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10 - Rationally Violent Tactics: Evidence from Modern Islamic Fundamentalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2014

Luisa Giuriato
Affiliation:
Università di Parma
Maria Cristina Molinari
Affiliation:
Università di Venezia
Albert Breton
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
Gianluigi Galeotti
Affiliation:
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Rome
Pierre Salmon
Affiliation:
Université de Bourgogne, France
Ronald Wintrobe
Affiliation:
University of Western Ontario
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

The “clash of civilization” is one of the most recent intellectual ghosts haunting the imagination of Western peoples. The expression has been coined by the political scientist Samuel Huntington (1993), who sees the impending danger of a world conflict in the clash of two opposing cultures, the Western and the Islamic. Evidence for this theory is found in the increasing consensus that accompanies the Islam-inspired political movements that have spread in the Arab-Islamic countries since the 1970s. These movements are named “Islamic fundamentalism,” a synonym for fanaticism, intolerance, and extremism (Mimouni 1996). Islamic fundamentalism is thus considered an atemporal phenomenon, devoid of historical, social or economic context, with a single illiberal, dangerous face: this deforming lens is today the common key of interpretation of the Arab-Islamic world.

The stereotype of Islamic fundamentalism prevents us from recognizing, instead, a definite historical phenomenon, born in Egypt in 1928 with the first modern Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was characterized by the rigorous respect for the Koran law and by anti-colonialism. The movement's founder, Hasan al-Banna, said in 1939:

We, the Muslim Brothers, believe that the laws of Islam and its universal teachings integrate everything that concerns the human being in this world and in the future one; on the contrary, those who believe that these teachings concern only the religious and spiritual sphere, are mistaken. Islam is faith and worship, country and citizenship, religion and State, spirituality and action, Book and sword.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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