Subject: Islamism

October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

Can Egypt’s Democratic Hopes Be Revived?

In 2011–13, the undemocratic political outlook of both secular and Islamist actors helped to ensure the failure of democracy in Egypt. Today, the populace appears to have backed away from democratic demands, yet pockets of resilient activism offer a basis for hope.

January 2019, Volume 30, Issue 1

Pakistan: Voting Under Military Tutelage

With its recent electoral turnover of power, Pakistan seemingly passed a milestone of democratic consolidation. But beneath the surface, power remains where it long has been—with the military.

January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

Tunisia’s Islamists and the “Turkish Model”

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?

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April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Islamists and Democracy: Cautions from Pakistan

It is easy for Islamists to accept the democratic principle of majority rule when it results in their being elected to power. But the experience of Pakistan warns us that efforts to “Islamize” laws and public life may be hard to reverse even if Islamists are voted out of office.

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April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Democratization Theory and the “Arab Spring”

In light of the “Arab Spring,” how should students of democratic transition rethink the relation between religion and democracy; the nature of regimes that mix democratic and authoritarian features; and the impact of “sultanism” on prospects for democracy?

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January 2013, Volume 24, Issue 1

Arab Democracy or Islamist Revolution?

Although Olivier Roy and others argue that current circumstances will push ascendant Islamist parties in a democratic direction, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood remains committed to the revolutionary goals that have animated it since its beginnings.

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April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

The Languages of the Arab Revolutions

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.

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April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

Tunisia’s Transition and the Twin Tolerations

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.

January 2011, Volume 22, Issue 1

The Split in Arab Culture

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.

January 2011, Volume 22, Issue 1

Arab Islamist Parties: Losing on Purpose?

In most Arab countries, Islamist groups are the only ones with the popular support needed to win free and fair elections. Yet Islamist parties have shown an ambivalence about and in some cases even an aversion to seeking power via the ballot box.

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April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Do Muslims Vote Islamic?

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?

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Institutions Make the Difference

Political Islam is often cited as the key challenge to democratization in Muslim nations, but deep currents of authoritarianism may prove more of an obstacle. Traditions of monarchy, military rule, and weak civic institutions block the path of democratic transition throughout the Muslim world. Political Islam does of course present challenges of its own, such…

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Why They Can’t be Democratic

This article makes a case of the basic distinction between Islam and Islamism and presents three central arguments: 1. through religious reforms and a rethinking of the Islamic doctrine, the cultural system of Islam can be put in harmony with democracy, 2. this (first) argument does not apply to Islamism (political Islam) for the simple…

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: A Boon or a Bane for Democracy?

What role do mainstream Islamist movements play in Arab politics? With their popular messages and broad social base, would their incorporation as normal political actors be the best hope for democratization or democracy’s bane? For too long, we have tried to answer such questions solely by speculating about the true intentions of the movements and…