Professor Chantal Berman recently published a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Politics in Muslim Societies

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“Islamists were the Arab Spring’s largest immediate beneficiaries, yet Islamist parties in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco played markedly different roles in the historic uprisings of 2011. Why was Islamist mobilization more visible in some cases than others? This chapter breaks down the question of Islamist mobilization on two levels, asking (1) to what extent Islamist parties served as “revolutionary organizations,” and (2) to what extent Islamist beliefs shaped individuals’ protest behavior. The chapter finds that Islamist parties responded strategically rather than ideologically to escalating protest movements in early 2011, reflecting each party’s experience of authoritarianism and its resulting expectations over the benefits of a democratic future. Islamist mobilization was highest where Islamists prior to 2011 occupied a “middle ground” between repressed outsider and regime insider. In Egypt, where the Muslim Brothers operated large networks of social service provision but were constrained from amassing electoral power, Brotherhood leaders organized their supporters to protest. In Morocco, where the PJD played the role of “loyal” parliamentary opposition, the party urged its followers not to protest. In Tunisia, where Harakat Ennahda was totally repressed, Islamist leaders were unable to play a large mobilizing role. Survey analyses show heterogeneous effects of Islamist beliefs on protest across countries, indicating that many Islamist individuals did follow their leaders’ edicts to either protest or abstain. Many others protested without formal Islamist leadership, galvanized by economic grievance. These results highlight the diversity of Islamist actors and the importance of studying Islamist politics on both organizational and individual levels.”