Whither democracy? Religion, politics and Islam

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (4):437-448 (2011)
The question raised by the article is: can democracy be religious and, if so, how? Can religious faith be reconciled with modern democratic political institutions? The article takes its departure from the biblical admonition to believers to be ‘the salt of the earth’ — a phrase that militates against both world dominion and world denial. In its long history, Islam (like Christianity) has been sorely tempted by the lure of worldly power and domination. Nor is this temptation entirely a matter of the past (witness the rise of the Christian right and of ‘political Islam’ in our time). Focusing on contemporary Iran, the article makes a constitutional proposal which would strengthen the democratic character of the Iranian Republic without canceling religious faith. If adopted, the proposal would reinvigorate the ‘salt’ of Muslim faith thus enabling believers to live up to the Qur‘anic summons for freedom, justice and service in the world
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DOI 10.1177/0191453710397927
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I. Ahmad (2011). Democracy and Islam. Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (4):459-470.

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