Whether Islam is compatible with democracy is an increasingly asked question, but ultimately a misguided one. In this book, Asef Bayat proposes that democratic ideals have less to do with the essence of any religion than with how it is practiced. He offers a new approach to Islam and democracy, outlining how the social struggles of student organizations, youth and women's groups, the intelligentsia, and other social movements can make Islam democratic. "Making Islam Democratic" examines in detail those social movements that have used religion to unleash social and political change, either to legitimize authoritarian rule or, in contrast, to construct an inclusive faith that embraces a democratic polity. It provides a fresh analysis of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution - how it has evolved into the pervasive, post-Islamist reform movement of the early twenty-first century, and how it differed from Egypt's religious "passive revolution." Focusing on events from the Iranian Revolution to the current day, with a comparative focus on Islamism, post-Islamism, and active religious expression across the region, Bayat explores the highly contested relationship between religion, politics, and everyday life in the Middle East. His book provides an important understanding of the great anxiety of our time - the global march of "Muslim rage" - and offers a hopeful picture of a democratic Middle East.
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"Relying mostly on experiences in Iran and Egypt and using a variety of Persian, Arabic, and Western sources, Bayat has written a masterly and intellectually challenging comparative analysis of social movements, including post-Islamic ones, and their impact on the ongoing debate over democratization in the Muslim Middle East."--"Library Journal "<br>""Making Islam Democratic" is a key acquisition for any college-level collection strong in Middle East studies. It offers... a fine analysis of the contemporary Iranian revolution and its evolution."--"California Bookwatch"
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Asef Bayat is Academic Director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and ISIM Professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He is the author of Workers and Revolution in Iran (1987), Work, Politics, and Power (1991), and Street Politics (1997).