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Conclusions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2023

Emmanuel Karagiannis
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

Although the rise of political Islam has attracted the attention of scholars since the early 1980s, most studies have focused on the militancy of certain groups and the proliferation of Islamist parties. This overemphasis on politically and emotionally charged issues has created a literature gap regarding less contested areas of Islamist engagement that this book has tried to bridge. Islamist environmentalism has gained considerable visibility in recent years but has remained understudied. This aspect of Islamism perhaps creates some perplexity among Western scholars because environmental protection is usually viewed as a noble cause.

Islamist environmentalism is a phenomenon that sits on the fringe between social sciences and humanities. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Hizbullah, Hamas and al-Qaeda/ISIS are groups and movements strive for power. Political science can certainly explain the policies and motives of such political actors. Yet Islamists make claims to religious authenticity that political science cannot assess. It does not have the theoretical tools to evaluate the validity of such claims. Islamic studies can offer an understanding of religious concepts and principles embedded in the different versions of environmentalism. In this way, this research has sought to expand the interdisciplinary study of political Islam as represented by Islamist environmentalists. More specifically, the book has addressed two research questions: 1) What is the environmental policy of Islamist groups? 2) What role does religion play in Islamist environmentalism?

Before answering the research questions, the book described the Islamic perspective on the environment. Since Islamists draw their legitimacy from religion, it is important to understand how the Muslim faith has approached certain environmental issues. Islam has been preoccupied with nature since the Prophet started preaching his messages to Arab communities in the mid-seventh century. Overall, Islam as a religion has favoured a balanced environ-mental approach that permits harmonious co-existence between humans and nature.

Since the 1960s, there has been a constant theological-intellectual effort to offer an Islamic alternative in line with modern environmentalist thinking. Islamic eco-theology is a contextual form of theology focusing on the relation-ship between faith and nature. The Qurʾan and Sunna could offer spiritual and practical guidance through certain principles, such as tawhid, khalifa and akhirah. The unity of God implies the wholeness and interdependence of all creation.

Type
Chapter
Information
Why Islamists Go Green
Politics, Religion and the Environment
, pp. 204 - 213
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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