Islamic Movements and Democratization

Aysegul Kozak

Gulseren Isik

In recent years, many sociologists as well as political scientists argued over and offered theories about the factors that promote democracy. Some suggested that a country may more likely to become democratic if it becomes richer, if it redistributes the country’s wealth and income in an egalitarian manner.
To still others, becoming more capitalististic and rapidly converting its peasantry into proletarians is a condition of democratization. Being a former British colony and being a Protestant are also offered as factors that increase the likelihood of being a successful democracy (see Dahl, 1971; Bollen & Jackman 1985; Huntington 1991; Lipset, 1994; Moore, 1966; Muller, 1995).
Up to date, the majority of the studies on the democratization of the Islamic countries have dealt with the issue under the lenses of Islam’s adverse effects on the level of democratization in the Muslim countries. These studies, however, mostly failed to notice the positive drive to democratization brought by the Islamic parties into the existing political system. This paper aims to address this deficiency within the democracy literature.
More specifically, the aim of the paper, via case studies of Turkey and Egypt, is to examine the effect of the inclusion or exclusion of the Islamic parties in the political system of Muslim countries’ transitions to democracy. We argue that, inclusion of the Islamic parties in the democratic system in Turkey increased the state’s legitimacy, diminished civil conflict, and encouraged liberalization of the Turkish political system, the parties and their constituency thus, promoted a drive to successful democratization.
On the other hand, the exclusion of Islamists from the political system in Egypt weakened the state’s legitimacy, intensified the civil conflict, and radicalized the Islamic 4 movement and its constituency. The state gradually became more and more autocratic thus, hindered democratization.

In recent years, many sociologists as well as political scientists argued over andoffered theories about the factors that promote democracy. Some suggested that a countrymay more likely to become democratic if it becomes richer, if it redistributes thecountry’s wealth and income in an egalitarian manner. To still others, becoming morecapitalististic and rapidly converting its peasantry into proletarians is a condition ofdemocratization. Being a former British colony and being a Protestant are also offered asfactors that increase the likelihood of being a successful democracy (see Dahl, 1971;Bollen & Jackman 1985; Huntington 1991; Lipset, 1994; Moore, 1966; Muller, 1995).Up to date, the majority of the studies on the democratization of the Islamic countrieshave dealt with the issue under the lenses of Islam’s adverse effects on the level ofdemocratization in the Muslim countries. These studies, however, mostly failed to noticethe positive drive to democratization brought by the Islamic parties into the existingpolitical system. This paper aims to address this deficiency within the democracyliterature.More specifically, the aim of the paper, via case studies of Turkey and Egypt, is toexamine the effect of the inclusion or exclusion of the Islamic parties in the politicalsystem of Muslim countries’ transitions to democracy. We argue that, inclusion of theIslamic parties in the democratic system in Turkey increased the state’s legitimacy,diminished civil conflict, and encouraged liberalization of the Turkish political system,the parties and their constituency thus, promoted a drive to successful democratization.On the other hand, the exclusion of Islamists from the political system in Egyptweakened the state’s legitimacy, intensified the civil conflict, and radicalized the Islamic4movement and its constituency. The state gradually became more and more autocraticthus, hindered democratization.

Filed Under: EgyptFeaturedMuslim BrotherhoodStudies & ResearchesTurkeyTurkey's AKP

Tags:

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply