Islamic fundamentalism

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Islamic fundamentalism (الأصولية الإسلامية, al-oṣooleyyah al-eslaameyyah) has been defined variously as a movement of Muslims who harken back to earlier times and seek to return to the fundamentals of the religion and live similarly to how the prophet Muhammad and his companions lived. Islamic fundamentalists favor "a literal and originalist interpretation" of the primary sources of Islam (the Quran and Sunnah), and seek to eliminate (what they perceive to be) "corrupting" non-Islamic influences from every part of their lives, and see "Islamic fundamentalism" as a pejorative term used by outsiders for Islamic revivalism and Islamic activism.

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  • I know what a profound contribution Muslims from all backgrounds and denominations are making in every sphere of our society, proud to be both British and Muslim, without conflict or contradiction. ... I know too how much you hate the extremists who are seeking to divide our communities and how you loathe that damage they do.
  • What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine. And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim – mostly violence against fellow Muslims – who don’t subscribe to its sick worldview. But you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish. Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation. Ideas – like those of the despicable far right – which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others. And ideas also based on conspiracy: that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam. In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached – that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan; that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash. And like so many ideologies that have existed before – whether fascist or communist – many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it. We need to understand why it is proving so attractive.
  • We should together challenge the ludicrous conspiracy theories of the extremists. The world is not conspiring against Islam; the security services aren’t behind terrorist attacks; our new Prevent duty for schools is not about criminalising or spying on Muslim children. This is paranoia in the extreme.
  • As we do all of this work to counter the Islamist extremist ideology, let’s also recognise that we will have to enter some pretty uncomfortable debates – especially cultural ones. Too often we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values, for fear of causing offence. The failure in the past to confront the horrors of forced marriage I view as a case in point. So is the utter brutality of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
  • We’ve got to show that if you say “yes I condemn terror – but the Kuffar are inferior”, or “violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter” – then you too are part of the problem. Unwittingly or not, and in a lot of cases it’s not unwittingly, you are providing succour to those who want to commit, or get others to commit to, violence. ... I find it remarkable that some groups say “We don’t support ISIL” as if that alone proves their anti-extremist credentials. And let’s be clear Al-Qaeda don’t support ISIL. So we can’t let the bar sink to that level. Condemning a mass-murdering, child-raping organisation cannot be enough to prove you’re challenging the extremists.
  • Universities are bastions of free speech and incubators of new and challenging ideas. But sometimes they fail to see the creeping extremism on their campuses. When David Irving goes to a university to deny the Holocaust – university leaders rightly come out and condemn him. They don’t deny his right to speak but they do challenge what he says. But when an Islamist extremist goes there to promote their poisonous ideology, too often university leaders look the other way through a mixture of misguided liberalism and cultural sensitivity.
  • This extremist ideology is not true Islam. I have said it myself many, many times, and it’s absolutely right to do so. And I’ll say it again today. But simply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn’t work, because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. ... It is an exercise in futility to deny that. And more than that, it can be dangerous. To deny it has anything to do with Islam means you disempower the critical reforming voices; the voices that are challenging the fusing of religion and politics; the voices that want to challenge the scriptural basis which extremists claim to be acting on; the voices that are crucial in providing an alternative worldview that could stop a teenager’s slide along the spectrum of extremism.
  • When people go up and blow themselves up, and the religious leaders of this religion say nothing, something's wrong. It's not just a handful of extremists. If you buy the Koran, read it for yourself, and it's in there. The violence that it preaches is there.
  • The principal tenet of Jainism is non-harming. Observant Jains will literally not harm a fly. Fundamentalist Jainism and fundamentalist Islam do not have the same consequences, neither logically nor behaviorally.
  • The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam.
  • Islam has announced again and again that it despises the values, culture, and traditions of America. The American Left does too. Consistent with the Arabic proverb that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the American Left has formed an alliance with fundamentalist Islam... The American Left’s affair with fundamentalist Islam is essentially a love-fear relationship. The Left loves Islam’s hatred of America and its desire to radically change this country, but the Left also fears what militant Muslims are capable of, especially if they turn their murderous rage on their so-called friends. So the Left, like Neville Chamberlain with the Nazis, walks a tightrope, appeasing Muslims at every turn, offering excuses for Islamic violence, and hoping Muslim fundamentalists won’t bite the hand that feeds them their excuses... The American Left’s affair with fundamentalist Islam is essentially a love-fear relationship. The Left loves Islam’s hatred of America and its desire to radically change this country, but the Left also fears what militant Muslims are capable of, especially if they turn their murderous rage on their so-called friends. So the Left, like Neville Chamberlain with the Nazis, walks a tightrope, appeasing Muslims at every turn, offering excuses for Islamic violence, and hoping Muslim fundamentalists won’t bite the hand that feeds them their excuses.
  • The emancipation of women, more than any other single issue, is the touchstone of difference between modernization and westernization. The emancipation of women is westernization; both for traditional conservatives and radical fundamentalists it is neither necessary nor useful but noxious, a betrayal of true Islamic values.
  • Key values that evolved in the Christian west, such as the separation of church and state or the distinction between civil and religious law, don't exist in Islam. Islam embraces every facet of commerce and culture, making ideas like the checks and balances system that limits political power in America an alien concept. It is almost unthinkable within the context of Islamic religious practice that an unbeliever could ever be treated as equal to a believer, and the concept of secularism, a rising trend in the west, exists on a moral plane similar to blasphemy. With much of the Middle East currently swept up in a tide of Islamic fundamentalism, this is the worst time in many decades to be promoting democratic ideals.

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