Is Islam Incompatible with Democracy?

After the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States did the George W. Bush administration launch a global campaign to promote democratization and liberalization in Islamdom. Many have later asked whether this was a mistaken policy as it was clearly the Bush administration’s efforts that ushered in the Arab spring a full decade later. This raises the question whether Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy? The answer is that some Muslim countries are apparently incapable of liberal democracy due to the majority of the population voting with anti-democrats, primarily Islamists. However, there are yet other Muslim countries where the majority of the voting public do not vote for anti-democratic political parties but rather for liberal-democratic ones. The problem with global Islamism largely arose in the 1980s and was not a major problem before that and became a problem largely because of massive funding with oil money. Islamism has existed since the 19th century but it was only in the 1980s that Islamist mass movements began to gain mass appeal in thus later preventing democratization in many countries. After unseating the former President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt did over 60% of Egyptians vote for the Islamists and that in a country which under the country’s former monarchy had an emerging liberal democracy. The problem with Islamism – a modern totalitarian political ideology influenced by Nazism and Communism – is a relatively recent one which did not exist decades ago and it is unclear for how long long the era of Islamist popular appeal will last. The eras of Fascist and Communist popular appeal came to an end and so will no doubt also the era of Islamist popular appeal.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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