Vertigans and Philip Sutton (2001) 'Back to the Future:
'Islamic Terrorism' and Interpretations of Past and
Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/6/3/vertigans.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 15/11/2001 Accepted: 29/11/2001 Published: 30/11/2001
As a corrective, the paper expands the focus to include the awareness of contemporary problems and the historical origins and successes of Islam that are both seen to legitimise the need for a radical form of Islam, interpreted as a comprehensive way of life. This awareness has been significantly aided through contemporary developments in technology, mass communications and transport networks allied to the rapid growth of education across Muslim countries. These factors, rather than diminishing the appeal of religion, as secularists have argued, are instrumental in the Islamic resurgence generally and specifically in facilitating terrorist activity.
2As Halliday, F. Islam and the Myth of Confrontation (London: I.B.Tauris, 1996, p2) has noted there is no unitary Islam. Mortimer, E. Faith and Power: The Politics of Islam (New York: Random House, 1982, p398) argues that there appears to be, 'not be one Islam but many Islams, because one finds such an enormous variety of Islamic thought and action'. Behaviour ranges from radical Muslims who consider they must practice Islam according to the Shari'ah (Islamic law) and strive to implement where this is not in place. It needs to be stressed that the majority of Muslims are relatively passive in the nature of their beliefs with practice either very limited or concentrated within the private sphere.
3Highlighting the disagreements within this subset, many radical Muslims argue that the Shari'ah has recently only been implemented in Taliban controlled areas of Afghanistan. Iranian Muslims however would argue it only applies in Iran. There is also a huge variety in the nature of interpretations between radical groups about the action they consider is necessary to enhance Muslim presence. Many groups undertake peaceful activities towards this goal. The terrorists and al-Qa'ida are very much at the extreme end of this spectrum.
4Whilst there are massive differences in the nature of beliefs, there are similar reasons why radical Islam is growing in appeal across the world
5For example, see Ayubi, N. (1980) "The Political Revival of Islam: The Case of Egypt", International journal of Middle Eastern Studies 12; Berberoglu, B. (ed) (1989), Power and Stability in the Middle East (London: Zed Books Ltd); Dessouki, A. (1982) The Islamic Resurgence: Sources, Dynamics and Implications in the Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World (New York: Praeger); Esposito, J.L. (ed) (1987), Islam in Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press); Halliday, F. and Alavi, H. (eds) (1988) State and Ideology in the Middle East and Pakistan (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education Ltd); Heper, M. and Israeli, R. (eds) (1984) Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East (Sydney: Croom Held); Mehmet, O. (1990) Islamic Identity and Development - Studies of the Islamic Periphery (London: Routledge); Moussalli, A.S. (1998) "Globalization and the Nation State in the Arab World" MESA Bulletin 32, 11-14; Taji-Farouki, S. and Poulton, H. (eds) (1997), Muslim Identity and the Balkan State (London: Hurst and Company).
6Consequently they were not necessarily going to face unemployment which tends to be central to many accounts of the appeal of Islam to the educated, see for example, Ayubi, ibid. Mehmet ibid and Mackinlay, J. (28 October 2001) in the Observer, 'Tackling bin Laden: lessons from history', <http://www.observer.co.uk/i slam/story/0,1442,582345,00.html>.
7Examples of the majority of media analysis includes both Chomsky and Hitchens discussed in Fuller (2001), <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/6/2/fuller.ht ml> Binyon, M. (13 September 2001) in The Times, 'How Islamic world learnt to hate the US', <http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2001320003- 2001315717,00.html>, Darwish, A. (16 September 2001) in The Independent, 'To many Arabs bitter about the West, this was a kind of justice', <http://argument.in dependent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=94248>, Editorial, (11 October 2001) in Washington Post, 'The Arab Paradox', <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn>? Elliott, M. (4 November 2001) in Time, 'Hate Club: Al_Qaeda's Web of Terror' <http://www.time.com/time /nation/article/0,8599,182746,00.html> and Mackinlay ibid.
8Two of the most prominent globally renowned figures are Mawdudi, S., see for example, Ahmad, K. and Murad, K. (eds) (1986) The Islamic Way of Life (Leicester: The Islamic Foundation) and Qutb, M. (1964) Islam: The Misunderstood Religion (Cairo: Darul Bayan).
9Hadiths are traditions based upon the comments of Muhammed or his companions.
10Kidwai, M.A. (1959) "Foreword" in Nabwi, A. Islam and the World (Lucknow: Academy of Islamic Research, p8).
11Some empirical evidence providing some illuminating examples of the central importance of the 'double legitimacy' for contemporary praxism can be found in Vertigans, S. (1999), The Turkish Paradox: A Case Study of Islamic and Secular Influences on the Socialization of Turkish students Based in Great Britain. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Leeds (1999).
12Waters, M, Globalization. London: Routledge, 1998).
13Arjomand, S.A (1986) "Social Change and Movements of Revitalization in Contemporary Islam" in James Beckford (ed), New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change (London: SAGE Publications Ltd, p88).
14Aksit, B. (1991) "Islamic Education in Turkey: Medrese Reform in Late Ottoman Times and Imam-Hatip Schools in the Republic" in Tapper, R. (ed) Islam in Modern Turkey (London: I.B.Tauris and Co); Sakallioglu, U.C. (1996) "Parameters and Strategies of Islam-State Interaction in Republican Turkey" International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, pp.231 - 251.
16Rashid, A. (2000) Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia (London, I.B.Tauris) provides an illuminating discussion about these points.