The day before his op-ed came out, I published an article in PJ Media entitled, “What Do Egyptians Want? A Democratically Elected Islamist Dictatorship.” And that’s precisely the point that Akyol makes, albeit in language that is acceptable to the mainstream media. To show his genius in playing within the currently permissible rules, Akyol then quotes a saint of the mainstream narrative to make his point:
“This question is seldom asked in the West, where democracy is often seen as synonymous with liberalism. However, as Fareed Zakaria warned in his 2003 book The Future of Freedom, there are illiberal democracies, too, where the majority’s power isn’t checked by constitutional liberalism, and the rights and freedoms of all citizens are not secured.” If Zakaria said such a thing, it must be true, right? Of course it is no accident that Akyol is a Turk because, of course, though he never says so directly, this is precisely what’s been happening in his own country. The question he then raises is this: Just because Islam says it, must a government do it? I’d suggest that in the case of non-Islamist Muslims they can—as we’ve seen in many cases over many years—ignore those injunctions.
To believe, however, that Islamists can do it is quite a leap. After all, their whole reason for existence is to remake society and to impose Sharia law as they interpret it.
Think of this parallel: Would a social democratic government impose the dictatorship of the proletariat just because they were socialists or were originally rooted in Marxism? No, of course not.
Would a Communist government that adheres to Marxism-Leninism-Stalinist thought impose the dictatorship of the proletariat? That’s something quite different.
And Akyol actually proves my point: “When Muslims say Islam commands daily prayers or bans alcohol, are they talking about public obligations that will be enforced by the state or personal ones that will be judged by God?” Obviously, non-Islamist Muslims argue these are largely personal obligations; Islamists insist that they are public obligations.
The Saudis, Akyol points out, are hypocrites because they impose strict religiosity at home but then have a wild time abroad. How can this not remind us of William Shakespeare’s brilliant political observation: “Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights: Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”
Or in other words, better a sybaritic hypocrite who takes bribes than a true-believing fanatic. In the latter category, think of the Taliban, the Iranian regime, Hamas, Hizballah, and Usama bin Ladin. Of course, the West generally believes there are no such thing as “fanatics,” they are all cynical, materialistic pragmatists under the skin. Yet at their moment of greatest triumph, believing Allah is behind them and the corrupt West is crumbling, which do you think the Muslim Brotherhood is going to be?