The Transformation of the Arab World

Issue Date July 2012
Volume 23
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-18
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In order to grasp what is happening in the Middle East, we must set aside a number of deep-rooted prejudices. First among them is the assumption that democracy presupposes secularization: The democratization movement in the Arab world came precisely after thirty years of what has been called the “return of the sacred,” an obvious process of re-Islamization of everyday life, coupled with the rise of Islamist parties. The second is the idea that a democrat must also, by definition, be a liberal. What is at stake is the reformulation of religion’s place in the public sphere.

About the Author

Olivier Roy is a professor at the European University Institute in Florence. He is the coeditor most recently of Arab Society in Revolt: The West’s Mediterranean Challenge (2012).

View all work by Olivier Roy