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Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism

The book “Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism” underscores the dramatic implications Salafism has for regional and international security.

It is an absolutely essential historical and contemporary analysis of Salafism in the Arab world in general and Lebanon in particular. Rabil’s in-depth knowledge of the subject and his extensive research provide readers with a clear understanding of the development of Salafism as theology, religious-political ideology, political programing, and as a motivating factor potentially leading to violence.

Salafism, comprised of fundamentalist Islamic movements whose adherents consider themselves the only “saved” sect of Islam, has been little studied, remains shrouded in misconceptions, and has provoked new interest as Salafists have recently staked a claim to power in some Arab states while spearheading battles against “infidel” Arab regimes during recent rebellions in the Arab world. Robert G. Rabil examines the emergence and development of Salafism into a prominent religious movement in Lebanon, including the ideological and sociopolitical foundation that led to the three different schools of Salafism in Lebanon: quietist Salafists, Haraki (active) Salafists; and Salafi Jihadists.

Emphasizing their manhaj (methodology) toward politics, the author surveys Salafists’ ideological transformation from opponents to supporters of political engagement. Their antagonism to Hezbollah, which they denounce as the party of Satan, has risen exponentially following the party’s seizure of Beirut in 2008 and support of the tyrannical Syrian regime. Salafism in Lebanon also demonstrates how activists and jihadi Salafists, in response to the political weakness of Sunni leadership, have threatened regional and international security by endorsing violence and jihad.

Drawing on field research trips, personal interviews, and Arabic primary sources, the book explores the relationship between the ideologies of the various schools of Salafism and their praxis in relation to Lebanese politics. The book should interest students and scholars of Islamic movements, international affairs, politics and religion, and radical groups and terrorism.

Robert G. Rabil is professor, Department of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism; Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East; and Embattled Neighbors: Syria, Israel, and Lebanon.

Table of Contents:

1. The Creed, Ideology, and Manhaj (Methodology) of Salafism: A Historical and Contemporaneous Framework
2. The Path to Salafism
3. The Quietest Salafi Ideology of Sheikh Sa’d al-Din Muhammed al-Kibbi
4. The Haraki (Activist) Salafi Ideology of Sheikh Zakariya ‘Abd al Razaq al-Masri
5. The Emergence and Ideology of the Salafi-Jihadi Usbat al-Ansar
6. Salafism, Confessional Politics, and Shi’a Ascendancy: Al-Infitah (Opening Up) or The Rise to Rebellion?
7. The Sunni Leadership and Salafism: Political Expediency and Self-Denial
8. Salafism, the Divided House and the Syrian Rebellion: Jihad in the Path of Allah

Bibliographic Information

Title: Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism

Author: Robert G. Rabil

Publisher: Georgetown University Press (September 26, 2014)

Language: English

Length: 272 pages

ISBN: 978-1626161177

Pub. Date: June 1, 2007

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