New Democracies in the Middle East on their Own Terms

I realized something today I did not comprehend yesterday amongst all the shock and emotion that was driven by recent events: What if the people of the Middle East do not want a democracy based on the Western model? What if they do not want religious freedom protected, unlike many cosmopolitan Western nations, for nearly everyone is Muslim? What if they want strict sharia law? What if they want to vote into power leaders that are unfriendly to the United States and our policies? Who are we to judge them for their own choices?

It similar to how the United States and Israel refused to recognize the people of Gaza’s choice of ruling party, Hamas, when we provided them with free elections. We said, “You can have democracy only if you choose who we want you to choose.”

But if the Middle East wants to form democratic governments there is one thing they must have: protection for the minority. Mob rule cannot be the norm in any type of democracy. They must have their own form of a Bill of Rights or Magna Carta.

Now, this contradicts my first paragraph when I stated that these new democracies may want religious rule. But they must work this out together. This is an example of the tightrope which all free peoples must walk: individual freedom vs. majority rule.

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