Islamic Unification Movement (IUM)
ISLAMIC UNIFICATION MOVEMENT (IUM)
Lebanese organization (Harakat al-Tawhid al-Islami, in Arabic) uniting anti-Syrian Islamic movements. The IUM surfaced in 1984 after the dissolution of the Islamic Union Front (IUF) of Khalil al-Akkawi. It was organized by Shaykh Said Shaʿaban (d. 1998), former member of the Lebanese Islamic Group (Jamiʿa al-Islamiyya Libnaniyya) and professor of Arab literature at Tripoli since 1964, who had followed a course of religious studies abroad, particularly in Egypt and Iraq.
The IUM proposed liberating Lebanon from all foreign occupation, in view of creating an Islamic republic. Between 1984 and 1987 the movement went underground, participating in the fighting against Syrian forces present in Lebanon; then it returned to the Lebanese political arena in 1988. Two years later, a pro-Syrian current, headed by Malik Allush, appeared in the IUM. Since 1991, the leadership of the IUM has benefited from financial help from Tehran, and has become more conciliatory toward Syria. Opposing the Israeli-Palestinian accord of 13 September 1993, the IUM was very involved in the struggle against the Israeli presence in South Lebanon, which ended with an Israeli pullout in 2000. Since then it has focused on its current leader, who is Bilal Shaʾaban. A faction called Islamic Unification Group—Leadership Council is headed by Hashim Minqara, who was imprisoned by the Syrians from 1986 to 2000.