Lebanese Salafis between the Gulf and Europe

Lebanese Salafis between the Gulf and Europe: Development, Fractionalization and Transnational Networks of Salafism in Lebanon

Zoltan Pall
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 116
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n0kn
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  • Book Info
    Lebanese Salafis between the Gulf and Europe
    Book Description:

    Salafism is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing Islamic movements and it is impossible to understand contemporary Islam without taking account of it. The movement has reached almost every corner of the Muslim world, and its transnational networks span the globe. Despite the importance of Salafism, scholars have only recently begun to pay serious attention to the movement, and while the body of literature on Salafism is growing, there are still many lacunae. The Lebanese context adopted by the author of this important study provides an excellent opportunity to explore the dynamics of the Salafi movement worldwide.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1723-7
    Subjects: Religion, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. 7-14)
    Martin van Bruinessen

    Within little more than a decade, Salafism has transformed from a marginal and little noticed phenomenon into the most conspicuous Islamic trend among European Muslims, keenly watched by security experts, journalists, and academics. Although probably the majority of Salafis in Europe are apolitical and reject violence, in the public mind the term Salafism is closely associated with two iconic events: the attacks on the symbols of American economic and military power of September 11, 2001, and in the Netherlands, the murder of Theo van Gogh on November 2, 2004.

    It is not just public awareness of Salafism that has rapidly...

  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 15-16)

    Salafism is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing Islamic movements. It is impossible to understand contemporary Islam without taking it into account. The movement has reached almost every corner of the Muslim world, and its transnational networks span the globe.

    Despite the importance of Salafism, academics have only recently begun to pay serious attention to the movement. While the body of literature on Salafism is growing, there are still many lacunae in our knowledge. The transnational dynamics of Salafism, the development of transnational networks and the way in which the movement finances itself are still under-researched. This study...

  5. 1 WHAT IS SALAFISM?
    (pp. 17-28)

    Despite the rapidly growing academic literature on Salafism, the term is still beset by a lack of clarity, even for those who are otherwise interested in Islam. I therefore consider it important to offer a short introduction to the movement at the outset. In the following chapter I will sketch the development, belief system and internal variety of the movement on the basis of the existing literature as well as my own observations.

    Before beginning my analysis, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of the term itself and its importance in the Islamic context. The term Salafism is derived...

  6. 2 THE DEVELOPMENT OF SALAFISM IN TRIPOLI AND NORTHERN LEBANON
    (pp. 29-50)

    Salafism in Lebanon has taken a unique form, which differs in many aspects from Salafi groups in other Middle Eastern and European countries. Most of the academic literature on Salafism depicts it as an isolationist sect that attempts to build its own subculture, separate from mainstream society. Salafis try to avoid any social interaction with non-Muslims or non-Salafi Muslims, whom they consider heretics, in order to preserve the purity of their own religious beliefs and practices. Accounts of the movement in European societies depict it as being attractive to young people with immigrant backgrounds who have failed to integrate into...

  7. 3 THE EMERGENCE OF SALAFI FACTIONS IN TRIPOLI
    (pp. 51-62)

    All of the various Salafi factions that I described in the first chapter (purists and activists) are present in Tripoli. In this chapter, I will explain the development of these factions and the nature of the differences between them. I will use a different approach from that which is usually used when discussing Salafi groups, however. Past writings on Salafism have analysed the movement in the context of specific nation-states and only mention in passing that these movements have transnational contacts and dimensions.¹ However, in my opinion, this methodological nationalism does not give us a clear picture of the real...

  8. 4 MOBILIZATION STRUCTURES
    (pp. 63-78)

    For the most part, the mobilization structures of the Salafi community differ from those of mainstream Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Hizb al-Tahrir. The former rely almost exclusively on informal structures, while formal institutions dominate the latter.

    The literature on social movements has shown that informal structures such as kinship, family or friendship are important for every social movement in any society.¹ However, informal structures in the Global South, and especially in the Middle East, are even more important for several reasons. In these societies, patronage and kinship networks are more prominent than elsewhere² and can function...

  9. 5 THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSNATIONAL ISLAMIC CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS: The Case of the Jama‘iyyat Ihya’ al-Turath al-Islami
    (pp. 79-98)

    In Islam, the concept of charity is as old as the religion itself. The Qur’an and the prophetic tradition contain many references to alms-giving and helping the poor. However, the emergence of religious charitable organizations in the Islamic world is a modern phenomenon. To understand their development, I will provide a short overview of the geopolitical developments in the Middle East that led to the emergence and increasing importance of these organizations.

    Independent religious charitable institutions have existed since the early centuries of Islam and did not disappear with the emergence of the modern state. Charity was traditionally financed by...

  10. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 99-100)

    In the preceding chapters, I have shown that Salafism in Northern Lebanon is somewhat different from the forms of Salafism that one encounters elsewhere. In Northern Lebanon, Salafis do not constitute a large mass movement but can rather be seen as a learned vanguard that possesses widespread religious authority among a relatively extended base of followers. I analysed this Salafi community using social movement theories.

    In the region in which I carried out my research, Salafism had become prominent due to several factors, which I analysed using the concept of opportunity structures. The specific opportunities consisted of the Shi‘ite revival...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 101-110)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 111-114)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 115-116)