Islamic Fundamentalism Essay

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Islamic Fundamentalism I INTRODUCTION Islamic Fundamentalism, diverse political and social movements in Muslim countries of North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, which have as their goal national government based on the principles and values of Islam. Although these movements all seek to restore social justice based on sharia (Islamic law), they differ in the form of government they seek and in how strictly they believe the government should interpret the law. For many people in the West, the term “Islamic fundamentalism” evokes images of hostage crises, embassies under siege, hijackings, and suicide bombers. But these images hardly present a comprehensive picture. The ranks of Islamic fundamentalists include Muslims who provide much-needed services to the poor through Islamic schools, medical clinics, social welfare agencies, and other institutions. While some Islamic militants try to reach their goals through violence, the majority of Islamic activists work through political parties within the electoral process. At the fringes are those like Saudi-born millionaire Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network that engage in a global war of terrorism. The reassertion of Islam and Islamic values in Muslim politics and society over the past 30 years is often referred to in the West as the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. However, the word fundamentalism, which originated in Christianity, can be misleading when it is used to describe Islam or Muslim countries. The conservative monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the radical socialist state of Libya, and clerically governed Iran have all been described as “fundamentalist,” but this description fails to take into account vast differences in their governments and policies. Political analysts prefer to use the expressions “political Islam” or “Islamism” when discussing Islam’s many-faceted roles in current social and
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