Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study

Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study

Synopsis

Does Islam facilitate authoritarianism and the abuse of individual rights? Price uses comparative case studies and statistical analysis, which includes an indicator of Islamic political culture, to investigate this important question. The results indicate that Islam does not have a significant influence on democracy and human rights practices and that too much emphasis is placed on Islam as a political force.

Excerpt

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government officials frequently point to “Islamic fundamentalism” as the next ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, however, is based primarily on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions, can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the connection between Islam and politics is called for.

I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam, democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages, and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of Islam on politics across eight nations. I argue that much of the power attributed to Islam as the driving force behind policies and political systems in Muslim nations can be better explained by the previously mentioned factors. I also find, contrary to common belief, that the increasing strength

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