Islam and Democracy

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By wajih1
Words 2530
Pages 11
In the current climate of international politics, there is a great deal of speculation regarding the governance of Islamic states. Many traditionally Muslim states have operated under theocratic rule, a difficult concept for the West to swallow. The American control of Iraq is purportedly only to hold the place of power until a democratically elected regime can take the place of the occupying force. But is there, as some critics have speculated, some aspect of Islam that makes it inherently hostile and incompatible with Western notions of democratic rule? This is the question which John Esposito and John Voll have tried to examine in their book Islam and Democracy. Published in 1996, this book explores the different ways in which Islam relates to democratic principles and ideas. Arguing against previously held explanations about the nature of Islam and the very definition of democracy, this book explores several cases where Islamic movements operate to a varying degree of success in the area of popular representation. The authors begin with the assertion that due largely to economic and technological globalization, the world is presently experiencing an increase in the spread and influence of democratic ideals. Occurring alongside this political shift, they argue that there is a growing focus upon what the authors refer to as "the assertion of the authenticity and legitimacy of communal identities." This trend toward the popular identification of people with subgroups within the larger cultural framework often takes the form of the resurgence of religious fundamentalism. The authors point out that this resurgence is a natural part of the pluralistic mode of social representation. These two forces of cultural change are seem to be at loggerheads, but the book posits that they can be either complimentary or contradictory, depending upon the setting in which…...

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