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Post-Islamism is a neologism in political science, the definition and applicability of which has led to an intellectual debate. Asef Bayat and Olivier Roy are among the main architects of the idea. [1]


Terminology and definition

The term was coined by Iranian political sociologist Asef Bayat, then associate professor of sociology at The American University in Cairo in a 1996 essay published in the journal Middle East Critique . [2] [3]

Bayat explained it as "a condition where, following a phase of experimentation, the appeal, energy, symbols and sources of legitimacy of Islamism get exhausted, even among its once-ardent supporters. As such, post-Islamism is not anti-Islamic, but rather reflects a tendency to resecularize religion." It originally pertained only to Iran, where "post-Islamism is expressed in the idea of fusion between Islam (as a personalized faith) and individual freedom and choice; and post-Islamism is associated with the values of democracy and aspects of modernity". [4] In this context, the prefix post- does not have historic connotation, but refers to the critical departure from Islamist discourse. [5] Bayat later pointed in 2007 that post-Islamism is both a "condition" and a "project". [1]

"Postmodern Islamism" and "New Age Islamism" are other terms interchangeably used. [6]

French politician Olivier Carré used the term in 1991 from a different perspective, to describe the period between the 10th and the 19th centuries, when both Shiite and Sunni Islam "separated the political-military from the religious realm, both theoretically and in practice". [1]


In Iran, the Reformists [7] [8] and the group known as the Melli-Mazhabi (who are ideologically close to the Freedom Movement) [9] are described as post-Islamists.

The advent of moderate parties Al-Wasat Party in Egypt, as well as Justice and Development Party in Morocco appeared to resemble emergance of post-Islamism, however scholars rejected that they qualify as such. [10] [11] A similar characterization applies to the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). [12]

A 2008 Lowy Institute for International Policy paper suggests that Prosperous Justice Party of Indonesia and Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey are post-Islamist. [13] According to Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan (2012), many analysts consider Turkish AKP an example of post-Islamism, similar to Christian democratic parties, but Islamic. [14] However, some scholars such as Bassam Tibi dispute this. [15] İhsan Yılmaz argues that the party's ideology after 2011 is different from that of between 2001 and 2011. [16]

The idea has been used to describe the "ideological evolution" within the Ennahda of Tunisia. [17]

See also




  • Bayat, Asef (Fall 1996). "The Coming of a Post-Islamist Society". Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies. 5 (9): 43–52. doi:10.1080/10669929608720091.
  • Mojahedi (subscription required), Mohammad Mahdi (Autumn 2016). ""Is There Toleration in Islam?" Reframing a Post-Islamist Question in a Post-Secular Context". ReOrient. 2 (1): 51–72. doi:10.1080/10669929608720091. JSTOR   10.13169/reorient.2.1.0051.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Cavatorta, Francesco; Merone, Fabio (2015). "Post-Islamism, ideological evolution and 'la tunisianite´' of the Tunisian Islamist party al-Nahda". Journal of Political Ideologies. 20 (1): 27–42. doi:10.1080/13569317.2015.991508.
  • Stacher (subscription required), Joshua A. (Summer 2002). "Post-Islamist Rumblings in Egypt: The Emergence of the Wasat Party". Middle East Journal. 56 (3): 415–432. doi:10.1080/10669929608720091. JSTOR   4329786.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Bubalo, Anthony; Fealy, Greg; Mason, Whit (2008). Zealous Democrats: Islamism and Democracy in Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey (PDF). Australia: Lowy Institute for International Policy. ISBN   9781921004353.
  • Badamchi, Meysam (2017). Post-Islamist Political Theory: Iranian Intellectuals and Political Liberalism in Dialogue. Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations. 5. Springer. ISBN   9783319594927.
  • Fazeli, Nematollah (2006). Politics of Culture in Iran. Routledge/BIPS Persian Studies Series. Routledge. ISBN   9781134200382.
  • Shahibzadeh, Yadullah (2016). Islamism and Post-Islamism in Iran: An Intellectual History. Springer. ISBN   9781137578259.
  • Lauzi`ere, Henri (2005). "Post-Islamism and Religious Discourse of al-Salam Yasin". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 37: 241–261 via Cambridge (subscription required).
  • Gómez García, Luz (2012). "Post-Islamism, the Failure of an Idea: Regards on Islam and Nationalism from Khomeini's Death to the Arab Revolts". Religion Compass. 6 (10): 451–466. doi:10.1111/rec3.12002.
  • Muller, Dominik M. (2013). "Post-Islamism or Pop-Islamism? Ethnographic observations of Muslim youth politics in Malaysia" (PDF). Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde. 6 (10): 261–284.
  • Kuru, Ahmet; Stepan, Alfred (2012). Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey. Religion, Culture, and Public Life. Columbia University Press. ISBN   9780231530255.
  • Hale, William; Ozbudun, Ergun (2009). Islamism, Democracy and Liberalism in Turkey: The Case of the AKP. Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Politics. Routledge. ISBN   9781135214920.
  • Yılmaz, İhsan (2016). "The Experience of the AKP". In Alessandro Ferrari. Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean: The Pluralistic Moment. ICLARS Series on Law and Religion. Taylor & Francis. ISBN   9781317067122.
  • Ismail, Salwa (2008). "Being Muslim: Islam, Islamism and Identity Politics". In Laleh Khalili. Politics of the Modern Arab World. Critical concepts in the modern politics of the Middle East. Routledge. ISBN   9780415451598.