Transnational religious networks and geopolitics in the Muslim World

(2019). Transnational religious networks and geopolitics in the Muslim World. Global Discourse, 9(4) pp. 593–603.



Debates around the sectarianisation of politics across the Middle East and Muslim world more broadly have opened new spaces of enquiry into the interrelationship between religion and geopolitics. The nature of links between Iran and Saudi Arabia and various groups in the Muslim world differs across time and space, shaped by a range of context specific factors. Networks are shaped by the interaction of their constituent parts and the organisation of power among their members and thus, as a consequence networks are neither fixed nor universal. Here, context is key, resulting in different types of relationships across spaces.

Much academic and policy-oriented work on transnational religious networks has historically reflected Western governments’ preoccupation with security issues vis-à-vis Islamist ‘extremist’ groups. This narrow prism distorts understanding of the roles that such networks play, and thus necessitates further exploration of the multiple levels and characteristics of transnational religious networks, be they state, sect or community-led.

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