Economics vs Extremism in a Changing Middle East
Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Chair: Dr Maha Azzam, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
The speaker will argue that the most important development in the Muslim world in the past decade is not growing Islamic extremism but the rise of a new middle class, rooted in commercial market forces, and displaying economic and political values that are aligned with those of the middle classes in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. This new class has been a force for intellectual, religious and political change, and will continue to serve as the barrier against extremism. The speaker will make the case that the future of the Muslim world will be decided in large measure by the extent to which this class prospers and finds its voice in society and politics.