'Islam should jettison its dhimmi laws' Syrian philosopher

The author of "Enlightened Islam" (di Renzo Editore), Mr. Sadik Al-Azm, says that Islam can be made compatible with democracy if it "jettisons certain laws" -- particularly the dhimmi laws, which institutionalize discrimination against non-Muslims, and which most Western Muslims deny even exist.

Syrian philosopher Sadik Al-Azm believes that while "there exists a conflict between Islam, in its original form, and democracy, this problem can be solved easily".

"To do this Islam needs to jettison certain laws, first and foremost the concept of 'ahl al-dhimma'" the so-called 'protected' status granted to followers of the only two other religions recognised by Muslims - Judaism and Christianity, "Al-Azm said in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

In practice, ahl al-dhimma, which is gaining popularity in an increasingly Islamised Iraq, allows non-Muslims, and only Christians and Jews at that, to follow their religion, while effectively stripping them of their political rights and privileges.

Abolishing ahl al-dhimma "paves the way for the concepts of citizenship and equality of all people before the law" Al-Azm , who lectures at universities in Lebanon, Syria and Germany, told AKI.

Similarly, the Syrian philosopher argues that Islam must reappraise its stance on slavery, which he says is at best ambiguous.

"Political Islam needs to reassure other parts of society that democracy means the majority governing while respecting the rights of the majority", Al-Azm said. (Source

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