Publication details

Political Instrumentalization of Islam in a Violent State Crisis: The Case of Syria, Journal of Applied Security Research, 10:3, 341-361

Article

Author(s): Khatib, Hakim
Year of publication: 2015

Abstract: A misconception has emerged in the empirical literature about the nature of the relationship between politics and Islam. It has been assumed that Islam, based on specific features in the Islamic religion and culture, had dominated politics in the Middle East, thus Islamic movements and formations have been responsible for the increase of political use of Islam overlooking the role of the state in pushing religion into the political domain. This article attempts to analyze the reasons of why political instrumentalization of Islam increases in the Syrian violent conflict showing that the prominence of Islamic rhetoric does not owe to specific features of the Islamic religion and culture but rather to the exploitation of religion in mobilization, contestation, and outbidding processes. Politics dominate religion in the Syrian conflict. Political instrumentalization of Islam is more likely to remain on the rise in the Syrian violent crisis causing serious implications on peace building and leading to a political vicious cycle that increases radicalization, deepens division, and hampers political development toward political reconciliation. The state instrumentalized religion from the early days of the uprising. Insurgent formations have become fragmented based on Islamic interpretations. Foreignism and interventionism contributed to the prominence of religion.

Keywords: Islam, Instrumentalization, violent Syrian conflict, insurgency, terrorism

Research area: Research Area 2: The Dynamics of Normative Orders: Rupture, Change, Continuity
Research project:

DOI: 10.1080/19361610.2015.1038769
Full text: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19361610.2015.1038769?journalCode=wasr20

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