The rise of the Islamist movement, a phenomenon that Islamists call the Awakening, has attracted the attention of academics of various disciplines and of diverse opinions and outlooks. They have taken many different approaches and have come up with contradictory results. Interpreting the phenomenon has sometimes been mistaken for trying to justify it. Since it would be difficult to give an exhaustive account here of the broad outlines of the research that has been done, it must suffice to indicate the main trends and attitudes. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the following three chapters in this volume, which deal with the approach of the state's official religious establishment; the approach that treats the Islamist phenomenon as the cultural manifestation of a new reality that rejects subservience and Euro-American hegemony; and presenting problematic aspects of reading the religious texts themselves.
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