Democratic Views in Islamist Groups

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Islamist groups do not have the greatest reputation among supporters of democracy as they are typically seen as anti-democratic. While there are a plethora of Islamist groups that oppose democracy, there are some that see the appeal in at least a few aspects of democracy. The question then becomes: why do some Islamist groups support democracy more than others? In an attempt to answer the question, this paper provides a unifying definition of Islamism that allows the reader to understand what Islamists’ goals are, and what most Islamist groups have in common with each other to fit under the term “Islamism.” Furthermore, a minimalist description of democracy that highlights elections over measures of normative values will be defined to properly measure Islamist support or opposition towards democracy. The paper also highlights which Islamic symbols Islamists borrow from to justify their views of democracy. By using both a “most similar systems design” and a “most different systems design,” Islamist groups are compared based on their ideologies and views of democracy in order to find out how, and why these Islamist groups vary in their views of democracy.



Democracy, Islamism, Islam, Elections, Sunni, Shia, Salafi