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Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn

In this book, Asef Bayat explores Islam and democracy especially with regard to what he calls the “post-Islamist” movement in the Muslim world. Instead of asking whether Islam and democracy are compatible, he asks, “under what conditions can Muslims instigate democratization within their countries?”

In this book, Asef Bayat explores Islam and democracy especially with regard to what he calls the “post-Islamist” movement in the Muslim world. Instead of asking whether Islam and democracy are compatible, he asks, “under what conditions can Muslims instigate democratization within their countries?” He challenges the Orientalist view on Islamic exceptionalism by not only contesting the validity of the question about the compatibility of democracy and Islam, but also through a very thorough investigation of the post-Islamist movement in Iran and the Islamist movement in Egypt. He defines post-Islamism as a “condition” and a “project” that emphasizes change through religiosity and rights that arises after Islamism runs its course as a legitimate source of hope for political and economic development (p. 10-11). Through his in depth case studies he demonstrates that the state has been successful in suppressing the post-Islamist social movements and their secular and reformist demands for political change in Iran. While the state has been equally successful at suppressing opposition (the political Islamist movement) in Egypt, the Egyptian state has not been able to quell society’s turn to Islamism.

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