Islam and Democracy

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1996 - Religion - 232 pages
2 Reviews
Are Islam and democracy on a collision course? Do Islamic movements seek to "hijack democracy?" How have governments in the Muslim world responded to the many challenges of Islam and democracy today?

A global religious resurgence and calls for greater political participation have been major forces in the post-Cold War period. Across the Muslim world, governments and Islamic movements grapple with issues of democratization and civil society. Islam and Democracy explores the Islamic sources (beliefs and institutions) relevant to the current debate over greater political participation and democratization.

Esposito and Voll use six case studies--Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Sudan--to look at the diversity of Muslim experiences and experiments. At one end of the spectrum, Iran and Sudan represent two cases of militant, revolutionary Islam establishing political systems. In Pakistan and Malaysia, however, the new movements have been recognized and made part of the political process. Egypt and Algeria reveal the coexistence of both extremist and moderate Islamic activism and demonstrate the complex challenges confronting ruling elites. These case studies prove that despite commonalities, differing national contexts and identities give rise to a multiplicity of agendas and strategies.

This broad spectrum of case studies, reflecting the multifaceted relationship of Islam and Democracy, provides important insight into the powerful forces of religious resurgence and democratization which will inevitably impact global politics in the twenty first century.

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Poor evaluation of the abstract Islamic support for Islam's cooperation with democracy, more focus on current Muslim peoples' beliefs. If we assume that Islam is defined by the personal beliefs of the people, this is a great and accurate book, but otherwise, there is no evidence that Islam supports or would allow a representative democratic government. 

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This is a decent survey of different majority Muslim nations across the world and their democratization processes. The focus is basically on the major political players and social forces. Since democratization is an ongoing process, I do feel this is outdated for modern reading. Read full review


Heritage and Global Context
Two State and Opposition in Islamic History
Revolutionary Islam in Power
The Mahdi and the Military
Democracy Suppressed
Governmental Populist and Extremist Islam

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About the author (1996)

John L. Esposito is at Georgetown University. John O. Voll is at Georgetown University.

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