Until the Arab uprisings of 2011, Salafist movements in the Arab world have mostly refrained from political participation. Today, however, the scenario has changed. In the wake of Mubarak’s fall, Egyptian Salafists established the Nour Party. In Tunisia, their counterparts established the Reform Front Party after the fall of Ben Ali’s regime. And in Morocco, a number of Salafists have joined other non-Salafist political parties, like the Party of Renaissance and Virtue.

The Carnegie Middle East Center hosted Cheikh Muhammad Abdel Wahab Rafiki, Nader Bakkar, Muhammad Khawaja, and Carine Lahoud to discuss the experience of establishing Salafist parties in Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. They also addressed the challenges that these parties face and the role that political Salafism could play in stemming the increasing reliance on political violence. Carnegie’s Georges Fahmi moderated.

Cheikh Mohamed Abdel Wahab Rafiki

Cheikh Mohamed Abdel Wahab Rafiki is the deputy secretary-general of the Party of Renaissance and Virtue in Morocco.

Nader Bakkar

Nader Bakkar is the co-founder of Egypt’s al-Nour Party, adviser to the chairman for media affairs, and serves on the party’s presidential and foreign affairs committees.

Georges Fahmi

Georges Fahmi is an El-Erian fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his research focuses on religious actors in democratic transition, the interplay between state and religion, and religious minorities and citizenship.

Muhammad Khawaja

Muhammad Khawaja is the head of the Reform Front Party in Tunisia. 

Carine Lahoud

Carine Lahoud is a professor at the Lebanese American University and the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.