The Rise of “Muslim Democracy”

Issue Date April 2005
Volume 16
Issue 2
Page Numbers 13-27
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In recent years “Muslim democracy” has emerged as a new political reality in a number of Muslim countries with open politics to define the role of Islam in democracy. Muslim democracy evokes the legacy of Christian Democratic parties of Europe in that it is an electoral platform that seeks to dominate the middle by integrating Muslim values into broader socioeconomic demands. Muslim democracy is not a platform for religious reform nor a theoretical construct, but rather the product of politics on the ground and the give-and-take of electoral politics. Muslim democracy has taken shape in the political process by Islamist parties such as Turkey’s AKP, and non-religious parties such as Pakistan’s PML. It provides a model for pragmatic change with broader influence across the Muslim world.

About the Author

Vali Nasr teaches Middle East and South Asian politics at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. His latest books are State and Democracy in Iran (with Ali Gheissari, 2006) and The Shi’a Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future (2006).

View all work by Vali Nasr