Arab liberal thought in the modern age provides in-depth analysis of Arab liberalism, which, although lacking public appeal and a compelling political underpinning, sustained viability over time and remains a constant part of the Arab landscape. The study focuses on the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century, a period that witnessed continuity as well as change in liberal thinking. Post-1967 liberals, like their predecessors, confronted old dilemmas, socioeconomic upheavals, political instability, and cultural disorientation, but also demonstrated ideological rejuvenation and provided liberal thought with new emphases and visions. Arab liberals contributed to public debate on cultural, social, and political issues, and triggered debates against their adversaries. Displaying such attributes as skepticism, ecumenism, and confidence in Arab advancement, they burst onto the public scene in questioning the Arab status quo and advocating alternative visions for their countries. Their struggle for freedom of religion, secularism, individualism, democracy, and human rights meant more than a rethinking of Islamic tradition and Arab political culture. It aimed rather at formulating a full-fledged liberal project to seek an Arab Enlightenment. This book fills a major gap in the research literature, which has tended to overlook Middle Eastern liberalism in favor of more powerful and assertive forces embodied by authoritarian regimes and Islamic movements. The book is essential reading for scholars and students in the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, intellectual history, political ideologies, comparative religion, and cultural studies.

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Islamism and liberalism in the Arab world: some theoretical remarks

approaches is to adopt an approach that does not ignore the uniqueness of different groups at the state and sub-state levels, or the existence of ideologies that traverse these borders. The revolutions and the attempts at revolutions, for which the term ‘Arab Spring’ was coined, represent a recent example of why the balanced approach is essential. Research that will examine the events as a whole will miss the unique contexts leading to the upheavals in different Arab countries; the motivations of the demonstrators in Tahrir Square were not the same as those of the rebels

in Zionism in Arab discourses

, but merely the channels in which it is dispersed.76 Narratives of the Arab Spring of 2010–2011 became the apotheosis of the Westernized, libertarian potential of the Internet and alternative media to democratize the world and destabilize despotic regimes. They represented the conclusion of twenty years of Internet utopianism that presented the open and ‘democratizing’ spaces of cyberspace where the disenfranchised from the ‘broken’ political apparatuses of both the dictatorships and Western democracy could flourish. British centre-left commentators like the BBC

in Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters

al-Assad on his throne come hell or high water. Nor could anything have predicted the speed with which the false “Friends of Syria,” 4 after having loudly proclaimed their support for the revolution, would one by one come to betray their promises. In the midst of the Syrian uprising, legalist Islamists winning at the polls in Tunisia and Egypt also came to deeply transform—and not for the better—the Western imaginary concerning the Arab Spring that it had briefly idealized. Syria before the Storm

in Understanding Political Islam

. This means that Libyans may travel to Tunisia for treatment, and the Libyan government subsequently reimburses Tunisian hospitals. The hospital that Sally, Anita, Jenny and Lorna travelled to in early 2012 was part of this agreement. Late December 2010 saw the beginning of the Arab Spring, a series of demonstrations and conflicts across a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, beginning with the Tunisian revolution which ousted long-time president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. (The hospital our British patients travelled to was in fact

in Beautyscapes
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Islam, modernity and foreign policy

Turkish facing east is about the importance of Turkey’s relations with its Eastern neighbours – Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Soviet Union - during the emergence of the modern Turkish nation-state from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The originality of Turkey facing east lies in part in its theoretically informed analysis of history exploring the causal links between the construction of a modern nation-state, secular identity and nationalised foreign policy during the transition from an Islamic Empire to a modern state. The role of the Islamic legacy, territorial unity and national identity construction are re-examined in order to understand the complexity of a long historical and sociological process. Hence, the principal strength of this book is that not only it combines historical and theoretical arguments in order to provide a better understanding of the foreign relations of a Muslim country from a critical and interdisciplinary perspective but also applies the new approach to the analysis of Turkish foreign policy towards the South Caucasus between 1918 and 1921. Turkey facing east stands out with its original interdisciplinary approach to the critical analysis of Turkish transition and foreign policy making that offers perspectives on the extant possibilities for the particular transitional states resulting from the Arab spring uprisings.

This book retraces the human and intellectual development that has led the author to one very firm conviction: that the tensions that afflict the Western world’s relationship with the Muslim world are at their root political, far more than they are ideological. It aims to limit itself to a precise scholarly arena: recounting, as meticulously as possible, the most striking interactions between a personal life history and professional and research trajectories. This path has consistently centered on how the rise of political Islam has been expressed: first in the Arab world, then in its interactions with French and Western societies, and finally in its interactions with other European and Western societies. It brings up-to-date theses formulated in the 2000s, in particular in the author’s previous book Islamism in the Shadow of al-Qaeda (2005, 2nd ed. 2010, English ed. 2010), by measuring them up against the lessons of the powerful revolutionary dynamics set off by the “Arab Spring” of 2011, followed by the counter-revolutionary ones.

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Eastern Arab Spring – the series of popular protests which swept away long-standing authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and threatened to do the same to many other regimes across the region. In the 1980s and 1990s, democratic transitions in Southern Europe, Latin America, Eastern Europe and elsewhere suggested a major global shift towards democracy and made communist China appear a vulnerable outlier. By the 2000s, setbacks to democratisation in some countries and the apparent stability and success of some major authoritarian states (such as China and Russia

in Understanding Chinese politics
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Where Do We Go Now?

In September 2011, the French Communist Party ordered a poster celebrating the Arab Springs, to promote its traditional L’Humanité (“Humanity”) Festival. 2 For once, this painted the old party as in perfect tune with French public opinion as a whole, regardless of political creed. The poster portrayed a very young North African teenager. In her hair, unsurprisingly freed from any veil, the muse of the new Arab world wore a long garland of flags, including France’s, symbolizing the long-awaited healing of the colonial divide. To

in Understanding Political Islam
Open Access (free)

); Yassin Al Haj Saleh, The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy (London: Hurst, 2017); Hamid Dabashi, The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism (London: Zed, 2012); Asef Bayat, Revolution Without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring (Palo Alto, CA; Stanford University Press, 2017); Toby Matthiesen, Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Spring That Wasn’t (Palo Alto, CA; Stanford University Press, 2013); Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Qatar and the Arab Spring (London: Hurst, 2014); Christopher Davidson, After the Sheikhs

in Houses built on sand