• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

Functioning of democracy in Pakistan
Functioning of democracy in Pakistan

The prevalent discourse about democracy in the Muslim world typically follows a culturist approach. It revolves around the question of the democratic potential of Islam, especially as it operates in Muslim-majority states such as Pakistan. The basic argument in this paper is that the institutional-constitutional structure of the state in Pakistan as inherited from British India makes it a serious candidate for democracy along the Westminster model. Islam in Pakistan, like secularism in India, provides an ideational sanction to the state. The ascendancy of the Muslim elite from northern India, which heralded the Pakistan movement, turned the country into a migrant state, characterised by a paternalistic rule underscored by a low power potential of elected assemblies. ...

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