MEDirections is delighted to share the new Research Project Report on Islam keeping violent Jihadism at bay in times of Daesh: State religious institutions in Lebanon, Morocco and Saudi Arabia since 2013 by Tine Gade, as a joint publication with the Norwegian Institute of International affairs (NUPI)
Can official Islamic institutions play a role to curb Sunni jihadi violence? Most Arab governments have granted a role to such institutions in recent years. Yet, the cases of Lebanon, Morocco and Saudi Arabia exhibit considerable differences: Sunni religious institutions in Lebanon are weak and only have a domestic role, and face difficulties fulfilling this role.
The corresponding institutions in Morocco and in Saudi Arabia, however, are powerful and also perform foreign policy roles through religious diplomacy. Mainstream Muslim scholars want to be recognised as allies in the global struggle against jihadi violence; they have common interests with Western and Arab governments in combating jihadi violence.
However, in the current climate of government control over official religious institutions, they lack the popular legitimacy needed to fight against violent jihadism. Religious institutions cannot be efficient when used as tools by authoritarian Arab governments. Political subjugation of religious clerics is a major reason for the fragmentation of the religious field and a driver of radicalisation.
Read the full report here.