30 October 2017

Joas Wagemakers wins British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize

Dr Joas Wagemakers won this year’s British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for the best book published in Middle Eastern Studies in 2016. His book Salafism in Jordan: Political Islam in a Quietist Community is considered as “a well-researched and detailed survey of the Salafi phenomenon in one of the Middle East’s less studied countries, Jordan. Wagemakers writes from an Islamic Studies perspective and conveys a deep understanding of, and respect for, the Salafi intellectual milieu.”

There are few book-length studies of Salafism in English and Wagemakers’ stands in a class of its own in terms of detail and depth of research.
Dr. Joas Wagemakers, lid van de Utrecht Young Academy.
Dr Joas Wagemakers

Salafism in Jordan

Since the events of 9/11, Salafism in the Middle East has often been perceived as fixed, rigid and even violent, but this assumption overlooks the quietist ideology that characterises many Salafi movements. Through an exploration of Salafism in Jordan, Joas Wagemakers presents the diversity among quietist Salafis on a range of ideological and political issues, particularly their relationship with the state. He expounds a detailed analysis of Salafism as a whole, whilst also showing how and why quietist Salafism in Jordan - through ideological tendencies, foreign developments, internal conflicts, regime involvement, theological challenges and regional turmoil - transformed from an independent movement into a politically domesticated one.

The book focuses specifically on Salafism in Jordan, giving readers an under-acknowledged and under-explored perspective on this country, which has been so important in the development of global Salafism. As one reviewer stated: ‘The focus on one country and period makes for a refreshing and original contribution that stands in contrast to the often broad-brush treatments of Salafism as a transnational and transhistorical phenomenon.’

British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize

The British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize was founded thanks to an endowment of the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Foundation. The prize is awarded for the best scholarly work on the Middle East each year. Normally the chronological remit of the prize will be from the rise of Islam until the present day, but outstanding scholarly entries from the pre-Islamic era may also be considered.