Washington: Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has said Islam and democracy are not only compatible but also complementary with each other.
"The pervasive misconception that we must all battle to debunk is the belief that Islam and a modern democratic society cannot co-exist. I come here not to defend Islam from the charge that it is incompatible with democracy. Rather, I come here to prove that Islam and democracy are intertwined, always have been and always will be," The Dawn quoted Rehman, as saying while speaking at a forum during the 49th annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America.
"The political and economic vitality of the North American Muslim Community demonstrates what we have always known, that democracy is not only compatible with Islam but is its central tenet," she said, adding that Pakistan would be completing a landmark democratic transition with the completion of the constitutionally mandated term of the democratically-elected government.
She highlighted Islamabad’s commitment to ensure rights for women and minorities, saying the country has a long tradition of assigning high position to women in government and non-governmental offices.
Sherry said that the association of Muslims with hatred and extremism stems from a fear that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a democratic and modern way of life.
Islam, she said, stands for equality, unity, tolerance, and rights of people and the global religion allows peaceful co-existence of different faiths in the society.
"Islam is not the caricature that has been hijacked by extremists, but rather a peace-loving religion of equality, opportunity and tolerance," she said.
Rehman said the active Muslim Community of North America is living proof that misconceptions are easily shattered; that Islam and a modern democratic society are not mutually exclusive.
First Published: Monday, September 03, 2012, 12:56