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Between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Boko Haram in Nigeria: A Study in Political Islam and Democratic Consolidation in Africa

‘Dele Ashiru, PhD,


Abstract Democratic consolidation implies the internalization of democratic principles, culture, ethos and values. It also implies the strengthening of political institutions and structures in societies that aspire to sustain democracy. The activities of Islamic groups such as The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Boko Haram in Nigeria seem to negate these time tested principles in the democratic transition of their respective countries. This paper therefore examines in a historical and comparative manner the intervention and activities of these two Islamic groups in the democratic consolidation of their respective countries. It posits that the organizational effectiveness of the Muslim Brotherhood in the capture of political power is a lesson from which Boko Haram and other Islamist groups can learn and argues that irrespective of their seeming failures in engendering and expanding the democratic space in their respective countries, Islam has within its tradition prescriptions that can assist Africa’s democracy beyond the present dominant liberal democratic paradigm. It concludes that unless democratic governance consciously ministers to the needs of the majority by guaranteeing the happiness of the greatest number of people, the liberal democratic paradigm already imposed on African countries where people vote without choosing cannot subsist for long. Keywords: Political Islam, Democracy, Consolidation, Fundamentalism.

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