Islam & Democracy

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Islam & democracy aren't two terms that are typically joined together in essays, stories, and discussions. But that hardly means that the two concepts are irreconcilable. In fact, in recent years, groups such as the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) have made it their primary objective to research the ways in which the two are connected.

Even before 9/11, Islam suffered from several Western misconceptions about the religion. First among these is the view of Islam as a faith that suppresses democratic notions of freedom, self-determination, and individualism. While there are certainly many "failed" Islamic states, especially in the Middle East, the correlation between the two does not point to causality. There are plenty of predominantly Islamic societies that have made great artistic and technological contributions.

Studying Islam & Democracy

Any formal study of Islam & democracy requires vast resources, from financial capital to leading scholarly minds. With those in hand, it is then possible to discover how Western notions of freedom fit into the ideological schema of traditional Islam. Once these conclusions have been drawn they can be further disseminated throughout the mainstream American media in the hopes of cultivating greater understanding about this misunderstood religion.

Islam is a faith based on submission and obedience. Democracy, on the other hand, looks to the will of the populace, free elections, speech, and press for its sustenance. It's easy to see how these competing trends can seem mutually exclusive. But without a detailed and sophisticated study, it's premature to assume that they must be.


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