Document Type

International Studies and Languages


This research analyzes the evolution of Islamism, or political Islam, from its roots as a backlash to Western imperialism in the Middle East to its manifestation as Arab Nationalism up to 1967 to its current form. The purpose of this academic paper is to provide a deeper understanding of the Islamist crisis by examining the conditions that led to its emergence as the preeminent political force in the Middle East. My research draws upon a plethora of other scholarly research from academic journals and literary publications by individuals and groups well-versed in Middle Eastern history and politics to arrive at its conclusion. My analysis shows that Islamism is largely politically-motivated movement beneath its surface, despite its religious appeals and overtones. It shows furthermore that it is the latest in a string of Middle Eastern political movements aimed at resisting Western presence in the region rather than an isolated phenomenon unrelated to previous efforts. This conclusion implies that Western efforts to combat Islamist extremism through intervention have been counterintuitive, owing to the movement’s core virtue of resistance to Western intrusion into their national, cultural, and religious institutions, and that a change in foreign policy approach to the problem is needed.