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Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East

As long as the battle over the role of religion in public life continues, Islamist political parties in the Middle East will remain an important force — whether in the ranks of opposition or the halls of power. What are the key factors driving their evolution? Brookings fellow Shadi Hamid will discuss his book “Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East” and provide a timely and provocative account of where the region’s Islamist groups have come from and where they might be headed.

In “Temptations of Power,” Hamid draws on interviews with leaders and activists from across the region to advance a new understanding of how Islamist movements change over time. He puts forward the bold thesis that repression forced Islamists to moderate their politics, work in coalitions, de-emphasize Islamic law and set aside the dream of an Islamic state. With the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, Islamists found themselves in an enviable position, but one for which they were unprepared. However pragmatic they may be, their ultimate goal remains the Islamization of society, which could lead to overreach and significant backlash.

A reception and book signing will follow the presentation. Copies of “Temptations of Power” will be available to purchase courtesy of the Rice University Bookstore.


Featured Speaker

Shadi Hamid, Ph.D.
Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution


Welcome and Introduction

Andrew Bowen, Ph.D.
Scholar for the Middle East and Director, Levant Program, Rice University's Baker Institute






Wed, April 30, 2014
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005
United States

Doré Commons