Monday, November 16, 2015

Islam & Islamism

Islam is a religion, but Islamism is a political movement, or, to be more precise, a spectrum of political ideas based on particularistic interpretations of some of the founding principles of Islam. In other words, Daesh is more a political phenomenon than a religious one, and its ideology is a mixture of puritanical ahistorical, that is, decontextualized, interpretations of Islam and Islamic history, coupled with a rejection of the modern world. Why? Because it’s an alien world where the West is superior and dominant on all levels, and its radically different values have been imposed on the East through a string of colonialist ventures, coming as a shock to an old and stale system of thought. Most academics studying the development of political Islam have noted the major influence that anarchist and fascist writings by a variety of Western figures have had on its development, and on modern political culture in Muslim-majority countries in general. Daesh founders may not familiar with this, or they might have chosen to believe that such sources only influenced the development of secular political culture, but, in reality, you can substitute any fascist or anarchist ideology for Islam in the basic texts without having to engage in any intellectual gymnastics.

In short, Islamism or Political Islam, with its ongoing affiliation with a variety of terrorist groups, either through involvement in apologetics, or through more direct organizational outreach, is frankly speaking a fascist movement, no different than those that existed in Europe few decades, and which may rise again.

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