Whatever the drawbacks of Western-style democracy, it does have this going for it: Democracy is the art of living in peace with those one despises. It is a hard-won ability, a gift torn from oppression, from years of religious persecution, muzzled speech, the inability to pick your own leaders. And it co-exists always with the sanguine notion that however sure you might be of the supremacy of your own views, at the end of the day you must leave open the possibility that you might be wrong and they, the ones you despise, might be right. In other words, democracy encompasses a truckload of doubt. And I do not know of a more valuable national asset.
And it is for this reason that I believe that Islam might not be able to coexist with democracy, that what we call the Arab Spring will turn, sooner or later, into an icy and cruel winter. In fact, the process has already begun.