„It (Islam) was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: ‘God Alone is Great’… I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.“

Sarojini Naidu photo
Sarojini Naidu
1879 - 1949

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Muhammad Ali Jinnah photo
Ayaan Hirsi Ali photo

„Islam is not a race... Islam is simply a set of beliefs, and it is not 'Islamophobic' to say Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy.“

—  Ayaan Hirsi Ali Dutch feminist, author 1969
Hirsi Ali: "Never confuse Islamic Sharia and the Muslims who really mean it with those extremist Christians who live in the United States" http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2007/07/017367print.html, Jihad Watch, 13 July 2007 Ayaan Hirsi Ali in a video interview http://web.archive.org/web/20070703045949/http://www.cbc.ca/onthemap/fullpage.php?id=87, CBC News, 11 July 2007

Geert Wilders photo
Wafa Sultan photo
Yusuf Qaradawi photo

„There are many democracies in our Arab and Islamic countries, but unfortunately, they are all false democracies.“

—  Yusuf Qaradawi Egyptian imam 1926
Sheik Youssef Al-Qaradhawi in Favor of Democratic Elections in the Arab World http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/129.htm June 2004.

Ruhollah Khomeini photo
Ruhollah Khomeini photo
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan photo

„But foremost, I do not subscribe to the view that Islamic culture and democracy cannot be reconciled.“

—  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 12th President of Turkey from 2014 1954
As quoted in Erdogan: "Democracy in the Middle East, PluralIism in Europe: Turkish View" http://www.turkishweekly.net/article/8/erdogan-democracy-in-the-middle-east-pluraliism-in-europe-turkish-view-.html, The Turkish Weekly (October 12, 2004)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah photo

„Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody.“

—  Muhammad Ali Jinnah Founder and 1st Governor General of Pakistan 1876 - 1948
Context: The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan. Broadcast to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan (February 1948), as quoted in "Jinnah dreamt of a secular Pakistan" in New Religion (11 February 2013) http://www.newreligion.eu/2013/02/jinnahs-dream-can-still-save-pakistan.html

Geert Wilders photo
Nabeel Qureshi (author) photo
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi photo

„... Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting...“

—  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant 1971
As quoted in "Islamic State releases 'al-Baghdadi message'", BBC (14 May 2015)

Ali Meshkini photo
Muhammad Ali (writer) photo
Maajid Nawaz photo

„I think it's important just to distinguish between Islamism and Islam, a religion.“

—  Maajid Nawaz British activist 1977
Context: I think it's important just to distinguish between Islamism and Islam, a religion. What I mean by Islamism is the desire to impose any version of islam over society. Although ideology was sold to me as if it was the religion of Islam and that's what I adopted. I grew up facing a very, very severe form of violent racism, domestically within the UK. I'm talking hammer attacks, machete attacks by Neo-Nazi skinheads, thugs. On many occasions I had to watch as my friends were stabbed before my eyes as a 15 year old. I began seeing myself as separate from the rest of society and an islamist recruiter found me in that state as a young, angry teenager and it was very easy for that recruiter. I joined a group called Hizb ut-Tahrir and that's the group I spent 13 years of my leadership on. … It's the first islamist organization that was responsible for popularizing the notion of resurrecting a modern day theocratic caliphate, as we now see that ISIS has laid claim to. But, my former group, they were the first ones to popularize that term. I ended up in Egypt where I continued to recruit people to this cause. … I am still a Muslim, but I am now liberal. Now, when I was in prison and I was living with the Who's Who of the jihadist terrorist movements and islamist movements, we had a leader of the Muslim brotherhood. When I saw him I thought, "my God, if these guys ever came to power and declared a caliphate, it would be Hell on Earth." Of course, when ISIS eventually did declare the caliphate, that utopian dream that we all used to share has become that dystopic nightmare that we see now. Comments in The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (2016), Episode 2 : Apocalypse