Is Islam Compatible with Democracy

Carmen A. Abubakar


After the transition to democracy of socialist states in Eastern Europe and other authoritarian states in Asia and Latin America, which captured worldwide attention, the lenses now shift to Muslim states. Perceived as inherently authoritarian, Muslim societies invite criticism from the West as being incapable with democracy. In turn, the Muslims, though recognizing the precepts of democracy, question the validity of Western orthodoxy by challenging the exacting, secular model of democracy. They argue that the term “democracy” has been arbitrarily, as authoritarian and socialist states alike appropriate it their own designs. Moreover, they of the view that there is as yet no universally accepted and encompassing definition of democracy. In the final analysis, if the leaders, the people, and ultimately the state remain true to Islamic ideal, democracy would most likely have the same resonance in Muslim societies as elsewhere in the world.

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