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Hezbollah's Social Jihad: Nonprofits as Resistance Organizations


A Beirut taxi driver hears news that the Hezbollah-operated television station where his son and daughter-in-law work has just been bombed by Israeli warplanes. Beirut’s southern suburb is being pummeled in response to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants in July 2006. While Lebanese public opinion regarding the Hezbollah abductions is divided, most agree that Lebanon would not be under attack, if it were not for Hezbollah’s action. All of Lebanon is likely to be affected by Israel’s destruction of infrastructure, the flight of tourists and capital, and the faltering economy that will follow in the conflict’s wake. In spite of this knowledge, and in spite of believing his son and daughter-in-law to be dead, when the taxi driver is asked if he still supports Hezbollah’s actions, he replies, “Yes. There is no other way.”

What accounts for Hezbollah’s unwavering base of support?  Using empirical evidence gathered during field research in Lebanon, this article seeks to explore what motivates Hezbollah to provide social services and how social-service provision increases community support for Hezbollah. Central to the article is the assertion that employees of Hezbollah’s nonprofit health and social-service organizations see their work as an act of resistance or jihad that is integral to Hezbol-lah’s struggle against Israel and the West.


Publication Information

Full Citation:

Flanigan, Shawn Teresa, and Mounah Abdel-Samad. 2009. "Hezbollah's Social Jihad: Nonprofits as Resistance Organizations." Middle East Policy 16 (June): 122-137. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4967.2009.00396.x/pdf

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