Photo: NTB Scanpix

Hybrid paths to resistance in the Muslim world: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Mali (HYRES)

2017 - 2020 (Completed)
Research Project
HYRES studies the interaction between Islamist movements and the state in the cases of Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Mali, and is designed to answer the following question: Why do some Islamist groups pursue their political and religious project within the state to which they belong – while other Islamist groups refuse to accept these borders, seeking instead to establish new polities, such as restoring the Islamic Caliphate?

The use of violence appears to be independent of whether groups have a state-oriented or a transnational focus. Four pathways to resistance for Islamist groups can be identified: state-oriented and non-violent; state-oriented and violent; transnationally oriented and non-violent; and transnationally oriented and violent.

The HYRES research project explores how the pathways chosen by protest groups vary and adapt to local, domestic and international contexts. We seek to remedy insufficiencies in the literature on Islamist movements, which has focused too much on structural variables, such as Salafism and Islamic theology, or on domestic variables such as the degree of inclusion/ exclusion of certain population groups. 

We examine three possible explanatory factors: 1) rivalry among competing Islamist groups, often a driver of more radical rhetoric; 2) interaction among various Islamist groups and the state repressive apparatus; 3) import of transnational slogans that resonate with existing local grievances. Applying systematic, comparative analysis, HYRES will propose a general conceptual framework, informed by recent advances in the literature on contentious politics. By identifying variations across the cases studied, we aim to contribute to the broader literature on social movements in non-democratic/ semi-democratic contexts.

Tine Gade is the scientific coordinator of the project, while Morten Bøås is the project manager

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway through the research programme FRIPRO.



How do Islamist movements relate to the modern state?

June 28, 2019

The first research notes from the HYRES project are out, analyzing several very timely questions related to Islamist movements in Mali, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon.



Sunnism, Salafism, Sheikism: Urban Pathways of Resistance in Sidon, Lebanon

This brief analyses Salafism as an urban phenomenon, with an emphasis on the contentious period following the Syrian uprising turned civil war (2011–present). ...

Mali's Religious Leaders and the 2018 Presidential Elections

Mali is by constitution a secular state, but here as elsewhere in the Sahel the role of religious leaders is increasing both in the social and the political ...

To engage or not engage? Libyan Salafis and state institutions

At the beginning of the recent escalation of hostilities in Libya in April 2019, one of the key questions posed was what role, if any, quietist ...

Lebanese Sunni Islamism: A Post-Election Review

This research note analyses the internal and external factors that led to Al-Jama‘a al-Islamiyya‘s loss of its only parliamentary seat in 2018. Al-Jama‘a ...

Project Manager

Africa  The Middle East and North Africa  Peace operations  Terrorism and extremism  Conflict  Governance  Development policy

Knudsen, Are John; Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway
Imad, Abdul Ghany; Cultural Centre for Dialogue and Studies, Beirut, Lebanon
Cisse, Abdoul Wahab; Alliance pour Refonder la Gouvernance en Afrique (ARGA), Dakar, Senegal
Ala'Aldeen, Dlawer; and Wirya, Khogir; Middle East Research Institute (MERI), Erbil, Iraq
Collombier, Virginie; Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Firenze, Italy