Despite the fact that some in the West portray Islam and democracy as being perfectly compatible, evidence continues to emerge that many countries in the Middle East, democracy and elections are various means to one end: the establishment of a decidedly undemocratic form of law—Islamic, or Sharia Law.

An Egyptian cleric, Dr. Talat Zahran, proclaimed that it is «obligatory to cheat at elections, a beautiful thing» — meaning that voting is a tool, an instrument, the only value of which is to empower Sharia.

Another cleric, Hazim Shuman, who has his own TV program, issued a fatwa that likened voting for Islamist candidates to a «jihad,» or a holy war, adding that paradise awaits whoever is «martyred» during the electoral campaign.

Similarly, according to Al-Wafd, last Friday, May 18th, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of if not the most authoritative clerics in the Islamic world, «called on all Egyptians to vote for one of the Islamist candidates.» He specifically named the three Islamists, Muhammad Mursi (candidate of the Salafist party), Abd al-Mun’im Abu al-Futuh (candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing), and Muhammad al-Salim al-Awwa. Qaradawi described them as «best for Egypt» because they will «apply the Islamic Sharia and achieve justice.» Further, during his Friday sermon, Qaradawi said that it is «mandatory for every Egyptian to go and vote for the presidential elections,» calling it a form of «obligatory testimony» on behalf of Islam, and quoting Koran 2:283 as proof: «and do not conceal testimony, and whoever conceals it, his heart is surely sinful; and Allah knows what you do.»

Sheikh Osama Qassim, however, a member of Egypt’s notorious Islamic Jihad, which also seeks to install Sharia law, focused on the non-Islamist candidates—he specifically named Ahmed Shafiq and Amr Mussa—saying that if they win the presidential elections, it will only be «by cheating,» at which point «the Islamist organizations» will resort to «armed action» [code for Jihad], adding that such presidents will suffer the same fate of Anwar Sadat [assassination], but that this time, the struggle will see «the Islamists achieve complete domination» in Egypt.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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