Arab, Not Muslim, Exceptionalism

Issue Date October 2004
Volume 15
Issue 4
Page Numbers 140-146
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The non-Arab Muslim world has exhibited a much higher degree of electoral competition than the Arab Muslim world, both over time and in the contemporary period. 396 million Muslims, about half of the world's Muslim population who live in Non-Arab League Muslim majority states, live in states with competitive elections. By contrast, none of the 270 million Muslims in Arab League member states live under electorally competitive regimes. Arab League member states have increasingly become a distinctive political community within the Muslim world, while non-Arab Muslim majority states are a far more diverse group. As such they are more open to a range of political communities, and consequently to international election observers and other initiatives promoting democracy.