Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 April 2015
The role of Islam in the politics of Muslim-majority countries has attracted a plethora of scholarly research over the past two decades that generally refers to this phenomenon as political Islam. Much of the focus of this body of literature is concerned with the reconciliation of Islam and democracy. In recent years, the leading scholarship in this field has attempted to anticipate the future of political Islam and the prospect of post-Islamism. Asef Bayet's work on post-Islamists examines various social movements in the Middle East, arguing that Muslims have made Islam democratic by how they have defined Islam in respect to their particular socio-political contexts. However, others have expressed pessimism about the extent to which domestic conditions in Muslim-majority countries and external geopolitical factors will allow the development of an Islamic democracy. Abdelwahab El-Affendi, for instance, sees four main options for Islamists: full revolutionary takeover of their respective countries; completely withdrawing from political office to become Islamic interest or pressure groups; building broader coalitions while maintaining their ideology; or radically restructuring in order to emulate the model of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP). What is missing in this discussion is attention to the capacity of Islamic political parties to draw on Islamic tradition and evolve in response to modernity through a focus on Islam's higher objectives or a maqasid approach.
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