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 2: The Indonesian Experience in Implementing Democracy
The Indonesian Experience in Implementing Democracy
Muslims constitute the majority in Indonesia. Indeed, it is the largest Muslim community in the world. Yet their struggle for the establishment of Indonesia as an Islamic state based on the Shari'a by constitutional as well as violent means in the form of armed rebellions has been unsuccessful since the beginning of Indonesian independence.
Nonetheless, on the part of many Muslims, particularly through a number of Islamic political parties, the aspiration for an Islamic state remains alive to this day, if by less than violent means, albeit with implications involving frequent cases of violence in society. The majority of Indonesian Muslims, most of whom are moderate, seem to be powerless in preventing the growth of ...