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Post-Islamism is a neologism in political science, the definition and applicability of which has led to an intellectual debate. Asef Bayat and Olivier Roy are among the main architects of the idea.
The term has been used by Bayat to refer to "a tendency" towards resecularizing of Islam after the "exhaustion" of political Islam; by Olivier Carré to refer to a premodern era of Islamic history where the political-military and religious realms were separated; by Olivier Roy to a recognition that after repeated efforts Islamists had failed to establish a "concrete and viable blueprint for society".
The term was coined by Iranian political sociologist Asef Bayat, then associate professor of sociology at The American University in Cairo in a 1996 essay published in the journal Middle East Critique.
Bayat explained it as "a condition where, following a phase of experimentation, the appeal, energy, symbols and sources of legitimacy of Islamism get exhausted, even among its once-ardent supporters. As such, post-Islamism is not anti-Islamic, but rather reflects a tendency to resecularize religion." It originally pertained only to Iran, where "post-Islamism is expressed in the idea of fusion between Islam (as a personalized faith) and individual freedom and choice; and post-Islamism is associated with the values of democracy and aspects of modernity". In this context, the prefix post- does not have historic connotation, but refers to the critical departure from Islamist discourse. Bayat later pointed in 2007 that post-Islamism is both a "condition" and a "project".
French politician Olivier Carré used the term in 1991 from a different perspective, to describe the period between the 10th and the 19th centuries, when both Shiite and Sunni Islam "separated the political-military from the religious realm, both theoretically and in practice".
"Postmodern Islamism" and "New Age Islamism" are other terms interchangeably used.
Olivier Roy argued in Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah in 2004 that "Islamists around the world" had been unable "to translate their ideology into a concrete and viable blueprint for society", leading "Muslim discourse" to enter "a new phase of post-Islamism".
In Iran, the Reformists and the group known as the Melli-Mazhabi (who are ideologically close to the Freedom Movement) are described as post-Islamists.
The advent of moderate parties Al-Wasat Party in Egypt, as well as Justice and Development Party in Morocco appeared to resemble emergence of post-Islamism, however scholars rejected that they qualify as such. A similar characterization applies to the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
A 2008 Lowy Institute for International Policy paper suggests that Prosperous Justice Party of Indonesia and Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey are post-Islamist. According to Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan (2012), many analysts consider Turkish AKP an example of post-Islamism, similar to Christian democratic parties, but Islamic. However, some scholars such as Bassam Tibi dispute this. İhsan Yılmaz argues that the party's ideology after 2011 is different from that of between 2001 and 2011.
The idea has been used to describe the "ideological evolution" within the Ennahda of Tunisia.