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The Foreign Policy of Islamist Political PartiesIdeology in Practice$
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Mohamed-Ali Adraoui

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474426640

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474426640.001.0001

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The Islamists and International Relations: A Dialectical Relationship?

The Islamists and International Relations: A Dialectical Relationship?

(p.1) 1 The Islamists and International Relations: A Dialectical Relationship?
The Foreign Policy of Islamist Political Parties

Mohamed-Ali Adraoui

Edinburgh University Press

Islamism now dates back a hundred years. Concern over members of this political and religious movement relates to their putative and potential radical - or even violent – behavior when confronted with cultural otherness. Such behavior takes root in their assumed wish to redesign the world in their image. From its inception in the 1920s to its more recent manifestations, the Islamist movement strove to lift Muslim societies out of their alleged civilizational lethargy. In so-doing, it has paid substantial attention to the state of international affairs, as well as to potential ways to act on it. If the State remains undeniably Islamist movements’ privileged arena for action, considerations for Muslim countries’ environment; devising strategies aiming at the completion of a “motherland of believers” (al-oumma); thoughts on an interstate order within an Islamic frame of reference - remain prominent concerns to them. From its outset, Islamism has always insisted on the duty to serve religion as a whole - and thus everyone identifying with it. Its end goal therefore overrides geographical, historical and political borders – those being perceived as divisive and weakening the face of Islam. In addition, Islamists consider the current international order as one consciously designed by non-Muslims. In such views, the latter nurse an ontological enmity towards Islam because of its revisionist potential. The Arab revolutions initiated in 2010 have been experimental fields of the oppositional – even revolutionary – dimensions of Islamist ideology. These enable interrogations to be raised on Islamism’s practice and possible evolutions. In other words, how do Islamist movements translate fundamental diplomatic and relational principles into practice with other actors of the international system? If Islamist forces are indeed maintaining special relationships with the outside world mainly driven by the wish to shower the planet with Islam-serving behavior, is it however analytically relevant to identify a specific Islamist practice of international affairs? There are two objectives tied to this presentation. First, it will attempt to shed light on how Islamist activists, leaders and theorists view the world. In so-doing, Islamist speeches and intellectual output will be scrutinized. Then, answers will be provided to the following question: when Islamist officials have had the chance to approach national decision-making arenas - this is the case in some countries that have experienced the Arab Spring – how did they manage to put up a foreign policy agenda centered around an Islamic framework? This question is central for through it one can attempt to measure the empirical outreach of the Islamist ideology.

Keywords:   Islamism/Political Islam, International Relations, Panislamic Unity, Revisionist Agenda, International System

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