Political Islam has become the most important ideology in the Middle East and North Africa. Together with secular actors, Islamist forces mobilised the masses against authoritarian regimes and were thus influential participants in the transformations of the Arab Spring and its consequences. Since the overthrow of the respective regimes in 2011, Islamist actors in Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco have been part of coalition governments. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood initially came to power, but within a year its government had failed. It has since acted, once again, as the opposition.
At the same time, various camps have been using political Islam to legitimise their actions: authoritarian regimes such as Iran and Saudi Arabia to maintain their power; opposition movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and Hamas to justify their ideology and their domestic approach; and Salafist and jihadist groups to support their regional and global worldviews.
How do these Islamist movements act on the political stage and within civil society? Which worldviews do they present in their programmatic writings? In what contexts do they legitimate or reject violence? What influence do their ideas have on society? How do the various Islamist groups cooperate or compete with secular actors and among themselves? The GIGA has been studying these questions for years. Its experts have contributed significantly to the understanding of Islamism in the Middle East and North Africa.