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 4: Islam and Democracy in Malaysia
Islam and Democracy in Malaysia
Introduction: Stating the Problem
Historical records show that the Middle East, namely, the Arabian Peninsula, has been the cradle of major world religions, but interestingly, their adherents are found mostly outside of this region. A noted example of this is Islam. Emerging in the 7th century A.D. with Mohammed as the last Messenger of Allah, Islam has become a global faith today with about 1.4 billion believers, or 22 per cent of the world's population, located mostly in the 57 member-states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). In Southeast Asia Muslims constitute the majority in three countries, Indonesia (the world's largest Muslim nation), Malaysia and Brunei, while Muslim minorities are found in significant numbers in southern ...