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From dKosopedia

Islamist is a term often used to refer to Muslims who are fundamentalist in their theology and willing to consider political organizing and/or violent action to bring about a world consistent with that theology. Islamists often differ drastically on their attitude to democracy, political party organizing, and the state itself. There is for instance a large moderate Islamist party in the majority in the Turkish government, that favour strong alliances with the European Union. And many small Islamist parties in other countries that co exist very well with non-Islamists and collaborate with them on many issues, as other political parties do. There are anti-state Islamists who organize small communities, both peaceful and more warlike, and a few broad global revolutionary networks like Al-Qaeda. Religion does not seem to provide more than rhetoric to some such groups. But the rhetoric is powerful:

“Only Islamic values and morals, Islamic teachings and safeguards, are worthy of mankind, and from this unchanging and true measure of human progress, Islam is the real civilization and Islamic society is truly civilized,” Sayyed Qutb wrote in his influential book "Milestones." Qutb was executed by Nasser in 1966 and became effectively the first martyr to Islam as a political movement.

However, his influence on modern Islamists, even the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood he founded is much debated.

Like all religious labels, the term Islamist is subject to competing interpretations. For instance the term:Islamofascism, term:Islamonazism and the more subtle Term:Islamism are often claimed to be equivalents to Islamist, though they smear a great many modernist, democratic and progressive Islamists with far too broad a brush.

What Islamists have in common is a belief that Islam is very relevant to political and social choices today. That is, they believe in Islam as a political movement.

What aspects of Islam they are in favour of turning into law or practice, however, vary extremely widely. The more radical Islamists favour a broader and deeper program to be put into effect more rapidly. This does not necessarily mean they seek to do so only by violence. In most countries in the Muslim world, democracy is relatively shaky and even with majority support, a movement might not be able to win posts in government. Accordingly, they may advocate protest or violence against the state only insofar as is required to destabilize it to permit more popular means of selecting government. This would, for instance, correctly describe many Iraqi Shia radical Islamists who believe they would gain control of Iraq via majority vote.

However, that is not to dismiss all Islamists nor even radical ones as being unable to compromise or negotiate with minorities or anti-Islamists in their midst. It would be as much of a mistake to do this, as to assume that all Christians who take political positions on matters based on the Gospels, belong to the same global conspiracy. By such a standard, everyone Martin Luther King to Pat Robertson would necessarily be in favour of the same policies and politics, which is obviously not the case. Applying much stricter standards to another religious or racial group than one's own is usually considered to be racism.

Historically, Islamist factions have sometimes allied even with Communists when oppressed by a common dictator. While these alliances are often temporary the traditions are not entirely opposed, having in common for instance notions of public stewardship and duty to community that can be a good basis for serious dialogue about a post-dictatorial government.

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This page was last modified 21:43, 14 April 2006 by dKosopedia user Allamakee Democrat. Based on work by Andrew Oh-Willeke and dKosopedia user(s) Anonymous troll. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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