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The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, The Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan

Faisal Ghori

In his first book, The Management of Islamic Activism, Quintan Wiktorowicz examines the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis through the lens of social movement theory. Unlike some political scientists who dismiss Islamic movements because of their informal networks, Wiktorowicz contends that social movement theory is an apt framework through which Islamic movements can be examined and studied. In this regard, his work leads the field. Yet for all its promise, this book largely fails to deliver.
The book is divided into four primary sections, through which he tries to construct his conclusion: Jordanian political liberalization has occurred because of structural necessities, not because of its commitment to democratization. In addition, the state has been masterful in what he dubs the “management of collective action,” (p. 3) which has, for all practical purposes, stifled any real opposition. While his conclusion is certainly tenable, given his extensive fieldwork, the book is poorly organized and much of the evidence examined earlier in the work leaves many questions unanswered.

Moderate and Radical Islam


One of the components of this study is relevant to a question that I was asked to address,which is how radical Islam differs from moderate or mainstream Islam. Frankly, one ofthe problems that we have found in the discourse about Islam is that the terms “radical”or “moderate” are often used in a subjective and imprecise way, without going through aprocess of critically examining what these terms mean. In some cases, the term radical ormilitant is defined in terms of support for terrorism or other forms of violence. Webelieve that this is too narrow a focus, that there is, in fact, a much larger universe offundamentalist or Salafi groups who may not themselves practice violence, but thatpropagate an ideology that creates the conditions for violence and that is subversive ofthe values of democratic societies.

THE ISLAH MOVEMENT: Islamic Moderation in War-torn Somalia

Abdurahman M. Abdullahi

The growth of Islamic movements has been attracting greaterinterest over the last three decades, in particular after the 9/11 attack on US targets and the subsequent declaration of the GlobalWar on Terrorism. Many factors have contributed to this growth; oneof the major causes has been the failure of the post-colonial statesin many Muslim countries and the attractiveness of the oppositionalIslamic approach as an alternative. These movements took various2courses to realize their agendas and formulated differentmethodologies and strategies because of the diverse conditions andenvironment in which they have grown and are operating2. Forinstance, some movements in dictatorial regimes or in Muslimcommunities under foreign occupation or those living as amarginalized minority may resort to violence as the only availablemeans of political expression. On the other hand, movements in thedemocratic environment usually participate in the democraticpolitical process and implement successful social programs3. In theSomali context, Somali students in the Arab World universities in1960s had been interacting with different Islamic groups, embracedsimilar ideas and gradually formed comparable movements. Inparticular, two main organizations have become more prominentsince the 1980s; namely the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Islah(reform) Movement (1978) and the neo-Salafia associated al-Ittihad(Islamic Union) Movement (1980) and its successive offshoots .