Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring By John L. Esposito, Tamara Sonn, and John O. Voll (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 320 pages.)

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Gowhar Quadir Wani



The debate on Islam and democracy is one of the most heated in academia,
engaging both Muslims and non-Muslims, normative and analytic approaches.
It also takes place on two levels: political-theoretical determinations
of the compatibility or incompatibility between Islam and democracy,
and empirical discussions over how much Muslims (or Muslim societies)
have modernized or resisted modernization. These debates have yielded
a vast literature, to which the present book under review is a significant
addition. It presents an overview of the historical developments regarding
Islam and democracy and anticipates future trends in seven major countries:
Turkey (Chapter 2), Iran (Chapter 3), Pakistan (Chapter 4), Indonesia
(Chapter 5), Senegal (Chapter 6), Tunisia (Chapter 7), and Egypt (Chapter
8). The book also includes an introductory chapter (Chapter 1) and a conclusion
(Chapter 9).
The introduction provides a literature review and brief overview of the
developments that served as immediate causes of Arab Spring in various
countries. Various analysts have cited factors including a ‘youth bulge’ (a
majority of the population in the Muslim world is comprised of citizens
under 30), poverty, unemployment, repressive monarchial regimes, and
the mass provocative events of self-immolation (as of Bouazizi in Tunisia)
or killing (as of Khalid Said in Egypt) or torture (as of graffiti artists in
Syria). Other analysts are of the opinion that the Muslim countries were
at last catching up to the rest of the democratic world. This book considers
these factors, presenting a critical assessment of Huntington’s equation of
modernization with secularization and his equation of rejecting secularism ...

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