A Reading on: Democratic Values in the Muslim World The Empirical Puzzle and Research Question
The Empirical Puzzle: In 1975, predominantly Muslim countries were responsible for 25 percent of the world’s non-democratic regimes, while in 2007 they are responsible for 55 percent of the world non- democratic regimes. Besides, no one single Muslim country is considered to be a consolidated democracy.
The research question: do the values and attitudes of ordinary Muslims obstruct their participation in the democratization process in Muslim countries?
Or do they?
For democracy to consolidate, a strong commitment to democracy on the parts of elite and masses (i.e. political participation) should be present.
Condoleezza Rice: “Democratization orthe march of freedom in the Muslim world is in the interest of the U.S. … Bahrain, Qatar and - to a certain extent – Jordan [have] several reformist elements. We want to be supportive of them." Rice, US national security adviser. (Financial Times, September 23 2002)Ahmad Maher: “We in the Arab and Muslim world know our way. We have our own will and we hold firm to our rights. Besides, we do not need anybody to give us lessons on how to run our countries.” Maher, Egyptian Foreign Minister in response to Rice’s comments. (Al-hayat, September 25, 2002)
II. Their critics.
III. Empirical studies.
The Assumption: one creed, one culture, one phenomenon:
Pipes: Pipes: “Islam calls forth intense reactions. It inspires a powerful loyalty among Muslims which no other faith can rival. …nearly all Muslim subjects kept away from politics and became actively engaged only when they had a chance to apply the law or battle non-Muslims. This Islamic pattern - customary withdrawal punctuated bursts of activities - survived into modern period.” (Pipes 1983: 15, 144)
Huntington: “Islam...has not been hospitable to democracy.” (Huntington, 1984)
Fukuyama: “Not Even Islam's Disdain for Modernity Will Halt Progress.” (The Wall Street Journal, 2001)
such as shura.
Islam’s sensitivity to the needs of the poor and weak.
Respect for order.
Islam’s sense of justice.
“Democracy-challenging” aspects of Islam
Democracy as people-focused doctrine while tawheed (oneness of God) as piety-focused doctrine.
Beda’a (disguised innovation).
Ijma’a that delegitmizes dissent and opposition.
The unequal status of women and non-Muslims in Islam.
The link between mosque and monarch.Counter Reading of Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy among Others (Said's Orientalism)
The neo-orientalists dominated the literature in the West for at least three decades and gained more support after Sept. 11th.
Most of the orientalists’ studies focus on either Islam itself, Muslim rulers, or Islamic groups (not ordinary individuals).
Norris and Inglehart using World Value Survey find no significant difference between Muslims’ support for democracy comparing to others (which Muslims and which democracy?)Observations
Note: Principal component factor analysis was used with varimax rotation and Kaiser normalization. The total model predicts 73.8% of cumulative variance. The religiosity and support for democratic hardware scales were reversed so that a positive response expresses more religiosity and greater support for democratic hardware.
Cronbach's estimate of reliability and internal consistency is reported as Alpha.
Source: Fattah's Islam and Democracy Survey, (2001-2002).
“shared values legitimating social practices.” (Wildavsky 1987) .
Most (neo-) Orientalists adopt this definition of culture (Pipes, Ben Ashour, Bernard Lewis, Huntington among others)
“Common Questions” approach:
“points of concern that are debated” (Laitin, 1988)
Orientalists’ critics are implicitly closer to this vision (Moussili, Esposito, Mazrui, Abo Talebi, Price, Wedeen among others). The findings of this study supports this stipulation of culture.What is (Political) Culture?
“What is Islamic and what is not Islamic?”
This is the core of Muslims’ culture
Note: It is not the creed, it is how to infer from the creed what is Islamic and what is not Islamic?
Democracy is a practical application of Islam
Ex. Islamic Jihad in Egypt
Ex. Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (developing)
Ex. Al-Wafd Party in Egypt
Ex. Ruling NDP in Egypt
Democracy is disbelief
Democracy has Islamic elements
Islam is a religion, democracy is politics.
1) At least in the short to medium terms, no democracy can emerge with the marginalization of Islam as a source of political ideology or Islamists as political actors.
2) Free and fair elections in most of Muslim countries would lead Islamists to power or to become strong opposition force, holding other variables constant.