Despite recent failures in Egypt and Turkey, two of the world’s three most populous countries of Islam’s core (the other being theocratic Iran), political parties wishing to legislate Islamic value may still stand a chance. “In Egypt, the economic challenges are so dire, and traditions of consensual governance so shallow, that it may be impossible for any party to rule democratically in the foreseeable future, let alone the Muslim Brotherhood, which would have to reinvent itself completely.” In Turkey, the government has shamed itself by cracking down on peaceful protestors demanding a more pluralistic society.
What’s the Big Idea?
According to Timur Kuran, Duke University Professor of Economics and Political Science, the only path forward for political Islam is to operate from within a constitution that includes credible mechanisms for guaranteeing pluralism and due process. “Political Islam has reached a critical juncture on the road toward democratic legitimacy,” said Kuran. “Its continued progress will depend on the commitment of two of its leading promoters—Turkey’s AKP and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—to design and implement political systems that safeguard the basic democratic principles of pluralism, freedom, and the rule of law.”