Monday 22 May 2017 6:30pm, Wolfson Theatre, NAB
A political, social, and cultural battle is raging in the Middle East. On one side are the Islamists, those who believe Islam should be the region’s primary identity. In opposition are nationalists, secularists, royal families, military establishments, and others who view Islamism as a serious threat to national security, historical identity, and a cohesive society.
In his latest book Islamism, Tarek Osman explores the development of the largest and most influential Islamic groups in the Middle East over the past century. Why has political Islam managed to win successive elections and how have Islamist groups in various nations responded after ascending to power? Osman dissects the alliances that have formed among Islamist factions and against them, addressing the important issues of Islamism’s compatibility with modernity, with the region’s experiences in the twentieth century, and its impact on social contracts and minorities. He explains what Salafism means, its evolution, and connections to jihadist groups in the Middle East. In a thought-provoking conclusion, Osman discusses the Islamists’ prospects for the future and what that will mean for the region and the rest of the world.
Tarek Osman (@TarekmOsman) is the EBRD’s Senior Political Counsellor for Arab world and Turkey.
Erik Berglof (@ErikBerglof) is Director of the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE.