Between Moderation & Radicalization: Transnatio nal Interactions of Jamaat-e-Islami

Ahmad, Irfan. 2012. “Between Moderation & Radicalization: Transnational Interactions of Jamaat-e-Islami.” In Ajay Sahoo et al (eds). Indian Diaspora and Transnationalism. Delhi: Rawat (reproduced from Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs).

Abstract: Religious movements have often been studied in the context of nation-states. With scholarly attention now shifting to globalization and other world system processes, there is a growing move to go beyond the particularity of nation-states and study the general transnational dimensions of religious movements. In this article, I describe the processes through which Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), a contemporary Islamist movement in India, developed links with ideologically similar movements, institutions and networks in the Gulf countries, Iran and the West. Taking JIH as a social movement, I argue for a more nuanced conceptualization of transnational social movements, because existing theories are based on the experiences of Western democracies and, as such, are insensitive to collective actions in undemocratic polities such as the Gulf states. While making a case for taking into account the transnational dimensions of understanding JIH, I call into question the alarmist thesis that emphasizes the homogenous radicalization of the entire movement as an inevitable consequence of the transnational connections an Islamic movement develops. On the contrary, I contend that they also lead to conflict within the movement and its moderation.