By Ludwig W. Adamec
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Lii • INTRODUCTION Islamism is a new term for a radical, fundamentalist movement that is gaining adherents among the youth of the Islamic world. They emerged on university campuses as the opponents of the leftists and developed a political ideology based on Islam that aims to restore power and influence to the Islamic world. The Islamists blame the backwardness and decline of the Islamic world on the rulers who did not enforce the injunctions of Islam and permitted the growth of Westernization.
The Islamists prohibit music, television, and games, and enforce attendance at prayers and wearing of traditional dress. Most will give women the right to education, but not coeducation. They build mosques in poor areas and provide social services that the governments failed to provide, such as soup kitchens and aid to families of their martyrs. The Islamists are missionaries who want to make “true” Muslims out of the believers and to eliminate all manifestations of Westernization. A militant offshoot of the Islamists are the Jihadis, who have declared war on Muslim and Western governments and include some INTRODUCTION • liii members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and their supporters in the Islamic world and Europe.
The Mu’tazilite school, on the other hand, stood for free will and God’s justice, giving man the certainty that choosing the good and avoiding evil will win salvation. They also held that the Koran was created. When Caliph Ma’mun supported the Mu’tazilite doctrine of the createdness of the Koran and forced its acceptance by the ‘ulama’, the ‘Abbasid caliphs eventually lost their authority to interfere in matters of religion and law. ” The 21 caliphs after alMu’tadid were pawns and at times virtual captives of a new type of de facto political ruler, called sultan.