From “Radical Islamist” to “Shiite militant” group: The indicative transformation of Hezbollah’s changed description, and the ‘nationalisation’ of Shiite identity

In the past few months I’ve noticed a marked transformation (which probably goes back much before that) in the type of ideological descriptions atrributed to Hezbollah. Historically, Hezbollah, like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. was labelled as an ‘Islamist’ organisation, or perhaps ‘Shiite Islamist’. However, from close observation I have found that in the past few months the ‘Islamist’ adjunct has ceased to be attributed to Hezbollah. This could not be put down to the rise of the (much more “radical”) ISIS, i.e. where a term historically associated with radicalism has been stripped off such groups as Hezbollah or Hamas and been given to a much scarier proponent. The reason being that the term “Islamist” continues to be used routinely to describe the myriad of Syrian revolutionary groups, many seen to be ‘moderate’ and in direct confrontation with ISIS.

Grey ground? Perhaps not a shift to secularism, but a shift from Islamism nonetheless

[Draft – to be completed]


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