Islamic Democracy: A Contradiction in Terms? - Petr Kratochvíl
Islamic Democracy: A Contradiction in Terms? Petr Kratochvíl Introduction Even though the political resurgence of Islam has been debated from many dif- ferent perspectives, one topic in this area has continuously attracted the ut- most attention: the relations between Islam and democracy. The purported (in)compatibility of Islam with democracy is a controversial issue that long ago crossed the borders of academia, turning into one of the most contentious po- litical topics both in the West and in the Islamic world itself. Today, the topic is more important than ever. The reason for its relevance does not lie in the re- surgence of Islam, which might perhaps have been overly hyped by the media, or the increasing political activism of various Islamist movements. These devel- opments are not entirely new – the first signs of this trend were already visible in the 1970s. Nor is the reason the violent nature of some Islamist movements, since their attacks long predated the tragic events of 9/11 in the United States. We also should not jump to the simplistic conclusion that Western-style democracy is more relevant in the Islamic world because of the Arab Spring. Those who claim that the Arab Spring is a straightforward continuation of the never-ending historical march of democracy or brand the Arab revolutions as the fourth wave of democracy à la Samuel Huntington (1991) can perhaps cap- ture the attention of the Western mass media, but they do not grasp the whole picture. Their claims miss so many important...
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