Kharijites and Qarmatians: Islamic Pre-Democratic Thought, a Political-Theological Analysis

Marco Demichelis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Amartya Sen (2004) states that the concepts of consensus and public debate are identifiable characteristics of a specific pre-democratic approach which is traceable within different political cultures entrenched in distinctive world areas. “The ideal of public discussion is closely associated with two particular social practices that deserve special attention: the tolerance of different points of view (along with the opportunity to agree or not) and the encouragement to public discussions (together with the values of learning from others)” (Sen 2004, 21). The historical presence of social consensus and open debates, which form part of a conciliatory pattern present within non-Western cultural backgrounds, has been confirmed and analyzed by such political scientists as Lijphart (2008), Hunter (Hunter and Malik 2005), Fini (2004), and Holloway (2002). However, skeptics such as Sartori (2008), Huntington (1991, 1996), and Fukuyama (1992, 2011) have emphasized these as being examples of political consensus which are without a background of historical evolution able to accommodate rights, social status, and legislation, underlining the incapability of non-Western society to advance toward a modern and contemporary process of democratization without considering the influence played by Europeans and North Americans in the development of this specific “persuading” policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and Representation: Islam and Democracy
EditorsPaul Nesbitt-Larking and Nawaz Tahir Ingrid Mattson
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Democracy
  • Islam


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