Does democracy have to be secular to work?

Democracy in itself means the right to choose a political system and the leaders who should embody it. In conservative societies, it is hard to persuade people to separate religion from politics. What they need are good rulers that can preserve their traditions while enjoying the good aspects of modern life.

Actually many politicians are popular because of their advocacy for the role of religion in political matters. In such societies people seek justice and good rule based on what they religiously believe in.

After all, there are many secular “democracies” in multi-ethnic and multi-faith societies where it is a failure because of the dominance of one group over the rest, corruption and vote rigging in a flagrant defiance of the principle of democracy.

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What’s the best way to approach illegal immigration?

A hardline isn’t the only approach that is effective in the fight against illegal immigration. It will have limited success as there are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Italy and millions across Europe. If all these immigrants are forced to leave, Europe will witness one of its catastrophic incidents as illegal immigrants will turn violent. European governments will have the choice of imprisoning them all, reporting them by force. This can worsen its relations with the countries they come from, especially those with which it has close economic ties.

A possible solution will be to encourage the countries where the illegal immigrants are from or they cross to be strict towards them in exchange of economic aid.
Immigrants with a substantial capital should be encouraged to invest in their own countries to create jobs for their fellow countrymen who will no longer need to pay substantial amount to criminal immigration networks that help them reach European borders, only to be faced with unemployment and deportation from the country they used to see as a dreamland.

Without cooperation with European countries and the countries whose borders make it easy for illegal immigrants to cross to Europe, illegal immigration will continue. With the admission of the EU, especially Spain, Morocco (which is separated from Spain just by 15 Km the Mediterranean), has helped reduce illegal immigration.
There are hundreds of thousand of Moroccan illegal immigrants in Europe, mainly in Spain and Italy. However, even Moroccan legal immigrants are considering returning home because of the economic recession in Europe. Others prefer to stay hoping for a better tomorrow.

In short, immigrants should have favourable economic and political conditions at home to escape the degrading effect of being unwelcome on a foreign soil.

Iran presidential elections and the media

The Iranian authorities are helping the distortion of the events in Iran by preventing major news agencies to directly cover the protests by being at the scenes.Anyone can report anything on individual pages without the possibility of utter verification. Someone on Youtube broadcasts a person injured in a fight as being beaten up by the police.

Even massive protests can seem for some as minority protest with negligible effect as in other parts of Iran; especially the countryside, people are understandably contented with the re-election of Ahmadinajed.

Credible media should objectively report what’s going on. What is interpreted by some media as major events can be seen as a minor events staged by crowds manipulated by factions and parties with a political agenda to be in power instead of remaining under the power of current leaders.

Should the world meddle in Iran?

Iran should left to the Iranians. There is little the world can do as long as the regime abides by international law. In other words, it’s not the world that should elect an Iranian president.

Actually, there are many controversially elected presidents (like Zimbabwe’s president Mugabe) who are still in power although they are unpopular at home and abroad. There is little meddling of the international community, except for sanctions which doing more harm to the peoples than to the regimes.

When it comes to meddling to Iran, I suspect there is one country that will be more than happy to do so- namely Israel. Its wishful thinking is to intervene in Iran with missiles to destroy its nuclear facilities. After that, it doesn’t care who is ruling Iran as long as they remain toothless and without a tongue that repeat the call for its destruction.

Do protests hijack the agenda?

Protests trigger a situation that is planned by politicians with an agenda. Massive protests are generally instigated by the very few who manage to have a big influence on the masses through slogans and speeches.

Protesters usually call for action to be taken on behalf of them by the leaders they support who in turn feel empowered to effect change.

What is wrong about protests is when they are orchestrated and protesters are used as a tool by politicians for their own advantage. Once in power, they perpetuate the situation they were asked to change.

For the Iranians, whatever protest they stage, it’s unlikely they will bring about regime change as any president’s job is to be a “puppet” in the hands of the Supreme Leader. He will be just a like a prime minister in countries where the president is a dictator and all the ministers should be at his beck and call.

Is it possible to have a moral army?

There is assurance that an army has moral standards only if it is kept in its barracks. On the field, there is no assurance. The most notorious armies were in Africa during the civil wars in countries like Sierra Leon and Liberia where civilians were killed indifferently or left to die of their wounds.

Soldiers, in general, when faced with danger, will do anything for their survival by breaking army ethics.

In Afghanistan, many civilians were knowingly killed because of missile attacks against Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

Wars, after all, aren’t a sport match where faults are pointed out and the perpetrator is penalised on the spot. To avoid atrocities by the army, there should be no wars in the first place. This is impossible, as we all know, the world isn’t totally free of war zones. Hence the army morality will be questionable in one place or another.

Obama and Africa – When times are tough, do we turn our backs on the world’s poor?

In times of crisis, charity begins at home. Aid for poor countries is likely to be slashed as it comes among other things from aid organisations which depend on donations from the public which is currently financially hit. In short it’s a chain of events that will have a dire effect on poor countries whose immigrant populations have little to survive on in host countries, let alone send money home.

However, this isn’t an excuse for rich governments to turn their backs on poor countries. They should at least keep sending them essential aids, mainly food and medicines, not to be faced with a humanitarian catastrophe.

At the same time, the current world crisis should be a wakeup call for poor countries to do their best to survive in dignity. For example, why can’t the wealthy from poor countries invest the money they have in foreign banks in projects that can create employment. Perhaps, I am asking these wealthy to accept becoming millionaires instead of billionaires for the sake of their country, which is unrealistic!

What I recommend is that Africans should learn to help themselves. They have more natural wealth than the current rich countries, but they just make a mess of it because of wars, corruption and mismanagement. If they can create effective regional economic integration, this can help them stand on their feet. Zimbawe was one of the richest countries in Africa. Now it’s one of the poorest, not because of its natural resources but because of Mugabe’s unpopular policies at home and abroad. This just an example why Africa is in constant troubles in most of its parts.

Obama’s speech to the Muslim world

Obama’s speech to Muslims around the world must have a resonance, as it appears conciliatory in its tone. It seeks to reconcile the US with the rest of the Muslim world after eight years of Bush Administration (2001-2009) that witnessed an escalation of hatred towards the USA following the successive invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The words Obama used like quotations from the Koran ( to which he referred four times)and Islamic expression like “assalaamu alaykum” , “azaan ” and “Mohammed (peace be upon him) ” is a good public relation strategy to have more effect on the Muslim audience.

However, it will take time for the US and the Muslim world to have deep trust. The US will always be worried about the existing Muslim fundamentalists which it sees as a time-bomb that can explode anywhere at anytime . The extremists will view Obama’s speech as a ploy to reinforce the US interests in the Muslim world. It’s sugared with sweet words for sour acts.

On the whole Obama has carefully chosen his words and said what the majority of Muslims want to hear from him. It remains to see how he can enact his dream of an ideal relationship with the Muslim world where there is so much to do to eradicate the negative views many Muslims have towards the USA.

Here is the full transcript of his speech