By Stéphane Lacroix
Amidst the roil of conflict and instability around the heart East, the West continues to be looking for how you can comprehend the Islamic global. Stéphane Lacroix has now given us a penetrating examine the political dynamics of Saudi Arabia, essentially the most opaque of Muslim international locations and where that gave delivery to Osama bin Laden.
the result's a historical past that hasn't ever been advised sooner than. Lacroix exhibits how millions of Islamist militants from Egypt, Syria, and different heart japanese nations, beginning within the Nineteen Fifties, escaped persecution and located safe haven in Saudi Arabia, the place they have been built-in into the middle of key kingdom associations and society. The transformative consequence was once the Sahwa, or “Islamic Awakening,” an indigenous social circulate that mixed political activism with neighborhood non secular rules. Awakening Islam deals a pioneering research of ways the circulate grew to become an important component to Saudi society, and why, within the overdue Nineteen Eighties, it became opposed to the very country that had nurtured it. although the “Sahwa rebel” failed, it has bequeathed the area very assorted, and extremely made up our minds, heirs: the Islamo-liberals, who search an Islamic constitutional monarchy via peaceable activism, and the neo-jihadis, supporters of bin Laden's violent campaign.
Awakening Islam is equipped upon seldom-seen files in Arabic, various travels throughout the kingdom, and interviews with an extraordinary variety of Saudi Islamists around the ranks of today’s stream. the outcome gives targeted perception right into a closed tradition and its effective model of Islam, which has been exported the world over and which is still dangerously misunderstood.
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Additional info for Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia
It was only then, at a time when mobilization in the intellectual field had already fizzled out, that the religious field began to arouse itself. Ulema and intellectuals, in fact, have largely distinct views of the world, the product of differences in their socialization and their habitus. The implications of these struggles are considerable. In the end, they are what determine the direction the movement will take on the ground. The Islamic Republic in Iran, for example, as it was constituted after 1980 may be seen as an expression of the victory of the ulema over the Islamist intellectuals within the revolutionary movement.
Elsewhere, thanks to the resurgence of Islam since the 1960s, it has regained considerable importance. In this sense, in most Muslim countries the ulema remain the primary possessors of legitimating resources. In contrast, militant reAwa k e n i n g I s l a m 30 sources tend to be the province of laymen with modern education (intellectuals or combatants, depending on the mode of action chosen). This theoretical approach is empirically relevant. In the case of Iran, for instance, the success of the revolution owes a great deal to the effective collaboration of a portion of the intellectual elite with the fraction of the clergy gathered behind Ayatollah Khomeini, guaranteeing an abundant supply of militant and legitimating resources.
These collusive transactions characterize the complicit relationships that tied the royal family to the dominant elites in various fields and gave rise to a sustained flow of symbolic and material exchanges carried out behind the scenes. In the religious field, the elites in question were the best-known and most respected figures among the ulema; in the intellectual field, they were the dominant intellectuals, notably the ones who controlled the literary clubs (in this case the collusive transactions traditionally went primarily through Prince Faysal bin Fahd, who was in charge of the clubs until his death in 1999); in the economic field, they were the kingdom’s principal businessmen, and so on.