The West and Islam: Western Liberal Democracy versus the System of Shura (Islamic Studies Series)

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These conflicting interpretations, these absolutely meaningless verbal formulations, show that the debate about fascism today is at level zero of the thought process. It is represented by Walter Laqueur, a historian of fascism. Laqueur, however, sees differences between fascism and Islamism. Third, fascism presumably ended in , whereas Islamism is undergoing a revival. Islamism and fascism can and should be compared as political ideologies, but Islamism is not fascism but rather a distinctive political ideology.

Islamism shares with Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism, and Maoism the aim of totalitarianism. Clerical fascism is the closest ideologically to Islamism. In short, Islamism does not equal fascism, but Islamism is a form of totalitarianism with a global vocation.

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The young are better educated and more connected with the outside world than any previous generation. It seeks to mould every aspect of life in consonance with its moral norm and programmes of reform. The British-Britain journalist and author Christopher Hitchens — saw similarities between Islamists such as al-Qaeda and fascists. The Self-determination of Minorities in International Politics. Lanham: Lexington Books. The Arab State and Women's Rights. This is a more traditional approach, characteristic of many centuries of Islamic history see History of Islam.

In order to assess the Islamism-fascism comparison properly, it will be necessary to review the numerous definitions of fascism and Islamism. I begin with defining fascism. Gilbert Allardyce suggested that it was so difficult to define fascism that we should give up on defining it. Gregor has lamented that fascism has become a term of abuse, as well as increasingly a meaningless term indiscriminately applied to all political forces on the right.

Fascism is simultaneously an ideology, movement, political party, or regime in power. I now provide various definitions of fascism, which I call minimalist and maximalist. Minimalist definitions of fascism attempt to incorporate all fascist ideologues, movements, political parties, and regimes under the ambit of one universal definition that applies to all of them. Zeev Sternhell also proposed a minimalist definition of fascism. He posited that fascism was a combination of ultra-nationalism and a revision of Marxist socialism. In short, the fascist synthesis included revolutionary ultra-nationalists, renegade Marxists, and radical syndicalists.

Yet, Payne also differentiates between fascists, the radical right, and conservative right. These movements tended to emphasize style, glorify violence, and to have shirt colors borrowed from the shirt movement of the Bolsheviks. For Paxton, fascism includes the following characteristics: 1 obsessive preoccupation with community decline, victimhood, and decline; 2 compensatory cultures of unity, energy, and purity; 3 mass-based party of committed nationalist militants; 4 work with established elites in uneasy collaboration; 5 goal of abandoning democracy; 6 redemptive violence without legal or moral restraints; 7 internal cleansing; and 8 external expansion.

The fascist and Nazi projects were defeated in , but fascism in its ideology, movement, and party permutations persisted in the postwar period. Other questions remain about fascism. Was Franco a fascist? How about Tiso in Slovakia? Or Peron in Argentina? Did fascism spread beyond Europe?

Islamic and Western Values

Growing ultra-nationalism in the Balkans after the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian War —95 , as well as genocides in Rwanda and Sudan beginning in , provided further impetus for the creation of the International Criminal Court in and new accusations of fascism. One must differentiate between Islam as a religion and civilization, and Islamism as a modern political movement.

The major creed of Islamism is expressed in the Arabic term din-wa-dawla unity of state and religion under a system of constitutionally mandated sharia law. Thus, according to Tibi, Islamism is not faith, but rather the imposition of a political system in the name of faith.

In other words, Islamism is a specific interpretation of Islam, but it is not Islam. Thus, in his point of view, Islamism does not herald a revival of Islam, but is rather a re-invention of tradition. Daniel Pipes also distinguishes between Islam the religion and Islamism the political ideology. Islamism is a totalitarian ideology. An Islamist is a danger in the same way a fascist is a danger.

follow For Martin Kramer, the term Islamism first appeared in French in the mid-eighteenth century and it was often a synonym for Islam. A critical reader on political Islam argues that political Islam and Islamism will be used interchangeably, while some scholars make a distinction between Islamists and fundamentalists. In contrast, fascists in the interwar years such as Benito Mussolini accepted the term fascism to describe themselves although this was not the rule among all fascists , but postwar fascists are likely to deny the fascist label.

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Why Islamism? It is Islam that is at work in Algeria, nothing but Islam. We are Muslims! Following the Arab Spring, for some commentators Islamism became compatible with democracy. Is the party he belongs to, the Justice and Development Party, Islamist, conservative, or neo-Ottomanist? A state of [the Islamist] sort cannot evidently restrict the scope of its activities. Its approach is universal and all-embracing.

Its sphere of activity is coextensive with the whole of human life. It seeks to mould every aspect of life in consonance with its moral norm and programmes of reform. In such a state, no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this perspective the Islamic state [i. Islamist movements have included the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood from the s to the Taliban in the s. Islamist political parties range from the Justice and Development Party in Turkey to Ennahda in Tunisia, which has been part of the ruling government coalition. Islamism arises around the same period as fascism in Europe.

Sharing anti-Semitism does not necessarily mean that Islamists and fascists are ideologically equivalent. Moreover, whereas some fascist movements invited Jews into their ranks, Islamists would never allow Jews into their movements, unless they convert. Mozaffari is adamant that Islamism is totalitarian. That is, Islamism constitutes the politicization of a genuine religion, namely, Islam. It perhaps also came to mean general Christian clerical support for fascism in Europe including amongst Protestants and Orthodox Christians as an antidote to modernizing forces and a defense of ecclesiastical interests.

For a more thorough understanding of clerical fascism, national context matters. So, for example, the Church hierarchy in Ireland never supported the fascist Blueshirts; some clerics within the British Union of Fascists hoped to reconcile Christian faith and fascism; and the Catholic agenda was largely embraced by Belgian fascists.

Both privilege the loyalty of the Muslim community above attachment to the nation or state. Yet, populism comes in many ideological stripes and the fact that both are populists does not make Islamists fascists. Moreover, most Islamists will never consider themselves fascists, instead seeing fascism as a godless, secular ideology.

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Islamists are perhaps more anti-Semitic than fascists, who in some movements accepted Jews into their ranks. For Hamas, Jews allegedly caused the Second World War, the Holocaust, world revolutions, the creation of Israel, and they seek to rule the world and destroy Muslim unity. Islam is not just a religion, and certainly not just a fundamentalist political movement. It is a civilization, and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another but is animated by a common spirit far more humane than most Westerners realize.

Nor do those in the West always recognize how their own societies have failed to live up to their liberal mythology. Moreover, aspects of Islamic culture that Westerners regard as medieval may have prevailed in their own culture until fairly recently; in many cases, Islamic societies may be only a few decades behind socially and technologically advanced Western ones.

In the end, the question is what path leads to the highest quality of life for the average citizen, while avoiding the worst abuses. The path of the West does not provide all the answers; Islamic values deserve serious consideration.

You are here The West and Islam: Western Liberal Democracy versus the System of Shura (Routledge Islamic Studies Series) (): Mishal Fahm. The West and Islam: Western Liberal Democracy versus the System of Shura - CRC Press Book. Series: Routledge Islamic Studies Series. Routledge.

Mores and values have changed rapidly in the West in the last several decades as revolutions in technology and society progressed. Islamic countries, which are now experiencing many of the same changes, may well follow suit.

The West and Islam: Western Liberal Democracy versus the System of Shura - CRC Press Book

There were laws against sex outside marriage, some of which are still on the books, if rarely enforced. Today sex before marriage, with parental consent, is common. Homosexual acts between males were a crime in Great Britain until the s although lesbianism was not outlawed. Now such acts between consenting adults, male or female, are legal in much of the West, although they remain illegal in most other countries. Half the Western world, in fact, would say that.