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The Challenge of PluralismParadigms from Muslim Contexts$
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Abdou Filali-Ansary and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639694

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639694.001.0001

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Democracy, Pluralism and Political Islam

Democracy, Pluralism and Political Islam

(p.62) Chapter 5 Democracy, Pluralism and Political Islam
The Challenge of Pluralism

Filali-Ansary Abdou

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter aims to address whether political Islam is compatible, as far as its socio-political ends are concerned, with the requirements of just and democratic institutions. The emphasis in this chapter is on the term ‘just’, as certain understandings of democratic institutions make no conceptual connection between justice and democracy. In theory, a state may be democratic but not just. It is argued in this chapter that democracy without justice, though logically conceivable, is democracy only in form but not in substance. This argument fans the desire of this chapter to explore not merely whether the aims of political Islam are reconcilable with the requirements of democratic institutions, but more importantly, whether they are reconcilable with just, democratic institutions. To begin, the chapter provides some preliminary remarks about the meaning and criteria of just, democratic institutions. It focuses on pluralism, however it is limited to the discussion of classical pluralism, radical pluralism, and liberal pluralism. The chapter then discusses political Islam and demonstrates why its aims, if implemented, would exclude the possibility of any of the five conditions required for the establishment of just, democratic institutions being satisfied.

Keywords:   political Islam, democracy, pluralism, democratic institutions

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