Islamic Revivalism in Syria
The Rise and Fall of Ba'thist Secularism
By Line Khatib
Routledge – 2011 – 262 pages
Contemporary studies on Syria assume that the country’s Ba’thist regime has been effective in subduing its Islamic opposition, placing Syria at odds with the Middle East’s larger trends of rising Islamic activism and the eclipse of secular ideologies as the primary source of political activism. Yet this assumption founders when confronted with the clear resurgence in Islamic militantism in the country since 2004.
This book examines Syria’s current political reality as regards its Islamic movement, describing the country’s present day Islamic groups – particularly their social profile and ideology – and offering an explanation of their resurgence. The analysis focuses on:
Bridging area studies, Islamic studies, and political science, this book will be an important reference for those working within the fields of Comparative Politics, Political Economy, and Middle Eastern Studies.
Line Khatib’s book is an excellent overview of the Syrian Ba’th regime’s relations with Islam and especially of Syria’s creeping Islamization under Bashar al-Asad’s first decade. She shows how the regime’s attempt to foster a moderate Islam to counter secularists and radical Islamists inadvertently undermined secularism, leading to the Islamization of the anti-regime opposition after the Syrian Uprising
Raymond Hinnebusch, University of St Andrews.
1. Introduction to the Subject of Secularism and Islamic Revivalism in Syria Part 1: The Origins of the Conflict 2. The Rise of a Secular Party to Power 3. The Rise and Fall of Political Islam in Syria Part 2: Hafez al-Asad's Era and the Conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood: Muting of Ba'thist Secularism in Syria 4. Conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood 5. Resurgence of Neo-fundamentalism and Decline of Political Islam as a Model for Change (1982-2000) Part 3: Bashar al-Asad's Era: Fundamentalist and Islamist Revivalism 6. Bashar al-Asad Following in his Father’s Footsteps: the Promotion of Moderate Islam from Above in the Name of De-Radicalization 7. Islamization from Below: Islamic Revivalism as a Model for Social Change and the Erosion of Ba´thist Secularism 8. Re-emergence of Political Islam: Syria’s Islamist Groups 9. Islamic Activism and Secularism in Syria 10. Conclusion
Line Khatib is a senior research fellow at the ICAMES (Inter-University Consortium of Arab and Middle Eastern Studies), McGill University, and a visiting scholar at the Dubai School of Government. Her research interests lie within the fields of Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Political Islam, and Secularism, with a particular focus on Islamic groups as both social and political movements.