Chapter

Democracy and <i>Shura</i>

Sadek J. Sulaiman

in Liberal Islam

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780195116212
Published online November 2007 |
  Democracy and Shura

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Sadek Jawad Sulaiman (Oman, born 1933), like many Omanis who came of age before the oil era, left his country in the 1950s. He worked as a journalist in Kuwait prior to his return to Oman in 1973. From 1976 until 1983, he worked for Oman's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was director of political affairs (19771979) and ambassador to the United States (19791983). Since 1983, he has divided his time between Washington and Oman. This chapter was first presented as a talk in August 1996 at the al-Hiwar (Dialogue) Center in Washington, D.C., a discussion group of Arab intellectuals, diplomats, and businessmen. Sulaiman's comparison between the Qur'anic principle of shura and democracy as it has developed in the United States may at first appear unexpected. Sulaiman explains: Many Arabs understand democracy as a slogan. Only by understanding it in history and practice does its compatibility with shura emerge. 1 In the context of the Gulf states, Sulaiman's argumentthat the logic of shura, like the logic of democracy, does not accept hereditary rule, for wisdom and competence are never the monopoly of any one individual or familyis bold and innovative.

Chapter.  1786 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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