Freedom for Saudi Arabia & Iran?

by Bret Shugrue

     Growing up in New Jersey my introduction to other cultures and thinking other than America is great, America is grand was rather limited. My schooling never introduced me to the Middle East; we never even talked about the region except for occasional mentions of the Fertile Crescent. As I became older my desire to learn about the rest of the world grew nearly daily. Reading the New York Times and watching CNN was the start of my introduction to the big, bad, scary world. Unfortunately those two sources of news and information didn’t quite quench my desire for knowledge about the world, I wanted more. I started to read or watch almost anything that had to do with news, governments or anything at least somewhat political science related. I was watching Ross Perot on Larry King Live when I was in Junior High School while my friends were reading the sports section. Ever since that time I’ve become passionate about all sorts of things that go on in the world.

     Growing up in this nation you get spoon fed the wonders of democracy. Well if it’s so grand why doesn’t it exist everywhere? A quick look at the Middle East will show you that almost none of the nations in that region are democracies. The blue-collar types I grew up with would naively tell you “those Muslims can never live in a democracy”. That can’t possibly be true; Muslims live in this country and are free. I’m hardly naive enough to think that Democracy is a cure all, but it has to be better than having the basic freedoms that we should all have repressed by an overbearing regime. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both nations that have some of the largest oil reserves in the world. Why are the leaders of the nation building palaces while more and more of both nations’ populaces are out of work? Saudi Arabia and Iran are two nations that have had ties to America for years; the former had great relations with America until the Shah was overthrown in 1979 and the prior has been strategic ally since FDR was president ( Jan 23, 2002). The governments of these two nations are not looking out for the best interests of their subjects, the way of rule should change and they both should be democracies.

     Why democracy? Democracy is the only form of government that allows the people to choose who govern them; democracy keeps the powers of rulers in check; democracy protects all people.
Democracy is simply the most humane form of government on the earth ( May, 16, 2003). Anyone that live in America understands that even though some of the rights granted to others seem ridiculous or in some cases obscene it is the job of the government to stand up for them. The Klu-Klux-Klan, one of the most hated groups in this nation has the right to organize and to protest about whatever they want as long as they don’t harm anyone. Even though most people in this country find their ideals disgusting, they have the right to speak about anything they want as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. In his book, Politics, Administration and Development Ahmed Hassan Dahlan explains how democracy even has it roots in Islam:

Social, economic and political equality has been one of Islam’s principle goals. Mohammed the messenger was not only instructed to treat people equally regardless of their race, color or sex, but was also to consult with them and have them participate in community decisions. (pg 132)

A simple look at the Medina Charter, the constitution that was drafted by the outlining the basic rights of the multi-religious citizens of Medina, show you that Mohammad did grant Muslims and non- Muslims most of the same basic rights. Drafted in 622 A.D. the Medina Charter is the first Constitution ever. ( It is an absolute fact that by granting equal rights, Mohammad believed in democracy.

      Now that it has been established that Mohammad drafted the first constitution in the history of man and that Islam began respecting the rights of all people. Are the people of Saudi Arabia and Iran ready to become full-fledged democracies? First we must look outside the Middle East and at the rest of the world. In his book, The Future of Freedom Fareed Zakaria points out that 62% of the countries in the world are democracies. (pg13) It could be argued that they are not all what the west would consider democracies, which is true, but they are are closer to democracy Saudi Arabia. Countries in the Middle East including Iran and Saudi Arabia haven’t historically jumped on the bandwagon towards modernity, but the fact that the world is becoming more democratic is a good way for the process to begin.
Leaders in the Middle East are starting to extol the virtues of Democracy. Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al-Thani recently in an interview with explained that Qatar is halfway through preparing a constitution of its own ( Before the democratization of the Middle East was part of White House policy, Prince Hassan of Jordan said in 2000:

  The Muslim world does not lack the ability to achieve more inclusive political process as man countries as far apart as Indonesia and Jordan have already shown. The prospects for more representative government elsewhere in the Muslim world look very bright - indeed very promising. ( Feb. 15, 2000)

Both Iran’s and Saudi Arabia’s neighbor Kuwait now has parliamentary elections. Even though the parliament is still under the control of Emir Sabah, the members of parliament challenge the Emir on various issues, this type of free speech did not exist in the country before. Women still do not have the right to vote, but this first step of having an elected parliament is one step towards democratization. In 1980, one of the nations of the Arabian Peninsula Bahrain vehemently protested the closing of parliament by Sheikh Khalifa. In Oman, Sultan Qaboos has allowed some of the members of his advisory committee to be elected by the people that they represent. In Yemen there is more free speech than ever before, and even Iran has become more democratic than it was before 1979. (Jericho pg8-9)Even though the country is essentially led by one man, there are many different parts of the democratic process woven into the fabric of the government, even if those parts of democratic government have become somewhat perverted by the Supreme Ruler.
Society in Saudi Arabia and Iran is becoming more westernized. It is well known that many Saudi’s leave Saudi Arabia to get a western education and then return to their countries with new western ways of thinking. All of the Middle East is becoming westernized. In his book After Jihad, Noah Feldman succinctly explains the modernization of the Islamic world by saying:

In the last two decades the Muslim world has undergone extraordinary ferment and change. Visit a medium-sized town in almost any Arab country: where the outside world once arrived through an occasional newspaper read aloud to neighbors, there are now satellite dishes carrying not one, but half a dozen Arabic-language channels into even relatively modest homes. In Muslim cities from Kuala Lumpur to Casablanca, the well-off carry the same mobile telephones popular in Helsinki and San Francisco, complete with instant text messaging in local languages. (pg 11)

Since the societies of both nations are becoming more westernized and are getting more information about the rest of the world than ever before, it seems only natural that people from both nations would want to have the same rights as many of the other free people of the world that they see on the news everyday. Sure, detractors to the infiltration of Arab Media into homes would properly point out that this news and information often paints the west as evil, and quite frankly they are right. I think it is safe to assume that members of both nations can cut through the particular feelings of the reporter and get the facts of the story, just like the way that Americans everyday get their news from either a liberal or conservative news sources and have to really listen to what the reporter is saying to get the facts.

     Even though Saudi Arabia’s neighbor on the Arabian Peninsula Qatar is slowly democratizing and both Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s neighbor Iraq is supposedly going to become a democracy, is there an example of a democracy in the region. Yes, Turkey is that democracy. Turkey has been a democratic nation since 1923 when Ataturk, an officer in the army who led a revolution to create a modern nation out of the defeated Ottoman Empire after World War I ( Almost the entire population is Muslim, yet they have been a democracy for 80 years.

     Turkey’s growth as a democracy has not been perfect, but America’s hasn’t been either. The military has removed the democratically elected government three times since 1950, they did this because they though the administration in office at the time was not adhering to the constitution, but returned power to a new elected government each time. It is worth noting that in each case the military took control of the government bloodlessly. (

      The constitution of 1982, this constitution was drafted after the final military takeover of 1980, gives equal rights to all, divides the power of state among the three branches of government; the judicial, legislature and executive. (Turkey a country study: pg 237-238) This is generally what is accepted by the west as a democratic government. The idea of three branches of government is exactly what America has and equal rights for all is one of the basic tenets of a democracy. Even though almost all of Turkey’s populace is Muslim everyone has the same rights, the country that has more Muslims than any other country in the world and it is a thriving democracy. There is no reason that Islam and democracy cannot co-exist. (

     Despite the rise of a third political party that is Islamic and has won many local elections most people do not want a nation that is based on Islam. In a survey conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies foundation they found that 67.2 percent of Turks do not want religion to interfere with government. Only 21.2 percent of the nation supports the formation of an Islamic state based on Sharia and only 10.7 percent of the populace wants a change to the present civil code. The younger generation of Islamic politicians has expressed a commitment to democracy and has acknowledged that the extremism will get them nowhere. (Howe pgs 247 & pg 250) These statistics seem to suggest that most Turks are fairly content with the way things are and that the nation is not likely to fall into a revolution like Iran did in 1979.

      During the spring of 2003 the Turkey proved how far it has come as a democracy. The United States government offered Turkey 6 billion dollars to use the nation as a launching point for the war in Iraq. The parliament voted that the United States government could not use the nation for the war, despite desperately needing the money. This vote not only gave the people what they wanted, 94% of those polled did not want Turkey being used as a base during the war, but it was the first time in the nations 80 year history that there was bi-partisan support for anything. Bi-partisan support for anything in this country is often mentioned on the news by members of congress, but is rarely actually seen in voting. Turkey’s ability to demonstrate that they are a functioning democracy, even though the no vote was not to the liking of the supposed beacon of democracy America it was one of the best demonstrations of how the democratic process could work in the Middle East.

     What type of democracy? A question that despite my endless reading I have yet to find an answer to. You could say that maybe it should be a socialist democracy, hanging on to the basic tenets of socialism and spreading the wealth around to all of the citizens. Rather than the governments of both nations essentially owning the oil companies, the people would. But that type of dependence on oil for everyone’s livelihood doesn’t solve the problem of both countries, non oil generated revenue. It’s a trite old saying, but the only two things that the Middle East exports are oil and terrorism. It’s a hard point to argue against, so keeping both nations dependant on oil and spreading the wealth may not be the best thing to do in the long run for either country. If they both continue to rely on oil revenue, what happens if the use of oil drops? Maybe in 20 years there will be a solar powered home, or the hydrogen powered car becomes a reality and then these two virginal democracies would fall into economic despair and become another Afghanistan; two new breeding grounds for terror with no ties to the western world. Then clearly we must make these two nations stop relying on oil as there only form of income, that’s why I think both nations should become full fledged capitalistic republican democracies, much like this country but hopefully with better business etiquette.

      The complete nationalism of Saudi Oil and the nationalism of many large oil firms after the revolution of 1979 have left the oil in the hands of the government. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran has at least an agriculture industry, which account for 22% of all the jobs in the country according to a 1991 census. ( 8/6/2001) Both nations need to be allowed to develop the countries internally. Take for example tourism. Right now no one in there right mind would take a trip to either Iran or Saudi Arabia unless they had to go to the latter for business. The nations both are so rich in history that anyone who is interested in the world and thinks that a vacation should be more than lying around at Disney World would want to see where Islam was born or take in the legendary Tehran. If both markets were free, and safe there could be foreign investment in both nations would. The Holiday Inn of Tehran would supply good jobs, a name that people of the west would trust to stay in and all of the little shops and restaurants, etc. would get the extra business from the people of the west that were visiting. A democratic state would ease the reluctance for companies to invest in both nations. Currently in Saudi Arabia Saudi’s have left the nation for entertainment; this has cost their economy 8 billion US dollars a year ( Assuming that the nation’s economy was free and since the populace is so young and is becoming more westernized why wouldn’t western companies want to invest in Saudi Arabia. The western presence in Saudi Arabia is the major issue Osama Bin Laden has with the House of Saud and of course the problem with the Wahabbi’s, the strict form of Sunni Islam, would have to be overcome. But, imagine new movie theatres in Medina or an arcade in Mecca. I’m not proposing that we strip away the history of either of these nations, or cheapen there historical landmarks. I in know way want to see something similar to what has happened with the Pyramid’s in Egypt, there is no reason a KFC needs to be next to the Mosque of Omar, but the nation would be able to stay true to its rich traditions and enter modernity if they were to embrace republican capitalism.

     When I mention republican democracy, I want these two nations to have the opportunity to chose the leaders that will make there laws and serve in there best interests. My earlier example of Turkey fits into this category also. The members of parliament are elected by the people to make the best possible choices and if the public does not like those choices they vote them out of office. When the citizens are represented from all of the different regions in both nations this could help to prevent the radicalism that exists in both nations, a diverse membership of parliament could prevent the radical Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia and the radical Islam preaching of Iran to have too much of a say in politics. They will have a vote much like everyone else, and if the members of parliament do not represent the wishes of their people they will be voted out. This will ensure that the will of the people is done. Before any of this can happen the process must start by the establishing of laws that protect the rights of everyone. Sociologist Sami Zubaida explained the process perfectly when he said:

A first step on the road to democracy must be the establishment of a legal and institutional framework which specifies and protects rights and procedures, which cannot be violated even by an elected government. Democracy can only make sense as part of a law state. (Zubaida, pg xxii)

The slow installation of a democracy much like Kuwait and in some respects even Iran will lead both of these nations towards a democratic form of government.

     All democratic governments have laws that assure the rights of everyone. What happens when the government has a set of laws that give more rights to a man than a woman? What happens when in a court of law considers the word of a man vastly more important than the word of a woman? Both Saudi Arabia and Iran’s laws are based on Sharia, the ancient code of law based on the Koran. Surely a code of law that gives one more person more rights because of there sex is not democratic. Well that is true, but the United States granted equal rights to all but didn’t allow women to vote, enslaved an entire race, etc. during its growth as a democracy. Completely getting rid of Sharia may not be necessary. First, in Iran the laws of Sharia have been adjusted to give women equal rights. Women do not have all of the freedoms afforded to women here in America, but the laws are more fair than the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. In 1999 a woman in Iran was stoned to death for committing adultery and her lover was put to death for killing the husband. Even though most people in the west would consider death a strong price to pay for adultery, an act that even American presidents have engaged in, capital punishment exists in America and the lover of the woman was put to death for murdering the husband, which in the very least demonstrates equal rights under the law. Both a man and a woman were punished accordingly for their crimes, this is more fair than Saudi Arabia, a country that during an interview with Fred Pike, a man who lived in the nation for five years, explained to me that not only can’t women vote, but they can’t drive. The application of Saudi Arabian Sharia is much stricter than Iranian Sharia. But the question is if equal rights were granted to all, could Sharia be a functional democratic basis for laws. Noah Feldman points out that Islamic law only applies to a handful of laws and that the burden of proof for the strictest of these laws, the hudud, the laws that require a thief to lose his hand, etc., is remarkably high. There must be two eyewitnesses to a crime, these eyewitnesses must be of good morale standing and for the crime of adultery there must be four witnesses. This is nearly impossible to have. He goes on later to explain that if the laws are applied correctly it is very unlikely that anyone would be punished under these laws because the burden of proof is so high. (Feldman, pg 71) Sharia than can exist in a fully democratic society. Application of laws must be met, but the law makers in these nations must remember that democratic process were part of Mohammad’s many ideals and to not have a society that is truly based on these ideals is in fact shunning the true teachings of Islam, which is what both governments are doing right now, especially Saudi Arabia. This does not mean that Muslims need to shun their religion in order to become more democratic, they simply need to adhere to the true teaching of the faith.

      For the people to thrive under capitalism they will need to take out various loans to promote growth in their businesses, get a mortgage on a new, larger home, etc. Islam has historically has prohibited modern banking techniques, and the prophet is quoted in the Koran (2:276) saying, “Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury” (lending money and charging interest) and in 2:278 he says, “O ye who believe, keep your duty to Allah and relinquish what remains (due) from interest, if you are believers." The idea of interest free mortgages first started in 1975 by a group of Muslims living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (another country that is free yet Muslims live). The way that the mortgage works is slightly more difficult, but a basic comparison of both types of mortgages would show the subtle differences and how it is the Islamic mortgage system is not only in compliance with Islamic law but is rather easy.


Even though this different type of lending is slightly more difficult than western style lending, there has been a tremendous response to Islamic banking in the Muslim community and even American companies such as Citibank now have Islamic banking departments. With the ability to invest in real estate and businesses, Muslims in both countries now have the opportunity to make their businesses larger, which will employ more people, which will create a better way of life for everyone, which can only happen if Iran and Saudi Arabia are allowed to fully democratize.

      The question that many will ask after having read the preceding pages is, “What can America do?” Since I’m reminded almost daily that America is the world’s only super power and President Bush came out with his road map to peace in the Middle East in 2003, can America help the process and if so does it have to involve invasion or “regime change”. The answer to those two points is an emphatic, NO! The time spent theorizing how Iran could become a democracy may be wasted if the Supreme Leader allows the Iranian pursuit for nuclear weapons to continue. If the leaders of the nation continue to pursue the nuclear option than an international force may change the regime of the country, but I hope that seriously does not happen and in all cases war should be an absolute last resort. Assuming that national or world security is not put at risk by the mullahs an invading force should not change the government; the proud people of Iran should be allowed to push for change. Until 1979, Iran lived under a monarchy for nearly 2,000 years; the slow step towards true freedom may have already begun. America should continue its support of the Iranian students; it was only 24 years that the people of Iran hated America referring to the nation as the “Great Satan”, now according to a recent survey by Iranian controlled National Institute of Opinion polls, 74 percent of the Iranians in Tehran support re-establishment with the United States. But what does America get out of supporting a nation that not so long ago hated this country? Fereydoun Hoveyda, former Iranian ambassador to the UN prior to the revolution of 1979 explains, “The coming demise of theocracy in Iran will substantially weaken all militant Islamic movements in the world.” Mr Hoveyda also feels that the United States should stop supporting the reformist movement that is being lead by President Khatami and should support the student movement for democracy. The same students that publicly supported the United States by shouting about how they love America after September 11th, Iran was the only nation in the Middle East to have pro-American rallies following the events of 9-11. ( The reason My Hoveyda believes that the students should be supported makes sense, he feels that President Khatami, who still is under the authority of Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, wants to make some reforms in order to keep him or whoever is president in office and not be tossed out by the Supreme Leader. The job of the United States government should be to assist the students anyway they can as they try to have there government changed. If that means that they must supply the revolutionaries with weapons than they should, financial funding should be an option that America considers, the government of the United States has an opportunity to change a government without sending 250,000 troops to a nation, they can support and let the brave people that want to stage a coup, stage it and stand on the sidelines and help anyway they can. When the government is changed they can then provide any type of support that the nation requires, as long as the leaders of the revolution do not wish to once again return the government to a theocracy, the United States should provide financial help, advice, food, etc. The U.S. should supply anything that will not let Iran become once again ruled by an oppressive regime. Once the Iranian market was open again, foreign companies can help to develop the under producing oil fields, which would be able to pump more crude per day, which of course would create a larger amount of income for the country and of course jobs. It is not a dramatic idea, nor is the idea of helping foster democracy in another nation it is something that has been done in the past as Saliba Sarsar, a professor in political science and the associate vice president for Academic Program Initiatives at Monmouth University explained in March 2000 in the pages of Middle East Quarterly:

  Democracies should assist the Arab countries by initiating serious dialogues with them and then taking steps to sustain the democratization process. This includes promoting democratic principles and practices and giving electoral assistance. If democracy is assaulted anywhere, democracies should join forces to impose punitive measures on aggressors. President Jimmy Carter's human rights campaign and its role in U.S. foreign policy served to undermine several authoritarian regimes. President Ronald Reagan's focus on both democracy and human rights exerted pressure on and made crumble not only dictatorships in Latin American, South America, and Asia, but also totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The momentum that created the international military coalition against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s can perhaps be recaptured to build an international peace coalition for promoting and sustaining democracy (


     The American government must make it a priority to support democracy around the world, the more democracies there are the less war and terrorism there will be. It’s a fact that historically democracies have not gone to war with other democracies. Also, if the people of a nation were happy with there government and not offended by the support of its auto-cratic rule, the problem with Al-Qaeda might not exist today. If the Saudi’s were free, there would be much less discontent in their nation. If Iran was free, their government would no longer be supporting terrorism around the world; democracy spreading to two new nations would absolutely curb terrorism.
In Saudi Arabia the Untied States government must simply apply pressure, much like the pressures applied in Latin America, South America and Eastern Europe. The pressures may have to be applied over the next 20 years, asking the Saudi’s for more governmental reforms and allowing the nation to have elections for a parliament much like Kuwait’s. The parliament would only be an advisory panel at first, but over time would actually have power to draft laws, etc. The government may still have a king at the top, but over time he would become more like a permanent President, with many of the similar powers to any democratic president. Finally there would be open elections for all members of parliament and the office of President. There will never be a president in Saudi Arabia as long as the United States government continues to support the monarchy because of there ample supply of oil. The Untied States can continue its support of Saudi Arabia only if they start to reform there government, this will take a long time and it should, the country should slowly democratize. A sudden government change would result in a global economic catastrophe, the world’s economy is based on cheap oil and if the prices shot up the world economy would fall apart. Supporting democracy in Saudi Arabia is supporting a more stable form of government, one that is less susceptible to a revolt. Slowly the Saudi Arabia should become a democracy.

     A democracy does not have to forget its history. Every year millions of Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj. A big worry among many may be whether a democratic nation can assure that the traditions of the past continue unimpeded not only during the nations slow steps towards democratization but once that nation becomes a full blown democracy. This is a tricky proposition; a professor of mine recently reminded me that it was Plato who once said that monarchies are best suited for carrying on tradition. This may true, but personal rights should not be restricted because a democratic government may not be as historically able to carry out tradition. The Hajj is obviously very important to all of the 1.2 billion Muslims alive today, it is not only of great significance to them but it also a requirement. The traditions of the past can easily be protected by the constitution. The traditions of both nations should be protected as long as those traditions are embraced by the people. Saudi Arabia and Iran can keep many of there Muslim traditions and still be democratic. In America Christmas is a national holiday, the nation is comprised of a large majority of Christians but also the observance of this holiday is an American tradition even though many do not celebrate and the American Constitution calls for a complete separation of Church and State. America has been able to thrive as a democracy by making allowances for the traditions and beliefs of the individual. There is a way for a democratic government to be adapted to fit the needs of the citizens of both Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is very easy for the naysayer to find reasons for a nation to not become democratic, bit the current repression of the citizens of both nations doesn’t benefit anyone except the very few that rule both nations.

      Democracy has its flaws, but allowing the people of a nation such as Saudi Arabia or Iran to make those mistakes themselves can only make those nations stronger. Currently only very few people in either nation have a voice in government. The will of the people is not being carried out in either nation. This is why the people of these two proud nations must be free to do what they want. They should be allowed to vote for the person representing them in office, they should even be allowed to vote for the use of Sharia in a new government. The research going on currently at the University of Cairo will allow for DNA evidence to be submitted as evidence in cases that are subject to Sharia law. The Middle East is becoming more modern everyday; modernity should not be considered a western ideal; it should be considered natural human progress; and democracy should no longer be considered a western ideal; it was the Prophet Mohammad that wrote the first constitution ever. Islam was at the forefront of democracy much like it used to be the leader in science. When Europe was throwing its waste out the window the Egyptians had an intricate plumbing system. It is once again time for Islam to move to the forefront of thought, and what a better place to start then Saudi Arabia and Iran. Two nations that have well educated populaces and a glut of young people. If they were free to say and do whatever they wanted, they could create a democracy better than the west has ever known. If they keep the status quo they are destined to waste the opportunities that their education should afford them. It is no longer a question of whether democracy and Islam can co-exist. The real question is why aren’t all Muslims free to govern themselves.



Feldman, Noah. After Jihad New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003

Abders, Jericho. Saudi Arabia: Outside Global Law and Order, Great Britain: Curzib Press, 1997

Zakaria, Fareed The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy At Home and Abroad, New York, New York: Norton, 2002

Dahlan, Ahmad Hassan. Politics, Administration and Development, Brentwood, Md: Amana, 1990

Metz, Helen Chapin. Turkey: A Country Study Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, 1996

Howe, Marvin. Turkey Today: A Nation Devided Over Islam’s Revival Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2000

Zubaida, Sami. Islam, The People, and the State: Polotical Ideas and Movements In the Middle East London: I.B. Tauris 1993

Ahari, Ehsan Saudi Arabia and The United States: parting Ways: Terrorism project, January 23,2002

Mazrui, Ali A Islamocracy: In Search of a Muslim Path to Democracy Center For The Study of Islam & Democracy, May 16,2002

Ahmad, Kassim A Short Note On The Medina Charter

Kessler, Jonathon S It Is Important To Build Democracy In All Arab Countries-Interview with Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al-Thani,, 7/01/2003

Jordan Times, Tuesday, February 15,2000 accessed via Excerpts from a speech by Jordan Prince Hassan,

Lerner, B. Why is Turkey The Only Muslim democracy In The Middle East accessed via, originally posted Nov 5, 2002

Lerner, Barbara Why Is Turkey the only Muslim democracy in the Mideast? The Secret of Turkish Democracy: A Lone Model National, Nov 4, 2002 citing facts from the CIA World Fact Book Economic Structure of Iran August 6, 2001 <>

Leisure & Tourism Market in Saudi Arabia

Casciani, Dominic Chart Taken from BBC Story titled Case Study: Islamic Mortgages 11/29/2002 chart can be accessed via (

Casciani, Dominic Chart Taken from BBC Story titled Case Study: Islamic Mortgages 11/29/2002 chart can be accessed via

Moore, Art Iran Ripe For Revolution appeared on Worldnet Daily 11/04/2002 accessed via

Sarsar, Saliba Can democracy Prevail? Middle East Quarterly, March 2000, accessed via

Pike, Fred Telephone Interview July 12, 2003