Browsing articles tagged with " religion"
Aug 27, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Chinese Religious Freedom, Spiritual & Earthly Authority

Around the world few subjects are as contentious and difficult to broach in mixed company as the issue of religion.  Here in the States we place great value on the concept that people are free to believe what they wish and to live largely as they choose, yet we argue constantly over the place religion should have in politics and public life.  We’ve a long history of discomfort with the interplay between spiritual and earthly authority and our presently open stance on religion comes only after hundreds of years of development of social and moral norms on the subject.  Still there is the ever-present promotion of religious freedom abroad, particularly in nations we have strained current relations with.
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Jan 25, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

D&S Vol. 8 Iss. 1 Winter 2011

The newest issue of Democracy & Society is now available online!

The Obama Administration and the US Relationship with the Broader Middle East


  • An interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
  • Lessons and implications for the Obama Administration
  • Discussion of the unexpected Maliki-Sadr alliance
  • “Democratizing” Iran

And more!

Jan 6, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Terrorism and religious freedom in Egypt

MA in Democracy and Governance student Samuel Tadros argues that lack of religious freedom in Egypt lies at the heart of the New Year’s Eve terrorist attack on a Coptic Church that killed 23 Copts:

The current attack is attributed to Islamist anger over the alleged kidnapping by the Coptic Church of a Priest’s wife whom they claim converted to Islam. The general context is Islamist anger at what they perceive as the humiliation of Islam at the hands of Copts by asking to build churches…In all of this there is no alternative provided. There is no argument for the right of an individual to choose his religion, there is no defense of the right of people to build churches, and there is no public sphere opened to Christians.

This seems like a pretty solid argument to me. Placing the communal feelings of the followers of a state’s dominant religion above the ability of an individual to practice the religion of his or her choice is only a small step away from legitimizing oppression of those who don’t adhere to the dominant religion.

Dec 31, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

2010 in Review

Once again, we’ve spent the year expanding D&S.   We have new contributors, including David, Elizabeth and Imara, D&S is now on Facebook, we published the Spring 2010 issue, with the Fall issue on the way, the complete archives are now available, we added a page of special reports from the CDACS and DG staff and students and we continued to provide quality snark and commentary on foreign affairs and international development.

Here’s a brief review to ring out the old year.

Top Posts

On Facebook

On the Blog

Returning from last year, Why Do People Protest still lands in the Top 5 posts on the blog.  The other Top 5 posts are:

Most Commented

Another of last year’s posts (Obama Needs a Vision Check) continues to be one of the most commented posts.  The others include:

Thank You

We’d like to say thank you to all of our Fans, Friends and followers, and in particular, to the following for ReTweeting, linking, and generally loving our stuff!

Happy New Year from all of us at D&S and Georgetown CDACS!

Nov 27, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Egypt’s Elections & Middle Eastern Democracy

Often in the past scholars have argued whether or not there is any hope for democratization in the Middle East.  It has further been argued whether Islam is somehow innately incompatible with liberal democracy.  Recently in light of the difficulties in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, particularly claims of violence against activists and candidates and media being barred from covering the elections, this issue has again risen to the fore.

Certainly the difficulties of Egypt’s elections are nothing to take lightly, they display many of the troubles seen commonly in elections under semi-authoritarian regimes.  On the other hand to state that these difficulties somehow lay rooted in faith rather than all the standard flaws of corruption, politics and governance strikes me as terribly unwise.  This argument effectively asserts that democracy is simply not a possibility in the region, as we certainly cannot expect religion to just go away here or anywhere else in the world.

In some ways, I see the problems of the Middle East as reflective of some of those faced in developing democracy in Latin America. There exists a tendency among scholars and practitioners to apply democratic principles successfully used in the Western world to new areas, contrary to the history and culture of said area.  In the Middle East the culture and heritage of a state often seems pointedly ignored to the detriment of any push toward successful democratization.  I see no reason that democracy shouldn’t grow and flourish in the Middle East as much as it has done elsewhere.  The Middle East is certainly not an Islamic monolith, and to suggest that religion keeps states in the region from democratizing must be rather insulting to those Muslims living and successfully participating in democracy in our own country.

Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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