From Arab nationalism to Islamic fundamentalism/ Chapter 12


1. The rise of political Islam

  • Islamic fundamentalism - the belief that the state should be based wholly on a particular version of Islamic law. After Arab's defeat in 1967 War and the death of Nasser in 1970, Arab nationalism had been in decline. The vacuum was filled by radical Islam sometimes called Islamic fundamentalism
  • Political Islam or Islamic Fundamentalism
    -Firstly, they believed that Muslims should return to their Islamic values and establish states based on laws derived from the Koran.
    -The followers of this radical Islam believed that through Islam they could unify and strengthen themselves against Western countries.
    - Followers of political Islam are sometimes called fundamentalists because they believe that the state should be based wholly (fundamentally) on isamic law an all changes introduced from the West should be eliminated
    - Arab nationalism was focusing more on sharing same values, language and their history. Arab nationalism was secular. By contrast, Radical Islamic groups wanted no division between politics, government and religion. They stressed the importance of Islam in enabling to resis the domination of the West. 
    - Political Islam was firsst home-grown ideology. -> very popular
    - It believed in jihad or to defend Muslim lands from external aggression
    - Political Islam was challenge not only to Western countries, but also to the governments of Muslim countries. They feared that their conservative monarchies (e.g. Saudi) may be overthrown or  some small oil-rich states with their elite rulers may lose their power (e.g. Kuwait). Egypt also felt the pressure (it was under Sadat who was prowestern)
  • The impact of Islamic Revolution in Iran 1979
    -Although many millions of Arab Muslims applauded the Islamic Revolution in Iran, their enthusiasm sonn waned and the governments of most Arab states became highly suspicious of Iran.
    - This was becuase the people of Iran were Shiite and most Arabs were Sunni. Most Arab states did not want to embrace radical Islam politics
    - For those Arabs who wanted it, they had Afghanistan where they could provide their focus.
  • The emergence of al-Qaida
    - 1978 - Afghan Communists (supported by Soviets) seized government. They faced rebellion from a number of Islamist groups.
    -December 1979 - Soviets sent troops to assist the new government. This invasion led to a huge rebellion, mujahideen guerillas fought with Soviet troops
    - Mujahideen were fighting for independent Afghanistan and they received massive support from both Muslim countries (e.g. Saudi and Pakistan) and also from USA and Britain. 
    - Why West supported? There was still ongoing Cold war and West did not want the spread of Soviets influence in the region
    - Western powers usually provided with arms, Saudi encouraged many volunteers to go and fight…


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