The Rise of Muslim Fundamentalism

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One does not need a mediator, like a priest in Catholicism. Having completed more than a decade of research on political Islam in the West, Vidino is keenly qualified to analyze a movement that is as controversial as it is unknown.

Fundamentalist organizations grow in strength as Muslim masses seek solutions to modern dilemmas. This pragmatic approach to religion, which predominated for hundred of years, is known as traditionalist Islam. Discreet cooperation, not visible ties, are to be built In the case of Soviet-backed Muslim governments, including Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, U. The Sharia is a massive body of regulations based on precepts found in the Koran and the other holy books of Islam.

Like other Muslims, Latinos who practice Islam may face a barrage of harassment and death threats. It is now one of the most well-known Latino Muslim groups, working with other organizations inside and outside the United States, including Islamic Society of North America. The two countries share much that fundamentalists reject. The former allows for human frailty, the latter demands perfection. Lorenzo Vidino brokers a third and more informed view.

More than Latino Muslims participated in

Their universities, banks and oil companies beckon aspiring Muslims. He then flips the perspective, examining the response to these groups by Western governments, concentrating specifically on Great Britain, Germany, and the United States. It was fundamentalists who, for example, overthrew the pro-Western regime of the shah of Iran, attacked the Grand Mosque in Mecca, assassinated Sadat, and blew up the U. This wide appeal of American and West European culture deeply disturbs fundamentalists. The ban on warfare between fellow believers, for example has been repeatedly breached, while judicial procedures have almost never been followed and criminal punishments have not been applied.

For them the

Converts have cited such similarities as respect for social solidarity, the family, the importance of religion, and education. Rather it sided with the rich and the influential.

Islam solves the

Fundamentalists, in contrast to both these groups, and to traditionalist Muslims as well, believe that the law of Islam must be implemented in its every detail. Black nationalist sentiments have a legacy within many U. Dissuasion of Muslim governments pre-empting fundamentalists.

For example, by devising ways to ignore the prohibition on usury, they enabled pious Muslims legally to charge interest on loans. They interpret the Sharia in ways that facilitate the acceptance of whichever Western practices they wish to see adopted. Others also choose to convert because they are dating or married to someone who is Muslim. Americans and Russians are historically both Christian peoples whose culture derives from Western civilization.

For them, the regulations contained in this divine code are the key to politics. More than Latino Muslims participated in the nationwide survey.

Islam solves the problems many Latinos have with the Catholic Church. As for neutralist governments, Iran especially, try to convince them that the U. It covers both the most intimate aspects of life such as personal hygiene and sexual relations and the most public such as taxation and warfare. They disdain non-fundamentalist Muslims, are hostile toward non-Muslims and act with the self-assuredness and determination that accompanies absolute certainty about knowing God's will. Of the two, however, the United States poses greater problems.