Do Muslims Vote Islamic?

Issue Date April 2010
Volume 21
Issue 2
Page Numbers 50-64
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Islamic parties have won parliamentary elections in several countries in recent years, leading some observers to speculate that Muslims vote Islamic whenever they are given the chance. However, a review of every parliamentary election in Muslim societies over the past 40 years shows that Islamic parties often compete and rarely win—and the freer the election, the worse these parties perform. In addition, an unprecedented collection of Islamic party platforms shows that Islamic parties have transformed since the 1980s, publicly endorsing democracy and women’s rights and de-emphasizing shari’a and jihad. This record suggests that Islamic parties have embraced elections more than engulfing them.