Political Attitudes in the Muslim World

Issue Date July 2010
Volume 21
Issue 3
Page Numbers 122-134
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In this study we have applied multilevel analysis in order to examine the effects of Western and Muslim milieus on individual attitudes toward democracy. Using data from the World Values Survey (WVS), the results of the multilevel analysis indicate that the religious context plays an important role in the formation of public attitudes toward democracy, though this role is uneven and complex. On the one hand, Western and Muslim religious cultures per se do not seem to have differential effects on general attitudes toward the idea of democracy, such as the belief that it is the best form of government and that it should be based on an electoral system. On the other hand, where some liberal aspects of democracy, such as the entitlement of the nonreligious and of women to public office, are concerned, the analysis reveals significant differences between the effects of Islam and the West, with the former being less hospitable to liberal democracy.