This Brownbag aims at understanding the religious, political, economic and social causes of the current turmoil in the Islamic world in general and the Middle East, in particular. It will focus on the fundamentals and pillars of Islam as a revealed religion; its different interpretations; the exact meaning of concepts such as Jihad; the rapid territorial expansion of Islam over three continents until the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The Brown Bag will also follow the emergence of the modern ideologies that shaped the Islamic world, their failures combined with the success of religious movements, inaugurated by the Iranian Revolution, paved the way to the development of a radicalized version of Islam viewed as the only solution to the internal and external challenges faced by the Ummah.
The Brown Bag will analyze the methods and goals of the Salafist, Wahabbist and other radical brands of Islam, such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood; the Jihadist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, and the more recently created Islamic State. It will investigate the conditions that led to the uprisings in several countries, known as the "Arab Spring" and the causes of the demise of their legitimate democratic aspirations. It will focus on specific conflicts to illustrate the violent power struggle between the forces of secular/authoritarian regimes against their Fundamentalist nemesis. The crisis in Algeria of 1990's and the ongoing civil war in Syria will illustrate this confrontation.