Islam, Islamism, and 9/11

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Islam, Islamism, and 9/11 In the post-9/11 world, many Americans’ views of Muslims have changed. Though the vast majority of Muslims practice their religion peacefully, the minority of extremists and militant Islamists who commit terrorist acts are now what many Americans think of when they hear “Muslim”. Islamism and Islam are not separate in the minds of most people, and this leads to incredible misunderstanding and mistreatment of individuals who practice Islam. Islam as a religion seems particularly susceptible to extremism, but as Fawaz A. Gerges argues, the religion of Islam and Islamic texts are not the reason for this. Instead, it is the political, social, and economic standing of so many Muslims and the domination of Western countries that result in the extremism of Islamism. It is important that Westerners learn to distinguish between Islam and Islamism and also understand the reasons behind the development of extremist factions of Islamism. Islamism, sometimes referred to as fundamentalist Islam, is the view that Islam is not just a religion, but also a political and legal system that should govern a state. Islamists usually reject influences outside of Islam and hold particular hostility against the West. Gerges explains, “Muslims and ‘Islamists’ do not agree on what Islam is, let alone its role and function in governing their lives. Muslims are believers who may or may not be interested in politics, while Islamists are political activists whose fundamental goal is to seize power and Islamize state and society, preferably from the top down.” Within Islamism, there are many different groups. One such faction, militant Islamists, is committing violent acts of terror. Therefore, only a fraction of a fraction of Muslims are perpetuating violence to reach their goals. The vast majority of Muslims do not condone the actions of the terrorists on 9/11,

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