Past eventMembers

Islamists, Democracy and a New Middle East

4 June 2014 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Chatham House, London


Shadi Hamid, Fellow, Saban Centre for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution; Author, Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East
Chair: Dr Maha Azzam, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House



Drawing on hundreds of interviews with Islamist leaders and activists, Shadi Hamid will examine how and why Islamist movements have changed over time, what guides their world view and how they wish to shape society. He will argue that, contrary to the academic and conventional wisdom, repression can ‘force’ mainstream Islamist groups to become more moderate over time, while democratization pushes them further toward the right, leading them to advance more explicitly illiberal policies and positions. He will contend that Islamists are not opposed to democracy, rather they pursue illiberal ends through the democratic process.