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Western-style Democracy and non-Western religions - the case of Islam

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  1. Western-style democracy compatible with non-Western religions? Discuss primarily the question of the Islamic religion
  2. Analysing the compatibility between the Islamic traditions and precepts and the Western-style democracy
  3. Conclusion

Is Western-style democracy compatible with non-Western religions? Discuss primarily the question of the Islamic religion. Although the suggestion that certain religious traditions are more suitable for democracy, came under increasing debates from the early 1980s onwards, scholars, like Huntington, state a link between spread of democracy and religion. Thus, in his book 'Democratisation's third wave', Huntington starts by noting the ongoing relationship between democracy and Protestantism, quoting a 1960s study which suggested that in 91 countries studied, the greater the proportion of protestants the higher the level of democracy. In the same way, he links the catholic tradition with the democratic transition from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, since around three-quarters of the countries had a predominantly catholic tradition. So, according to Huntington, western Christianity is a crucial element for the implementation of democracy. Then, in his later 'Clash of Civilizations', Huntington tackles the question of the compatibility of democracy with some non-Western religions. He argues that 'democracy might have reached its civilizational limits, and seeing Islam in particular, has provided infertile ground for the development of democratic institutions'. So what is stated is that, if Western religions are suitable for democracy, non-Western are not.

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