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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Islamist Transformations: From Utopian Vision to Dystopian Reality

Islamist Transformations: From Utopian Vision to Dystopian Reality

(p.321) Chapter 30 Islamist Transformations: From Utopian Vision to Dystopian Reality
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Naser Ghobadzadeh

Oxford University Press

The range of inhumane acts of violence committed by contemporary militant Islamists are far more depraved than those perpetrated by earlier Islamists. This has led to pessimism about the current surge in Islamic extremism and fear of future developments. This chapter seeks to determine if there is any latent ground for optimism beneath the surface of what appears to be a trend towards increasing violence. Scrutinizing the theological and practical transformations of militant Islamists, the chapter suggests that there is a direct correlation between the theological evolution of militant Islamist thought, shifts in the extent of their use of violence, and the ability of militants to mobilize mainstream Muslims. This chapter shows that the radical strand of Islamism has now shrunk to a dwindling minority for whom destruction is their raison d’être. It also explores how the focus of radical Islamism has shifted away from utopianism to visions of apocalyptic dystopia.

Keywords:   Islamists, theological transformation, jihad, sectarianism, political Islam, Islamic State, apocalyptic, utopianism

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