Islam since the 19th Century Part II

Islam since the 19th Century 2

The high income of the religiously conservative-oriented states on the Arabian Peninsula from the sale of oil forms the financial basis on which all-Islamic organizations have been developing since the 1970s and networks to promote global Islamic solidarity. Examples are the League of the Islamic World, the Islamic Conference Organization, the expansion of the pilgrimage sites in Mecca and Medina to international Islamic centers and the worldwide promotion of conservative Islamic training centers of Wahhabi tradition (especially King Fahad Academies; currently [2013] existing in London, Bonn, Moscow). Parallel to this process of building up all-Islamic (organizational) structures, there was a process of pushing back regional and local heritage in the Islamic world. On the political level, politicized Islamic groups, initially seeking confrontation, opposed secularist, nationalist and socialist state concepts within Islam. These disputes increasingly took on radical and militant features. Against this background, 1979 marked a crucial date for many Muslims. On the one hand, the Islamic revolution led by Shiite scholars was victorious in Iran, and on the other, Soviet troops marched into Afghanistan. The Iranian revolution raised diverse hopes not only among politically active Muslims; In Afghanistan, an Islamically motivated armed resistance arose, which received widespread international support (e.g. also from the USA) and in the area of ​​Islam itself gained the reputation of a band of Muslim solidarity that unites the global Islamic community. As a result, these events as well as the Iraqi-Iranian war 1980-88 (Gulf War) and critical developments in many Middle Eastern and North African countries in the 1990s led to the radicalization of certain Islamic forces in the sense of militant fundamentalism. As a political phenomenon, it has since attracted such attention worldwide that the view of the various other facets of Islam, liberal, modernist, “pietist” (e.g. the Tablighi movement; in the 1990s based on Southeast Asia) and others. has almost completely receded into the background compared to the portrayal of Islamist terrorist organizations (“jihadists”) and their ideologies and protagonists; likewise the fact that the Islamist acts of terrorism and ideological models are not approved by the vast majority of Muslims.

According to, the Islamic educational institutions teach on the basis of traditionalist conceptions of different directions, for the range of which the Azhar in Cairo (moderately modern) and the Wahhabi universities in Saudi Arabia (ultra-conservative). In Islamic fundamentalism itself, different tendencies meet, whereby the bandwidth of its consistently traditionalist approaches ranges from within certain limits adaptable to modern developments to such generally negative and militant fighting. Modernist views found and are particularly popular among intellectuals (men and women). Comparable to traditionalist approaches, the modernists also emphasize the cultural and historical importance of Islam, but, in contrast to the traditionalists, emphasize the right to individual interpretation (especially the Koran) and try to introduce Islam into worldwide intellectual discourses (Abu Zaid; Arkoun). Militant Islamists as well as theological traditionalists have often persecuted them for this reason. Internal Islamic controversies and clashes also exist between Sunni-Wahhabi scholars of Saudi origin and Shiite Iranian scholars.

The already mentioned tendency to highlight militant phenomena in publications about Islam, which arose in the 1990s, was intensified again in the journalistic reaction to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 ( September 11th). The generalized assessments of today’s Islam that are given in this way have, on the one hand, led to widespread “Islamophobia” in non-Islamic countries, and on the other, have tended to strengthen Islamist terrorism in its ideology of the “fight against the West”.

In this context, a differentiating representation of contemporary Islam is essential, which gives an impression of its complexity, especially of the often complicated interrelationships in which fundamentalist and traditionalist forces stand with democratically illegitimate political regimes – some of which are tolerated or promoted by them. It is also important to describe the socio-economic conditions that are often difficult for many people in Islamic countries in Africa and Asia; also the specific situation of Muslims in the migrant societies in Western Europe and North America. The key points in this context are the fight against poverty, unemployment and poor education, the enforcement of basic democratic rights and political participation against social injustice, dictatorship and political arbitrariness, the emancipation of women in the state, society and family. Today, Muslims are generally concerned with these questions to a far greater extent than the exact performance of religious rituals, the wearing of the modern Islamic headscarf, compliance with other clothing standards or the guarantee of ritually pure food. The latter and similar questions, religious in the narrower sense, are discussed and decided with the help of traditional and modern interpretations of the Koran and traditions on the basis of a wide range of different approaches. Islam is thus confronted with problems similar to those of the other great and universal religions and will continue to have to prove its historical versatility, which has been proven so far. Interreligious contacts, e.g. B. in the context of interreligious dialogue, can help to clarify the awareness of the religious similarities and peculiarities.

Islam since the 19th Century 2