RSIS Seminar Series on Muslim Societies in Asia by Nader Hashemi
The Role of Islam in the Transition to Democracy
The postcolonial state in the Muslim world was built over a deeply polarised society, especially regarding modernisation and secularism, which often led to authoritarian and repressive regimes. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the role of religion has become the key debate in the development and consolidation of democracy. Highlighting that religion’s normative role in politics has always been a source of debate and conflict in both Western and non-Western trajectories to democracy, Dr Hashmi argues that the road to democracy in the Muslim world will be led by reformed Islamist groups and post-Islamists, rather than secular and liberal forces. In this seminar, Dr Hashmi stresses the vital need of a mediating group to engage both Islamists and secularists in productive dialogue and transition towards democracy. He will also survey the capacity of religious based political parties to mediate among different polarities within society, which is a rather compelling task given that religion constitutes a powerful source of identity.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Nader Hashemi is Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. His publications include Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies(New York: Oxford University Press, 2009; The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and Iran’s Struggle for Democracy (New York: Melville House, 2011), edited with Danny Postel; The Syria Dilemma (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), edited with Danny Postel.; and Iran’s Green Movement: A Political and Intellectual History(Oxford University Press/Hurst & Co., forthcoming).