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1 Islamic Democracy A Valid Concept or an Oxymoron?

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1 1 Islamic Democracy A Valid Concept or an Oxymoron?

2 2 Democracy and Islam: A Range of Opinions Incompatibility Islam is inherently undemocratic [The Orientalists (e.g. Bernard Lewis), Western Politicians, Western Media, …] Democracy is alien/contrary to Islamic ethos and principles [Muslim Traditionalists, Muslim fundamentalists] Compatibility Islam has endorsed and promoted democratic ideas and ideals [Early Muslim Modernisers, The Fundamentalists] Suitable interpretations of Islam can incorporate appropriate models of democracy [Modern Muslim intellectuals]

3 3 Outline of an argument for the compatibility thesis ‘Islam’ and our understanding of ‘Islam’ Democracy as a ‘social construct’

4 4 What Is This Thing Called ‘Social Construct’? Reality, facts (natural and social), and the three worlds Intentionality: Cognitive & Volitive Direction of Fit Intentionality: Individual & Collective

5 5 Social Constructs (cont.) Status-functions General formula for creation of institutional facts: –‘X counts as Y in context C’ Coherence

6 6 Social Constructs (cont.) Social Constructs: Do they have Essence? Social Constructs: ‘Discovery’ of new functions Social Constructs: How are they individuated?

7 7 Democracy as a social construct once more Main Arenas and Organising Principles of a Mature Democracy Arena Primary organising principle Civil Society Freedom of association and communication Political Society Free and inclusive electoral contestation Rule of Law Constitutionalism State apparatus Regional-legal bureaucratic norms Economic society Institutionalised market

8 8 Democracy: Its Rivals & the Main Areas of Assessment Rivals Authoritarianism Totalitarianism Post-Totalitarianism Sultanism Areas of Assessment Ideology Pluralism Mobilisation Leadership

9 9 Democracy: Some useful Distinctions Liberalisation vs. Democratisation Transition to Democracy vs. Consolidation of Democracy Participatory Democracy vs. Representative Democracy

10 10 Liberalisation vs. Democratisation Liberalisation may entail a mix of policy and social changes, such as less censorship of the media, somewhat greater space for the organisation of autonomous working- class activities, the introduction of some legal safeguards for individuals such as habeas corpus, the releasing of the most political prisoners, the return of exiles, perhaps measures for improving the distribution of income, and most important, the toleration of opposition. Democratisation entails liberalisation but is a wider and more specifically political concept. Democratisation requires open contestation over the right to win control of the government, and this in turn requires free competitive elections, the result of which determine who governs.

11 11 Transition vs. Consolidation Transitions to democracy may begin that are never completed, even though a new authoritarian regime does not assume power. Electoralist fallacy: Elections are necessary condition for democracy but are seen as sufficient conditions.

12 12 Consolidation Behaviourally, a democratic regime in a territory is consolidated when no significant national, social, economic, political, or institutional actors spend significant resources attempting to achieve their objectives by creating a non-democratic regime or turning to violence or foreign intervention to secede from the state.

13 13 Consolidation Attitudinally, a democratic regime is consolidated when a strong majority of public opinion holds the belief that democratic procedures and institutions are the most appropriate way to govern collective life in a society such as theirs and when the support for anti-system alternatives is quite small or more or less isolated from the pro-democratic forces.

14 14 Consolidation Constitutionally, a democratic regime is consolidated when governmental and non- governmental forces alike, throughout the territory of the state, become subjected to, and habituated to, the resolution of conflict within the specific laws, procedures, and institutions sanctioned by the new democratic process.

15 15 Participatory vs. Representative Democracy Representative Democracy is Characterised by: Voting and Competitive elections among predetermined choices A procedural system of checks and balances designed to control private interests Solutions developed by government officials and technical experts The use of persuasion, debate, and advocacy to win consent Limited citizen involvement

16 16 Participatory vs. Representative Democracy Participatory Democracy is characterised by: Cooperative activities to determine what the choices are An inclusive system of opportunities for pursuing the public’s interests and common good Solutions developed by citizens in collaboration with government and technical experts The use of dialogue, deliberation, and discussion to achieve an action-oriented consensus Active citizen involvement

17 17 Three Organizing Principles of Democracy 1- Democratic Politics Complementary participatory and representative institutions, within a context of globally aware egalitarian political system (representative institutions designed to support and incorporate direct citizen participation). Respect for essential civil rights and liberties.

18 18 Three Organizing Principles of Democracy 2- Democratic Community Face-to-face human interaction on terms of equality as a means to nurture mutual respect, emotional bonds, and recognition of commonalities among citizens. Intercommunity cultural pluralism Extensive opportunities for each citizen to hold multiple memberships across diverse spectrum of communities.

19 19 Three Organizing Principles of Democracy 3- Democratic Work Equal and extensive opportunities to participate in self-actualizing work experiences. Diversified careers, flexible life scheduling, and citizen sabbaticals.

20 20 Democracy & State The more the population of the territory of the state is composed of pluri-national, lingual, religious, or cultural societies, the more complex the politics becomes because an agreement on the fundamentals of a democracy will be more difficult. Although this does not mean that democracy cannot be consolidated in multinational or multicultural states, it does mean that considerable political crafting of democratic norms, practices, and institutions must take place. Some ways of dealing with the problems of stateness are inherently incompatible with democracy.

21 21 Islamic Democracy: How is it possible? Social Constructs: Values and Norms Social Constructs: Ways of Classification Social Constructs: Instruments and Value-bearers Various Interpretations of Islam & Democracy Progressive & Degenerative Research Programmes for constructing models of Islamic Democracy Islamic Democracies & Critical Assessments

22 22 The Limits of Islamicness Islamic Science Vs. Islamic Technology Are there such things as Islamic Banks (Banking System), and Islamic Economics?

23 23 Outline of a Proposed Model of Islamic Democracy The Democracy Component: A combination of Representative and Participatory models of Democracy

24 24 Outline of a Proposed Model of Islamic Democracy The Islamic Component: A Critical Rationalist Interpretation Faith; Belief; Revelation; Religion; and Reason

25 25 Outline of a Proposed Model of Islamic Democracy (Cont.) The significance of ‘Tradition’ Tradition, Pluralism and the survival of the fittest Tradition and the Basic Human Values The operative ideal of siblinghood of humanity Covenant vs. Contract A society built on social contract is maintained by an external force, the monopoly within the state of the justified use of coercive power. A covenant, by contrast, is maintained by an internalised sense of identity, kinship, loyalty, obligation, responsibility and reciprocity. Parties can disengage from a contract when it is no longer to their mutual benefit to continue. A covenant binds them even - perhaps especially, in difficult times. This is because a covenant is not predicated on interests, but instead on loyalty, fidelity, holding together even when things seem to be driving apart.

26 26 Islamic Democracy Local Difficulties and Global Issues The role of the intellectuals and the significance of the civil societies


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