TOI: Bringing in the Other Islamists

- comparing Arab Shia and Sunni Islamism(s) in a sectarianized Middle East

TOI: Bringing in the Other Islamists - comparing Arab Shia and Sunni Islamism(s) in a sectarianized Middle East. Research on Islamism has remained predominantly Sunni-centric. This project brings ‘the Other Islamists’ – Shia Islamists – into the debate on Islamism in the Arab Middle East. It will use a cross-disciplinary theoretical approach which takes religion seriously without essentialising it, to explore whether, and if so, how and why, Shia Islamism(s) differ from their Sunni counterparts. The project will focus on three research puzzles drawn from the Islamism and sectarianization debates: 1) to what extent are Islamist movements shaped by their context, to what extent by their religious identity/ideology/institutions; 2) to what extent and how does the importance of sect-coded identities for Islamist movements change over time and how has this affected/been affected by the process of sectarianization; 3) what role does sectarian othering play in intra-sect competition within the current sectarianized milieu. These questions are examined through three WPs made up of comparative and within-case-studies of key Islamist movements in Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain. The studies will be carried out by a team of internationally leading experts.

The TOI Project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (5.383.987 DKK) and will be running from September 2019 till January 2023.


- new article: Valbjørn, Morten (2021). "Observing (the debate on) sectarianism: On conceptualizing, grasping and explaining sectarian politics in a new Middle East". Mediterranean Politics,  first-view.

- TOI-POMEPS workshop on "Changing Warscapes, Changing Islamists? Religion, Organization, Strategic Context and New Approaches to Jihadist Insurgencies", January 6-7 2021.

- TOI-TJ-RJC Workshop on (Shia and Sunni) Jihadism, November 4 2020

- Fanar Haddad discusses his new book “Understanding ‘Sectarianism’: Sunni-Shi’a Relations in the Modern Arab World” with Charles Tripp and Morten Valbjørn, hosted by Simon Mabon in the inaugural episode of SEPADDiscusses, July 27 2020