Only the mullahs can bring the people into the streets and make them die for Islam—begging to have their blood shed for Islam.
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini1
When the Western world looks at the Middle East, it sees an area dominated by militant Islamists like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. These have their importance, to be sure, but the role of religion in politics goes far beyond these. In particular, analysts often fail to pay enough attention to the ulema, the religious scholars of Islam, a powerful group whose influence is very deeply felt.

In fact, the ulema, more than any other group in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, have the power to bring about social, political, and economic change. Governments, of course, also have the ability to bring about change, but they tend to do so coercively; in contrast, the ulema have influence through the prestige of their authority, and this is usually deeper and longer-lasting than what a government bullies people into doing.

Islam and Politics

Islam is a comprehensive way of life, whether on a public or private level, individual or communal level, political, civil, or economic level. According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet's Medinan umma (Muslim community) was a religio-political community governed by God's law as revealed to Muhammad in the Qur'an. The Qur'an, believed to be the one, true, unadulterated, final, and complete revelation of God (see 5:3, 6:38), remains at the core of Muslim society. The Islamic legacy structures the operation of the community on the secular level. Faith in the completeness of the Qur'an demands the formation of a state centered on Qur'anic teachings and its laws, applied to civil and political life. As the pseudonymous Ibn ar-Rawandi puts it, "Not only is Islam for the Muslim born and bred the obvious explanation of life and the world, it is also his family and cultural heritage."2

This is not just theory. The importance of this core belief has not eroded over time, as debates on the compatibility of Islam and democracy testify. Scores of academics, activists, and clerics have set forth elaborate arguments interpreting verses in the Qur'an and Sunna (the Prophet's sayings and behavior as a model for the umma) to lend weight either to the pro-democracy or anti-democracy stance.

Mas‘uma Ebtekar, a senior member of Iranian president Mohammad Khatami's government, expresses something similar: "There are so many principles and edicts that would be left unattended if Islam shed its political dimension."3 In the words of Rashid al-Ghannushi, a leading Tunisian Islamist, "God is the Lord both in the mosque and in the market, in the school and in the factory."4 

In her analysis of the reappearance of the religious Right in Turkey from the mid-1960s to 1980, Binnaz Toprak draws attention to the significance of Islam's all-embracing nature. Although she concludes that the religious Right's re-emergence is limited, she concedes:
Islam is a religion that does not differentiate between sacred and secular. In fact, it considers this differentiation heresy . . . [i]t has a theological insistence on incorporating the political within the religious realm. Hence, it has the potential power of replacing both secular political ideology and secular political authority.5
Toprak sees the religio-political nature of Islam as a compelling force for unity and one of the main reasons for its power to challenge political authority. Islam, she argues, is "especially conducive" to "mass political mobilization," whereas more individualistic religions are less so because politics is not a means to "salvation."6 Samuel P. Huntington makes a similar point. Looking at the structures of political loyalty among Arabs and Muslims, he notes that Islam is a strong unifying force and that it continues to play a "significant and determining role in social, economic, cultural, and political developments in Arab societies and political systems."7

The Ulema's Power

Islam emphasizes the direct relationship between the individual believer and God, so there is no mention in the Qur'an of a distinct class of men endowed with an ability to interpret the Book; the ulema are not Islam's equivalent of priests. Even so, they have attained a role in Islamic society that is far more comprehensive than that of Christian priests.

In the early history of Islam, ulema did not constitute a distinct class of men, but by the eighth century they had become just this. Still, they are even today not a cohesive body that thinks and shares the same values and aspirations. Disagreements as to their role in Islamic society and on interpretations of the Qur'an and Sunna are commonplace. Ulema diverge, for example, on the legitimacy of certain actions by Muslims in the conflict with Israel. Here are two examples: 

Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar in Egypt, justified his meeting with the chief rabbi of Israel, Israel Lau, in December 1997, which provoked a storm of controversy by likening it to the meeting the Prophet Muhammad held with two Jewish tribes of Medina; his opponents dug up Qur'anic verses that opposed meeting "the enemy": "God only forbids that you make friends with those who have fought against you because of your religion, and have driven you out of your homes and have aided others in driving you out. Who makes friends with them, those are the transgressors" (60:8-9).8

Likewise, Palestinian suicide bombings raise questions of religious legitimacy. The mufti of Saudi Arabia, said he was "not aware of anything in religious law regarding killing oneself in the midst of the enemy," and concluded from this that suicide bombings are nothing but a form of suicide, which is illegal in Islam.9 In contrast, the head of a Hamas-affiliated association of ulema opposed this interpretation of the Qur'an and deemed that suicide bombings are not only "permissible" in Islam but even "desirable."

Generally, the ulema's position improves or worsens depending on the government's attitude toward Islam. They flourish in places like Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan, which are governed in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunna. Indeed, Iran and Afghanistan boast direct rule by the ulema. In Sudan, a military coup supported by the ulema in 1989 led to their replacing Western-trained judges and their increasingly playing a role in the Islamization process. For example, a group of ulema issued a fatwa in 1992 that permitted the killing of southern Sudanese Muslims as apostates as well as the non-Muslims of the area. At the opposite extreme, Kemal Atatürk separated religion from politics and completely disestablished the ulema, though they made a comeback after his death. In the middle ground, Anwar ("The Believer President") as-Sadat tried to accommodate Islam in Egypt without letting it run things. Syria's Hafiz al-Asad may have massacred tens of thousands of Islamists but he gave the ulema an honored place.

The influence of the ulema derives from Islam itself. These men devote their lives to the study of the Qur'an and Sunna, the two main sources of the Shari‘a (Islamic law) and are regarded as specialists in the religious sciences. Considered to be the keepers of Islam by the masses, the ulema are entrusted with interpreting and administering the Shari‘a, and this in turn gives them many roles: they are educators, religious and moral guides to their community, activists and advisors. They are consulted on every issue, from the proper way to keep a kitchen to children's education to the rules of warfare. In Islam, the way the spiritual shapes the secular depends on how Islam is interpreted by the ulema, and that is the basis of their strength. Nothing is beyond the scope of the Qur'an, so no subject matter is beyond their scope.

The ulema have no formal legislative role, and so their power is exercised through two principle indirect means: influence over public opinion and legitimization (or not) of a ruler. The first allows them to mobilize the Muslim population for or against policies, depending on their own interests or what they hold to be the interests of their society; the second gives them direct access to the ruler and helps him achieve political stability.

Unlike the denizens of large bureaucratic government institutions, ulema usually live and operate within close proximity to their audience. They are in the mosques that permeate the towns and cities; they are in the schools and often head many Islamic social groups and organizations. Their messages are, therefore, received directly. Present in every stratum of Muslim society and highly respected, the ulema have achieved a status where their interpretations are accepted as valid with regards to Islam's laws, traditions, and tenets. This naturally places them in a position of power.

That the ulema are a powerful group is recognized by citizens of Middle Eastern states. The case of the Egyptian journalist and writer, Faraj Fuda, illustrates the ulema's influence. In June 1992 he was murdered, five days after a group of al-Azhar ulema adopted a 1988 opinion of Sheikh al-Azhar, Jadd al-Haqq, branding secularist writers "enemies of Islam" and denouncing Fuda as a secularist. In their defense his killers declared that "al-Azhar issued the sentence, and we carried out the execution."10

At some point, many religions have emphasized a close relationship between the spiritual and the temporal. The post-Enlightenment West, however, has gradually separated the two realms. Islam stands out as unique in the continuing belief of Muslims that the sacred and secular are indivisible. Indeed, the West's relentless drift towards an increasingly secular and (Muslims would say) "decadent" way of life has caused many within the umma to turn to religion as a stabilizing force and to the ulema as guides through the minefield of modern life. This places the ulema in a privileged position.

Armed with specialist knowledge of the Qur'an and the Sunna, the ulema find themselves in the happy position of being able to voice their opinions or issue fatwas (edicts on Islamic law) on any matter at all. They can influence and mobilize public opinion for or against government policies by declaring these in (or out) of accord with Islam.

I. Legitimizing the Government

Ulema support for the ruler has been a common requirement throughout the centuries, regardless of whether it was coerced or given freely. Regimes have felt the need for religious legitimacy provided by ulema. Though those men of religion willing to cloak their government with religious legitimacy are disparagingly labeled "ulema of the sultan," this affiliation with power does not diminish their position as interpreters of the faith; significantly, their interpretation is perceived as no less valid than that of other ulema.

The Ottoman Empire absorbed the ulema into the ruling class and controlled them tightly – but even so depended on ulema support. For example, one study of the role of ulema in the reforming of the Ottoman state finds that the "outcome of attempts at modernization depended greatly on the attitude of the ulema."11

In recent years, this tradition continues, and it does so even in military regimes run by secular-minded officers. Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and the Ba‘th party in Syria and Iraq initially looked to their armies and secret police for legitimacy; as adamant secularists, they tried to ignore the ulema, but with little success. More often than not they eventually had to acknowledge that they needed the ulema to give their rule a semblance of legitimacy.

Abdel Nasser realized that proclaiming Arab nationalist and socialist ideals was not enough, that he also needed Islamic legitimacy. Toward this end, he co-opted ulema from the prestigious Al-Azhar University, other mosque leaders, as well as Islamic publications to express support for him and his vision. His successors did likewise. Anwar as-Sadat aligned himself closely with the ulema, and in turn they legitimized and helped bolster support for his leadership, for the war with Israel in 1973, and for the Camp David accords of 1978. Husni Mubarak also continues to find the ulema a necessary ally in his fight to discredit the Islamist opposition. Al-Azhar ulema appear on government-sponsored television to debate Islamists and counter their radical anti-government brand of Islam with a more moderate Islamic message.

Iraq's Saddam Husayn and Syria's Hafiz al-Asad tried initially to ensure that Islam remained strictly a relationship between the citizen and his creator; they brutally suppressed any attempt to dilute the government's secular ideology. Over time, however, both recognized the power and authority of Islam and its ulema and have effectively exploited it. For a regime espousing secularism, Saddam Husayn's gradual Islamization of government rhetoric and adoption of Islamic symbols and history, Amatzia Baram points out, "had to be based on a rational calculation that more emphasis on Islam would strengthen the regime's popularity."12 This process began following Ayatollah Khomeini's coming to power and his verbal attacks on the Iraqi regime, but intensified yet further around the time of the Kuwait war. 

Hafiz al-Asad followed Saddam Husayn's example, according to Eyal Zisser:
Damascus started to see the Islamists as perhaps the only possible means by which to enhance its regional standing, gain influence in neighboring countries, and bring domestic tranquillity to Syria itself. . . . Syria has practically abandoned pan-Arabism as the mainstay of its foreign policy and as the primary means to recruit Arab support, replacing it with a pan-Islamic policy.13
Asad's struggle against Israel became more effective when the ulema preached antisemitic messages and cloaked the conflict in Islamic terms. The authoritarian and personal character of the Iraqi and Syrian regimes renders them inherently unstable; that instability cannot be ended by invoking Islam and giving the ulema a role, but the presence of supportive ulema clearly legitimizes those regimes. 

Two factors—the absence of a secular tradition in Islam and the non-democratic nature of nearly all Middle Eastern governments—have forced rulers tacitly to acknowledge their need for cooperative ulema. Such regimes have no basis for their rule other than force or heredity, and so, with a population that mostly adheres to Islam, the rulers look to the Muslim authorities to underpin their rule. As the acknowledged guardians of Islam, the ulema are needed to give the ruler religious legitimization.

II. Stabilizing the Government

In the monarchies and emirates—Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states—stability depends in large part on cooperation between the ulema and the monarchs. The Jordanian monarchy has a unique relationship with the ulema; King Husayn permitted the Muslim Brethren and the Islamic Action Front to operate freely in the country and in return they legitimized the monarchy and became its staunch allies.14 Saudi Arabia was built with the support and approval of the ulema, thus their historical relationship gives them direct access to the monarchy. Muhammad ibn Saud was able to weaken and overcome diverse tribal affiliations and establish the kingdom by allying himself with Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.

Ghassan Salamé of the Centre National de Recherches Scientifique in Paris, points out that even in the early years of nation-building, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud realized that, while tribal alliances were a matter of political expediency, his alliance with the ulema was crucial.15 Referring to the alliance, Joseph A. Kechichian of the University of California Los Angeles, comments: "Religious power and authority continue to be exercised by the ulema in tandem with political figures who together derive a dose of legitimacy as a result of this cooperation."16 He goes on to explain: "In Saudi Arabia, the ulema continue to accept the legitimacy of the government because the Sa‘uds rule according to the Shari‘a and consult regularly with the recognized interpreters of the Shari‘a, namely the ulema."17

The ulema, for example, had a crucial role in the 1979 Mecca incident, when Juhayman ibn Muhammad ‘Utaybi and his disgruntled followers seized the Grand Mosque. The ulema responded by issuing a fatwa allowing the men to be removed by force from the holy place, something normally unheard of in peacetime. Kechichian argues that this fatwa justifying force satisfied both the king and the public interest.18 It provided religious cover for the king to order troops into the Grand Mosque, normally prohibited under Islam, to remove the Juhayman group, thus quashing a challenge to the monarchy and preventing the disturbance from destabilizing the kingdom.

In 1994, Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baz issued a fatwa declaring it "incumbent on good Moslems to destroy faxes arriving from the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR)," an Islamist anti-Saudi organization based in London. In support, Sheikh Mohammad al-‘Uthaymin stated it was "a sin to duplicate or distribute pamphlets" received from the group.19 The edict was a response to fears that the use of human rights issues by Islamic militants to attack the monarchy in Saudi Arabia would destabilize the kingdom.

The Saudi ulema's ability to influence and mobilize public opinion was again evident during the Kuwait war of 1990–91. That conflict was nearly as much a battleground for the ulema as it was for military officers. Arab regimes allied to the United States encouraged their ulema to proclaim Saddam Husayn as un-Islamic, while those sympathetic to the Iraqi chance wheeled out their ulema to declare the conflict a jihad against Western imperialism. For its part, the Saudi Arabian ulema had the added task of justifying to its population the presence of non-believers near Mecca and Medina, which they did through a fatwa stating that the presence of infidels on Saudi Arabian soil was permissible because "they are here to defend Islam."20

Nawaf E. Obaid, a Saudi scholar, notes four seemingly baffling decisions taken by Saudi rulers (the 1973 oil embargo, the presence of foreign troops during and after the Kuwait war, and support for the Taliban) and concludes that they can only be fully understood when political bargaining with the ulema is taken into consideration. The king, Obaid argues, "must take their views into consideration in every choice he makes."21

III. Undermining the Government

Examples of the ulema's ability to influence and mobilize are found throughout the Middle East.

Arabic-speaking countries. In Egypt, when in 1998 Muhammad Sayyid at-Tantawi of Al-Azhar issued a fatwa declaring loans of any kind, except if required for life-threatening need, to be religiously prohibited, the People's Assembly (or parliament) was forced temporarily to shelve a bill drafted to regulate mortgages as its Economic Committee considered the bill's "religious legitimacy."22 Fearing that this edict could lead to a massive default on interest payments, the banking and real estate sectors entered a state of turmoil;23 meanwhile, pious Egyptians heeded the ruling and waited for the issue to be clarified before deciding to purchase a home with a mortgage. Sheikh Tantawi later appeared to backtrack on his fatwa, but the issue of interest payment on loans had been raised. In response, the People's Assembly amended the bill not to contravene Shari‘a law, which forbids interest on loans. As the assembly grapples with the issue of interest, the law remains stuck in the legislative process.

Also in Egypt, grocers in Cairo called upon the ulema for assistance after feeling the pinch of competition following the opening of eleven stores in the city by the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's. In response, the clerics helpfully issued a fatwa condemning shopping at the store. As the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian Mail newspaper commented at the time, the ulema "know that Egyptians are deeply religious and will abandon anything if it contradicts God's teachings."24 The fatwa was accompanied by rumors that the supermarket chain is Jewish-owned and it donates significant amounts of money to Zionist causes. The rumor gathered momentum despite vehement denials by senior executives.25 The ulema urged Egyptian shoppers to boycott Sainsbury's; increasingly its stores and staff came under physical attack. Consequently, in April 2001, Sainsbury's announced its withdrawal from the Egyptian market, taking a loss of between £100 and £125 million.

Ulema in various Middle East countries have mobilized public opinion against Israel and the West since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000, sometimes in ways clearly against the interests of their governments and economies.26 In Egypt, Sheikh Tantawi and Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasil stated that boycotting Western products and commodities was "for the benefit of the Palestinian cause, and is a requirement." In accordance with the statement, Muslim activists distributed lists of products to be boycotted to the public.27 In Saudi Arabia, Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jabrin issued a similar fatwa to boycott Western goods and services and not to employ Americans "because all that weakens their economy and contributes to their defeat and humiliation,"28 accompanied by a list of forty U.S. companies. The economic impact of the fatwas was limited but the ulema removed some aspects of the policy-making process from the hands of the government.

Iran. Alienating the ulema results in the umma's perceiving the ruler as illegitimate. This is especially clear in Iran, where the ulema of Iran were at the forefront of each of the three great efforts to rid their country of Western influence; the mass protests of 1891–92, the constitutional revolution of 1905–11, and the Islamic revolution of 1978-79. The 1891–92 protests, caused by the shah's decision to award a British company a monopoly over the tobacco business, were organized in large part by the ulema in alliance with the bazaaris. They issued fatwas prohibiting tobacco commerce and smoking tobacco and allowed the mosques to be used as sanctuaries by protestors.

During the constitutional revolution, ulema support was significant on both sides of the divide: some were sympathetic to calls for a constitution29 and the establishment of a house of justice to limit the arbitrary power of the shah, while others were theocrats and saw the establishment of a directly elected law-making body as heresy. Ervand Abrahamian has found that the ulema in opposition served as indispensable allies to the bazaaris and intellectuals, and the mosques were used as a base from which to coordinate the protests.30 The ulema's important role for and against constitutional reform continued right up until the British and Russians permanently put the lid on the revolution in 1911.

The 1978-79 revolution began with secular leftists, but Ayatollah Khomeini's charisma and harsh criticism of the ruling Pahlavis was key to the success of the overthrow of the shah. And this time, astonishingly, the ulema established direct rule, something as Nikki R. Keddie, a leading historian of Iran, observed, "new to Shi‘ism."31 Indeed, it is unheard of since Turkmenistan fell to Khoja Ahrar and his dervish supporters in 1449.

Khomeini's absolutist doctrine is not shared by all Shi‘i ulema. Though all demand an Islamic state, they are divided as to their own political role: some agree with Khomeini that their knowledge as jurists makes them suitable rulers, while others see themselves in the more traditional role of counselors to the ruler. Today, the struggle in Iran is between hard-line and more open ulema, rather than the ulema and secularists. When student demonstrations erupted in 1999 to protest attempts by hard-line clerics to stop President Muhammad Khatami's reforms, even Khatami was careful not to upset the hard-line clerics and to work within the system rather than try to dismantle it.

In summary, the ulema operate as part and parcel of the state apparatus in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan; they contribute to stability, support the rulers, and encourage change and development. Egypt's government has had and continues to have a precarious relationship with the ulema. An attempt to introduce secular politics gave way to accepting the inevitability of Islam's playing a significant role in the country, and successive governments looked to the ulema for support and legitimacy. Regimes such as those in Syria and Iraq also attempted to replace Islam with the nation-state as the focus of loyalty but have also come to recognize and accept the power held by the ulema and have tapped into it. In Iran, the ulema have been at forefront of every major change, culminating with their imposition of direct rule in 1979.


This analysis has two implications for Westerners looking at the Middle East. First, however much they value the separation of the spiritual and temporal in politics for themselves, they must not let this get in the way of a hard-headed appraisal of Middle Eastern realities. It may be alien to Western sensibilities, but the ulema are a key factor in decision-making throughout the region. 

Second, ulema power means that when regimes do separate religion from politics, they appear un-Islamic. In Turkey, for instance, Atatürk's far-reaching secularist policies are seen as heretical to Islamists and others.

Considering the intertwining of religion and politics in the Middle East, attempts to separate one from the other should be done with great care. Would-be reformers, whether internal or external, must pay special attention to the concerns of the ulema, who benefit from this intertwining and may well stand in the way of its loosening. That said, movement toward a more secular system will be greatly facilitated with the support of these religious scholars.
Gibreel Gibreel, a Lebanese businessman working in the United Kingdom, holds degrees from Buckingham and Edinburgh universities.
1 Quoted in Amir Taheri, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (London: Hutchinson, 1985), p. 51.
2 Ibn ar-Rawandi, "Origins of Islam: A Critical Look at the Sources," The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, ed. Ibn Warraq (New York: Prometheus Books, 2000), p. 106.
3 Nathan Gardels, "The Islamic Revolution: From the Shah to the Spice Girls," New Perspective Quarterly, Spr. 1998, at,5744,210877,00.html.
4 Rashid al-Ghannushi, Ad-Dini wa's-Siyasi fi'l-Islam, a lecture delivered at Cardiff Islamic Society, Jan. 1997, quoted in Azzam Tamimi, "Democracy: The Religious and the Political in Contemporary Islamic Debate," Encounters: Journal of Inter-cultural Perspectives, Mar. 1998, p. 58.
5 Binnaz Toprak, "The Religious Right," in ed. Albert Hourani, Philip S. Khoury, and Mary C. Wilson, The Modern Middle East: A Reader (London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 1993), p. 626.
6 Ibid.
7 Mohamed Zahi Mogherbi, Tribalism, Religion and the Challenge of Political Participation: The Case of Libya, paper presented to Conference on Democratic Challenge in the Arab World, Center for Political and International Development Studies, Cairo, Sept. 22-27, 1992, pp. 1, 9, quoted in Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (London: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1998), pp. 174-175.
8 Special Report: The Meeting between the Sheik of Al-Azhar and the Chief Rabbi of Israel, The Middle East Media & Research Institute (MEMRI), Feb. 8, 1998, at
9 Ash-Sharq al-Awsat (London), Apr. 21, 2001.
10 Quoted in Ami Ayalon, Egypt's Quest for Cultural Orientation (Tel Aviv: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, June 1999) at
11 Uriel Heyd, "The Ottoman ‘Ulema and Westernization in the Time of Selum III and Mahmud II," in Hourani, et al., Modern Middle East, p. 29.
12 Amatzia Baram, "Saddam Husayn between his Power Base and the International Community," Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), Dec. 2000, at
13 Eyal Zisser, "Hafiz al-Asad Discovers Islam," Middle East Quarterly, Mar. 1999, at
14 "Graham Fuller Speaks at UASR on Islamic Movements," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1999, pp. 105-109; Quintan Wiktorowicz, "Islamists, the State, and Cooperation in Jordan," Arab Studies Quarterly, Fall 1999, pp. 1-17.
15 Ghassan Salamé, "Political Power and the Saudi State," in Hourani, et al., Modern Middle East, pp. 579-580.
16 Joseph A. Kechichian, "The Role of the Ulema in the Politics of an Islamic State: The Case of Saudi Arabia," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Feb. 1986, p. 53.
17 Ibid., p. 65.
18 Ibid., pp. 60-63.
19 Reuters, Nov. 17, 1994.
20 Fatwa of Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baz, in Mordechai Abir, Saudi Arabia: Government, Society, and the Gulf Crisis (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 178, quoted in Nawaf E. Obaid, "The Power of Saudi Arabia's Islamic Leaders," Middle East Quarterly, Sept. 1999, at
21 Ibid.
22 Al-Ahram Weekly Online (Egypt), Nov. 11-17, 1999, at
23 Middle East Times, Egypt Edition, Oct. 29, 1999, at
24 The Daily Mail (London), Apr. 3, 2000.
25 The Guardian (London), Apr. 10, 2001; The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2001; The Times (London), Apr. 10, 2001; Al-Ahram Weekly On-line, Dec. 21 - 27 2000 at
26 Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Nov. 2 -8, 2000, at
27 Ar-Ra'i (Amman), Dec. 2, 2000.
28 Ibid., Dec 3, 2000.
29 Nikki R. Keddie, "Iranian Revolutions in Comparative Perspectives," in Hourani, et al., Modern Middle East, p. 609.
30 Ervand Abrahamian, "The Crowd in the Persian Revolution," in Hourani, et al., Modern Middle East, pp. 291-293.
31 Keddie, "Iranian Revolutions," p. 617.