Islamism in the Middle East

The Resistant, the Fighter and the Mujahid

Authored by: Bernard Rougier

Routledge Handbook of Political Islam

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415484732
eBook ISBN: 9780203154144
Adobe ISBN: 9781136577239


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This chapter intends to redefine Islamism in the Middle East by exploring three ideal-type forms of political and religious engagement, which have been expressed in a sequential or cumulative manner for about 30 years. Split into many expressions, Islamism in the Middle East revolves nevertheless around three main figures: the muqatil (fighter), the muqawim (resistant) and the mujahid (jihad fighter). The rationale of specific situations explains, for the most part, the switch from one form of action to another. This chapter aims to clarify the particular characteristics of these three models of militant action, and seeks to highlight the privileged resources upon which each one relies. Through the figure of the muqawil, here defined as an entrepreneur of anger, a fourth form of action, linked to the globalisation of exchanges and the birth of new information technology, will also be explicated in turn. With the assistance of this theoretical framework one may be able to formulate hypotheses about the evolution of Islamism in the region.

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