Why Some Muslim Countries are Democracies and Some are Not
This presentation examines the argument that the relationship between democracy and Islam, and between democracy and religion more broadly, is a contingent relationship. The contingency derives from variations in (a) the salience of religion as a basis of social cleavage relative to the salience of other bases of social cleavages (e.g. class, ethnicity, race, region, language), and (b) the multifaceted ways in which religion becomes institutionalized in politics and governance. These variations suggest four possible outcomes: (1) High institutionalization of religion, independent of social cleavage patterns, will endanger democracy. (2) High institutionalization combined with high social salience of religion at the expense of other sources of social cleavage will weaken the prospects of democracy. (3) Moderate institutionalization of religion combined with cross-cutting social ethnic, language and religious fractionalization will facilitate democracy. (4) Low institutionalization and low social salience of religion reinforced by cross-cutting social cleavages will strengthen democracy.