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Saeed Ahmed Rid


For understanding how democracy affects religious freedom in Muslim majority countries, Indonesia and Pakistan are the best case studies because they are top two countries in terms of the Muslim population and the both have experienced democratic and dictatorial regimes. In liberal philosophy ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’, which includes the religious liberty and equality are considered fundamental political values that define the core principles of liberal democracy. Therefore, it could be hypothesized that the religious minorities in Indonesia and Pakistan should have experienced more religious freedom during the democratic phases. This paper explains how a regime type (democracy) affects the religious freedom of minorities in Muslim majority countries. Does the personality of the ruler and his political vision matter as well? How the religious groups and religious parties exploit majoritarian principles of democracy to put hurdles in religious freedom?

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