ORIENT II 2021: The role of Islamist groups and movements in the Near and Middle East

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Dear ORIENT readers,

They are a key player in many developments across the Near and Middle East: Islamist groups and movements. Whether it is as actor in the political arena, as charitable groups, as movements dedicated to educating society or as ones engaged in violent extremism and armed resistance, they influence societies in many ways.

In this issue, we seek to compile different analyses and perspectives in order to better define, understand and compare some of the groups and movements in the region.

First off, Joas Wagemakers lays out some valuable matters of definition and differentiation between various terms used in the context of Islamist groups. Subsequently, Clara-Auguste Süß and Irene Weipert-Fenner analyse socioeconomic factors impacting radicalisation, while Giulia Cimini and Claudia De Martino reflect on the membership dynamic of different Islamist parties. Esen Kirdiş overviews the rise of Islamic parties and movements more broadly, before Mohammed-Ali Adraoui overviews the role of religion in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and Hanlie Booysen delves into the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Lastly, Rayan Haddad sheds light on Hezbollah in Lebanon and beyond.

I hope that the current issue provides you with valuable perspectives on the various ways in which Islamist movements and groups are active in the region. We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy.

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute



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