The gauntlet has been thrown: An interview with Scott Appleby. (interview).What do you see as the most significant development in connection with Osama bin Laden Osama bin Laden: see bin Laden, Osama. and his brand of Islamic fundamentalism Islamic fundamentalism is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating literalistic interpretations of the texts of Islam and of Sharia law. Definitions of the term vary. ?
Osama bin Laden, who has said that all American citizens are legitimate targets of holy warriors, represents a pernicious development in the world not only of Islam but also of Islamic fundamentalism. It's a departure from anything recognizable as Islamic.
What it betokens is a crisis of authority in Islam. Across the late modern world, the emergence of secularism sec·u·lar·ism
1. Religious skepticism or indifference.
2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education. , advanced by capitalist markets, has been accompanied by the dissemination of worldviews that are inimical inimical,
n a homeopathic remedy whose actions hinder, but do not counteract those of another. Also called
incompatible. to traditional religions. This situation has created crises for all these religions.
Across the board--in Islam as well as in Catholicism, Judaism, and Hinduism--the foundations for a coherent expression of religious authority beyond a very privatized realm have been undermined. Traditional religious leaders see their space becoming narrowed.
Part of the fundamentalist re action to this is that traditional authorities--in Islam, both the religious scholars and the political leaders--are discredited and accused of not being sufficiently orthodox or vigilant
It was interesting that when Osama bin Laden issued the fatwa fat·wa
A legal opinion or ruling issued by an Islamic scholar.
[Arabic fatw that called for death to all Americans, he referred to himself as a sheikh sheikh
Among Arabic-speaking tribes, especially Bedouin, the male head of the family, as well as of each successively larger social unit making up the tribal structure. The sheikh is generally assisted by an informal tribal council of male elders. . But he's not a sheikh, and he really has no authority to issue a fatwa. He hasn't had religious training; he's a "layperson lay·per·son
A layman or a laywoman.
Noun 1. layperson - someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person
layman, secular ." He is thus representative of the kind of fundamentalist free agents who do not feel bound by the traditional schools of Islamic law Noun 1. Islamic law - the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed; "sharia is only applicable to Muslims"; "under Islamic law there is no separation of church and state"
sharia, sharia law, shariah, shariah law .
In Islamic law there's no justification, even in war, for killing innocents and other noncombatants. So the justification bin Laden gives--and in this he's similar to the late Catholic traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as well as ultraorthodox Jews--is that the traditional religion is currently in a crisis. Both the Bible and the Qur'an have "emergency clause" verses: If you're in a crisis and your faith is under assault, these verses suggest, then you are obligated ob·li·gate
tr.v. ob·li·gat·ed, ob·li·gat·ing, ob·li·gates
1. To bind, compel, or constrain by a social, legal, or moral tie. See Synonyms at force.
2. To cause to be grateful or indebted; oblige. to take emergency measures.
What makes Islamic fundamentalism attractive to people?
Their moral critique is not entirely without merit I recently read that a high school in Texas is starting to clamp down on provocative cheerleading The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. poses. Women in our culture are too often projected as sex objects--and at younger and younger ages. I'm not saying we have to be puritans and I'm not a fundamentalist, but as a Catholic and as a father of a daughter, I too get angry at the way women are treated and fetishized in our culture. Many Americans are concerned about moral standards in Western culture. Magnify mag·ni·fy
To increase the apparent size of, especially with a lens. that a hundredfold and you'll understand some of the anger of fundamentalist Muslims.
Indeed, some scholars define fundamentalism as a patriarchal protest movement Fundamentalists feel that through the liberation of women the customary role of the male is being threatened--their leadership of traditional society, their ability to provide for their own families. The slogan for the Islamic fundamentalist movement has been "Islam is the solution." That may sound simple-minded, but it has great attraction for many.
Do you see any hope for countering the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism from within Islam?
Yes. Islam is not monolithic. But I think the problem and the solution are really more structural and systemic than religious. One of the main problems resulting from the corrupt political leadership in many Islamic countries is that both the educational system and many social services are now provided by Islamic fundamentalists. In Egypt the government is not taking care of masses of people with medical problems, but the Islamist clinic down the street will, and it will also indoctrinate in·doc·tri·nate
tr.v. in·doc·tri·nat·ed, in·doc·tri·nat·ing, in·doc·tri·nates
1. To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.
When bin Laden hit the World Trade Center, the real goal was a dramatic throwing down of the gauntlet for all Muslims. His message from the cave mirrored what President George W. Bush said: You're either with us, or you're against us.
Fundamentalists seek to foster precisely such a crisis mentality; they want to force you to choose one identity, not multiple ones. Here is the line in the sand. We're in a crisis. What truth are you going to choose?
R. Scott Appleby is a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. From 1988 to 1993 he was codirector of the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.