Can an Islamic state be a democracy?

Democracy requires public discussion and compromise, whereas articles of religious faith cannot be negotiated. When believers take power through revolution or election, democracy is threatened. In an Islamic Democracy (or a Christian Democracy, for that matter), laws must pass the test of compliance with religious doctrine, and heretical speech tends to be criminalized. Without free speech and unrestricted political debate, a society does not, and cannot, have real democracy. To use the terms described in Handling Truth (2012), democracies seek truths in Rhetorica, not Mystica. Mystica’s truths guide theocracies.

–William Melvin Gardner–