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Democracy in Muslim Societies

Democracy in Muslim Societies
The Asian Experience

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Zoya Hasan - Professor Emerita, Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Distinguished Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi, India


September 2007 | 272 pages | SAGE India
Democracy in Muslim Societies: The Asian Experience explores the character of the political transformation and democratic transition in the Asian Muslim world. It asks whether democracy is appropriate and desirable as a political system for non-Western societies, and assesses the extent of actual democratization in each of the countries studied, namely, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.

The book questions the widely held view that the socio-political ethos of Islam as a religion, and of Muslim countries as societal units, prevents Muslims from adopting democracy as a form of government. The contributors argue that this perception comes from post-9/11 studies of Arab states and that non-Arab Muslim populations in Asia and Africa do not fit the same mould. At the same time, it is clear that a single model of democracy cannot work across these six countries because each country has a different history and has tread on a different path in the quest for democracy.

Ultimately, this book concludes that there is no fundamental incompatibility between Islam and democracy in the Asian Muslim societies.
Hamid Ansari
Zoya Hasan
Amena Mohsin and Meghna Guhathakurta
The Struggle for Democracy in Bangladesh
Adriana Elisabeth
The Indonesian Experience in Implementing Democracy
Sadegh Zibakalam
The History of the Democratic Movement in Iran in the 20th Century
Abdul Rahman Embong
Islam and Democracy in Malaysia
Mohammad Waseem
Functioning of Democracy in Pakistan
Korel Göymen
Interaction of Democracy and Islam in Turkey

The book has…well-argued, well-researched papers….The subject of Madrasa education is too complex to be dealt with in one seminar. Nevertheless, the attempt is commendable.

Free Press Journal

Democracy, has taken all the newly-freed countries by storm. The book under review Democracy in Muslim Societies sheds some light on how democracy affected the Muslim societies. The editor and the co-editors have done their jobs quite well in collecting the relevant data, which makes the book higly-readable.

The News

The book…makes a valuable contribution to the subject of Islam and democracy….The chapter on Pakistan by Mohammad Waseem is not only the most important from our point of view, but also the most insightful.

South Asian Survey

This Book is a helpful guide to politics in the Muslim nations and could go a long way in undoing certain misconceptions….From the essays it is evident that the misuse of religion will continue to hold up change in the societies for some more time.

The Telegraph

The book argues, the social and political practice of Islam is neither purely text-driven nor is it informed by an immutable essence. It is, instead informed by historical trajectories and social, economic and political contingencies that arise partly from historical fortunes. This volume examines the Asian experience of Islam as a political variable specifically because the essentialisation of Islam, and for its supposed incompatibility with democracy, uses West Asia as a default template.

Hindustan Times

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