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Islam and Culture Two Epistemic Catalysts for Moral Dilemmas in the African Democratic Experiment

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Democracy as historical practice has managed to survive twists and turns in its gestation, birth, and growth to maturity. In Greek Antiquity, the inclusion of women and slaves was an issue to contend with. This was hardly resolved before the Athenian States were dissolved into the Roman empires. With much larger populations, more effective rationality, vital civilization and sophistication, democracy was resuscitated in the eighteenth century in Britain and North America, and has spread around the world. This is not to imply a sense of security, which would be false; newer and still more sophisticated, tremors, contractions, and paroxysms have emerged. But these problems have often led to moral dilemmas and conflicting traditions. This essay arguees that two formidable obstacles to the steady development of democracy and liberty and an exacerbation of the dilemma of democratic tradition arise from Islam and traditional cultural accretions. By reviewing the basic concepts and issues associated with the notion and practiceof democracy, this article identifies specific areas of culture and Islam within the Nigerian context that tend to frustrate democratic processes – a problem that calls for caution on the part of practitioners, active and prospective.


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