MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 

Search:

Revisiting Islam vs Islamism

12/09/2008

Forget the `Clash of Civilizations' thesis; the battle lines within Islam have been drawn. Two years ago I published a paper entitled "Between Tolerance and Totalitarianism, Between Islam and Islamism"* The basic thrust of my argument then was that Islamic principles of tolerance and compassion are increasingly being displaced by Islamism. Islamism is a twentieth century totalitarian ideology that seeks to mould Islamic religious tradition to serve narrow political ends of domination. Not only is Islamism totalitarian in character, it is also violent in its methods and, in the process, betrays the very Islamic ideals it supposedly champions.

At the time of writing that paper two years ago I recall feeling pessimistic, feeling that Islamism was on the ascendancy. However, recent events have tempered my despondency and filled me with renewed hope that Muslims are recapturing the true ideals of their faith -- those of tolerance and compassion -- whilst rejecting the Islamist extremisms and distortions of their faith. A key catalyst for this is that Muslims are increasingly being turned off by the barbaric methods employed by Islamists.

In Iraq, unprecedented revulsion was displayed by Iraqi Muslims at the fact that young children were being recruited as suicide bombers by Al Qaeda. Two cases earlier this year illustrate the point well. In one incident, a young girl aged 13 exploded her suicide belt in Diyala, and in September, a 10-year old boy blew himself up next to Sheikh Imad Jassem, the leader of the Sons of Iraq in Tarmiya. Not only was Muslim public opinion affronted by the age of the suicide bombers, but also at the fact that they were recruited by coercive means and, in one case, did not even know that they were being strapped with an explosive device. The use of child suicide bombers by Al Qaeda may make tactical sense since less attention is paid to children at security checkpoints, but in the process they are alienating Muslim public opinion, which they do need in order to sustain their campaign. Increasingly, Iraqis are now co-operating with authorities in sharing information, which is contributing to more preventive action in Iraq. As such, the death toll is dropping and the security situation is improving whilst Al Qaeda and others of its ilk are increasingly on the defensive.

This was recently repeated in India following a string of indiscriminate bombings that largely targeted innocent civilians and which were perpetrated by the Indian Mujahideen. In early November, 6,000 ulema and Muftis from different parts of India ratified the fatwa against terrorism issued by the powerful Darul Uloom Deoband, the renowned seminary and Islamic academic centre. In the process, these Muslim clerics were sending a powerful message to the Islamist extremists: You do not speak in our name!

Following the terrorist attack on Mumbai, Muslim clerics in India once again went on the offensive. Mumbai's Muslim Council refused burial space to the terrorists killed in the Mumbai attacks, making it very clear that they do not regard these as Muslims. Muslim imams in Mumbai also called on the community to wear a black ribbon on Eid as an expression of solidarity with those killed. Meanwhile, the India Organisation of Imams of Mosques called on all mosques, muftis and madrassas to reiterate in this week's Friday prayers that "Islam forbids the killing of innocent people and is against any form of terrorism. We are deeply aggrieved by the loss of human lives and especially by the brutal killing of Jews."

As a Muslim, I have to admit that I was really proud of these imams. Muslims were coming to terms with the enemy within -- those who seek to subvert the noble ideals of a great religion into one which would justify the brutal massacre of the innocent. Just as the Mumbai terrorists demonstrated that the targets of terror have no religion -- Hindu, Jew, Christian and over 40 Muslims were killed in Mumbai - so too were these imams loudly proclaiming that terrorists have no religion -- whether Timothy McVeigh, Yigal Amir or Osama bin Laden. This gives me hope that in the battle between Islam and Islamism, Islam will triumph in the end.

Hussein Solomon



* CiPS E-Briefing Paper No. 65/2006 - and can be accessed from the Centre for International Political Studies (CiPS) website.

Professor Hussein Solomon lectures in the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria where he is also Director of the Centre for International Political Studies. He is currently also Nelson Mandela Chair in African Studies at Jawahrlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Originally published in Bulletin #83/2008 of the Centre for International Political Studies (CiPS) of the University of Pretoria. Reproduced by permission.

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000734.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 01:55 PM CST [Link]

NEWS

Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates

REFERENCE

Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans

Water

Middle East

  

Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News

Oceanguy

Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)

GulfReporter

Israpundit

Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective

ZioNation

Meretz USA Weblog

normblog

MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone


Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice

Democratiya

ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now

Nemashim

Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace

PEACE Watch

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Z-Word

Zionism

Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

IsraŽl in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace

Jew

Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine

SEO


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites


Replies: 2 comments

Dear Mr. Solomon:
It does my heart good to read your article along with its comments and ideas. As a Christian, I am attempting to understand "true" Islam, and to distinguish it from Islamism. I have read small parts of the Koran in an attempt to understand the religion of Islam. In the Koran, I found nothing but loving, kind ideals and theology. I am totally against war and terrorism. I believe that all nations need to unite to totally ban and eradicate war and terrorism world wide, a vision which the United Nations is suppose to adhere to, and which has been lost somehow. I pray and hope that Islam sticks to its original precepts and does not allow itself to become totally subverted.

Posted by Rebecca Lindstrom @ 12/15/2008 01:29 AM CST

It was deadly attack, Suspected Terrorist were seen at Mumbai. Where more then 100 people were killed in this attack in this attack at Mumbai. No One find out that what is the reason behind all the attacks it may be politician, caste system, religious also because muslims are alway says that our GOD is different from your GOD so this is the human nature. We are talking that we are trying to save our youth I don't think so if their is the problem of case or GOD we can increase or save any human's life.

Posted by how to play --------- for fun @ 01/19/2009 08:06 AM CST


Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "The Likud and the Hamas: A match made in Heaven?"] Main Index [Next entry: "Iraq's Future"]

ALL PREVIOUS MidEastWeb Middle East LOG ENTRIES

Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us

Copyright

Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow