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Islamic democracy is a political ideology that seeks to apply Islamic principles to public policy within a democratic framework. Islamic political theory specifies three basic features of an Islamic democracy: leaders must be elected by the people, subject to sharia, and committed to practicing "shura", which is Arabic for "consultation". The expression of Islamic democracy is different in different Muslim majority countries, as sharia interpretations vary from country to country, and the use of sharia is more comprehensive in countries in which sharia forms the basis for state laws.
The concepts of liberalism and democratic participation were already present in the medieval Islamic world.The Rashidun Caliphate is perceived by its proponents as an early example of a democratic state and it is claimed that the development of democracy in the Islamic world eventually came to a halt following to the Sunni–Shia split.
Deliberations of the Caliphates, most notably the Rashidun Caliphate, were not democratic in the modern sense rather, decision-making power lay with a council of notable and trusted companions of Muhammad and representatives of different tribes (most of them selected or elected within their tribes). It can be viewed similar to how the prime minister is chosen in many nations.
In the early Islamic Caliphate, the head of state, the Caliph, had a position based on the notion of a successor to Muhammad's political authority, who, according to Sunnis, was ideally elected by the people or their representatives,as was the case for the election of Abu Bakr, Umar bin Alkhattab, Uthman, and Ali as Caliph. After the Rashidun Caliphs, later Caliphates during the Islamic Golden Age had a much lesser degree of democratic participation, but since "no one was superior to anyone else except on the basis of piety and virtue" in Islam, and following the example of Muhammad, later Islamic rulers often held public consultations with the people in their affairs.
The legislative power of the Caliph (or later, the Sultan) was always restricted by the scholarly class, the ulama , a group regarded as the guardians of the law. Since the law came from the legal scholars, this prevented the Caliph from dictating legal results. Laws were decided based on the ijma (consensus) of the Ummah (community), which was most often represented by the legal scholars.In order to qualify as a legal scholar, it was required that they obtain a doctorate known as the ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifttd ("license to teach and issue legal opinions") from a madrasa . In many ways, classical Islamic law functioned like a constitutional law.
Democratic religious pluralism also existed in classical Islamic law, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early Caliphate, Al-Andalus, Islamic India, and the Ottoman Millet system. [ page needed ]
Legal scholar L. Ali Khan argues that Islam is fully compatible with democracy. In his book, A Theory of Universal Democracy, Khan provides a critique of liberal democracy and secularism. He presents the concept of "fusion state" in which religion and state are fused. There are no contradictions in God's universe, says Khan. Contradictions represent the limited knowledge that human beings have. According to the Quran and the Sunnah, Muslims are fully capable of preserving spirituality and self-rule.
Furthermore, counter arguments to these points assert that this attitude presuppose democracy as a static system which only embraces a particular type of social and cultural system, namely that of the post-Christian West. [ citation needed ]See: constitutional theocracy .
Muslim democrats, including Ahmad Moussalli (professor of political science at the American University of Beirut), argue that concepts in the Quran point towards some form of democracy, or at least away from despotism. These concepts include shura (consultation), ijma (consensus), al-hurriyya (freedom), al-huqquq al-shar'iyya (legitimate rights). For example, shura (Al Imran – Quran 3:159, Ash-Shura – Quran 42:38) may include electing leaders to represent and govern on the community’s behalf. Government by the people is not therefore necessarily incompatible with the rule of Islam, whilst it has also been argued that rule by a religious authority is not the same as rule by a representative of God. This viewpoint, however, is disputed by more traditional Muslims. Moussalli argues that despotic Islamic governments have abused the Quranic concepts for their own ends: "For instance, shura, a doctrine that demands the participation of society in running the affairs of its government, became in reality a doctrine that was manipulated by political and religious elites to secure their economic, social and political interests at the expense of other segments of society," (In Progressive Muslims 2003).
Much debate occurs on the subject of which Islamic traditions are fixed principles, and which are subject to democratic change, or other forms of modification in view of changing circumstances. Some Muslims allude to an "Islamic" style of democracy which would recognize such distinctions.Another sensitive issue involves the status of monarchs and other leaders, the degree of loyalty which Muslims owe such people, and what to do in case of a conflicting loyalties (e.g., if a monarch disagrees with an imam).
According to the Shia understanding, Muhammad named as his successor (as leader, with Muhammad being the final prophet), his son-in-law and cousin Ali. Therefore, the first three of the four elected "Rightly Guided" Caliphs recognized by Sunnis (Ali being the fourth), are considered usurpers, notwithstanding their having been "elected" through some sort of conciliar deliberation (which the Shia do not accept as a representative of the Muslim society of that time). The largest Shia grouping—the Twelvers branch—recognizes a series of Twelve Imams, the last of which (Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Hidden Imam) is still alive and the Shia are waiting for his reappearance.
Since the revolution in Iran, the largest Shia country, Twelver Shia political thought has been dominated by that of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and leader of the revolution. Khomeini argued that in the absence of the Hidden Imam and other divinely-appointed figures (in whom ultimate political authority rests), Muslims have not only the right, but also the obligation to establish an "Islamic state".To that end they must turn to scholars of Islamic law (fiqh) who are qualified to interpret the Quran and the writings of the imams. Khomeini distinguishes between Conventional Fiqh and Dynamic Fiqh, which he believes to also be necessary.
Khomeini divided the Islamic commandments or Ahkam into three branches:
This list includes all commandments which relate to public affairs, such as constitutions, social security, insurance, bank, labour law, taxation, elections, congress, etc. Some of these codes may not strictly or implicitly pointed out in the Quran and generally in the Sunnah, but should not violate any of the two, unless there is a collision of rules in which the more important one is given preference (an apparent, but not inherent, violation of a rule).[ citation needed ]
Once in power and recognizing the need for more flexibility, Khomeini modified some earlier positions, insisted the ruling jurist need not be one of the most learned, that Sharia rule was subordinate to interests of Islam (Maslaha—"expedient interests" or "public welfare"), and the "divine government" as interpreted by the ruling jurists, who could overrule Sharia if necessary to serve those interests. The Islamic "government, which is a branch of the absolute governance of the Prophet of God, is among the primary ordinances of Islam, and has precedence over all 'secondary' ordinances."
The last point was made in December 1987, when Khomieni issued a fatwa in support of the Islamic government's attempt to pass a labor protection bill not in accordance with sharia. : ولايت مطلقه) to enact state commandments, taking precedence over "all secondary ordinances such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage".He ruled that in the Islamic state, governmental ordinances were primary ordinances, and that the Islamic state has absolute right (Persian
Were the powers of government to lie only within the framework of secondary divine decrees, the designation of the divine government and absolute deputed guardianship (wilayat-i mutlaqa-yi mufawwada) to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) would have been in practice entirely without meaning and content. ... I must point out, the government which is a branch of the absolute governance of the Prophet of God is among the primary ordinances of Islam, and has precedence over all secondary ordinances such as prayer (salat), fasting (sawm), and pilgrimage (hajj).
Other deviations from strict sharia law have been noted in the largest Shia-majority state:
... the financial system has barely been Islamized; Christians, for example, are not subject to a poll tax and pay according to the common scheme. Insurance is maintained (even though chance, the very basis for insurance should theoretically be excluded from all contracts). The contracts signed with foreigners all accept the matter of interest.
The early Islamic philosopher, Al-Farabi (c. 872–950), in one of his most notable works Al-Madina al-Fadila, theorized an ideal Islamic state which he compared to Plato's The Republic .Al-Farabi departed from the Platonic view in that he regarded the ideal state to be ruled by the prophet, instead of the philosopher king envisaged by Plato. Al-Farabi argued that the ideal state was the city-state of Medina when it was governed by Muhammad, as its head of state, as he was in direct communion with God whose law was revealed to him. In the absence of the prophet, Al-Farabi considered democracy as the closest to the ideal state, regarding the republican order of the Rashidun Caliphate as an example within early Muslim history. However, he also maintained that it was from democracy that imperfect states emerged, noting how the republican order of the early Islamic Caliphate of the Rashidun caliphs was later replaced by a form of government resembling a monarchy under the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties.
A thousand years later, the modern Islamic philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal, also viewed the early Islamic Caliphate as being compatible with democracy. He "welcomed the formation of popularly elected legislative assemblies" in the Muslim world as a "return to the original purity of Islam." He argued that Islam had the "gems of an economic and democratic organization of society", but that this growth was stunted by the monarchist rule of Umayyad Caliphate, which established the Caliphate as a great Islamic empire but led to political Islamic ideals being "repaganized" and the early Muslims losing sight of the "most important potentialities of their faith."
Another Muslim scholar and thinker, Muhammad Asad, viewed democracy as perfectly compatible with Islam. In his book The Principles of State and Government in Islam , he notes:
Viewed from this historical perspective, 'democracy' as conceived in the modern West is infinitely nearer to the Islamic than to the ancient Greek concept of liberty; for Islam maintains that all human beings are socially equal and must, therefore, be given the same opportunities for development and self-expression. On the other hand, Islam makes it incumbent upon Muslims to subordinate their decisions to the guidance of the Divine Law revealed in the Qur'ãn and exemplified by the Prophet: an obligation which imposes definite limits on the community's right to legislate and denies to the 'will of the people' that attribute of sovereignty which forms so integral a part of the Western concept of democracy.
Islamist writer and politician Abul A'la Maududi, conceived of an "Islamic state" that would be an "Islamic democracy" and would eventually "rule the earth".The antithesis of secular Western democracy, it would follow an all-embracing Sharia law, but would be a "theodemocracy", not a theocracy, because its rule would be based on the entire Muslim community (pious Muslims who followed sharia), not the ulema (Islamic scholars). Maududi's vision has been criticized (by Youssef M. Choueiri) as an
ideological state in which legislators do not legislate, citizens only vote to reaffirm the permanent applicability of God's laws, women rarely venture outside their homes lest social discipline be disrupted, and non-Muslims are tolerated as foreign elements required to express their loyalty by means of paying a financial levy.
There are several ideas on the relationship between Islam in the Middle East and democracy. Waltz writes that transformations to democracy seemed on the whole to pass by the Islamic Middle East at a time when such transformations were a central theme in other parts of the world, although she does note that, of late, the increasing number of elections being held in the region indicates some form of adoption of democratic traditions.
Following the Arab Spring, professor Olivier Roy of the European University Institute in an article in Foreign Policy has described political Islam as "increasingly interdependent" with democracy, such that "neither can now survive without the other".
Orientalist scholars offer another viewpoint on the relationship between Islam and democratisation in the Middle East. They argue that the compatibility is simply not there between secular democracy and Arab-Islamic culture in the Middle East which has a strong history of undemocratic beliefs and authoritarian power structures.Kedourie, a well known Orientalist scholar, said for example: "to hold simultaneously ideas which are not easily reconcilable argues, then, a deep confusion in the Arab public mind, at least about the meaning of democracy. The confusion is, however, understandable since the idea of democracy is quite alien to the mind-set of Islam." A view similar to this that understands Islam and democracy to be incompatible because of seemingly irreconcilable differences between Sharia and democratic ideals is also held by some Islamists.
However, within Islam there are ideas held by some that believe Islam and democracy in some form are indeed compatible due to the existence of the concept of shura (meaning consultation) in the Quran. Views such as this have been expressed by various thinkers and political activists in the Middle East.They continue to be the subject of controversy, e.g. at the second Dubai Debates, which debated the question "Can Arab and Islamic values be reconciled with democracy?"
Writing on The Guardian website,Brian Whitaker, the paper's Middle East editor, argued that there were four major obstacles to democracy in the region: 'the imperial legacy', 'oil wealth', 'the Arab–Israeli conflict' and 'militant or "backward-looking" Islam'.
The imperial legacy includes the borders of the modern states themselves and the existence of significant minorities within the states. Acknowledgment of these differences is frequently suppressed usually in the cause of "national unity" and sometimes to obscure the fact that minority elite is controlling the country. Brian Whitaker argues that this leads to the formation of political parties on ethnic, religious or regional divisions, rather than over policy differences. Voting therefore becomes an assertion of one's identity rather than a real choice.
The problem with oil and the wealth it generates is that the states' rulers have the wealth to remain in power, as they can pay off or repress most potential opponents. Brian Whitaker argues that as there is no need for taxation there is less pressure for representation. Furthermore, Western governments require a stable source of oil and are therefore more prone to maintain the status quo, rather than push for reforms which may lead to periods of instability. This can be linked into political economy explanations for the occurrence of authoritarian regimes and lack of democracy in the Middle East, particularly the prevalence of rentier states in the Middle East.A consequence of the lack of taxation that Whitaker talks of in such rentier economies is an inactive civil society. As civil society is seen to be an integral part of democracy it raises doubts over the feasibility of democracy developing in the Middle East in such situations.
Whitaker's third point is that the Arab–Israeli conflict serves as a unifying factor for the countries of the Arab League, and also serves as an excuse for repression by Middle Eastern governments. For example, in March 2004 Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's leading Shia cleric, is reported as saying "We have emergency laws, we have control by the security agencies, we have stagnation of opposition parties, we have the appropriation of political rights – all this in the name of the Arab-Israeli conflict". The West, especially the US, is also seen as a supporter of Israel, and so it and its institutions, including democracy, are seen by many Muslims as suspect. Khaled Abou El Fadl, a lecturer in Islamic law at the University of California comments "modernity, despite its much scientific advancement, reached Muslims packaged in the ugliness of disempowerment and alienation."
This repression by secularistic Arab rulers has led to the growth of radical Islamic movement groups, as they believe that the institution of an Islamic theocracy will lead to a more just society. Unfortunately, these groups tend to be very intolerant of alternative views, including the ideas of democracy. Many Muslims who argue that Islam and democracy are compatible live in the West, and are therefore seen as "contaminated" by non-Islamic ideas.
Early in the history of the state of Pakistan (March 12, 1949), a parliamentary resolution (the Objectives Resolution) was adopted stating the objectives on which the future constitution of the country was to be based. It contained the basic principles of both Islam and Western Democracy, in accordance with the vision of the founders of the Pakistan Movement (Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan).It proclaimed:
Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.
- The State shall exercise its powers and authority through the elected representatives of the people.
- The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed.
- Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Quran and Sunnah.
- Provision shall be made for the religious minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.
This resolution was included in the 1956 constitution as preamble and in 1985it was inserted in the constitution itself as Article 2 and Schedule item 53 (but with the word "freely" in Provision shall be made for the religious minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures, removed. ). The resolution was inserted again in the constitution in 2010, with the word "freely" reinstated.
However, Islamisation has proceeded slowly in Pakistan, and Islamists and Islamic parties and activists have expressed frustration that sharia law has not yet been fully implemented.
The idea and concept of Islamic democracy has been accepted by many Iranian clerics, scholars and intellectuals.The most notable of those who have accepted the theory of Islamic democracy is probably Iran's Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who mentions Islamic democracy as "Mardomsalarie Dini" in his speeches.
There are also other Iranian scholars who oppose or at least criticise the concept of Islamic democracy. Among the most popular of them are Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shiraziwho have written: "If not referring to the people votes would result in accusations of tyranny then it is allowed to accept people vote as a secondary commandment." Also Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi has more or less the same viewpoint.
Some Iranians, including Mohammad Khatami, categorize the Islamic republic of Iran as a kind of religious democracy.They maintain that Ayatollah Khomeini held the same view as well and that's why he strongly chose "Jomhoorie Eslami" (Islamic Republic) over "Hokoomate Eslami" (Islamic State).
Others maintain that not only is the Islamic Republic of Iran undemocratic (see Politics of Iran) but that Khomeini himself opposed the principle of democracy in his book Hokumat-e Islami: Wilayat al-Faqih , where he denied the need for any legislative body saying, "no one has the right to legislate ... except ... the Divine Legislator", and during the Islamic Revolution, when he told Iranians, "Do not use this term, 'democratic.' That is the Western style."Although it is in contrast with his commandment to Mehdi Bazargan. It is a subject of lively debate among pro-Islamic Iranian intelligentsia. Also they maintain that Iran's sharia courts, the Islamic Revolutionary Court, blasphemy laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Mutaween (religious police) violate the principles of democratic governance. However, it should be understood that when a democracy is accepted to be Islamic by people, the law of Islam becomes the democratically ratified law of that country. Iranians have ratified the constitution in which the principle rules are explicitly mentioned as the rules of Islam to which other rules should conform.Ayatollah khomeini fervently believed that principles of democracy can't provide the targeted justice of Islam in the Sharia and Islamic thoughts.(Mohaghegh.Behnam 2014) This contrast of view between the two Iranian head leaders of this Islamic country, as above mentioned about Khatami's and Khomeini's views have provisionally been being a case of disaffiliation of nearly half a country in most probable political coincidence, so the people cognizant of this heterogeneous political belief shall not be affiliated by newly formed views of democratic principles.(Mohaghegh, Behnam 2014)
There are several non-governmental organizations that publish and maintain indices of freedom in the world, according to their own various definitions of the term, and rank countries as being free, partly free, or unfree using various measures of freedom, including political rights, economic rights, freedom of the press and civil liberties.
The following lists Muslim-majority countries and shows the scores given by two frequently used indices: Freedom in the World (2018)by the US-based Freedom House and the 2018 Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit. These indices are frequently used in Western media, but have attracted some criticism and may not reflect recent changes.
|Location||Democracy Index Score||Democracy Index Rank||Democracy Index Category||Freedom in the World Status||Type of government||Religion and State|
|Afghanistan||2.55||149||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Unitary presidential Islamic republic||State religion|
|Albania||5.98||77||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Parliamentary system||Secular state|
|Algeria||3.56||128||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic||State religion|
|Azerbaijan||2.65||148||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|Bahrain||2.71||146||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Constitutional monarchy||State religion|
|*Bangladesh||5.43||92||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Parliamentary republic||State religion|
|Brunei||–||–||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Absolute monarchy||State religion|
|Burkina Faso||4.75||103||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|Chad||1.50||165||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|*Comoros||3.71||123||Authoritarian regime||Partly free||Presidential system, Federal republic||State religion|
|Djibouti||2.76||145||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|Egypt||3.36||130||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic||State religion|
|Guinea||3.14||137||Authoritarian regime||Partly free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|*Indonesia||6.39||68||Flawed democracy||Partly free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|Iran||2.45||150||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Unitary presidential constitutional republic subject to a Supreme Leader||State religion|
|Iraq||4.09||112||Hybrid regime||Not free||Parliamentary republic||State religion|
|Jordan||3.87||117||Authoritarian regime||Partly free||Constitutional monarchy||State religion|
|Kazakhstan||3.06||141||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|Kosovo||-||–||–||Partly free||Secular state|
|Kuwait||3.85||119||Authoritarian regime||Partly free||Constitutional monarchy||State religion|
|Kyrgyzstan||5.11||95||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Parliamentary republic||Secular state|
|Lebanon||4.72||104||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Confessionalist Parliamentary republic||Secular state|
|*Libya||2.32||154||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Provisional government||State religion|
|*Malaysia||6.54||59||Flawed democracy||Partly free||Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy||State religion|
|*Maldives||–||–||–||Partly free||State religion|
|Mali||5.64||86||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|Mauritania||3.82||121||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Islamic republic, Semi-presidential system||Islamic state|
|Morocco||4.87||101||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Constitutional monarchy||State religion|
|*Niger||3.76||122||Authoritarian regime||Partly free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|Nigeria||4.44||109||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Federalism, presidential system||Secular state, Islamic state (only in the northern Nigerian states)|
|‡Northern Cyprus (Cyprus)||–||–||–||Free||Partly Free - Controlled By Turkish Forces|
|Oman||3.04||143||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Absolute monarchy||State religion|
|*Pakistan||4.26||110||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Federalism, parliamentary republic||Islamic state|
|‡Palestine (occupied by Israel)||4.46||108||Hybrid regime||Not free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state (in West Bank), de facto Islamic state (in Gaza Strip)|
|Qatar||3.19||133||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Absolute monarchy||State religion|
|Saudi Arabia||1.93||159||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Islamic absolute monarchy||Islamic state|
|*Senegal||6.15||74||Flawed democracy||Free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|*Sierra Leone||4.66||105||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|Somalia||Not free||Federalism, Semi-presidential system||State religion|
|‡Somaliland (Somalia)||Partly free|
|Sudan||2.15||155||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Federalism, presidential system||Secular state (de jure), Islamic state (de facto)|
|Syria||1.43||166||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Semi-presidential system||Secular state|
|Tajikistan||1.93||159||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|The Gambia||4.06||113||Hybrid regime||Partly free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|*Tunisia||6.32||69||Flawed democracy||Free||Semi-presidential system||State religion|
|Turkey||4.88||100||Hybrid regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|Turkmenistan||1.72||162||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system, one-party state||Secular state|
|United Arab Emirates||2.69||147||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Federalism, Constitutional monarchy||State religion|
|Uzbekistan||1.95||158||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Presidential system||Secular state|
|‡Western Sahara (controlled by Morocco)||–||–||–||Not free||–|
|Yemen||2.07||156||Authoritarian regime||Not free||Provisional government||Islamic state|
This is a list of parties and organizations which aim for the implementation of Sharia or an Islamic State, or subscribe to Muslim identity politics, or in some other way fulfil the definitions of political Islam, activist Islam, or Islamism laid out in this article; or have been widely described as such by others.
|Country or scope||Movement/s|
|Finnish Islamic Party|
|Islamic Action Front|
|United Malays National Organisation|
|Justice and Development Party|
|Islamic Democratic Party|
|National Umma Party Sudan|
|Peace and Development Party|
|Muslim Brotherhood of Syria|
|Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan|
the power to rule over the earth has been promised to the whole community of believers. [italics original]
Maududi proposed forming a Muslim theodemocracy in which Islamic law would guide public policy in all areas of life. (Maududi specifically rejected the term 'theocracy' to describe his ideal state, arguing that the truly Islamic state would be ruled not by the ulema but by the entire Muslim community.)
: Goal 3.3 and 3.5
[The BNP] seems also to have been hurt by its alliance with Islamist parties, the largest of which, Jamaat-e-Islami, was reduced from 17 seats to just two.
West [Pakistan]'s army had the support of many of East Pakistan's Islamist parties. They included Jamaat-e-Islami, still Bangladesh's largest Islamist party ... reinstating and enforcing that original constitution might amount to an outright ban on Jamaat, the standardbearer in Bangladesh for a conservative strain of Islam.
In the Western press, when the AK Party administration, the ruling party of the Turkish Republic, is being named, unfortunately most of the time 'Islamic,' 'Islamist,' 'mildly Islamist,' 'Islamic-oriented,' 'Islamic-leaning,' 'Islamic-based' or 'with an Islamic agenda,' and similar language is being used. These characterizations do not reflect the truth, and they sadden us," Çelik said. "Yes, the AK Party is a conservative democratic party. The AK Party's conservatism is limited to moral and social issues.