Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia by Stephane LacroixAmidst the roil of war and instability across the Middle East, the West is still searching for ways to understand the Islamic world. St?phane Lacroix has now given us a penetrating look at the political dynamics of Saudi Arabia, one of the most opaque of Muslim countries and the place that gave birth to Osama bin Laden.
The result is a history that has never been told before. Lacroix shows how thousands of Islamist militants from Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries, starting in the 1950s, escaped persecution and found refuge in Saudi Arabia, where they were integrated into the core of key state institutions and society. The transformative result was the Sahwa, or Islamic Awakening, an indigenous social movement that blended political activism with local religious ideas. Awakening Islam offers a pioneering analysis of how the movement became an essential element of Saudi society, and why, in the late 1980s, it turned against the very state that had nurtured it. Though the Sahwa Insurrection failed, it has bequeathed the world two very different, and very determined, heirs: the Islamo-liberals, who seek an Islamic constitutional monarchy through peaceful activism, and the neo-jihadis, supporters of bin Ladens violent campaign.
Awakening Islam is built upon seldom-seen documents in Arabic, numerous travels through the country, and interviews with an unprecedented number of Saudi Islamists across the ranks of todays movement. The result affords unique insight into a closed culture and its potent brand of Islam, which has been exported across the world and which remains dangerously misunderstood.
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By Dr. These maps may have been officially prepared and then leaked to the media, or they may have originated at American research centers. But subsequent statements by the American Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] since the Israeli aggression against Lebanon about the "birth pangs of a New Middle East " gives this forecast added importance, if not the outright endorsement of the highest levels of the American administration. This new vision for the Middle East is based on a geographical re-division of the region based on nationality and sect, and the writer views the justifications for such a division as follows:. The borders of the current Middle East cause much of the ethnic and sectarian strife within or between states, and that this has resulted in the taking of unconscionable measures against ethnic and religious minorities, and instability across the entire region. Therefore, it is suggested that the various sects and ethnicities that find themselves unable to coexist have separate states established for them for example, one for the Shi'a in Iraq and another for the Kurds. But in view of the fact that adjusting borders usually requires the agreement of the affected peoples, this may now be impossible.
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