This book explores the character of the political transformation and democratic transition in the Asian Muslim world. It asks whether democracy is appropriate and desirable as a political system for non-Western societies, and assesses the extent of actual democratization in each of the countries studied, namely, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The book questions the widely held view that the socio-political ethos of Islam as a religion, and/or of Muslim countries as societal units, prevents Muslims from adopting democracy as a form of government. The contributors argue that this perception comes from post-9/11 studies of Arab states and that non-Arab Muslim populations in Asia and Africa do not fit the same mold. At the same time, it is clear that a single model of democracy cannot work across these six countries because each country has a different history and treaded on a different path in the quest for democracy.
Ultimately, this book concludes that there is no fundamental incompatibility between Islam and democracy in the Asian Muslim world.
Chapter 1: The Struggle for Democracy in Bangladesh
The Struggle for Democracy in Bangladesh
This chapter seeks to understand the polity of Bangladesh from the perspective of the political, ideological and economic underpinnings of democracy, and democratic practices. Thus, it treats Bangladesh not only as a society dominated by a Muslim majority population, but also as a developing economy where democratic practices and institutions are evolving in an ever-increasing globalised world. The struggle for democracy in such a society is, therefore, a complex one. Bangladesh, born out of a nine-month bloody liberation war, had the daunting task of incorporating many of the secular and democratic ideals upheld in its first constitution into viable institutions and practices. The major obstacles were the military, an underdeveloped economy and donor dependence, ...