Salafism in Lebanon: the significance of Fathi Yakan and Al-Jamaʿa Al-Islamiyya

Zach Battat, Ronen A. Cohen, Dan Naor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Throughout modern Lebanese history, the Sunni Muslim community has found it difficult to adapt to the newly formed state. It felt that Lebanon was a country dominated by the Maronite Christian community. Over the decades, many Lebanese Sunni Muslims, primarily in Tripoli, have lost faith in the more secular approach that has promoted uniting Lebanon with its Syrian brethren through pan-Arabism and Nasserism and has gradually begun to favor the more conservative Islamic path known as Salafism that was already prevalent in the region. This article examines the role played by Sheikh Fathi Yakan in the emergence of Salafism in Lebanon. It traces his beginnings and views about both the Lebanese state and the pre-eminent figures of the Salafist movement, Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, and how he resourcefully founded the Haraki Salafist party al-Jamaʿa al-Islamiyya. Yakan’s writings constantly denounced the current structure of the Lebanese state and promoted the idea that Lebanon had to be changed through political activism (Haraki Salafism) to remove the Maronite hegemony. While he was not the founder of the Lebanese Salafist movement, Yakan was a transformational figure and a major reason why it still exists today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-138
Number of pages13
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • Fathi Yakan
  • Hezbollah
  • Islamic activism
  • Islamic thought
  • Lebanon
  • Salafism


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