The Future of Political Islam in the Aftermath of the Iraq War

The Future of Political Islam in the Aftermath of the Iraq War

  • 6 January 2004

Political Islam is still the most powerful political force in
most countries of the Muslim world today, as it derives
its strength from many different factors, especially
religious, nationalist, identity and reformist trends. Islam
is a religion; whereas political Islam is the effort to apply
ideas from the Qur’an and the Hadith upon a Muslim
government and society—yet, there is no common
consensus about what this actually means in practice.
Political Islam is not one single, monolithic movement
but rather a spectrum of movements that range from
conservative to liberal, violent to peaceful, traditional to
modernist, and inclusive to exclusive of other religious
groups. The challenge to Muslims is to reform their own
political and economic orders and to encourage the forces
of moderation. Islamists, in particular, need to debate
what kind of future they wish to see in the Muslim world.
Will anti-Westernism be the dominant ideological force?
When religions look at other religions and cultures, they
can emphasize cooperation or confrontation; however
democracy is certainly the best solution. What kinds
of Islamic values do they wish to emphasize? Radicals
within political Islam are weakened when the people
have a chance to express their will. Even if radicals receive
support from the people at the beginning, radicals cannot
maintain support if and when they do not have the
answers to people’s needs and demands. Democracy will
weaken radical interpretations of Islam and will allow
for debate among Muslims on how to understand the
meaning of Islam today.

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Tuesday 6 January 2004

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Tuesday 6 January 2004

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