Are Muslim Countries Less Democratic?
by Frederic L. Pryor
Middle East Quarterly
Scholars and theoreticians have long argued about the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Bush administration support for export of democracy to the Middle East has brought the debate to the forefront of policy circles. As the discussion continues, statistical models can be useful to interpret the historical record. While recent studies have reached contradictory conclusions, as more data is considered, a nuanced relationship between Islam and democracy emerges: In all but the poorest countries, Islam is associated with fewer political rights.
Scholarly studies disagree about whether Muslim countries as a whole are less democratic than non-Muslim countries. For political scientists and statisticians, the compatibility between Islam and democracy remains controversial, and studies have reached opposite conclusions. Part of this is due to limited sample size. Research has focused either on particular countries or subcategories such as Arab countries which are not representative of majority Muslim states. Indeed, none of the four most populous Muslim countries—Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Turkey—is Arab. Read the rest of the article from here....