Neither participation nor revolution: the strategy of the Moroccan Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan
Cavatorta, Francesco (2007) Neither participation nor revolution: the strategy of the Moroccan Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan. Mediterranean Politics, 12 (3). pp. 381-397. ISSN 1743-9418
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Scholars and students of Islamist movements are divided over the issue of Islamists' commitment to democracy and a number of studies have attempted to discover the true nature of Islamist parties. This paper rejects this approach and argues that the behaviour of Islamist parties can be better understood through an analysis of the constraints and opportunities that their surrounding environment provides. Specifically, the paper aims at explaining the choice of the Moroccan Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan neither to participate in institutional politics nor to undertake violent actions to transform the regime. This is done through an examination of its relations with the other political actors. The paper argues that Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan's behaviour is as much the product of rational thinking as it is of ideology and provides evidence to support this claim. Such findings are important not only in the Moroccan context, but contribute to a growing literature claiming that Islamist movements should be treated as rational political actors operating under 'environmental' constraints and opportunities.
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