The following are excerpts from an address by former Lebanese PM Rafiq Al-Hariri to a conference in Dubai:
Rafiq Al-Hariri: Some claim that Islam and democracy cannot coexist. This is completely untrue. Islam coexists with democracy according to rules based on Islamic law. Democracy doesn't have to be the same democracy we see in the West, with the same methods and the same rules as in European countries and the United States. Islam has its own way of establishing the relation between citizens and officials. It also has its own way concerning transparency and accountability. Islam preceded all the peoples of the world in establishing the principle of shura [consultation] between the ruler and the citizens.
The "open door" policy, adopted by those countries in which Islamic law governs the way of life and the regime - that policy is the best example of the type of democracy that realizes the goals to which we all strive: involving the citizen in decision-making, in work, and in developing his country. this is exactly what we see in the Gulf states.