The origin of fundamentalism in the Arab world


Over the past 50 years, secularism in the Arab world has continued its decline. If we link this decline to a specific event that led to this decline and the subsequent rise of fundamentalist movements in the Arab world, then it will be the 1967 Six Day War.

And the failure of the republican regimes in some Arab countries to find real popular solutions or to address the Palestinian question.

By the mid-1970s, Egyptian fundamentalists had carried out a series of sporadic terrorist attacks that attracted the attention of the West, which at the time was still focused on the threat of communist expansion and the use of Islamic fundamentalist and Islamic movements. to face the communist tide.

The end of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union two years later brought fundamentalist movements and fundamentalist thinking to the fore as a serious threat to international peace, especially after the attacks of 11 September 2001, the attacks on Madrid trains of 2004 and the London bombing series of 2005.

Al-Qaeda had the right to target the West in the name of true religion, but as a reactionary and paradoxical phenomenon, Islamic fundamentalism is inherently incapable of realizing its political or social vision, particularly of a jihadist character.

The slogans of the French Revolution had a great influence on the intellectuals of the Arab secular period, which lasted from the 19th century until the outbreak of the Second World War. European colonial policy, especially after World War I, weakened the cause of Arab liberalism and led to the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism. It also paved the way for the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, a radical movement that played a pivotal role in reshaping the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. The decline of Arab liberalism is partly due to Britain’s refusal to found an Arab state in Syria, despite its previous commitment to do so, and the failure to fulfill its promises to Arab revolutionaries against the Ottoman Empire.

Muhammad Rashid Rida was an influential Islamic thinker who was a follower of reformists or Enlightenment in the nineteenth century such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abdo, whose liberal Islamic teachings promoted a version of Islamic societies that met the requirements of modernity. Rida sincerely supported the establishment of the Kingdom of Syria in 1919 and adopted a secular constitution for it which did not declare Islam an official state religion, and promised and preached a pluralistic democracy, but the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, which recognized the French mandate over Syria changed Rida’s stance on promoting secularism and adopting Salafism and political Islam, which in turn inspired Hassan Al-Banna for founding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to convert to dynamic political Islam.

Sayyid Qutb, an extremist Muslim Brotherhood thinker with intellectual fluctuations, who moved from the extreme liberalism of purported absolute freedom to fundamentalism, and from the Wafd Party to the Brotherhood Party, after which he was sentenced to hang for the attempted murder of Gamal Abdel Nasser, a 1964 book entitled “Milestones on the Way”, which has written The Intellectual Bases of Militant Islamic Movements for over half a century. Which classifies the Brotherhood community as a society of truth, the surviving group and others as infidels.

Qutb argued that if Islam were to succeed, it would have to wage war against the West and spread Islamic religious and cultural values ​​around the world, which is an inevitable clash of civilizations. According to Qutb, the West was morally bankrupt and unable to provide a functional value system for humanity.

Fundamentalist leaders like Qutb believed that the struggle for truth in his group against everything that disagreed with it ultimately caused the rise of contemporary militant jihadism. Despite the legalization of the pole of violence, for him jihad is fundamental to achieve the group’s ultimate goal: the group’s access to power and government. Due to his teachings, the first fight between fundamentalist jihadists took place in Egypt in the 1990s, before spreading to other places and crossing borders.

There are clear parallels between fundamentalist and totalitarian movements such as Nazism and fascism. Both aspire to restore past glories, restore lost empires, or find new ones. The fascists believe in the cultural and moral superiority of their race and see themselves as promoters of a mission that promotes the interests of disadvantaged peoples. In 1938 Al-Banna promoted that every practicing Muslim according to the group’s literature had a duty to protect every other Muslim, just as the “German Reich” saw itself as the protector of all those of German blood.

Al-Banna added that if Mussolini believed he had the right to revive the glory of the Roman Empire, Muslims had the right to restore the greatness of the Islamic Empire even at the expense of independent and sovereign states, all Arab states should submit to community domination.

Radical Islamists and fundamentalists behave like religious fascists. They use brutality and cruelty to bolster popular compliance and spread chaos to undermine state power. They declare jihad against the ruling elite and against a segment of the people they see as apostates. Militant movements such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra commit abominable actions and apply brutal punishment without recognizing the elements of repentance and forgiveness which are elements of great importance in Islam.

Fundamentalism in the Arab world is the result of decades of cultural inactivity, intellectual stagnation, and failed social and economic policies in many Arab countries, especially in the republics.

Extremists have distorted the role of Islam in social policy. They have politicized faith and made it central to their definition of modernity.

For them, modernity means a state dominated by religion. They seek to suppress opposing points of view and use their faith to justify the brutal elimination of their opponents regardless of their religion. They lack complete control over the country, promote their religious ideology as one that offers accurate explanations and answers to all social phenomena and justifies the use of violence by stating that it is necessary to protect the sanctity of Islam.

By targeting the state, they alienate the local population who see them as the enemy at home, as well as their former supporters who see states are working for the future while fundamentalist movements deflect a throwback, according to their narrow view. .

Most Muslims no longer believe that Islamic fundamentalism will offer a better future. The rise of extremist movements such as ISIS, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in the phase of the Arab Spring and the attempt to unify the Brotherhood with power have revealed that fundamentalist movements, both jihadists and politicians, will not offer a better future but want go back to the past, and the task of reform-oriented political reform is not a reality and is balanced by an ethical compass that has become obsessed with the establishment. Fundamentalism is now on the decline in the Arab world.

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