Religion, state and nation

Islamic parties between ideology and religion

Authored by: Jocelyne Cesari

The Routledge Handbook to Religion and Political Parties

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138500464
eBook ISBN: 9781351012478
Adobe ISBN:


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Islamic political parties have generated literature from political scientists, which mostly focuses on their acceptation or rejection of formal politics. The widely accepted ‘inclusion-moderation’ paradigm contends that unlike repression, the inclusion of Islamic political parties into political systems leads to a greater ideological tolerance among Islamist leaders. From this perspective, numerous scholars have focused on behavioural moderation, especially pragmatism within the parties’ platforms and searches for political alliances. Others have explored the opportunity structures that facilitate the inclusion of Islamic parties into the political system, mostly examining institutional constraints and types of political culture. This literature shows that the more participatory Islamic parties become, the less they use religious themes. Repression by the state expands their constituency beyond religious themes to include all oppressed political actors in coalition building. On the other hand, competition with other religious parties tends to increase religious rhetoric. Literature also highlights a dilemma specific to Islamic parties; that is, more than others, they are characterised by their dual constituencies based on religious claims and social grievances. This chapter examines these issues.

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