For over three decades, Islamist politics, or political Islam, has been one of the most dynamic and contentious political forces in the Middle East. Although there is broad consensus on the importance of political Islam, there is far less agreement on its character, the reasons for Islamist’s success, the role of Islamist movements in domestic and international affairs, or what these movements portend for the future.
This volume addresses a number of central questions in the study of Islamist politics in the Middle East through detailed case studies of some of the region’s most important Islamist movements. Chapters by leading scholars in the field examine the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, Morocco’s Justice and Benevolence, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq and Islamist politics in Turkey and Iran. The topics addressed within this volume include social networks and social welfare provision, Islamist groups as opposition actors, Islamist electoral participation, the intersection of Islam and national liberation struggles, the role of religion in Islamist politics, and Islam and state politics in Iran, among other topics.
All of the contributing authors are specialists with deep knowledge of the subject matter who are committed to empirically based research. These scholars take Islamists seriously as modern, sophisticated, and strategic political players. Together, their work captures much of the diversity of Islamist politics in the region and will contribute to the scholarship on a topic that continues to be important for the Middle East and the world.
Table of Contents
Introduction Samer S. Shehata Part I: Islamist Politics: Theory and Critique 1. Islam and Islamist Politics in the Arab World: Old Theories and New Facts? François Burgat 2. Degrading Democracy: American Empire, Islam, and Struggles for Freedom in the Arab Islamic World Raymond Baker Part II: Case Studies: Islamist Movements and Politics in the Middle East 3. Islamist Social Networks and Social Welfare Services in Turkey Jenny B. White 4. Patronage, Prestige, and Power: The Islamic Center Charity Society’s Role within the Muslim Brotherhood Janine Astrid Clark 5. The Religious Dimension of Islamism: Sufism, Salafism, and Politics in Morocco Henri Lauziere 6. The Muslim Brotherhood – Between Evangelizing and Politics: The Challenges of Incorporating the Brotherhood into the Political Process Amr El-Shobaki 7. Political Da‘wa: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood’s Participation in Semi-Authoritarian Elections Samer S. Shehata 8. Mobilization and Ideology in the Iraqi Insurgency: The Role of Islam Ahmed S. Hashim 9. Hizbullah and Regional Non-state Actors Rola el-Husseini 10. Hamas as a Ruling Party Jean François-Legrain 11. A Decade of Reformists and Islamists in Power in the Islamic Republic of Iran: 1997-2007 Saïd Amir Arjomand
Samer Shehata is an Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He is the author of Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt.
"The different papers in the book reflect the diversity of Islamic politics and address a number of themes... Together, their work captures much of the diversity of Islamic politics in the region and is a significant contribution to the scolarship on a region and topic that continues to hold world attention." - Elfatih A. Abdel Salam, The Muslim World Book Review, 33:2, 2013.
Islamist Politics in the Middle East rejects the perspective that "Islamic fundamentalism" is a backward looking and anti-modern, religiously based political ideology. The essays in this volume challenge a Western framework [and] move past neo-colonial perceptions by examining the organization, collective authority, and diversity that create local politics, eschewing generalizations to look at the connections between local movements
This wonderful set of essays takes many different approaches to examine the diversity of political movements in the present day Islamist Middle Eastern setting and shows where the West is entrapped in the use of language and images that stifle analysis. Assembled in one space, the essays let us contemplate Shehata’s introductory theme, the puzzle to the West of defining political Islamists. The West, staggering at times under its own unexamined truce
between secular society and Christianity, is badly equipped to view impartially the ineluctable centrality of Islam in these states. Researchers and policy makers who wish to build a more practical and realistic view of the Middle East will find Shehata’s book useful.
Jacqueline Swansinger PhD
SUNY FredoniaJournal of International and Global Studies Vol 4 No 2 April 2015
"...a valuable contribution to further our knowledge of the broad phenomenon of Islamic politics in practice...a valuable achievement"
Frida Nome, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, NUPI and Norwegian School of Theology
Journal of Islamic Studies, vol 26, no 2, September 2015, 345-347