I’m not a big fan of theocracy and as Islam is often presented as a pro-theocracy religion that has, unsurprisingly, coloured my perception of Islam. But I got to wondering this evening: how many Islamic majority countries are actually theocratic?
So, here’s what I’ve determined so far. As far as I can ascertain, there are 48 countires where Islam is the majority religion, these being: Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Syria, Kazakhstan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Guinea, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Chad, Lebanon, Kuwait, Albania, Mauritania, Oman, Kosovo, The Gambia, Bahrain, Comoros, Qatar, Djibouti, Brunei, the Maldives (and Gaza, if we could include that).
So then I looked into how many countries practice strict Sharia Law. As far as I can ascertain there are 9 that proscribe death for blasphemy, these being: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Gaza. And another 12 that proscribe imprisonment for blasphemy, these being: Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Somalia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. That’s 21 that have state-enforced blasphemy laws, a bit less than half.
Then there’s another 13 that have some level of Sharia, these being: Indonesia, Turkey, Brunei, Jordan, Eritrea, Syria, Djibouti, Chechnya, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Gambia and Qatar. But I’m not sure if these count or not, given many Western countries have Christian influenced law without being theocratic per se. Maybe others could add some insight here? Good articles seem hard to come by. It’s a question I’d like to persue further.