Islam’s Democratic Imperative

Mahmoud Abbas’s election in Palestine and the forthcoming vote in Iraq on January 30 have pushed the question of Islam’s compatibility with democracy to the center of the world’s agenda. Sheik Dia al-Shakarchi, a leading Shi’ite theologian, argues that democracy is not only compatible with Islam, but is essential to it.

During the last 25 years, Islam has played an increasingly influential role in politics, and not only in the Islamic world, with political Islam frequently expressing itself in radicalism and terror. Both Muslims and non-Muslims have not always agreed on the extent to which this is compatible with genuine Islam.

How Islam is understood varies widely among devout, moderately religious, and non-observant Muslims, as well as among Islamic scholars, political parties, and organizations. Even western experts and critics of Islam hold different views. Overall, there are two conflicting images of Islam: a peaceful Islam, which is ready for dialogue and coexistence, and a fundamentalist Islam, which is militant and even terrorist.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/e1SRZae;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.