The Islam is a growing religion in the form of influence, scale and political power. On the first day of the World Forum for Democracy, Boualem Sansal (writer) discussed if democracy can go hand in hand with Islam. The answer was that the Islam is compatible with democracy, but dialogue and women empowerment is needed.

Sansal was raised in Algeria where he saw the disastrous effects of fundamental Muslims on the society. He saw the revolution as ‘a possibility to move, to change yourself in order to change the world’, and he dared to take the difficult road.

Democracy and Islam?

He ‘moved’ himself by writing books instead of using violence, because ‘words have magic power’. In the book “Gouverner au nom d’Allah”, which is banned in Algeria, he describes that there have been two groups within the Islam namely the Shias and the Sunnites. A new way in the form of political Islamism tried to bring these two groups together  but this failed in most of the places because both groups wanted to be in charge. During the time the culture, believes and behaviour between these two groups differed that much that there became an ongoing clash within the Arab world of civilization, fragmentation and globalization which causes the many civil wars.

Secular democracy

According to Sansal, the ultimate form of democracy will be a secular democracy wherein politics and religion are separated. This type of democracy is the best way for all religious citizens that want to live in peace together. Religious political systems are always bad for minorities of other religions, and a secular democracy will treat everyone as equal.

Democracy = equality

Equality is the key for democracy, and an active participation of all citizen members are very important for this. No groups should be excluded and everyone should have the possibility to vote or to be a candidate to become a member of the parliament. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Arabic countries where a lot of women are oppressed and discriminated because of their gender. Gender equality and women empowerment are, according to Sansal, the key factors of change in the Arabic world.

How can this be changed?

The political and social structure will not change itself. Bottom up efforts have to be made by Muslim women to change their own position within the society.

In the last millennia, almost all the wars in the world were caused by men. Even though there were many attempts tried, men are still not able to create peace in the Arabic countries. Therefore, the Arabic world needs women who stand up for their rights to gain equality. This will cause a great Arabic revolution. Because women with power can really chance the society. They should aim for the same rights as in the French revolution: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – Vive la révolution féministe