Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam among Palestinians in Lebanon

Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam among Palestinians in Lebanon


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As southern Lebanon becomes the latest battleground for Islamist warriors, Everyday Jihad plunges us into the sprawling, heavily populated Palestinian refugee camp at Ain al-Helweh, which in the early 1990s became a site for militant Sunni Islamists. A place of refuge for Arabs hunted down in their countries of origin and a recruitment ground for young disenfranchised Palestinians, the camp--where sheikhs began actively recruiting for jihad--situated itself in the global geography of radical Islam.

With pioneering fieldwork, Bernard Rougier documents how Sunni fundamentalists, combining a literal interpretation of sacred texts with a militant interpretation of jihad, took root in this Palestinian milieu. By staying very close to the religious actors, their discourse, perceptions, and means of persuasion, Rougier helps us to understand how radical religious allegiances overcome traditional nationalist sentiment and how jihadist networks grab hold in communities marked by unemployment, poverty, and despair.

With the emergence of Hezbollah, the Shiite political party and guerrilla army, at the forefront of Lebanese and regional politics, relations with the Palestinians will be decisive. The Palestinian camps of Lebanon, whose disarmament is called for by the international community, constitute a contentious arena for a multitude of players: Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority, and Bin Laden and the late Zarqawi. Witnessing everyday jihad in their midst offers readers a rare glimpse into a microcosm of the religious, sectarian, and secular struggles for the political identity of the Middle East today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674030664
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/28/2009
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Bernard Rougier is Researcher, Middle East Studies, Sciences-Po, Paris.

Table of Contents

Guide to Islamist Groups in Lebanon


Part I: The Salafist Dynamic

1. From Iranian Influence to Sunni Affirmation

2. Islamism from Peshawar to Ain al-Helweh

3. The Struggle against al-Ahbash

Part II: Civil War Ideology

4. The Struggle to Control the Camp

5. Preaching Topics

6. The Role of Islamic Institutes in Lebanon

7. Underground Jihad in Sir al-Diniyeh





What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth Picard

Rougier offers an exceptionally innovative study of salafist groups in the refugee camps of Lebanon. It is superbly documented through in-depth and highly reliable field research. He crafts an illuminating analytic distinction between Sunni doctrinal intolerance and a strategy of pan-Islamic cooperation with Hezbollah.
Elizabeth Picard, editor of La politique dans le monde arabe

Lisa Anderson

Rich and sensitive, Everyday Jihad reveals much about changing patterns of religious and political allegiance within the Palestinian national movement itself and about the character of the Islamist appeal throughout the Middle East. A marvelously instructive case study—responsible, thoughtful, and intelligent. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what is happening not only in Lebanon but across the Muslim world.
Lisa Anderson, Columbia University

Dale F. Eickelman

A breakthrough book — compelling and disturbing. Rougier persuasively traces the struggle for the hearts and minds of Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, and, though not all will agree with its policy recommendations, this is a must read for anyone concerned with the Middle East today.
Dale F. Eickelman, Dartmouth College

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