A close look at secular parties in the Middle East today raises doubts about whether they are ready for prime time.
How did a potent Islamist movement come to accept a non-Islamist constitution? The answer lies in that movement’s self-protective reflexes.
Islamic political parties were not especially popular with voters in Muslim-majority countries before the Arab Spring. Has that changed?
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?
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.
The electoral triumph of Islamist parties has dampened the enthusiasm of democrats for the “Arab Spring.”
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.
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.
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.