Islam and Democracy in the Middle East

In This Review

Islam and Democracy in the Middle East

By Larry Diamond (ed.), Marc F. Plattner (ed.), and Daniel Brum
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003
336 pp. $45.00
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The 30 short essays in this collection (all but one taken from recent issues of the Journal of Democracy) include individual country studies as well as more general considerations of the relationship between Islam and democracy. No clear general findings emerge, but the collection provides a rich lode of empirical examples and sober working hypotheses about democratic prospects. The country studies of Iran, Turkey, and several Arab states illustrate the diversity of governmental and constitutional forms in the Middle East, in order to demonstrate that a democratic discourse is well underway. But unfortunately, that discourse is often mere theater; no lack of ballot boxes, as Mohamed Talbi observed, all well stuffed.