Why Islam (Properly Understood) Is the Solution Reflections on the Role of Religion in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

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Nader Hashemi



This paper is a provocative play on the famous Muslim Brotherhood

slogan al-Islām hūwa al-ḥāl (Islam is the solution). While

critics of the Muslim Brothers rightly criticized them for the simplicity

of their worldview in thinking that religion was a panacea

for all of the problems confronting Muslim societies during the

late twentieth century, an argument can be made that religion does

profoundly matter in the context of the struggle for democracy in

the Arab-Islamic world. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, democratic

transitions in North Africa and the Middle East will be dependent

on democratically negotiating the question of religion’s

role in politics. Here I provide some reflections on this topic with

a focus on Tunisia’s transition to democracy.


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