hand to rule that country to the detriment of the more vulnerable.

For Africa, we shall find another system to rule our people, one that includes everone.

Abdullahi Sanni in Ibadan, Nigeria

Islam as a religion that wholly backs democratic institutions and even entrenches them in the lives of its adherents.

Nariu Buba in Yola, Nigeria

Islam is a religion of peace, though the Western World and its media blindly gives Islam a wrong interpretation. My advice to those peole is to first understand Islam and stop commenting blindly on this religion.

G Williwu Forkpa, Monrovia, Liberia

My opinion is that Muslims do not have peace of mind and they need democracy. For people of other religions where there are Muslims there are always insurgents, but if you read the Quran parts of it tell you that the more you kill the enemy the more blessed you are, whereas Christianty will tell you to forgive you enemy.

Isa Muhammad Ozegya in Obi, Nigeria

Muslims do not need democracy. I believe there is crisis among African Muslims. This arises as a result of the different schools of thought in Islam. Democracy is not what the Muslims in the continent really want, what they actually need is good governance based on the fear of Allah based on Quranic and Sunnah teachings.

Lataa Obaa in Roobee, Oromia, Ethiopia

It is not about African Muslims, Christians, and/or Jews. Instead it is about foreign invaders vs Africans. Before the religious gangsters, European colonizers, and modern mafia investors invaded Africa and Africans, we used to live by worshipping our Black God, move all over the continent as we pleased, respect one another as a family of Kush, Bantus, Hausas and so on.

However since the foreign invaders from Asia, Europe, and America took over the continent they have destroyed our identity, looted our property, dehumanised our dignity and so on. We are just playing their games.

To make long story short for us Africans to live in peace, love, and respect as a family; all foreign dirty games should be cleared from the continent and we should start worshipping our "BLACK GOD" instead of foreign gangsters' philosophies.

Omary Juma Issango in Perth, Australia

Islam is a religion of peace and love and guidance, despite what the Western media portrays. Islam allows freedom for both men and women and allows followers to exercise their democracy in all areas of their life. Islam allows full democracy as any religion. People have to understand Islam and not comment blindly according to western media, but read the Quran and see how it is written down.

Lipe Eric Abaye in Agona Duakwa, Ghana

I don't think Muslims like democracy or want it. I say this because if they actually want to practice it, all suicide bombings would stop and all Muslim or Islamic countries would be practising democracy by now.

Dee Marie Smith in Atlanta, Georgia, US

Muslim woman
The Quran counsels, "Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers"

If Islam is peace, where is the peace in the way women are treated, and where is the peace? Democracy is not perfection but it "allows freedom of religion" which is closer to God than forcing people to be Islamic, God gives all the right to choose, so why is it that if one is Christian in a majority Islamic population one is persecuted? This is not peace. There can be no peace without the Christ! How can the West accept the falsity of peace in the midst of such bloodshed and rape and chaos? God is not the author of confusion... thank you

Mike Obi in Katsina, Nigeria

Democracy reigned in Algeria in 1991 where the fundamentalists won by landslide and was rejected by the West. It also reigned in Palestine where Hamas won and was rejected by the West. It reigned in Egypt where a West-approved president won fraudulently and was accepted. Must democracy satisfy the whims of the west and not the will of the people?

Patrick Sannah in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Islam is compatible with democracy but there are limitations which the Western world does not appreciate. Islamic values do not encourage homosexuals which the Western world accepts in the name freedom of association; prostitution and the like are also legalised in the Western world whilst they are tabooed in the Islamic world.

Michael Attah Kesse Ellimah in Tema, Ghana

To properly diagnose the political germ of African politics it is important to view the history of African religion in the context of African traditional governance. Religious democracy shares a common destiny with socio-ideological democracy. Muslims around the world and the Quran approve of fairness and equity, the essential ingredients of democracy.

The need for tolerance and the fight for equality presents an unequivocal truth of life, the antithesis to a world of disparity, injustice, discrimination and greed. The morally-compelling quest is not just for a more tolerant and integrated world, it is also seeking peace and a world devoid of religious arm-twisting. Democracy is what Muslims really want and not a 'bullyingcracy'

Salim Youba in Toronto, Canada

This debate will help Muslims understand the world and other non-Muslims. In fact Muslims are caught in a crossfire of politics between Arabs and whites, North Americans and Europeans.

Muslims countries will never enjoy peace, unless they stop mixing politics with religion and stop blaming America or Britain for every crimes they are committing against their own Muslim brothers and sisters. America or Britain can never interfere in anybody's country unless there is a problem and America is exploiting our problems to advance their own political agendas.

However, we Muslims in Africa get lost because we tried to be Arabs by culture and became hostile to non-Muslim brothers and sisters for no reason other to advance the Arab political agenda that was disguised as the Islamic religion.

 Muslims have to separate politics from religion and Africans must stop advancing the Arab political agenda to Africa through Islam and let us live as it was before Christianity and Islam.

For example, last year's publication of cartoons depicting our beloved prophet Mohammed caused Nigerian Muslims to go out and burn churches and beat their own non-Muslims as if the cartoons had been in Nigerian non-Muslim newspapers. What hell is craziness is this? Arab Muslim militia raping African Muslim women in Darfur, Sudan; In Iraq, Muslims kill each other and blame America when it is the Shia's trying to get even with the formerly powerful Sunis.

All I'm trying to say is that Muslims have to separate politics from religion and Africans must stop advancing the Arab political agenda to Africa through Islam and let us live as it was before Christianity and Islam otherwise we will continue to die in the crossfire between the politics of Arabs and whites.

Religion is a link between us and our Creator as the way to reach heaven but the earth is for all of us.

Nuru Adamu in Ottawa, Canada

Mohammed Islam stands for peace, equality and justice I can't say it better than the prophet who, 16 centuries ago, said. "O People! It is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

Chikumbutso Mkutumula, Blantyre, Malawi

Islam is a good religion. It expounds peace just like we saw in Somalia, this was a new dawn for the people and it was good. The problem comes when those that do not necessarily understand the concept are intergrated into the decision-making, that is when fanaticism crops up and the whole concept takes a different dimension. That's when reason takes a back seat and emotion runs amok. It will be appreciated that often people refuse to take the expositions of Islamic reasoning and deliberately appeal to the masses so that sinister agendas are upheld within confusion.

Mustapha Taillu in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Muslims are not interested in the Western Policies which are reflected in their democracies.

Muhammad Murtadha Abdallah in Lagos, Nigeria

Muslims don't need democracy, because Islam is the religion of peace but there is no peace in democracy. Assuming all the Muslims follow the footsteps of the prophet Muhammad we could achieve all that we want to achieve.

Fatawu Musah in the Bronx, USA

Some Muslims consider themself as the original muslims, and overlook the others who they call the converted Muslims and therefore they're not pious and committed. Muslims are rule by the Quran, the Quran is the holy book which contains science and government, hence Islam is compatible to democracy.

Ishamel Lukwago Ntegano in Kampala, Uganda

Hamas flags during Palestinian election 2006
The West rejected Hamas' election victory

Islam is a religion of peace however the American policy towards Islam creates conditions of instability in Islamic states.

Hamas won elections in Palestine but was rejected by the West, then what is democracy?

Wadani Saleh in Dubai, UAE

Well, in my knowledge of Islam, 1st Islam is Peace, actually no other religion nor Democracy can be compared with Islam. If the meaning of Islam is Peace, must be followed. You are aware for a six month period there were Islamic courts in Somalia particularly the capital Mogadishu and some regions in south and central Somalia. The people were living peace and safe day and night. Now you see what is going on there, in my question, by whom can be attributed to the violence, killing, robbing and rape in Somalia? Your answer is awaited if you have one.

Yomi Osoko in Pittsburgh, USA

The anachronic doctrine of the Holy Quran is the cause of the world insurgency and anti-democracy sentiment. God is ONE, but the Muslims fight for supremacy make them blindly even kill their relatives, all in the name of GOD/ALLAH. If religion is takes on less significance, there will be peace in the world, else a fleeting illusion remains.

Ahmed Sa'id in Islamabad, Pakistan

Islam is not compatible with Democracy, because the real meaning of democracy is totally different by the meaning of Islam. Islam means to be obedient and limited by the rules and regulations of Islam and not to follow your desires or needs and democracy means to be free and to have your desires or needs. So that they must be separate forever.

Molloh Mansa in Basse, The Gambia

African Muslims need to be free to exercise their religious duties without interference from the West. The Muslims should rule and be ruled by what their religion teaches but not Western-imposed democracy.

Osman Sorie Kamara in Accra, Ghana

There is a very big crisis among African Muslims and all Africans. Africa has been socially, politically and mentally divided by Western colonialism. The advent of neocolonialism - democracy - has created much more division among the Africans from all walks of life.

Osman Amadu in Freetown, Sierra Leone writes

 We must reflect on the good and bad side of our religion to bring everlasting reform which generations yet unborn will be proud of.

I am delighted to be part of this debate simply because as a devout Muslim in Africa I believe this is time for us to show other religions that Islam stands for peace and democracy. Muslim had been given all sort of nomenclature to the dismay of it followers; names like "suicide bomber" and "terrorist" are common.

Islam stands for peace and this we should uphold as prequisite and faith building in the world beyond. Unfortunately, It is the minority of Muslims that bring the whole religioninto disrepute.

The debate will prompt us to reflect on the good and bad side of our religion and to bring everlasting reform which generations yet unborn will be proud of.

Mohamed Jimale in Wajir, Kenya

Islam enjoins Muslims to embrace mutual consultations whenever matter arises. The Quran presents Islam in a democratic way, the Quran says, "no compulsion in religion". I therefore believe Islam is not only compatible with democracy but it's where democracy springs from - if people only understand.

Sarah Worro in Kampala, Uganda

Islam is democracy itself and encourages peaceful co-existence. Islam has the individual rights and duties spelt out. What we need in Africa is African democracy, one that suits africans regardless of our different tribes, religions etc. The so called 'Islamist' or 'Islamic fundementalist' as popularized by media does not help the cause of democracy in Africa, especially the Islamic democracy so to speak.

Of course, Africans are their own worst enemies, and as such we need to come up with democracy that suits all Africans irrespective of our religious and tribal background. Darfur, Somalia are in no way a reflection of Islam and its lack of compatibility with democracy.

The African continent needs to rediscover itself in terms of governance, the unrest in Zimbabwe, Congo,and genocide in Rwanda have no ties to Islam. Suffice to say that for Muslims in Africa, democracy is one that is pro-people not defined according to religion.

Ezekiel Sesay Wallace in Modesto, California

I don't think Islam is compatible with democracy, because many who believe in that faith take every little thing in the Quran literally, hence trampling on all human rights.

Copies of the Koran
"Good religion but badly misinterpreted", thinks Ezekiel Sesay Wallace

For instance, the prevention of free speech, the sidelining of women in most activities and politics, and manipulating young people about killing others for a course vital to those leaders with the notion that that will get them to heaven... hence the recruiting of suicide bombers. Good religion but badly misinterpreted.

Abdulrahman Ahmad in Abuja, Nigeria

Democracy simply means people's choice and so also Islam means peace. It's only with peace that a peaceful democratic goverment will take place, my concept is that Islam and democracy are the same things, concerning Muslim crisis in Africa, there is none but the African problem is poverty.

Abdi Hassan in Mogadishu in Somalia

It's absurd to ask such a question. What is democracy? It's a Western ideology to opress the people. As a Somali I believe Islam is only to govern because its complete and it's from Allah.

If you are asking to chose between the two I will definitely not chose the ideology of Bush and his allies for manipulating the world. When you ask the western leaders the so called champions of democracy what is the only thing that is a threat to their ideology they will definitely say ISLAM.

Ismail Mfaume Mohammed in Cairo, Egypt

This question has been asked by many people, inside and outside Africa because of what is happening in the world now in the name of Islam. It is extremely disappointing to hear, daily, that horrible crimes are being committed in the name of Islam while Islam is completely innocent.

It is very difficult to understand why those who call themselves Muslims do that. Islam is a divine mission brought to mankind in order to show the world how to live in peace, respect human rights, equality, love, unity, hard working, mutual respect tolerance and many others.

It is for that reason we say, Islam is a complete way of peaceful life. Out of all this, we don't know what kind of Islam those Islamists who are terrifying the world follow?

Tahil in Minneapolis, USA

Thank you Gamal for your beautiful question, furthermore I would like to tell you that African Muslims share their problems with other Muslims elsewhere.

The other thing you asked simply shows your limited knoweledge of Islam, there is no room for democracy in Islam, I mean that Islam has a better and more just system than democracy, so could you please read more about Islam to learn about the reality of Islam.

Lekan Badmus in London, UK

To me Islam is compatible to democracy. However greediness of African leaders; many of whom are Muslims left much to be desired. African leaders should follow the teachings of Quran.

Zaidi Baraka In Baltimore, USA writes

This argument exemplifies the divisive nature of religious zealots. Rather than seek spiritual enlightenment, which transcends (and unifies) various faiths, exemplified by various religious beliefs, they (the adherents) betray their faith and spiritual integrity by seeking power and dominance in the name of their religion to justify their actions. Look at Sudan and you will see this conundrum being acted out.

 Islam is blind of colour, race, nationality, gender and economic status, it strives to achieve one objective - one true love among all people.

Boodheri Kwamigwa in Migwa, Somalia writes

Yes, Islam is compatible with democracy because it is blind of colour, race, nationality, gender and economic status. Islam strives to achieve one objective - one true love among all people.

Yusufu Maiga in Yendi, Ghana writes

There is a crises among African Muslims. The big question is how to remain true to our faith without being drawn to Arab causes. There is no doubt that we identify with the struggles of oppressed people such as the Palestinians. It is only natural that we should indentify with them because we were oppressed under colonialism and military dictators from our midst.

We must educate our people about the religion, and stress that violence is not the Muslim way. Every society has its radicals. All the carnage committed by the IRA was not seen by the Western press as Catholic terrosim.

There are so many double standards in the Western press that it creates frustration and breeds hatred. No wonder the radicals get so much support.

However we must strive to stay above all these and create our own independent African Muslim identity without detaching ourselves from real Muslim causes.

Buchi Ace in Dublin, Ireland writes

I am an agnostic from Nigeria. I do not believe that because a religion is in the majority means that it has to instill its values on the populace.

Faith is a personal thing and bringing religion into politics can only lead to religious intolerance, religious fraud and massive hypocrisy (as in Nigeria). Africans traditionally practice ancestor veneration; Islam and Christianity are both foreign religions bent on African domination.

crescent and cross
Traditional African religion is ancestor veneration rather than Islam or Christianity

Faith is a personal thing between a man and his god, the onus is with parents to guide their kids but (as most faiths teach) a man can only answer for himself. The community only has a moral responsibility to prevent and punish crime.

Mahammad Abdalla in New Dehli, India writes

In my opinion Islam is the only religion that is democracy to its followers as well as the followers of other faith. It also encourages peaceful co-existance between people of different faiths. The issue of claiming Islam is an oppressive faith is a baseless argument meant to create bad image for Islam by its enemies.

Finally the question I would like to put across to you Mr. Gamal is that Islam is not the only religion in Africa as well as rest of the world, why is it that you are so much concerned about the religion of Islam? Do you really know the teachings of the religion of islam? I would like to advise you to log onto for more information. it seems as if you need someone to guide you in the right direction.

Husseine Babal-Waiz Yushau in New York, USA writes

Being a Muslim in a predominantly Islamic country like Egypt, Jamal should know that over the centuries Islam has been tried and tested as the best system of democracy. Talking about human rights, social ethics, inheritance and what have you, this religion has no peer. If Jamal needs an authentic answer or facts to establish this point, please go back and do your homework well, by reading and reflecting on the life history of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, you will see this.

Abdi Karim Ali in Cairo, Egypt writes

I believe that Islam is the base for the Muslim constitution, so if the African Muslims adopt the Islam doctrine as Allah designed no problem will occur. So what the African Muslim community wants is Islamic rule and the democracy that itself was derived from the Islam.

Chernor Jalloh in Almeria, Spain writes

Yes. Islam as the name implies means is a religion of peace, which aims to acquaint the way every human being should behave in a good manner. In any society there are some bad eggs. So this has portrayed Islam by many as a religion of violence.

Fafape Ama Etsa Doh in Ho, Ghana writes

With reference to the unrest in Somalia and some parts of Nigeria, one will be convinced to think that Islam is the cause of the woes of Africa. I believe Islam like any other religion preaches peace, love and forgiveness. Our Muslim brothers should know that they are now seen to be responsible for their own lives, and not Islam, but they need divine intervention.

Mr. Bezabih Gebre-Egziabhier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia writes

We must differentiate between Islamic religion and Islamic fanaticism. If you come to Africa and look at the society there is no problem between Muslim brothers and Christian brothers. Therefore we should look at Islamic fantaticism and democracy in Africa.

Clement Kuol Biong in Mahe, Seychelles writes

Yes, I would say that Islam can be compatible with democracy as long as it is practised by people who have no inclinations to dominate other peoples' lives. It is the extremists' attitudes that have misrepresented Islam and made it appear a religion that is associated with terrorism. Until the 1950s Muslims and other African non-Muslims lived side-by-side.

Darfur marked on a map of Sudan
 People of Darfur did not rise against Islam, they rose against injustices inflicted upon them

When Islamic fundamentalism took the upper stage in Sudanese politics, that was the time when things became restive and resulted in wars between communities without destinctions.

What is happening in Darfur will illustrate my point of view. If you are not Sudanese it will be very hard for you to see a Muslim killing his own Muslim brother. People of Darfur did not rise against Islam. They rose against injustices inflicted on their own people for so long by the Arab-dominated governments.

Despite all the historical injustices infilicted on them, the Darfur people are still among the most pious Muslims in the Sudan. Have you ever heard any Muslim Arab state raising a voice about what is happening there? I call on the Egyptian leadership not to give a blind eye to what is taking place in Sudan while they are cracking down on Islamic fundamentalism in their country.

Eisse Sheikh Sharrif in USA writes

Muslims in Africa are under siege; for instance where the entire world failed for more than 15 years to restores order to Somalia, the Union of Islamic Courts was able to establish safety and order for six months, only to be invaded by Meles and his army, not the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopians and Muslims share a common heritage and history; while the Muslims were being persecuted in Mecca, the Prophet was welcomed with open hands by the King Negush of Abyssinia. Today forces of evil are trying to turn the battle and create the tension between Muslims and Christians. They will not win, morality and doing good will prevail.

It is easy to kill and destroy helpless human beings but very hard to kill an ideal.

Aboubakar Famau in Tripoli, Libya writes

 As the Western democracy of invading Iraq is not democracy in the African context, so democracy is not a new concept in Islam.

I think when you talk of democracy, then there is African Democracy, Western Democracy and Islamic Democracy.

Every society can practice its own democracy depending on its own set up. As the Western democracy of invading Iraq is not democracy in the African context, so democracy is not a new concept in Islam.

For those who do not know the history of Islam; since prophet Mohammed's time, Islamic affairs have been conducted on the basis of democracy.

Hassan Isilow in Johannesburg, South Africa writes

Islam as a set of norms and ideals that emphasises the equality of people, the accountability of leaders to community members and the respect of diversity and other faiths, which actually implies that Islam is compatible to democracy.

Islam becomes incompatible with governments that oppose democratic rule and justice. Islam is a people-oriented religion that strives to see the betterment of the people. Therefore we are opposed to tyrants like Mugabe who takes advantage of his power, equally Islam urges its faithful to respect their leaders regardless of their religious affiliation.

It's only those who hate Islam that speak ill about it. Despite negative publicity and persecution of its followers, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the USA today.

Israel Newberry in Monrovia, Liberia writes

I am of the opinion that there should be an understanding of difference between religion and the state. Religion should not stand in the place of the state, the state respects religion but does not operate by religion because the state runs according to its constitution. The state is governed by the rule of law and not religion.

Against the background, African Muslims need fair play, not only African Muslims, the entire African continent needs fairness in the governance of its people which is what democracy is all about.

Chigozie Chikere in Abuja, Nigeria writes

All over the world Islamic religion is practised by men and women of integrity. The fact that one is a Muslim does not make one blind to current events. As far as I am concerned, democracy as a system of governance is fast gaining global acceptance irrespective of national or individual religion.

Keith Ellison
Keith Ellison is the first Muslim member of the US Congress

In the USA for instance, we have a Muslim congressman, in Nigeria the current vice-president and many members of the National Assembly are Muslims. In the race for the April elections the leading contenders are all Muslims. I think I do not need to mention all these just for fun. It is obvious that Muslims are embracing democracy for the reason that it is compatible with Islam.

Sani Abdullahi Zakari in Beijing, China

Yes, there is a crisis among African Muslims. Nonetheless Muslims want and need democracy. Islam is based on democracy. Please recall how the prophet lived his life, particularly how he resolved the placement of Hajrul Aswad (Black Stone) while rebuilding the Qa'aba.

Khalid Ahmed in London, UK

To get a clear understanding of Islam one has study Islam, then you will know that Islam is not what the world views as terrorism. Islam is considered by millions of people of the world as God's word, but compare it to democracy if Islam could have ruled the planet then it would have been different situation. The picture is not Islam vs the west but Islam vs ideology/democracy we are living world of realists so whoever has the upper hand survives. Power and dominance is the goal to reach.

Hassan Cumar in Mogadishu, Somalia writes

Dear Mr Gamal, thank you for your opinion of this title. in order to answer this topic, let me ask are you well-informed about the Muslim religion? In my opinion If you really know Islamic law, then you would not ask this question.

Chance Anthony Munthali in Bolton, UK writes

It's sad to know that Islam speaks about peace when truly they are for war every time they've been exposed to truth and reality. Their policies and rules bind people instead of setting them free.

Mak in New York, USA writes

I agree with Dugba (contributor below). on the separation of state and religion. Whereas in the case of Somalia or else in Islamic states, people are using religion as tools to promote their agenda whatever the cause is. Religion - Islam or otherwise - can't be compatible with democracy.

Hassan Isilow in Johannesburg, South Africa writes

Islam is compatible with democracy only if some of its principles and followers are not sidelined in the process of democracy.

 a Muslim in Africa is the same as the other Muslims in the world because they subscribe to the same religious ideology of peace, love, unity and trust

The current Somali crisis between members of the Islamic Courts Union and the transitional government is clear and understandable, this is not a matter of democracy. The Islamic Union courts in Somalia are commendable for ushering in peace, unity and provision of social services in the worn-torn state but, due to fear of Islamic rule, the United States of America aided its Ethopian allies to topple the Islamists who had re-united all the warring groups in Somalia.

Tribalism (clanism) had become history, health services were accessible in all the country's major hospitals and the rule of law based on Islamic Sharia was instituted and this hard line on crime was long overdue in Somalia.

My brother Gamal Nkrumah needs to know that a Muslim in Africa is the same as the other Muslims in the world because they subscribe to the same religious ideology of peace, love, unity and trust which its enemies have found to be a threat to their systems.

Gamal, are you aware that 60% of Africans are Muslims? Muslims are ready to support and join democratic systems of governance in Africa only if their political opponents and their allies stop stigmatising Islam.

Dugba Ismalia Sesay In Buedu, Sierra Leone writes

To my own view there is a difference between politics and religion, so there is no compatibility between the two groups.

Gina Coker in Bradford, UK writes

I am a Nigerian who resents the fact that we are portrayed as a Muslim country when this is blatantly false. It is things like this that cause unrest when inadequate research is done into pressing issues.

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