For more than a decade, post-Islamism has been at the center of a major debate in French academia regarding the historical evolution of Islamism. The concept was put forth in the early 1990s as an attempt to apprehend the apparent crisis within many Islamic movements of the Middle East. In Iran, the increasingly authoritarian character of the Islamic republic, as well as the predominance of the mullahs' discretionary powers, seemed to undermine the credibility of the Islamist alternative. Elsewhere, as in Egypt and Algeria, the advent of an Islamic order never came to pass and appeared illusory. Islamists were unable to cope with the repression and the containment policies of secular states. Therefore, a number of French scholars argued that Islamism—that is, the holistic, populist, and often revolutionary ideology whose goal is the establishment of an Islamic state and the governance of all aspects of society according to Islamic principles—had reached a dead end. Ruhollah Khomeini, Sayyid Qutb, and Abu al-Ala al-Mawdudi were passé. An era of post-Islamism was dawning.
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