Contemporary Islamist Movements Bound to a Mummified Past

[Al-Ahram-Egypt] Salah Eissa - Is the march of Muslim fundamentalists towards power in the Arab world irreversible? Must we ready ourselves for a theocratic state? The problem with the Muslim fundamentalist project is that it is founded upon the utopian dream of reviving the Islamic state as it existed in its golden era. True, the ability of abstractions to tickle the deep religious grain of the Muslim people is a major reason for the widespread popularity of the fundamentalist project. However, when forced to deal with the difficulties that obstruct its path, or with the various demands of reality, the project runs out of steam. The dream of reviving the glory of the Islamic empire ignores the fact that what enabled that empire to flourish was its openness to other cultures and civilizations. The decline of Islamic civilization began when the door leading to the application of reason and independent thought was slammed shut. Islamist fundamentalist groups fear the open door from which the winds of independent thought might shake their unity of rank. What remains, then, is the vast ability to cause problems, bring down disaster on others and generally obstruct progress and development.

2007-09-28 01:00:00

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