Islamism as a phenomenon is increasingly debated. After the terrorist attacks in the United States September 2001, and the following wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamist movements have been in focus of attention. However, Islamist movements differ in organization, type of political action, historical affiliation, source of ideological inspiration, territorial and social diffusion, and legal status in the various national contexts. Accordingly, this thesis will not discuss Islamism in general. I will rather try to stress the variation within this phenomenon.
The Tunisian Islamist movement En-Nahda was chosen as case due to its extensive elaboration of an Islamic democracy. The main question posed was: To what extent is the Islamic democracy of the Tunisian En-Nahda democratic? The aim has been to analyse how the movement argues over democracy. The movement’s view on democracy was compared with theories on democracy. The outcome of my discussion on democracy was the construction of a dichotomy. Formal and substantive democracy constituted the concepts of this dichotomy.
The aim was to be able to conclude whether the movement is actually fulfilling certain criteria, and can therefore be defined as democratic. The mixing of religion and politics was simultaneously discussed as a consequence of Islamist doctrine. I found that this mixing not necessarily destroys the potential for obtaining democracy.
The conclusion that I draw from the analysis is that En-Nahda argues for a formal democracy, and the Islamic democracy fulfills these criteria. Further, I found that the movement at times argues for a substantive democracy as well. But because of a few stands taken by En-Nahda, I can only conclude that the movement is approaching a substantive form, while not meeting all requirements needed.