Subject: Religion

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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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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 2012, Volume 23, Issue 1

Turkey Under the AKP: The Kurdish Question

Turkish state policy toward the Kurds, the Republic of Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, has evolved from denial and mandatory assimilation to cultural recognition to acknowledgement of the Kurds’ contested status as a political problem demanding political solutions. The election of 36 Kurdish-nationalist lawmakers, most of whom now sit in parliament as representatives of the Peace…

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.

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October 2010, Volume 21, Issue 4

The Upsurge of Religion in China

Religion in various forms is burgeoning in the PRC today, and the ruling Chinese Communist Party cannot decide what to make of it—or do about it.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

The Rise of “State-Nations”

Must every state be a nation and every nation a state? Or should we look instead to the example of countries such as India, where one state holds together a congeries of “national” groups and cultures in a single and wisely conceived federal republic?

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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?

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Transitions to the Rule of Law

While we have witnessed many transitions to multiparty systems, it has proven much harder for countries to attain a genuine rule of law. We need to know more about the origins of the rule of law in order to promote it successfully today.

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January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Why Are There No Arab Democracies?

Democracy has held its own or gained ground in just about every part of the world except for the Arab Middle East. Why has this crucial region remained such infertile soil for democracy?

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July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

Malaysia’s Electoral Upheaval

In March 2008, Malaysian voters dealt the long-ruling National Front coalition an enormous shock—pushing that party closer to losing power than it has ever been in Malaysia’s entire history as an independent country.  

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Religion and Democracy

The secularization hypothesis has failed, and failed spectacularly. We must find a new paradigm to help us understand the complexities of the relationship between religion and democracy.

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Turkey’s AKP in Power

The rise of Islamist parties poses new challenges to efforts to understand the relationship between Islam and democracy. A diverse group of authors investigates this new phenomenon and its implications for the future of democracy in the Middle East.

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Participation Without Power

The debate on the compatibility of Islamism and democracy has tended to focus on two main scenarios. In the first, Islamist political parties become agents for democratization through their participation in freely held elections. In the second, Islamists use the democratic process to gain control and establish an antidemocratic regime—the feared “one man, one vote,…

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…

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January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Senegal: The Return of Personalism

Senegal's 2000 presidential election marked the end of forty years of one-party rule. But the reign of President Wade has been a severe disappointment, dashing hopes for democratic consolidation. *This is a corrected text of the print and original online version of this essay, portions of which drew heavily on Tarik Dahou and Vincent Foucher's…

October 2007, Volume 18, Issue 4

The Quest for Self-Rule in Tibet

This article assesses the historical record and current practice to argue that a form of autonomy that is appropriately grounded in China’s Constitution and international human rights practice may offer a path out of the current dispute.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Getting to Arab Democracy: Dealing with Communalism

Whether ethnic, sectarian, or some combination of the two, communalsim is one of the massive realities of Middle Eastern life and politics. It is usually seen as an obstacle to democracy, but need that always be the case?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

The New Iraq: The Sistani Factor

For the Shi'ite majority and its senior religious leader, the January elections played out against the background of a longing for justice that has deep spiritual sources as well as more recent sociopolitical roots.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

Christianity and Democracy: The Global Picture

That modern democracy first arose with the ambit of Western Christianity is far from an accident. Today, the major Christain communions largely support democracy, even while necessarily retaining the right to criticize democratic decisions in the name fo religious truth claims.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

A Model for Post-Saddam Iraq

If Iraq is successfully to democratize and an inclusive democratic culture is to emerge, the Iraqi state must be reconstituted as a federal and strongly liberal system and thoroughly demilitarized.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

Tibet: The Exiles’ Journey

Almost a half-century after being forced from their homeland, Tibetans abroad, led by the Dalai Lama, have democratized their institutions in hopes that they may one day form the basis for a free and self-governing Tibet.

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April 2002, Volume 13, Issue 2

Terror, Islam, and Democracy

Although Islamist terror groups invoke a host of religious references, the real source of their ideas is not the Koran but rather Leninism, fascism, and other strains of twentieth-century thought that exalt totalitarian violence.