Dossier: Islam and Democracy

An election helper empties a ballot box after the Afghan presidential election (photo: Reuters)

Presidential election in Afghanistan

Defying the Taliban

Last Saturday, around 12 million Afghans were called upon to vote for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Although the Taliban warned that numerous attacks would take place on voting day, large numbers of Afghans refused to be deterred. Details from Emran Feroz in KabulMore

An opponent of the AKP government holds up two posters of Prime Minister Erdogan with the slogan "Big thief" (photo: Reuters)

Eleven years of Erdogan

Hard times for the "champion" of political Islam

As everything points to a clear victory for the AKP in Turkey's local elections, Turkish political scientist Cengiz Aktar takes stock of 11 years of Erdogan's rule. He says that Turkey's political and economic problems are home made and are caused by the fact that the AKP has been in power for too long and Erdogan's growing inability to enter into political co-operation. Nevertheless, he cautions against celebrating the downfall of political IslamMore

Fethullah Gulen (dpa/picture-alliance)

The Gulen movement in Germany

Dogma instead of dialogue

Opaque structures and ambiguous objectives are not conducive to the education of the young. This is why the Gulen movement must be monitored more closely, writes Ursula RuessmannMore

The chamber of the Tunisian parliament (photo: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

Tunisia's new constitution

The pain and joy of giving birth

It took the political parties in Tunisia two years to agree on the country's draft constitution, which was adopted on Sunday, 26 January. The resulting document, however, is as contradictory as Tunisian society itself. By Sarah MerschMore

A demonstrator and opponent of the new government in Cairo prepares to throw a Molotov cocktail at security forces in Cairo (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Three years after the Arab uprisings

Tyranny has gone unpunished

The revolutions that swept across the Arab world in 2011 could have failed for any number of reasons. However, the fact that their consequences now threaten to drag entire nations into chaos and rehabilitate tyrannous rulers three years after they were unceremoniously ousted is almost worse than if there had been no uprisings in the first place. By Günther OrthMore

Still from the film "Freedom Bus" (photo: dropoutcinema)

Documentary film: "Freedom Bus"

On the rocky road to democracy

In 2011, the German-Iranian film director Fatima Geza Abdollahyan followed the "Freedom Bus" on its tour of Egypt. Along the way, she experienced many of the difficulties the campaign encountered in its attempts to raise awareness of the principles of democracy. Nevertheless, the resulting film makes compelling viewing. By Maha El NabawiMore

Ihsan Eliacik (photo: DW/Senada Sokollu)

Interview with Turkish theologian Ihsan Eliacik

The Koran and social justice

Ihsan Eliacik is the first proponent of an "Islamic socialism" in Turkey. In his teachings, he criticises the neo-liberal policies of the AKP and calls for a socialist reading of the Koran. Interview by Ceyda NurtschMore

An anti-government protester gestures towards riot police during clashes in the village of Sanabis west of Manama, November 6, 2012. Hundreds of protesters march on the street of the village defying the ban on protests set by Bahrain's Ministy of Interior (photo: Reuters)

The Bahraini Activist Ala'a Shehabi

"We Are Being Spied On"

The Bahraini activist and blogger Ala'a Shehabi is certain that freedom of the press is unattainable in Bahrain, even within the framework of the national dialogue between the country's opposition and the leadership of the royal family. In an interview with Hisham al-Douriush, she tells how she and her colleagues are subject to surveillance by the Bahraini security apparatusMore

Lale Akgün (photo: DW)

Interview with Lale Akgün

"Erdogan's Days Are Numbered'

Turkey's corruption scandal has put the prime minister's party under severe pressure. Lale Akgun, a German Social Democrat (SPD) politician with Turkish roots, says Erdogan fatally underestimated the Gulen movementMore

Clipping from Karim El-Gawhary's book (photo: publisher)

"Women's Power in Arabic"

Long-overdue Confrontations

In his new book, the journalist Karim El-Gawhary gives a voice and a face to strong Arab women, while moving beyond the clichés and headscarf debates. Martina Sabra describes the book as multifaceted, revealing, entertaining, emotionally moving, and definitely worth readingMore

Pakistan's deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, center, is greeted by lawyers after the government announced to reinstate him at his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, March 16, 2009 (photo: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Pakistan's Supreme Court

Ambiguous Ambitions

Pakistan's Supreme Court has become increasingly active in the past decade. While the judiciary must uphold fundamental rights, it must also let the executive and legislative branches of government do their jobs. By assuming too much executive and legislative power, Pakistan's top judges are obstructing democratisation. By Maryam S. KhanMore

Germany's New Minister for Migration Aydan Özoguz (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Germany's New Minister for Migration

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Aydan Özoguz, a Turkish-German at the Top

The SPD's Aydan Özoguz is the first politician of Turkish origin to hold a top post in Germany. As integration minister, she gives a voice to the country's many migrants - but she has not been without controversy. By Michael HartlepMore

Iranians celebrate in Tehran after agreement was reached on the country's nuclear power programme (photo: MEHR)

Iran's Intellectuals and President Rouhani

When Freedom Becomes A Possibility

Ever since Hassan Rouhani assumed the office of Iranian president, optimism has been growing among Tehran's intellectuals. Nevertheless, no one is taking any chances; past experience has shown that this would be unwise. Marina Forti reports from the Iranian capitalMore

Muslim men praying in Berlin's Sehitlik Mosque (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Debate on European Islam

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A Mined Terrain

The concept of European Islam has proved to be a constant source of controversy. For some it embodies the deliverance of Islam from everything that is perceived as backward looking and pre-modern. Others fear that a European Islam is a watered-down religion, a kind of government-controlled "state Islam", prepared to fully accommodate to the wishes of the authorities. By Claudia MendeMore

Egyptian supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi (portrait) shout slogans during a rally in support of the former Islamist leader outside Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on July 9, 2013 (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Essay by Dani Rodrik

The Problem is Authoritarianism, Not Islam

Is Islam fundamentally incompatible with democracy? Time and again events compel us to ask this question. And yet it is a question that obscures more than it illuminates. An essay by Dani RodrikMore

With a dramatic sunset backdrop illumating the scene from behind, a protestor stands on a ledge above his friends and waves the red, white and black Egyptian flag through the sunlight (photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The Arab Spring in Historical Perspective

Revolutions Take Time

Analysts have gleefully declared the Arab Spring to have failed. What they don't understand however, is that fundamental societal changes don't occur over night. In her essay, Ingrid Thurner pleads for more time for the Arab SpringMore

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