Gulf states and Islamist responses to COVID-19: a changing relationship
As a response to the pandemic, states in the Gulf are increasingly relying on the mobilisation of Islamic institutions and religious bodies to support lockdown and isolation policies, enlisting Islamic authority to compensate for the decreasing levels of popular trust in the regime. The tightening of authoritarian measures is bringing pre-existing tensions between Islamists and authorities back to the fore, resulting in an increased crackdown on religious opposition actors ad movements. This article shows that, while the extent to which these trends are developing depends on the national context under analysis, different state reactions to COVID-19 are already drastically altering the relationship between political institutions and Islamic ones, affecting both domestic and regional balances of power and highlighting the mutual dependency between religion and politics in the Gulf.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden
Publication date: November 2020
This article was made available online on October 26, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Gulf states and Islamist responses to COVID-19: a changing relationship".
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