There is a big storm-in-a-teacup discussion going on in The Netherlands at the moment. The Minister of Justice said that if it came to pass that two-thirds of the members of Parliament (what is normally required to change the Constitution) voted to introduce Sharia Law into the country, it should be allowed.
This is a long way from suggesting that this is a possibility, but is a reaction to the leader of his party who want to ban political parties who have it in their programmes to introduce the Sharia Law. This in turn because wholesale introduction of Sharia Law is anti-democratic and goes against various Human Rights treaties to which The Netherlands has signed up. It cannot be right, they say, that a political party can operate within a democratic system if there aim is to eventually break down democracy.
This seems to have been the case in other parts of the world where democracy has led to the wrong results, with people voting for parties addicted to violence, like Hama, Hizbollah, the President of Iran and so on. In this way you have a one-time democracy... it is set up and brings into power a political party who then goes about destroying the democracy through which they achieved power.
Others are saying that the essence of democracy is freedom and debate and that when one starts picking out political parties and ideas and then ban them you are undermining the what democracy is about in the first place.
I am with the latter argument, although ideally there should be some mechanism to protect the minorities from the tyranny of the majority and to protect various values such as the equality of all people under the law.
As an aside to this debate, we have been fed photos from Somalia where the Union of Islmic Courts have introduced Sharia Law into the areas which they control. So yesterday in the Volkskrant we see a picture of a teenage with a sharp knife stabbing the man who killed his father, this man, being on the floor, hands bound and a cloth ovr his head, blood seeping from this chest. Also, photos of women being flogged for selling drugs or committing adultry.