On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention', Tocqueville reports in Democracy in America. Even though religion cannot be considered formally as a part of the American political system, Tocqueville depicts it as the first American political institution because of its indirect effects on political life (Fradkin, 2000). Indeed, the role of religion constitutes one of the most central themes of his reflections on the issues and prospects of democracy. Thus, religion has always been a crucial question and theme in studying democracy especially in the Western world. Nevertheless, since 11 September 2001, the international spotlight has been more strongly focused than ever on the Muslim world particularly on the Middle East. The question of whether the culturalist thesis, elaborating that some religions are more compatible with democratic governance than others, has excited considerable and acute debates in recent years. This study aims primarily at showing that while no religious tradition is inherently and totally not suitable for democratic systems, the predominant practices and voices in specific religions may appear at precise times to be more or less willing to support democratic development. But, firstly, why did theorists of democracy find it natural and appropriate to examine whether one country or another was fit for democracy' (Sen, 1999)? In this respect, important is to account for the framework of our study in explicating the complicated and vague notion of democracy'. Indeed, what is democracy?
[...] To them, Islam is even one of the bases of democracy and that this form of political system does not contradict the shari'a as Allah has not prohibited democracy and that free press, political parties, or opposition are not declared illegal by the Quran. Freedom is even defended by the Quran through the command “luikraha fi'l-din” (there is no compulsion in religion). For some authors, pluralism is not a threat to the umma as there is a scope for diversity within Muslim unity. [...]
[...] More generally, no religious tradition is either a necessary or sufficient cause of democratization or an insuperable barrier to it. Indeed, religious tradition cannot be understood as the only factor that may influence democracy, extreme poverty or ethnic conflict are too. And democracy is a question of balance between, state and society. Indeed, the state has to be held in check through various measures and institutional instruments. It should be possible for Islamic countries to move towards participatory methods that recognized and secure identities and communities. [...]
[...] Catholicism is a hierarchical religion based on a single collective good that values harmony and consensus Confucianism (which is more an ethical code) emphasizes authority, hierarchy, responsibility, harmony and sees conflicts as dangerous Islam prevents secularization of society hindering the emergence of democracy. For Huntington, the problem is not Islamic fundamentalism but Islam itself. Indeed, Muslim and in particular Arab countries have not taken part in the third wave of democratization. More precisely, what makes possible the rise of democratic conditions and sentiments is the required and essential distinction between that which belongs to Caesar and that which belongs to God. [...]
[...] On the other hand, religious actor may really have the power to act in ways to encourage or prevent the emergence of democracy. Thus, what should be kept in mind is that the connection between religion and democracy is not merely accidental since religion still matters. Nevertheless, as religions are multi-vocal, no religion is stuck in its situation. Islam is no longer an irreversible obstacle to democracy and pluralism will be able to emerge in Muslim countries when dominant discourses within this religion are favorable to democratic development. [...]
[...] Citizenship is extended to a relatively high proportion of adults, and 2. The rights of citizenship include the opportunity to oppose and vote out the highest officials in the government. He points out seven essential requirements for a democracy: elected officials, free, fair and frequent elections, inclusive suffrage, the right to run for office, freedom of expression, alternative information and, finally, associational autonomy (Linz, Stepan, 1996). In the same vein, Schmitter and Karl not only accept Dahl's seven prerequisites but also add to special aspects: the polity must be self-governing and popularly elected officials must be able to exercise their constitutional powers without being subjected to overriding informal oppositions from unelected officials. [...]
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