Is Islam still the Solution? Clerical Elites and Muslim Extremism in Post Arab- Spring Middle East: Panel on Extremism in Post-Arab Spring MENA: Origins and Catalysts for the Rise of Extremist Movements

Mohammad Kalantari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The defeatism haunting Arab Muslims in post-1967 war has encouraged a sense of religious extremism throughout the Middle East. Since then, the slogan ‘Islam is the solution’ (Al Islam huwal hall) has become popular. Observing the outcomes of Islamic activism throughout the region, nonetheless, made groups of orientalists and researchers to express their reservations about the efficacy of such an ideology in having a more stable Middle East.
The events of post-9/11 era provided even greater scepticism. New waves of political Islamic revival, the re-emergence of sectarian struggles, and the ongoing process of formation of extremist ideologies in the Middle East, have spurred serious concerns over regional religio-political dynamics. Tens of thousands of Islamic militants have mobilised to protect, and in some cases, expand the abode of Islam, Dar al-Islam, in response to perceived threats emanating from the West, Dar al-Harb.
And finally the so-called Arab-spring has given further rise to the emergence of these extremist ideologies. While some of these movements have been under the direct supervision of religious authorities, others have been seriously condemned by clerical elites. Today, these extremist actors, representing diverse political goals, and generating tensions that threaten to move beyond the borders of the region. Hence the question arises as to what role Islamic clerical elites, still among the most influential political actors in the region, have played in the on-going violence, and whether they are capable of mitigating it.
Reviewing historical evidences in history of the Middle East and comparing them with the contemporary prospects, the aim of this paper is to study whether the inter-faith Islamic networks, with centric roles of clerical elites, are capable of containing the religious extremism in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoyal Holloway University of London Politics and International Relations Department’s 10th Anniversary Conference
Publication statusUnpublished - 4 Mar 2015


  • Islamic Extremism
  • Sectarianism
  • Arab Spring
  • Iraq

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