Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia

Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia


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Amidst the roil of war and instability across the Middle East, the West is still searching for ways to understand the Islamic world. Stéphane Lacroix has now given us a penetrating look at the political dynamics of Saudi Arabia, one of the most opaque of Muslim countries and the place that gave birth to Osama bin Laden.

The result is a history that has never been told before. Lacroix shows how thousands of Islamist militants from Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries, starting in the 1950s, escaped persecution and found refuge in Saudi Arabia, where they were integrated into the core of key state institutions and society. The transformative result was the Sahwa, or “Islamic Awakening,” an indigenous social movement that blended political activism with local religious ideas. Awakening Islam offers a pioneering analysis of how the movement became an essential element of Saudi society, and why, in the late 1980s, it turned against the very state that had nurtured it. Though the “Sahwa Insurrection” failed, it has bequeathed the world two very different, and very determined, heirs: the Islamo-liberals, who seek an Islamic constitutional monarchy through peaceful activism, and the neo-jihadis, supporters of bin Laden's violent campaign.

Awakening Islam is built upon seldom-seen documents in Arabic, numerous travels through the country, and interviews with an unprecedented number of Saudi Islamists across the ranks of today’s movement. The result affords unique insight into a closed culture and its potent brand of Islam, which has been exported across the world and which remains dangerously misunderstood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674049642
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/15/2011
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Stéphane Lacroix is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Sciences Po, Paris.

Table of Contents

1 Islamism in a Fragmented Society 1

2 The Development of the Sahwa 37

3 Resistance to Sahwa Ascendancy 81

4 A Sacrificed Generation 122

5 The Logic of the Insurrection 151

6 Anatomy of a Failure 201

7 The Islamists after the Insurrection 238

Conclusion: The Lessons of the Insurrection 265

Glossary 273

Note on Sources and Transliterations 279

Notes 281

Acknowledgments 345

Index 347

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Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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