Muslim Palestine: The Ideology of Hamas

Muslim Palestine: The Ideology of Hamas

Muslim Palestine: The Ideology of Hamas

Muslim Palestine: The Ideology of Hamas

Synopsis

Using first hand source material exclusively in Arabic which has never before been systematically explored, this book provides a rare case-study of fundamentalist thought.

Excerpt

Islamic fundamentalism can be seen daily in the headlines of the Western media. It is often presented in a simplified way as a backward-looking religious movement whose main enemies are Western culture and Western political systems. Intellectuals and scientists of many different academic disciplines have written about this phenomenon; often characterizing it as a “fight against modernity”, or as facets of a “regressive” religion incapable of change . Was the rise of Islamic fundamentalism inevitable because “la forme d'expression qui vient le plus naturellement aux musulmans pour exprimer leur contestation et leurs aspirations est religieuse”? Islamists would probably agree with this statement. They blame today's Muslims for neglecting Islamic values and practices. But such assertions about the “nature” of people and their religious life cannot be taken for granted-no matter whether they come from fundamentalists or orientalists.

I would agree with Sami Zubaida's general definition of the varieties of Islamic fundamentalism as referring to “modern political movements and ideas, mostly oppositional, which seek to establish, in one sense or another, an Islamic state” . In the so-called fundamentalist interpretation Islam becomes narrowed down to a political doctrine that is considered the only source of reference in politics and society. Despite different claims, Islam has not developed proper political concepts, but it is true nevertheless that the emphasis on its communal solidarity may have favoured a political outlook of Islam throughout history. Modern fundamentalists sharpen this political aspect of the religion and try to make it the dominating interpretation. Islam has been part of the politics of the 20th century as a source for official legitimation as well as in oppositional populist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Politics based on Islam are no simple product of some essential, historically given body of beliefs and practices, but the result of particular constructions of religious discourses related to current situations. This does not question the fact that the religious discourse is

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