Talk:War on Islam

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September 13, 2003 issue of The Economist has a whole section In the name of Islam on all of these issues. has sources.

They mention Sayyid Qutb as the source of most modern Islamist ideals, and a bit on Maulana Maudoodi (or Mawdudi) and Abd al-Wahhab (a much earlier figure).

They cite Olivier Roy, Noah Feldman and Graham Fuller with regards to definitions of political Islam, who see it quite differently. Here's what they say, from page 5 of the report:

"... fundamentalism is only one part of the bigger category of Islamism or political Islam.

democratic Islam and militant Islam now differentiated - by mode of change they advocate, not by what they believe (problem with "fundamentalism" or "radical" as referent).

In one recent book, an American academic, Noah Feldman, calls Islamism "a comprehensive political, spiritual and personal world-view defined in opposition to all that is non-Islamic." In another, a former CIA official, Graham Fuller, argues that an Islamist is "one who believes that Islam as a body of faith has something important to say about how politics and society should be ordered in the contemporary Muslim world and who seeks to implement this idea in some fashion." A French scholar, Olivier Roy, prefers a narrower definition: political Islam is the attempt to create an Islamic state.

Whatever the definition (and there are plenty more to choose from), the main point of interest here is the growing tendency in the Islamic world for Muslims to turn to religion as a solution or part-solution to political problems..."

It might be fair to say there's a scale, with the term Islamic republic or Islamic state meaning almost anything, and allowing for the wider anti-colonial struggles and even integration of Marxist or social-democratic views, or military alliances with the USA and UK (as Pakistan and Turkey have despite calling themselves just that), and then Fuller's view of all Islamic activism as Islamist, and then the most extreme view is that of Feldman who seems to want to define it as a holy war on day one - which only a very few Muslims seem to do. His Islamism obviously isn't what the governments of Turkey and Pakistan are talking about.. .the term "Islamism" itself seems to be a Western invention like "Islamofascism" or "Jihadism". Probably all three are just propaganda.

But "Islamist" for "Islamic activist" is seemingly acceptable to everybody, even if some activists are militants, which usually some activists in any movement are...

So, how about this for a naming scheme to use here to minimize the propaganda:

  • Militant Islam as one thread within this, to parallel say democratic Islam, and avoiding "radical" which some read as violent, but which doesn't mean that, by the dictionary definition. Militant Islamist to mean those that work outside the democratic process. Jihadist to mean those that continually invoke this one bit of rhetoric to justify say suicide bombing...
  • Dissociation of the above from mentions of theories of civics - the Islamic republic or Islamic state or Islamic caliphate models - which may be anything from wholly democratic extensions of parliamentary rules across the whole Muslim world, to a new Taliban-type chaos ruling over 1.5 billion people. To talk about a state, republic, or caliphate, is to talk about a model of civics, on the same level as one might talk about constitutional monarchy or direct democracy. It doesn't imply any particular view of what laws exist, only of how they are made.
  • Terms like Islamic fundamentalism and fundamentalist defined but avoided - replace with links to specific groups or thinkers wherever possible, and carefully stating their views of when violence is justified.
  • Differentiate mention of classical fiqh from sharia or Islamic Law in general - some states have quite progressive notions of what sharia means, and have reformed it very substantially from classical definitions.

It's 1.3-1.5 billion people we're talking about. One shouldn't expect to deal with this in much less of a dictionary than one would need to discuss all of Western European or Chinese politics...

The Economist section is strongly recommended. It provides a good baseline from a conservative publication. To get an idea of where they stand, in the same issue is a puff piece on Joseph I. Lieberman seeming to endorse him as "Honest Joe", etc.. So they're hardly rabid apologists for the extremes of political Islam... it would be prudent to start from the authorities and terms and major figures they cite, if one wants to unravel the popular propaganda on these issues that emanates from say Fox News or CanWest.

These articles are now sketched out as to issues.

Rather than respond to a lot of complaints about them, it would be better for someone else more focused on the Global War on Terror rhetoric, where most of the propaganda is coming from, to take them over. Trolls have had enough input.

With the above factoring in place, there is no good reason for others not to take the lead now.