Islam and Democracy

Product Description
Religious resurgence and democratization have been two of the most significant developments of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Frequently they work together; other times they are at odds. In the Muslim world, this relationship is of special importance because of the strength of the Islamic resurgence, and the intensity of Muslim demands for greater popular participation in political processes

Esposito and Voll use six case studies to look at the history of this relationship and the role played by new Islamic movements. At one end of the spectrum, Iran and Sudan represent two cases of militant, revolutionary Islam opposing the political system. In Algeria and Malaysia however, the new movements have been legally recognized and made part of the political process. The authors identify several important factors, such as the legality or illegality of the new Islamic movements and the degree to which they cooperate with existing rulers, as being key to understanding the success or failure of these movements. Still, the case studies prove that despite the commonalities, differing national contexts and identities give rise to differences in agenda and method.

This broad spectrum of experience contains important lessons for understanding this complex and subtle relationship, and will also provide insight into the powerful forces of religion and democracy in a broader global context.

Islam and Democracy

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One thought on “Islam and Democracy

  1. If you have ever wondered if there is a democratic future in countries declared to be Islamic, this book is good food for thought. Starting with a thoughtful discussion of different possible definitions of democracy, Eposito then reviews the history of six Islamic countries to review the record. The book is well written, and also a good primer for the political history of those countries; living in one of them, I feel the treatment was fair. Eposito leaves me wondering, “what next?”, but this is perhaps because it is hard to determine, based on the cases, what may actually be the final end of Islamic democracy.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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