Cesari, Jocelyne, The Awakening of Muslim Democracy. Religion, Modernity, and the State, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014,

cesariWhy and how did Islam become such a political force in so many Muslim-majority countries? In this book, Jocelyne Cesari investigates the relationship between modernization, politics, and Islam in Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Turkey – countries that were founded by secular rulers and have since undergone secularized politics. Cesari argues that nation-building processes in these states have not created liberal democracies in the Western mold, but have instead spurred the politicization of Islam by turning it into a modern national ideology. Looking closely at examples of Islamic dominance in political modernization – for example, nationalization of Islamic institutions and personnel under state ministries; reliance on Islamic references in political discourse, religiously motivated social unrest, or violence; and internationalization of Islam-aligned political movements or conflicts – this study provides a unique overview of the historical and political developments from the end of World War II to the Arab Spring that have made Islam the dominant force in the construction of the modern states, and discusses Islam’s impact on emerging democracies in the contemporary Middle East.


Part I. The Making of Islam as a Modern Religion:

1. Modernization and politicization of religion
2. Nation-state building and the inclusion of Muslim polities within the Westphalian order
3. Islam in the constitution
4. Nationalization of Islamic institutions and clerics
5. Islam in the legal system
6. Teaching Islam in public schools

Part II. Islamism as the Central Political Force Pre- and Post-Arab Spring:

7. Political opposition through Islamic institutions
8. Ideological strength of Islamist opposition
9. From martyrs to rulers

Part III. The Disjunction of Democracy and Secularism – Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring:

10. The rise of unsecular democracies: the conundrum of religious freedom in Muslim democracies
11. The way forward: the role of Islam in future democratizations
Conclusion. The tragedy of modernity.

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