Islamic Case against Islamic Radicalism

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 11, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Islamic Case against Islamic Radicalism


About three years ago, in Birmingham, England, I lectured a large Muslim audience on the topic "The Evidence for God." My lecture focused on the modern scientific discoveries that support the idea of a fine-tuned universe and an intelligently designed life. The audience consisted mostly of very interested Muslim students.

Yet there was a small, dissatisfied group. During the question-and-answer session, one rose and passionately objected to the conference's whole idea. "Why are we wasting time with all this useless philosophical and scientific sophistry?" he demanded. "Shouldn't we concentrate on establishing the worldwide Islamic state that will save us from all evils?"

Later I learned this angry young man was a member of the radical group Hizb-ut Tahrir, firmly dedicated to establishing a global Islamic state. I am sure he and his comrades saw themselves as pious Muslims. Yet something was terribly wrong with their faith, a defect that left them much more interested in the case against "capitalism" than in the case for God.

This extreme politicization is not peculiar to Hizb-ut Tahrir but a common trait among groups and individuals who advocate Islamic radicalism. They actually seem motivated by hatred of the West, expressed in Islamic terminology. Antoine Sfeir, a French scholar studying Islamic radicalism in Europe, characterizes the movement as "a kind of combat against the rich [and] powerful by the poor men of the planet."

It is thus not surprising to see former Marxists join the ranks of Islamic radicals - including figures like Carlos the Jackal, who recently penned a book titled "Revolutionary Islam." This brand of Islam, Carlos argues, "attacks the ruling classes" and stands against "the enslavement of nations."

This is a deviation from Islam proper. Radicals see Islam as a force to lead "enslaved" nations against "ruling" ones. The Koran, however, presents Islam as a way to lead all humans to God's path. From a purely Koranic point of view, non-Muslims are potential brothers to whom Islam should be presented "with wisdom and fair admonition ... in the kindest way." (16/125) Moreover, Jews and Christians are already under divine guidance; the Koran calls them People of the Book and orders Muslims to agree with them on the basis of monotheism. (3/64) But from the radical point of view, all non-Muslims, especially Westerners, are dehumanized enemies to be insulted, attacked and murdered.

The big difference between these two perspectives comes from their motives.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Islamic Case against Islamic Radicalism


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?