Saturday, January 29, 2005

Political Islam

There's a very interesting essay here by Mahmood Mamdani on political Islam. He excoriates the view - held by Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, among others - that international conflict can be reduced the clash between pre-modern and modern ideologies.
The terrorist tendency in political Islam is not a pre- modern carry-over but a very modern development. Radical political Islam is not a development of the ulama (legal scholars), not even of mullahs or imams (prayer leaders). It is mainly the work of non-religious political intellectuals .... It has developed through a set of debates, but these cannot be understood as a linear development inside political Islam. Waged inside and outside political Islam, they are both a critique of reformist political Islam and an engagement with competing political ideologies, particularly Marxism-Leninism.
Not surprisingly, for those who know his work, Mamdani also has some interesting parallels to draw with apartheid South Africa. Read the rest.


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