Trevor Mostyn, OUDCE – ‘Are Islam and democracy compatible?’

On 8 January our first speaker of the year was Trevor Mostyn of OU DCE talking on whether Islam and democracy are compatible.

Trevor read Arabic at university and has since travelled and worked widely in the Middle East.  His talk traversed his time in Iran, as well as teaching English at Algiers.  He reminded us about how in 1978 tanks were stopped in their tracks simply by young people throwing olive branches and crowding around tanks so that they could not move.

Trevor talked to us about the 2010 revolution in Egypt and the political system that has resulted, including the human rights problem that thousands of journalists and academics are now in prison.

Muslims consistently return to the Qur’an for advice on direction of thinking.  Largely in the Qur’an the emphasis is not on democracy or freedom, it is on virtue. That then influences political thinking.

In several of the middle eastern countries despite revolutions and elections being held, power tends to end up in the hands of unelected groups.

At one point Trevor was arrested by the secret police, having used the phrase ‘rotten wood’. It was all taken somewhat out of context, but it took intervention by the British Consulate to get Trevor out. Just goes to show how careful one needs to be with the language selected.

Trevor finished his talk concluding that he struggles to offer an answer on whether democracy is possible, but the one thing that is clear is that a new model is needed, none of the existing models really meeting the needs of the middle eastern countries and their populations.



2018-01-15T11:40:30+00:00 January 8th, 2018|0 Comments