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.

chapter |20 pages


part I|36 pages

Islamist politics: theory and critique

chapter 1|17 pages

Islam and Islamist Politics in the Arab World

Old theories and new facts?

chapter 2|18 pages

Degrading Democracy

American empire, Islam, and struggles for freedom in the Arab Islamic world

part II|160 pages

Case studies: Islamist movements and politics in the Middle East

chapter 4|20 pages

Patronage, Prestige, and Power

The Islamic Center Charity Society's political role within the Muslim Brotherhood

chapter 5|19 pages

The Religious Dimension of Islamism

Sufism, Salafism, and politics in Morocco

chapter 6|13 pages

The Muslim Brotherhood – Between Evangelizing and Politics

The challenges of incorporating the Brotherhood into the political process

chapter 7|26 pages

Political DA‘WA

Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood's participation in semi-authoritarian elections