Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements And The Post-Islamist Turn

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Book Review Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn
Author: Asef Bayat Book: Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn. Publisher: Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007. Hardcover: 320 pages ISBN-10: 0804755949 ISBN-13: 978-0804755948 Key-words: democracy, Egypt, Iran, Islam, Middle East, political history, political theology. Reviewed by: Jacob Greenberg hile other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities have made use of comparative methodologies, History has been slow to join the trend. Most historical analyses investigate a single locale, individual, or neighborhood in order to offer conjectures about larger contexts. This allows the researcher to become well versed
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This allowed groups like the Muslim


Brotherhood and the Jam’a al-Islami, as well as youth organizations and social welfare groups, to control large sections of civil society, and mobilize large numbers to accomplish a variety of political tasks from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. However, Bayat sees the state as key in quelling a potential Islamic political revolution in Egypt throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. While Iran offered insurgent political groups concessions in order to maintain clerical rule, Egypt’s government cracked down on oppositional groups, increased the strength of his secret police, and actively co-opted (or silenced) key figures in the Islamist movement. This resulted in a “passive revolution” in Egypt that Islamicized civil society, but failed to bring down the Mubarak regime (191). Bayat argues that this crackdown, in turn, made the Egyptian government more religious in nature, as increasingly pious individuals became the leaders of various governmental apparatuses. Since the state, through co-optation, began to control alternative forms of political protest, many of its doctrines and figures began to play a large role in the government itself. In this way, Iran and Egypt diverged when confronted with the possibility of a mass Islamic revolution. This