For some time now, there probably could not be a more timely book than one entitled Islam VS Democracy. In this book, Mahmoud Ismaeilian addresses the pertinent question of whether Islam in general, and the Islamic party as a political force in Iran in particular, can offer freedom, democracy and a measure of equality to people living under its laws. He also considers the mentality peculiar to Islamic governments, offers a brief history of events leading up to the current world situation, and examines the constitutional state of democracy in Iran and certain other Islamic nations.
The book begins with a look at 'the tragedy which gave birth to Islamic thinkings' and goes on to look at the replacement of one set of moral values by another, and shifts in social and individual consciousness, though this seems to be less a reason behind Islamic thinking than an influence on it. Many of Ismaeilian's ideas are philosophically interesting and valid: he asserts that 'human thought seems to lag behind the realities of the world around it', and views fundamentalist Islam through a socialist lens, claiming that is 'based on a very outdated socio-economical relationships of middle ages' - that is, a feudal-type one. By observing certain Islamic states in a distinctly political light, the author highlights the conservative aspects of fundamentalism that aim to preserve the status quo by proclaiming it as God's will: in Iran, he writes, the Islamic state 'assumes that the economically influential elements of society are meant to be blessed by the creator...and therefore any complaints by...the workers...would be considered blasphemy'. In a strongly-worded critique of Iran's records, he asks pointedly why a religion claiming to have human interests at heart has claimed so many lives, and charts the uneasy and finally unworkable relationship between fundamentalist Islam and democracy.