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Sharia Law and Islamic Democracy - Daniel Pipes

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Uploaded on Jul 31, 2008

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2008/04/15/Is_Islam_Co...

Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes criticizes the role of Sharia Law in many radical Islamic movements, identifying this concept as one of the greatest obstacles to democratic reforms in Muslim societies.

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In Islam, Allah is the ultimate authority. In democracy, authority ultimately lies with the people. But does this mean that Islam is incompatible with democracy?

After all, it was Islamic scholarship that introduced ancient Greek conceptions of democracy to the feudal states of Europe.

Despite this, it has been suggested that the differences between Islam (especially when given political form) and the liberal democracies of the West are so great as to represent a 'clash of civilisations'.

But is this so? Is an approach in which society is ordered according the will of God compatible with one in which the will of the people reigns supreme? - Intelligence Squared Australia

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a prize-winning columnist who writes for the New York Times Syndicate. His website, DanielPipes.org, is one of the most accessed internet sources of specialized information on the Middle East and Islam.

Pipes received his AB (1971) and PhD (1978) in History from Harvard University and spent six years studying abroad, including three years in Egypt. Mr Pipes speaks French and reads Arabic and German. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, the US Naval War College, and Pepperdine University. Pipes also served in various capacities in the US Government, including two presidentially-appointed positions: vice chairman of the Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships and member of the board of the US Institute of Peace. He was director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1986-93.

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