Originally I thought this article in Reformatorisch Dagblad focused on why Islam is blamed for all the wrongs of society. Indeed it starts off that way, but what I find most interesting (and shocking) are the conclusions.
The Scientific council for government policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid, WRR) recently came out with a new report “Dynamics in Islamic Activism” in which they say that it is wrong to claim that Islam conflicts with democracy and human rights in principle.
Jan Schoonenboom, researcher for WRR says that Politicians must stop with “Islam bashing” and says that Muslims are the scapegoats for many problems.
There are streams within Islamic activism that strive to democratic reforms. The WRR report argues that the Netherlands and the EU should publicly support these movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hezbollah in Lebanon and that talks must also be started with Hamas.
Ok, to stop here and analyze: the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah (whose name means “party of Allah”) are not pro-democracy. Along with Hamas, they are fundamentalist Islamic groups, anti-secularists, and their aim is to see Muslim religious law enacted in all Muslim lands and beyond. It is hard for me to see how or why the WRR think they're groups which strive for democratic reform.
In Political Trends in the Arab World (see my review), Majid Khadduri follows the Muslim Brotherhood step by step from the time they started off and till they tried to forcibly take over power in Egypt. According to him it is unclear whether they were actually trying to reestablish the caliphate. It is quite clear, however, that they were not about to make any democratic reforms beside those democratic aspects that are already supported by current day Islam.
Continuing with the article:
The WRR researched Sharia law in various Muslim lands and came to the conclusion that though Sudan, Iran and Saudi-Arabia are very strict, democratic reform is taking place in other countries (bringing as example pro-women laws in Morocco and Egypt).
[In other words, the WRR agrees that the lands which only follow Sharia law bring up the “usual” picture of Islam, and claims that lands which supposedly follow Sharia but are actually secular countries, are the example that Sharia can work.]
Fear of Islam and Muslims makes them feel unwanted, the WRR claims. A cultural turnaround must take place. Islam can play a role in democracy and human rights and calls for a Muslim-inspired political parties.
Source: Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch)