Islam is not and cannot be a problem or obstacle to modernity and democracy as long as it is in the hands of the right people.
In the same way, democracy and modernisation serve the world only when they are used properpy.
Girma G, Ethiopia
You need to address the hundreds of violent Islamist acts and sects before you defend Islamism and being viewed with a jaundiced eye in the west.
You can start with Beslan, Luxor, Bali, September 11 and the death threats issued against unveiled women in Bangladesh today.
Chris Rike, US
I think it is impractical to neglect the role of Islam in the politics of the Middle East, and no one should even try. Of course Islam will play a role because it is a huge part of the culture and society of the region.
However, radical Islamic parties that are openly hostile to the ideals of democracy and human rights should be resisted by everyone.
There is no fundamental reason why an Islamic culture cannot have a vibrant and strong democratic political system. The author should separate militant and intolerant Islamic groups from progressive Islamic groups.
As a convert to Islam, I find this article very interesting. I feel it is the duty of Muslims to fight for the cause of Islam, and all Islamic states should provide the necessary support and encouragement for that end, even if it goes against the goals of superpowers like the US.
Muhammad Salih Apostol, Philippines
I agree with the article, almost completely. I have yet to read up on the reformers you mentioned. Islamic reform seems to be an oxymoron when I hear it, but there are plenty of those floating around.
The problems and issues raised in this article by Soumaya Ghannoushi is similar to what we have here in Malaysia.
The recent by-election of a State Assembly seat in Kelantan (An eastern coast state ruled by the Islamic Party of Malaysia), is a clear indication of the real level of democracy in Malaysia.
The Malaysian ruling party has devoted all its potentials including the Election Commission, the military and the government officials to ensure that they gain that seat.
Mysterious voters using faked identities and double voting is no longer a secret. Established in 1951, the Islamic Party of Malaysia has participated in the process of democracy but it seems that democracy is not on their side.