"The more authentic Muslim modernists are those who have already taken a step across the historical threshold toward an enlightened skepticism of the whole Islamic tradition. There are many Muslim intellectuals who have done this, some of them contributors to the collection Islam and Democracy in the Middle East."—Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books
Ennahda has long felt an especially strong kinship with Turkey’s AKP, which has seen as representing a combination of piety, prosperity, and democratic credibility. How might their relationship be affected by the AKP's more recent authoritarian turn?
The upheavals that have been shaking the Arab-Muslim world are revolutions in discourse as well as in the streets. Arabs are using not only traditional and religious vocabularies, but also a new set of expressions that are modern and represent popular aspirations.
Of all the “Arab Spring” countries, so far only Tunisia has managed to make a transition to democracy. Tunisians now have a chance to show the world a new example of how religion, society, and the state can relate to one another under democratic conditions.
A powerful “salafist” public norm has taken root in the Arab world, becoming the main symbol of resistance to Westernization. At the same time, however, new cultural forces in the private domain are promoting a dynamic of secularization.
A new look at the World Values Survey data reveals how the Muslim world’s religious context affects individual Muslims’ attitudes toward democracy.
Although many Iraqi parties continue to be organized along religious or ethnic lines, both the tone and the results of the 2010 parliamentary election campaign show that most Iraqi voters prefer a broader national agenda over narrow sectarian appeals.
The 2009 vote for the presidency and local councils was marred by fraud, provoking a political crisis and casting a deep shadow over upcoming parliamentary elections. The Afghan experience calls into question whether voting should occur before other essential reforms are in place.
Those who warn against efforts to promote free elections in Muslim-majority countries often point to the threat posed by Islamic parties that stand ready to use democracy against itself. But what does the record really show regarding the ability of Islamic parties to win over Muslim voters?
Indonesia is widely lauded as a democratic success story for rolling back the military, keeping radical Islam in check, and institutionalizing democratic freedoms. But this success has had costs in terms of democratic quality.