Georgetown Scholar Examines the Impact of the Arab Uprisings on Islamist Movements

In a webinar dated June 2, 2021, Georgetown University Historian Abdullah Al-Arian analyzed how the Arab Uprisings have impacted Islamist movements throughout the region. By the eve of the uprisings, he argues, the posture of Islamist movements reflected a set of political commitments that had emerged largely at the expense of their ideological program and social mission. Rooted in the historical and recent acceptance of state institutions and political structures, expressions of Islamism by parties across the Arab region reflected a shift that subsumed long held beliefs beneath the needs of (alternately or in combination) democratic pluralism and political expediency, most clearly visible in the transformation of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party. That tension has been exacerbated in the wake of political defeats experienced by many of these movements, particularly Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. While the “Islamist idea” is likely to endure its current bout with state repression, its survival as a political force in the future will depend on its determination to complete this evolution, a process that was both accelerated and interrupted during the critical moments of the Arab uprisings. To watch the recording of the talk, please click below.