chapter  27
Islamist movements in the Mediterranean
Modernist Islam, Islamism and Salafism
ByRoel Meijer
Pages 11

This chapter gives an overview of the Islamic intellectual trends since the end of the nineteenth century to the present day from Morocco to Syria. It analyses the emergence of Islamic modernism, the development political Islam (Islamism) and the formation of literalist Salafism. It shows how these trends have been influenced by ideological trends within the movements, the interaction between each other, as well as the political environment in which they operate. Especially the rise of the authoritarian regimes in the 1960s has had a crucial influence on the radicalization of Islamism. However, with the collapse of the authoritarian bargain in the 1980s also these Islamist trends developed new ideas on doctrine, politics, community and identity. They would be important for their attitude toward the Arab Uprisings in 2011. The chapter analyses how the modernists, having found expression in the Wasatiyya trend, were more easily able to adjust to the new demands concerning citizenship and rights, while other movements were less well prepared for a radical change. The conservative wing in Islamism failed to grasp the political opportunity, while Salafism, although it was extremely flexible strategically, was hampered by its literalist doctrine to establish a democratic political order.