The Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan and Jama’at-i-Islam of Pakistan

Neha Sahgal

The study of Islamist activism is new to social movement theory. Socialmovement scholarship has ignored Islamist movements because of their unique faithbasednature. More recently scholars have recognized that the processes of contentionconceptualized by social movement theory can be applied to Islamist activism to seektheoretical refinements in both areas of study.In this paper, I examine variations in the strategies followed by Islamistmovements in response to government policies. States have followed various policies inmanaging the tide of Islamist opposition to their power. Some states have chosen to userepressive means (Egypt, Jordan before 1989), while others, at different times in theirhistory have used accommodative policies (Jordan after 1989, Pakistan, Malaysia). Iexamine the effects of government accommodation on Islamist movement strategies.I argue that accommodation can have varying effects on Islamist movementstrategies depending on the nature of accommodative policies followed. Governmentshave employed two different types of accommodative policies in their tenuousrelationship with Islamist opposition – Islamization and liberalization. Islamizationattempts to co-opt the movements through greater religiosity in state and society.Liberalization allows the movements to conduct their activities at both the state and thesocietal level without necessarily increasing the religiosity of the state1. Islamizationdisempowers Islamists while liberalization empowers them by providing a sphere ofinfluence.

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Filed Under: FeaturedIssuesJordanJordanian MBMiddle EastMuslim Brotherhood

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