Islam and democracy

There exist a number of perspectives on the relationship of Islam and democracy among Islamic political theorists, the general Muslim public, and Western authors.

In 2021, a number of Muslim majority countries are Islamic democracies. Indonesia is currently the democratic country with the largest Muslim majority population in the world.

Some modern Islamic thinkers, whose ideas were particularly popular in the 1970s and 1980s, rejected the notion of democracy as a foreign idea incompatible with Islam. Others have argued that traditional Islamic notions such as shura (consultation), maslaha (public interest), and ʿadl (justice) justify representative government institutions which are similar to Western democracy, but reflect Islamic rather than Western liberal values. Still others have advanced liberal democratic models of Islamic politics based on pluralism and freedom of thought.[1] Some Muslim thinkers have advocated secularist views of Islam.[2]

A number of different attitudes regarding democracy are also represented among the general Muslim public, with polls indicating that majorities in the Muslim world desire a political model where democratic institutions and values can coexist with the values and principles of Islam, seeing no contradiction between the two.[3][4][5] In practice, the political history of the modern Muslim world has often been marked by undemocratic practices in states of both secular and religious character. Analysts [weasel words] have suggested a number of reasons for this, including the legacy of colonialism, oil wealth, the Arab-Israeli conflict, authoritarian secularist rulers, and Islamic fundamentalism.


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