Take Malaysia, for example
It is fashionable in certain circles to argue that Islam and democracy are incompatible, citing the examples of monarchs, autocrats and presidents-for-life that weild power across much of the Muslim world. The exceptions are a handful – Bangladesh, Malaysia, Turkey, Senegal and now Indonesia.
Given its ethnic and religious diversity, Malaysia has done a great job in avoiding much of the retrogressive fundamentalism that plagues the Islamic world and instead firmly signaled its intention to move towards a progressive, modern, though Islamic and Malay-dominated, society. The Islamic fundamentalist opposition that gained electoral weight largely due to the political dominance of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed was roundly beaten in the latest elections.
It would seem that the Pakistani cabinet would have had much to learn from Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed when he gave them a lecture on democracy a few weeks ago. Not so, according to Rajan Rishyakaran, a Malaysian blogger. From a Malaysian’s own perspective, it appears, Malaysia is still far from being a liberal democracy, consequently disqualifying Mahathir from giving anyone any lectures on democracy. The rest of the discussion is on Rajan’s very interesting blog.
Regardless of whether or not Mahathir was the right teacher, he ended up teaching the wrong students. The chaps who really need a lecture in democracy are the men in khaki at the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi.