Middle East Law and Governance 3 (2011) 245254 brill.nl/melg Bruce B. Lawrence Duke University, Durham, N.C. Radicalism and Political Reform in the Islamic and Western Worlds. By Kai Hafez. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 253 pp. ISBN: 978-0521-76320-2. US $95.00 (hardcover); ISBN: 978-0-521-13711-9. US $28.99 (paperback) One of the most insistent questions of public policy and academic inquiry since January 2011 has been: Are Islam and democracy compatible in the Arab world? The characteristic response was tagged as "Arab Exceptionalism", referring to the opinion that Arabs had become attuned to authoritarian rule, and that ruling elites opened their parlors or parliaments to popular voices merely as a window dressing to preserve their praetorian, security states from outside criticism. Under this rubric, human rights and civil society existed in the Arab world in name only. Moreover, it was argued, if open elections and participatory government did become possible in majority Muslim Arab countries, it would be those labeled extremists, fundamentalists or Islamists who would come to power, and once in power, they would subvert the very democratic structures that made their rule possible. Many of these same arguments focus on Islam either directly or obliquely. Regarding Islam as inherently
Middle East Law and Governance – Brill
Published: Mar 25, 2011
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