05 January 2016

Islamic Reformation?

.... Liberal, reformist Islam enjoyed wide public favour in the earlier twentieth century, till the 1970s, with the prevalent nationalist and developmentalist projects and ideologies often articulated to leftist ideas. The collapse of the credibility in these projects and of leftist ideologies gave rise in many parts of the world to identity politics, in which ethnic and religious affiliations are central.

Identity politics demands an emphasis on difference from the Western other. Adherence to religion among Muslims in their majority countries and in Western diasporas is commonly based on affiliations and sentiments that do not favour liberal reformism.

In much of the Muslim world, the precarious conditions of security and livelihood for many drive people to seek protection in communal networks of kin, tribe and patronage, in which religious authority plays an important role.

Patriarchy and communal authoritarianism are buttressed by religious rules and disciplines. Mosques, madrasas and charities, many financed by Saudi donations and personnel reinforce these communalist formations. While many Salafis are not violent militants, these ideas and institutions do mutate into Jihadism: the Taliban were initially the product of Saudi financed madrasas in Pakistan. [openDemocracy] Read more