Who's Really in Charge of Iran? - Reza Aslan

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1 Sahil Badruddin = ""The problem is that it is practically impossible to reconcile the Traditionalist view of the Shariah with modern conceptions of democracy and human rights. Any modern Islamic state has only three alternatives for incorporating the Shariah into its legal systems. It can accept the Shariah as a legitimate source of civil law, but choose to ignore it in all but the most obvious family, divorce, or inheritance cases, as Egypt and Pakistan do. It can fully apply the Shariah to the state with no attempt either to modernize it or adapt it to contemporary norms of law and society, as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan under the Taliban have done. Or it can attempt to fuse the traditional values of the Shariah with modern principles of democracy and human rights through a comprehensive reform methodology. Thus far, only one Islamic state has seriously considered the latter option. For more than twenty years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been struggling to reconcile popular and divine sovereignty in an attempt to construct a genuinely Islamic democracy dedicated to pluralism, liberalism, and human rights. It has been a difficult, violent, and hitherto unsuccessful endeavor. But not since the Articles of Confederation set in motion the drafting of the American Constitution has a more important political experiment been attempted. Of course, Iran is a special case. The Iranian Islamic ideal is a patently Shi‘ite one, and from their inception as a political movement with the aim of restoring the Caliphate to the family of the Prophet to their rise as a separate religious sect in Islam with its own distinct beliefs and practices, the Shi‘ah have never been eager to identify themselves with the majority Muslim community."-No god but God, Reza Aslan "-No god but God, Reza Aslan "