The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy wrapped up its fifth annual conference yesterday. Speakers urged Muslims to work for positive change in the world. Discussions focused also on the question whether democracy can flourish in the Middle East. Paul Sullivan of the National Defense University argued that there’s no reason that Islam and democracy can’t go together. Democracy, he said, “doesn’t have to be taught to Muslims. They know it in their hearts. The people in these countries especially desire democracy because they have done without it for so long.” And Alina Romanowski, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near Eastern Affairs, defended the United States against the “unjust” criticism that our government supports repressive Islamic regimes by pointing to efforts to help women in Muslim countries prepare for leadership positions. I find it interesting that, at least according to the article, Romanowski doesn’t defend United States support of repressive Islamic regimes.