This essay will be used as a proposal for research discussing the ability of Islamic culture and democracy to be implemented in a successful way. There are many factors that are at play in this conversation, as well as angles to observe when analyzing such a topic. Religion itself has long been a subject of discussion and debate in regards to the way in which ideological developments can affect political ideas and beliefs. The first source which will be used for the discussion of this topic is Clash of Civilization by Samuel P. Huntington. In this specific text, Huntington focuses exclusively on Islam and democracy as an extension of political belief, as well as the capacity for democracy to flourish under a religious ideology such as Islam.
The research will follow accordingly, deducing the influences which hinder the ability of democracy to grow in heavily Muslim reasons. One of the primary attributes of this resistance to democracy comes in the form of many Islamic communities’ resistance to modernity and developing means to modernize themselves and their particular practices. This is the principle discussion that Huntington addresses in the text on the subject, and this research paper will analyze the argument he makes and provide refutations to them as well. The claims will be tested through empirical data and alternatives will also be presented to help support the explanation as to why there is a lack of democracy present in many of the largely Muslim countries across the globe. The purpose of this research is to analyze cultural influence on societies, utilizing the Muslim world and community as an example for the study conducted.
The first issue that will be brought into focus will be the nature of democracy itself, and what constitutes democracy as an ideology. In order to better analyze why democracy isn’t heavily prevalent in Muslim communities, the research paper will begin by discussing exactly what constitutes democracy in itself. There are many indicators of a democratic system, but the ones which will be discussed in this essay the most will be the participation of citizenry in elections and the qualifications of a democratic system. In this section, research by Giovanni Sartori will be presented to help categorize democracy and show to what extent democracy exists in its actual form.
The purpose of introducing this research is to classify the constraints on Islamic countries and to define the concept of democracy, so as to better analyze their lack of the political system which constitutes democracy itself. From there, the proposal will introduce the discussion presented by John Anderson, which essentially presents the argument that the very nature of Islamic religion doesn’t bode well for the introduction or implementation of democracy. This research will cite his paper titled Does God Matter, and If So Whose God: Religion and Democratization. The reason for the utilization of this source will be to support Huntington’s theory about the conflicting ideologies and beliefs which constrain the ability of democracy to flourish in Muslim countries. From there, the essay will transition to discussion of Huntington’s work and place the emphasis upon the argument that he presents on the subject.
Supporting documentation will be provided by Francis Fukuyama as to why the existence of democracy presents a paradoxical situation for most institutions of democracy across the globe. The focus in this section and the question posed will be why? This answer will be presented in the form of the idea that modernity poses a large problem for the traditional Islamic belief systems which tend to reject the more globalized, modernized beliefs of the rest of the world. Yet, despite the introduction of the ideas that are presented by these authors, the next section of this research paper will be used to analyze refutations that are proposed for what they believe. In this section, the primary focus will be on asking the question “Do they truly understand the religion of Islam and does this affect their perception?” The answer is that the two authors don’t fully grasp the traditional, actual religion of Islam and what it propagates in itself. Furthermore, the belief that these authors have will be challenged on the grounds that the idea of Islamic countries’ inability to adapt democracy is a complex, multifaceted issue in itself.
For this section, the authors Alfred Stepan and Fred Halliday present and construct valid arguments for this idea and this section will be dedicated to analyzing the arguments that they present. For example, Halliday presents the idea that, by delineating the problem and stating that there is only one traditional, authentic answer to the issue creates the situation in which the belief becomes that there is only one idea of what Islam is in all forms across the globe. The dichotomy of Islamic thought will be introduced, as well as the fact that there are several thoughts and schools of Islam across the world. The question that will be answered in this section is “What is the difference between trains of Islamic thought?”
The purpose of the research in this section is to analyze and understand the relationship that the many ideas of Islamic thought have with one another and with democracy and modernity in general. The principle discussion introduced will be the value of traditional Islamic values and the way in which these correlate to democracy itself. The presence of a public sphere where citizens can actively participate in the daily occurrences and can openly discuss their lives is a central aspect that will be discussed in regards to the similarities between Islam and democracy itself. The ideas which are propagated by democracies and democratic leaders will be analyzed, as well as the relationship that those who believe in Islam have to these thoughts.
The last few sections will be used to analyze and provide empirical data supporting Huntington’s claim and the question as to whether or not Islam stifles the ability of democracy to flourish. The next author to be cited will be Myunghee Kim, whose research will be used to support the claim that many Islamic believers that were tested supported the idea of democracy. In this section, the emphasis will be placed on deducing the perception surrounding the Muslim culture on a global scale and the overall perception that Muslims often stand against the ideas proposed by democracy. Several studies will be brought into question to show that Huntington’s claims are more expansive and that the solution for the issues he presents are more far-reaching than simply assuming that Islam in itself causes an inability to adapt to democracy.
Research from individuals such as John Esposito and Fares Al-Braizat will be used to show that many individuals across the world who ascribe to the thought of Islam generally support the idea of democracy itself. From there, the research paper will address the nature of the government which represent most of these countries and the fact that they’re often authoritarian regimes that are highly dictatorial and opposed to the existence and utilization of democracy as a feasible form of government. The research paper will dedicate much analysis to the relationship that the common Western perception of Islam and the nature o the governments presiding over Islam have with how those who are not within these countries perceive and understand the lack of democracy present.
Lastly, this research paper will conclude the points that Huntington presented and the arguments that were given for and against the claims made. The research conducted for this essay will service to highlight the common misconceptions about the Islamic culture and show that the lack of obvious democratic beliefs are often tied to more than simply religious or cultural restrictions, but are often the result of many factors having a direct impact such as the effects of authoritarian regimes and the lack of presence that the common person has in the political decisions in their country.