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"There is no place in the Contemporary Middle Eastfor Western style democracy".

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Introduction

"There is no place in the Contemporary Middle East for Western style democracy" Discuss. The region known as the Middle East features heavily in our UK media. It is rare for a day to go by without mention of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, or the activities of extreme Islamic fundamentalist groups. However the Middle East is much more than a hotbed of religious fundamentalism and violence. It incorporates some of the richest countries in the world and was, for hundreds of years, the cultural centrepiece of civilisation. The region known as the Middle East is not a definite one. Other terms used include The gulf, The Orient and the 'Arab World'. The gulf does not account for the northern African countries which are culturally Middle Eastern. The orient is an outdated term, nowadays more likely to conjure images of China or Japan. Whilst the 'Arab world' is indeed centered on the Middle East, there are millions of Arabs worldwide outside the geographical and cultural Middle East. For the purpose of this essay I will use the term Middle East to cover Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Some discussion may also include Turkey, which is often viewed as a European country. Turkey's role as the base of the Ottoman Empire means it is highly relevant to the contemporary Middle East, especially considering the secularization and democracy that has developed in Turkey since the first reforms of the Young Turks. ...read more.

Middle

The difficulties in considering secularization bring us to the point of assessing the compatibility of Islam with democracy and its offspring secularization and liberalization. Whilst democracy does not have to be secular, the imposition of a western style democracy would necessitate it. The issue of Islam's compatibility with democracy has tended to be the key argument in discussing the chances of democracy within the Middle East. There are both positive and negative aspects of the Islamic religion when looking at democracy. As with all religions, it is the prerogative of the believer to protect and further the faith. The major fear for Islamics is a repeat of the secularization which has taken place in Europe since the enlightenment. As Hichem Karoui observes "Thus at some point of the western development, we would have to talk about the epistemological break up rather than about paradoxical continuation of the Christian narrative."x The idea of western democracy places the prominence of Islam at stake. For many this means that democracy is undesirable and severely hampers its chances in the Middle East. Another problem for Islamics is the idea of the people or any governmental institution being sovereign. For Islamics, God is sovereign. The Islamic religion dictates that every aspect of a person's life should be considered in being a good Muslim. Democracy can also be hijacked by political Islamists, as seen in Algeria. The role of fundamentalism in shaping the prospects of democracy is crucial. ...read more.

Conclusion

However if it does it will be ' eastern style democracy' and probably not even called democracy. As Kipling wrote " west is west and east is east and never the twain shall meet"xviii That is why I believe, and I do not believe it to be a bad thing, we shall never see liberal democracy in the Middle East. i Political theory- An introduction. A heywood ii Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards iii iii Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards iv iv Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards v v Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards p 170 vi Problem of democracy in the Middle East H deegan p327 vii Political and social thought in the contemporary Middle East. K.H.Karpat 200 viii viii Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards p41 ix and social thought in the contemporary Middle East. K.H.Karpat p 212 x www.middle-east-online.com- H. karoui xi www.middle-east-online.com- H. karoui xii What went wrong? B lewis p 210 xiii What went Wrong? B lewis p 198 xiv Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards p 181 xv Political and social thought in the contemporary Middle East. K.H.Karpat xvi xvi Contemporary politics in the Middle East. B Milton Edwards p169 xvii xvii www.middle-east-online.com- H. karoui xviii Political and social thought in the contemporary Middle East. K.H. ...read more.

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