Can Islam and Democracy Coexist?
Saudi Arabia recently announced that it would hold elections for municipal council positions. The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., heralded the news as part of the kingdom's reform agenda and echoed an address by King Fahd last May in which he vowed to "broaden popular participation in the political process."
The eventual scope of Saudi reform remains to be seen, and the reasons driving such a decision are debatable. Yet even a small step towards democracy in the conservative kingdom raises eyebrows as questions reemerge about the future of participatory government in the Islamic world. How compatible are Islam and democracy, and under what conditions do the two thrive together? [Read more] ...