Sunday, July 15, 2007

Islamism, Episode 1: "My qualm is with Islamism and not with Islam"

Just a few days ago, someone asked what the definition was of "Islamist". One of things on my "ketchup" list is sitting down and compiling a definition from what I and others have said in conversations online and off. But this caught my eye a few days ago, in an interview on alt.Muslim, and it provides a very good place to start:
You've obviously titled your book "The Islamist," which is a bit of a loaded word these days. What is your definition of "Islamist" as you're using it in this book?

Ed Husain: In very broad terms, three things. Firstly, there's the rejection of 1400 years of Muslim traditional scholarship and re-reading of scripture with political lenses. Secondly, they advocate a world view that's based on eventually at some stage confronting the West. And thirdly, they reject mainstream Muslims and give us all sorts of labels such as 'non-practising Muslims', 'jahils', 'partial Muslims', and so on. Generally it's those three things and all of this is underwritten by the works of particular writers - to be more specific, Sayyid Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Taqiuddin al-Nabhani and, in our times, Fathi Yaqoun, and so on.

It's a really important question, especially from a Muslim point of view because many Muslims confuse Islam with Islamism. The lines have been blurred and my qualm is with Islamism - the ideology that's been set up in the name of the faith - and not against Islam, the religion that our Prophet left us and which was developed by our scholars of all traditions - Shia, Sunni, whatever. My qualm is with Islamism and not with Islam. I think increasingly Muslims, thanks to Islamist propaganda, have failed to see the difference between the two.
You can read the whole interview on alt.Muslim:

http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1929_0_25_0_C

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