Skip to main content

The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are

As dictatorships fall, parties tied to the Arab world’s conservative religious tradition are getting stronger. An expert panel looks at what this means for the US, Israel, and the world—drawing on the new book, The Islamists Are Coming, by Center expert Robin Wright.

Date & Time

Apr. 18, 2012
12:30pm – 2:00pm


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Get Directions

The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are

Islamist politics have been reinvigorated by the power shifts happening in the Middle East. As secular dictatorships fall, religious conservatism is gaining actual strength and consolidating itself in positions of political power. Better comprehending this new dynamic is the subject of The Islamists Are Coming, a new book edited by Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar Robin Wright.

On Wednesday, as part of The Wilson Center’s National Conversation series, Wright and other Mideast experts gathered to discuss what the rise of Islamist politics means for the region. They addressed how Islamist politics differ from country to country, and they examined the impact on U.S. foreign policy, Israel, and larger geopolitical relations.

The Islamists Are Coming is the first book to survey the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region, more than any other political bloc, yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.

In this book, Robin Wright offers an overview and 10 experts identify Islamists in Algeria, Egypt (two chapters), Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria, and Tunisia. Each chapter is designed to help both a general audience and specialists.

A book website at, launched on the day of the event, will provide updates and an ongoing conversation among these and other experts.

The National Conversation at the Woodrow Wilson Center series provides a safe political space for deep dialogue and informed discussion of the most significant problems and challenges facing the nation and the world.

Hosted By

The Islamists

"The Islamists" is a book and website on the origins, evolution, and positions of Islamist movements in the Middle East. The movements are redefining the order and borders in the world’s most volatile region. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.  Read more

Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more


Event Feedback