Accession Number:

ADA426734

Title:

Political Islam and the West

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR COUNTERPROLIFERATION RESEARCH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2000-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

8.0

Abstract:

At the dawn of the 21st century political Islam, or more commonly Islamic fundamentalism, remains a major presence in governments and oppositional politics from North Africa to Southeast Asia. New Islamic republics have emerged in Afghanistan, Iran, and Sudan. Islamists have been elected to parliaments, served in cabinets, and been presidents, prime ministers, and deputy prime ministers in nations as diverse as Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Yemen. At the same time, opposition movements and radical extremist groups have sought to destabilize regimes in Muslim countries and the West. Americans have witnessed attacks on their embassies from Kenya to Pakistan. Terrorism abroad has been accompanied by strikes on domestic targets such as the World Trade Center in New York. In recent years, Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden has become emblematic of efforts to spread international violence. The phenomenon known as political Islam is rooted in a contemporary religious resurgence in private and public life. On one hand, many Muslims have become more observant with regard to the practice of their faith prayer, fasting, dress, and family. On the other, Islam has reemerged as an alternative to the perceived failure of secular ideologies such as nationalism, capitalism, and socialism. Islamic symbols, rhetoric, actors, and organizations have become sources of legitimacy and mobilization, informing political and social activism. The governments of Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have made appeals to Islam to enhance their legitimacy and to mobilize popular support for programs and policies. Islamic movements span the religious and political spectrum from moderate to extremist. This article reviews the events that acted as catalysts for political Islam, the evolution of political Islam, Islam as a threat or clash of civilizations, democracy and Islam, and the Western response. 7

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE