Monday, April 03, 2006

Religious and Political Evolution

Over at American Footprints, I've posted some comments about this RFE-RL report analyzing the Constitutional questions in the Abd ar-Rahman case. My point is that the text of the Constitution isn't an issue; the culture and the standard interpretations of Islam are. The way to change things isn't to force secularism, but increase religious education in the country. Something I didn't go into is that at one time I expected the Iranian system to evolve along the same path I recommend for Afghanistan there. A difference between the two, however, is that in Iran the conservative view of religion is maintained by a corrupt clerical regime which has the capacity to thwart internal dissent and rig the system to perpetuate it's power. This same regime has proven more than capable to revising its interpretations of Islam in response to modernity, such as with some issues related to women's inheritance many years ago. In the present environment, however, I think it's more likely to be deposed than evolve far enough, unless in response to revolutionary conditions Khamane'i or some future faqih decides to keep the trappings of power while surrendering the substance.


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