Religious revival and highly charged conflicts in a shrinking world make it difficult for people of competing faiths to live together. Fundamentalists of all creeds exhibit a striking commonality; an inability to think rationally.
Menachem Begin bombed the King Edward Hotel in Jerusalem 1945, communal riots in Jabalpur, in India in 1961, religious riots in Beirut in 1983, Babri mosque riots in India in 1992, Bombing of US Embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, US warship 1993- 1997, 9/11, Gujarat, India religious riots in 2002, and numerous bombings of schools, hospitals, shrines and religious processions in Pakistan and now persecution of Muslims in India- the list goes on.
Then there is state sponsored terrorism- India in Kashmir, Jews in Palestine, Russia in Chechnya, Indra Gandhi and Sikhs, Tamils in Sri Lanka, U.S in Iraq and Iran.
There is a common economic thread camouflaged as religion or democracy and human rights. It is a war over resources (water in the West Bank and Indian Kashmir), or conflict over land (Sri Lanka and Chechnya) or control over oil resources (U.S in Iraq).
Fundamentalists exploit economically deprived parents and youth with the allure of sexually charged hereafter to recruit young men to their cause.
Since the fall of the Berlin wall, Neo-imperialism has started targeting fundamentalism in place of Marxism, anti-colonialism and fascism.
Mullahs say, and most Muslims agree that all Muslims are, by definition, fundamentalist. They believe in the unmediated and inerrant word of God, so the term is meaningless to distinguish beliefs of militants from those of moderate Muslims. Among the Christians only protestant fundamentalists believe in biblical inerrancy. Higher Criticism of the Bible established that The Book of Isaiah had more than one author and Moses did not write Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. Fundamentalist protested vehemently, but the critics remained Christian, while Muslims cannot do so by indulging in Higher Criticism of the Quran. Among the Jews, ultra-orthodox Haredim do not recognize Israel while Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) is more attached to the land than to Halaka (Jewish law). But they are not thrown out of the fold of Judaism.
Jay M Harris, “The word fundamentalism has come to imply an orientation…that is anti-intellectual, bigoted and intolerant… most particularly to those who would break down the barrier…between church and state and therefore deserve to be given ad hominem dismissal…”. 1.
Liberals use it against anyone who dares to challenge post enlightenment outlook. Fundamentalists repress the evolved version of religion which appeals to all aspects of human psyche. 2. Believers attempt to use religion to preserve identity in face of modernity and secularization. They exist in all faiths and philosopher Ludwig Weinstein called it Family Resemblance. 3.
Among the challengers of orthodoxy on the basis of the Quran and Hadith in Islam, Ibne Taymiyya (d 1326) is the most known and is very popular among the current militants. 4.
Most of the people do not realize that they are traditionalists and simply do not take alternative views in consideration. 5.
For most of 18 and 19th CAD, the Bible was considered compatible with reason. Higher Criticism in Germany challenged understanding of the Bible. Sophisticated methods of analysis indicated the editorial changes and multiple authors of the Bible and that the concept of Virgin Birth was based on misinterpretation of the original Greek text. 6.
The fourth to ninth decade of the 20th century saw a steady encroachment of fundamentalists into schools, publishing, Radio, TV and direct mail.
Europeans had fled the continent because of Church oppression and poverty. Roman Catholics arrived in the U.S in 1830’s and Jews in 19th CAD. The U.S constitution enshrines separation of Church and State, but they still had a rough time.
In 1961, the U.S Supreme Court extended protection to secularists. But the fundamentalist wing of Republican Party was successful in some states in re-institution of public prayers in schools, equal time for Creationism and Evolution and overturning of 1973 Roe vs. Wade. They worked with Jews, Roman Catholics and other groups and supported Global interest wars, suppression of HR and opposed the freedom of information laws. 7.
First reference to Islamic fundamentalism was in a letter written by Sir Reader Bullard, British minister in Jeddah in May 1937. He stated that King Abd al Aziz ibn Saud “Has been coming out strong as a fundamentalist”. 8.
The term Islamic Fundamentalism may have been coined by H.A.R. Gibbs, author of Mohammedanism later renamed Islam, with reference to Jamaluddin Afghani, a well-known pan-Islamist. 9. Ibne Saud’s cohorts followed Ibne Hanbal, Ibne Taymiyya and Ibne Abdul Wahhab and sought to return to 7th CAD scriptural roots. But unlike most clerics who were collaborators, Afghani tried to galvanize Muslim rulers against British imperialism.
The strongest link formed by Afghani was with Muhammad Abduh in Paris. They founded the “Salafiyya” pious ancestors movement and absorbed modernism. Among Shias of the 19th CAD, Usuli (literally followers of principles) believed in Ijtehad-reasoned innovation and Akhbaris who believed in traditions. Khomeini was Usuli and incorporated a lot of Marxism in his discourse.
Like Arabic, Hebrew has no word for fundamentalism. Israeli papers call it Yamina-Dati “Religious Right”. Christian Right regard the land grab since 1967 as a trust for the Messiah.
Fundamentalism is not exclusive to Abrahamic creeds. Sikhs killed Indira Gandhi in 1984 in revenge for assault on the Golden Temple. Hindus massacred Muslims after demolition of Babri mosque and Buddhist monks practiced genocide against Tamils, who pioneered suicide bombing a decade before the Lebanese and Palestinians took it up. Buddhist monks in Burma are practicing on fellow Burmese Muslims, what their coreligionists had done on Tamils.
Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair turned the IMF into an Economic Fundamentalist organization; market liberalization, free trade and finance, capital markets, deregulation and suppression of trade unions. 10.
When ideals confront the reality of power, immense political energy is released. Pat Robertson compares forty three million abortions to Nazi Holocaust.
Evangelists, especially Christian and Muslim, believe that they have a divine mission to convert the world to their creed. Religious pluralism, that there are multiple paths to salvation, is a modern concept.
Fundamentalism is, in a way a response to Globalization; a fear of being swamped by norms of living other than their own.
The Egyptian historian Abd al Jabarti (1754-1822) equated French irreligious nationals with Zindiq (Manichean). He was impressed by their science though “These are things that the minds of people like us cannot grasp”. “Their females have no modesty…perform acts of nature …in full view of people…without washing …private parts…”. 11.
Similar bitterness was found in Syed Qutb, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Nasser regime in 1966. He concluded that Muslim society had ceased to be Islamic, had in fact relapsed to Jahiliya-Muslim term for pre-Islamic times of “ignorance”.12.
Crisis of Islam flows from the contradiction between collective triumphal memory and recent political failures especially in post-colonial phase, when physical occupation was replaced by control of abstract space. Reformists like Sir Syed and Muhammad Abduh had to collaborate with Europeans and contrary to Islamic thought and practice, accept de facto separation of state and church.
Secular Muslims tried to introduce Modernity in Islam. Underlying the Islamist (A new term coined for the extremist intolerant fringe allied with the Taliban, the Jamaat e Islami of Pakistan and similar groups all over the world) vision is the golden age of the prophet and the rightly guided caliphs, which in fact lasted all of fifty three years-twenty three during the prophet’s life time and thirty under the first four caliphs-but in collective memory lasted in a diluted form till pre-colonial times.
In Christianity conflict raged between fundamentalism and liberalism. American fundamentalists hark back to American Revolution, to small town America. Hindu fundamentalists venerate Ram Raj to restore the Babri mosque in 1992. Jewish ones look back to David and Solomon, who built the first temple and want to demolish the Dome of the Rock mosque. Some of them, the Neturei Karta (guardians of the city) wear long frock coats, hats and ringlets, of the 18th CAD ghetto culture. Haredin believe that Israel will become a Jewish state only when the Messiah arrives, so they are currently in exile inside Israel.
All fundamentalists reject pluralism of modern society.
Pre-modern Judaism and Roman Catholicism reinforced religious conformity and it was only after centuries of conflict that Enlightenment emerged and modus vivendi, except for pockets of conflict like Northern Ireland (which was more a conflict over division of assets) developed. In the U.S, anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism lasted well into the 20th CAD and raised its head in a new incarnation in anti-Muslim sentiment aggravated by 9/11.
Compared to pre-Enlightenment Christianity, Islam treated Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sabians and later Hindus as people of the book (Dhimmi), offering them protection. But protection is not the same as religious tolerance or legal equality in ordinary life as witnesses, in marriage laws and property ownership. New non-Arab converts to Islam were not treated any better and had to have a patron if engaging in business. Even now, non-Arab Muslims are required by law to have a Wali-protector, if they work or conduct any business, in the Arab countries.
Fundamentalists in Muslim countries have demanded restoration of the Dhimmi status for people of the book. Islamists in Upper Egypt tried to extract Jizya, religious tax for protection, from Coptic Christians.
BJP, a right wing fundamentalist upper caste political party in India believes that nation hood should be caste based. Rabbi Meir Kahane’s view about Arabs mirrors those of Hitler to Jews. ‘Pre-millennialism’ Protestants believe that born again Christians plus 144,000 good Jews will be ‘Raptured’ with Christ. Rest of mankind will die horribly. Jerry Falwell echoed many U.S. evangelicals when he called Muhammad a terrorist. 13. Maududi in ‘Religion of Truth’ asserts “Very explicitly, for the entire human race, there is only one way of life which is right in the eyes of God and that is Al-Islam”.
Reformation broke Roman Catholic monopoly on religion. Religious pluralism has been institutionalized but it was gradual. Roman Catholics were granted the right to vote in the UK only in 19th CAD (Roman Catholic can’t become Prime Minister though even now). The religious wars in Germany resulted in the peace of Westphalia (1648) under, “Religion belongs to the ruler” principle. 14.
Minorities continued to be persecuted. Conformity became unsustainable. Tolerance became the prerequisite of enlightenment. Pierre Bayle (1690’s) “God was too benevolent… to be the author of revealed religions…which carried …seeds of war, slaughter and injustice”. 15. By mid- 18th CAD, deists had decoupled God from religions and assimilated Him into pure reason.
The U.S was the first country to guarantee religious freedom. But the churches are self-governing tax free enclaves and have become a “Divine supermarket”.
In Europe, state religions are subsidized and retain great social power through educational establishments.
Paradoxically, Europeans are more secular than Americans, 90% of whom believe in religion.
In pre-colonial Islamic societies, the state had a watchdog role to oversee civil society. On paper the ruler was subject to Islamic law. But the Ulema, unless the ruler blatantly flouted the core principles of religion, supported him
The native elite have followed an authoritarian structure bequeathed by the colonialists. Nationalist generally tended to follow the Socialist model. Zionism dominated by Secularists, was overwhelmed by the religious parties in the Knesset which have coerced the state into funding religious education and exempt religious students from military service (In 2009, one mullah member of the Pakistan parliament, who had three supporters in a house of over three hundred, held up a Women’s Rights legislation for several weeks). Ulster Unionists still re-enact the battle of Boyne (July 12, 1689) to which they feel they owe their religious liberty. Muslim settlers in Suriname brought from Java in 19th CAD still pray towards the West, though Kaaba is to their East in their new location.
Literalism still holds sway over people’s minds. According to the 1980 Gallup Poll, 40% Americans believe … Bible to be the actual word of God…to be taken literally word for word. 16.
For Muslims, the Quran though assembled during the third caliphate (644-656) is a perfect, complete and unalterable, uncreated word of God. Several versions were presented to the committee appointed for the purpose by the Caliph of the day. After a lot of deliberation, they chose one version and all the others were ordered destroyed. Egyptian scholar Nasr Abu Zaid ventured into Higher Criticism of the Quran and had to flee for life. Only non-Muslims, John Wansborough, Patricia Crone and Gerald Hawting, have subjected it to higher criticism-analytical/deconstructionist methods. 17.
Apologists of Six Day Creation aver that a day before creation did not mean a day on earth, related to the time earth takes to turn around its axis, but related to geological ages and quote from Psalm 90 “A thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday”. 18.
The issue of fundamentalism according to James Barr is inerrancy, “The Bible must be so interpreted as to avoid any admission that it contains any kind of error”.19.
Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament supposed to be authored by Moses has an account of his death! Isaac ibn Yashush, a Jewish physician in Spain pointed out that the list of Edomite Kings in Genesis 36 named several persons who lived long after Moses died. Thomas Hobbs and Baruch Spinoza noted other inconsistencies. Consensus developed in the 19th CAD was that it had multiple authors. 20.
Similar criticism applies to the New Testament.
Maurice Bucaille in his book claims that Quran contains references to atoms, particles and viruses and is very popular with Muslim fundamentalists. 21. Sheikh Abdullah bin Baaz, one time chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia threatened with perdition anyone who disputed Ptolemaic seven heavens mentioned in the Quran and subscribed to Copernican cosmology.
Apologetics try to explain away textual anomalies as errors of human understanding. But Ben Baz was going against evidence pre-Copernican people did not have, so the two stances are not similar. 22.
Fundamentalists try to rationalize miracles-water rises up or the sun stands still by claiming that they accord with the natural process; children of Israel led by Joshua crossed the river in full flood. 23. Hugh Blair refers to an Arab historian that the Jordan River was left dry for twenty one hours in 1927 due to a landslide. 24.
Sayyid Qutb redefined Jahiliya (the state of ignorance before Islam) as the modern state, thus delegitimizing the latter. His thirty-volume commentary on the Quran is full of rationalist explanations extolling the creative power of God reminiscent of Paley’s evidence. Abduh reinterprets Quranic story of defeat of the Abyssinian army besieging Mecca by birds descending as actually insects/mosquitoes, which infected the troops. Several modern Muslim writers have accepted evolution as simply God’s way of doing things. 25.
Protestants replaced cumulative tradition represented by the Roman Catholic Church, with the cult of text. (Followers of the Dalai Lama and the Agha Khan have similar levels of loyalty.). Roman Catholics are Papal fundamentalists; they take Papal pronouncements as bulwark against the inroads of modernity. 26.
When church leaders take to reform, secessionist movements start (Monsignor Lefebvre in France or Agha Khan iii among Khojas in East Africa).
Monsignor Benigni (1864-1934) excommunicated modernist theologians like Alfred Loisy in France and George Tyrell in England and put their books on the forbidden list. Benigni supported Mussolini. 27. Roman Church supported Franco of Spain, Juan Peron of Argentina, Salazar of Portugal, Getulio Vargas in Brazil and Petain of France. Protestant fundamentalists supported Rios Monti of Guatemala, who annihilated whole villages in the 1980’s. 28.
Papal infallibility adopted in Vatican 1 was a response to liberal tendencies questioning biblical inerrancy. 29. Like Papal infallibility, the concept of biblical inerrancy among Protestants arose when traditional understanding of the scripture began to be challenged. From 1880’s, pastors from modernist divinity schools began to absorb Darwinism and Higher Criticism.
Gospels aspire to narrative coherence and it is important to iron out inconsistencies. The Quran on the other hand does not take a narrative or chronological form. Surahs are organized roughly in order of length and in approximate reverse chronology, with the later ones on the top. Passages in the Quran, which refer to historical events like the first major victory of the prophet, are not self-explanatory and scholars have to depend upon secondary sources like the Hadith.
Higher Criticism of the Quran is in infancy and Ibne Warraq (Why I am not a Muslim) had to adopt a pseudonym. Richard Bell and Montgomery Watt’s in ‘Introduction to the Koran’, offer that “The assumption that God himself is the speaker…leads to difficulties”. Too often He is addressed in the third person…and the number (in contrast to the usual occasional use of third person) of times the prophet …being addressed…told about God in the third person is unusual…God is made to swear by himself “. 30. Kharjis (rejectionists) believed that Surah Yusuf (Joseph) celebrating human sexuality could not belong in the book.
R. Stephen Humphrey’s (‘Islamic History: A Frame Work of Inquiry’) , Michel Cook, Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds believe Islam emerged as a …religion …as a result of a long struggle for identity among the disparate people yoked together by the conquests; Jacobite Syrians, Nestorian Armenians in Iraq, Copts, Jews…peninsular Arabs”. John Wansborough of the Revisionist School asserts “Koran and Hadith emerged out of sectarian controversies between Jewish and Christian monotheists…and projected back to an Arabian origin”. 31. Gerald Hawting, “Islam should be understood…as an Intra-monotheist polemics”. 32.
Karen Armstrong in her “The Battle for God” explains the prevalence of fundamentalism in the three monotheistic faiths by suggesting that pre-modern Mythos-Timelessness and Logos-Constancy were kept apart in these faiths by modern ideologues who read the texts as blueprints for practical action and not as a source of information and moral guidance. 33.
The Sociologist Anthony Giddens, “Modernity …(based) on trust in …abstract systems as banking or …interactions between engineers, pilots and air traffic controllers…keep jets flying”. 34…”But… cannot apply…to personal trust …hence in the U.S, Buddhism and Sufism centered on ‘Discovery of Inner Self ‘ have become popular …options”. 35.
Fundamentalism, cults and religious movements are similar in providing authority in a global world where actual power rests in Multinational Corporations.
Myths like poetry exploit our inference systems. There are great examples of using myth as a seedbed of symbolism. Sigmund Freud: Oedipus complex-human sexuality, Jung-archetype dreams, as a means of exploring consciousness through religious symbols.
Fundamentalists reject internalization of religion into the private self. Baptist theologian E.Y. Mullins ‘Conversion is like falling in love with Jesus’. 36. Syed Qutb asked his followers to follow the Quran as a manual. 37. That mindset shaped Osama bin Laden.
Jews think along the same lines. 38. Children of Israel were commanded to massacre Amalekites along with women, children and flocks. According to Rabbi Yisrael Hess, Amalekites assimilated into Palestinian Arabs (and are presumably suitable for whole-sale annihilation). 39.
Hal Lindsay’s “Late Great Planet” claims that return of Christ will be preceded by a war against anti-Christ, sold thirty million copies.
Most fundamentalists are content to let divine take its course, but some take it upon themselves to become instruments of its Will, like attempts to demolish the Dome of the Rock mosque built at the site of the second temple destroyed by Romans in 66 AD. 40. Fundamentalist claim to act on God’s behalf, paradoxically affirming supremacy of human will.
Status of Women:
Fundamentalists regard women as essentially inferior and unclean. Menstruating women may not enter a mosque or a synagogue. Sati, ritual burning of widows banned in India by the British governor of Bengal Lord Bentinck in 1829, continues to this day. Similar crimes like dowry murder, honor killing, female infanticide and feticide (facilitated by the technology of ultra sound which shows the gender of the baby) are of daily occurrence.
In one widely publicized case Roop Kanar, an eighteen year old burnt herself over the pyre of her twenty four year old husband, who had committed suicide in Deorala, Rajhastan, India. No one came forward as a witness in a subsequent trial. A shrine was, however, built at the site, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors and generated millions of rupees. John Stratton Hawley, in Fundamentalism and Gender, “If a woman pursues her desire to become Sati…her divinity becomes manifest in this world…she becomes Sati mother…joins other Sati mothers…goddess Sati, a member of the class to which the wife of Shiva called Sati also belongs”. Shakantula Narasimhan “Sati: A Study of Widow Burning in India. “Smothered at birth, given away in marriage…bargained over like a commodity by dowry hunting in-laws, secluded in the name of chastity and religion, and finally burned…shunned as an inauspicious widow, the burden of oppression took different forms at different stages of a (Hindu) woman’s life…”. 41.
The term fundamentalism is difficult to apply to Hinduism, as there is no single text like the Bible or the Quran. It goes back to 4,000 years of cumulative tradition. 42. But that does not prevent Hindu extremists acting like fundamentalists (Hindutva).
Control of females looms large among fundamentalists. In 1920 American Fundamentalist, J.R. Stratton wrote, “The wave of animalism…modern dance…glorification of the flesh…sex suggestions in …literature…dogs for babies…evolution is spreading over the earth…”. 43. The 1981 Hudood Ordinance in Pakistan; 107 out of 195 articles related to sexual activities including preventing persons of the same sex lying naked under a blanket. 44.
Gender division of labor existed in all pre-modern societies. Segregation was achieved by dress code, long hair for women (cave men dragging women by the hair), a veil for Muslim women and beard for men. (A New Japanese religion has female prophets). 45.
In the Islamic world, upper class emancipated women gave up the veil. In some cases it was abolished by autocrats like the late Shah of Iran and ‘Fundamentalist Secularists’ of Turkey. Veil actually became a symbol of cultural resistance. Veiled women played a significant role in the fight for Algeria’s independence. In Egypt, veiled women do not need father’s permission to attend religious meetings. Allah replaces the father. 46.
But fathers kill their daughters, if they do not conform to the traditional code of dress (Toronto, Canada, 2007, a girl strangled by father/brother. 47. Ironically, the father was a political refugee). Other common phenomena among Muslim Fundamentalists are murder, sale, barter, wedding to the Quran, seigneur’s right to the first night with a bride of the tribe. 48.
Pukhtoon (residents of Afghanistan and neighboring regions of Pakistan, also called Pathans) customary law (Pakhtunwali) differs from Islamic law in i) Divorce not permitted, ii) females cannot own land. (49), “A woman is best in the household or in the grave”. 50. Because of men’s resistance, female illiteracy remains over 80 %.
In the1920’s, King Amanullah of Afghanistan promoted female education, and urged women to come out of purdah. In 1929, he was overthrown by orthodox elements in the army, aided and abetted by the British, as he was exhibiting a streak of independence. Women were put back in burqa and could not come out till the 1959 edict of PM Daud.
In 4/1978 communists took over Afghanistan, changed family laws and encouraged female education. 51. The 1979 Soviet intervention to prop up the tottering regime was resisted by U.S funding matched dollar for dollar by Saudi money, U.S arms/training and the Pakistani army. Females were absent from the resistance, but four out of seven militia commanders on the communist side were female.
After the Soviets withdrew, there was widespread turmoil from 1989 to 1996. In 1996, Taliban took over and within three months closed sixty three schools affecting 100,000 girls and 150,000 boys, shut down the Kabul University and sent 10,000 students, among them 4,000 females home. 150,000 women lost jobs, they no longer had recourse to health care as male doctors could not treat them, and with no source of income, tens of thousands had to resort to the flesh trade. They even banned Iranian style headscarf, imposing the shuttlecock shaped burqa. Following the U.S. post 9/11 intervention, the regime ended on 10/2001. 51 a. But circa 2013, Americans, having failed to control them by military action, are trying to buy off the “moderate” Taliban.
In Saudi Arabia, female education is permitted only in segregated schools; women are not allowed to drive (lately they have been, but are still vulnerable to the punishment of caning) ironically depending upon *na-Mehrem (A Mehrem male is one in front of whom a woman may appear without a Hijab covering all hair, but hands and feet should remain covered and all signs of gender like breasts, and hips enclosed in loose garments. In fact, they may only show the eyes to cab drivers). In 2001, a girl’s dorm caught fire, religious police closed the gate as the girls had not covered themselves properly and fifteen were burnt to death. 52.
Hudood ordinance in Pakistan imposed by Zia practically equates rape with adultery, as the victim could not press charges without four pious adult Muslims witnessing the outrage. (One would have thought pious adult male Muslim would intervene and save the woman rather than look on and wait to give evidence). Men went Scott free and if the woman got pregnant she was thrown in jail for having conceived outside the marital bed. 52a.
Fundamentalist groups reject legal steps to gender equality and express concern about lack of control of sexuality. 53.
Generalization as to why females join religious movements would be futile, but charismatic male preachers exuding powerful masculinity, perhaps the profound effect of socialization since the end of matriarchal age, would be nearer the mark than other explanations. All major religions are fundamentally patriarchal since all originated at a time distant from the period when survival depended upon strict division of labor. Arjuna told god Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, “And when women of the family are corrupted, disorder is born in the society”. 54.
In Islam the term Fitna is applied equally to the strife among his followers after the prophet’s death and consequences of the loss of female chastity. In Judaism menstruation taboos persist, women are deemed inferior and exempted from study of Torah/Halaka. Eve of beguiled by the Serpent persuades Adam to sin. St Augustine ironed out the contradictions in Genesis and Paul to prove female inferiority 55. According to reliable traditions suppressed by Islamist misogynists, Hijab was meant only for wives of the prophet to make them distinct and protect them from harassment by males in the sexually repressed society. 55a.
Hardacre suggests part of the appeal may be economics. 56. Hijab is a potent symbol of rejection of Western culture. 57. Women voluntarily wearing a body covering Burqa proclaim that they were not sexual objects, to be judged by physical appearance alone. Fundamentalist appeal in societies with prevalent scourges such as Aids, drug addiction cannot be underestimated. And Hamas and Hezbollah are more effective than respective governments in providing public services.
But Chastity is not enough. The enemies must be demonized. A loose woman is an agent of Satan.
In Muslim countries homosexuality is more tolerated and less threatening than female sexuality. In fact it has been eulogized in Urdu and Farsi poetry. It may be a reflection of sexual repression, but in certain parts of Pakistan boys are preferred as objects of ‘love’ and women are relegated to the role of procreation, not objects of sexual pleasure. A 2011, press report asserted that 90% of the truckers in Pakistan have homosexual sex during rest stops. In Afghanistan, affluent people maintain Harems of young boys, called Bacchum. 58.
Taliban executed homosexuals and they were hanged in post Khomeini Iran. Concern for family values was overtaken by an obsession with sexual behavior.
Anita Weiss, who has done extensive work in the urban milieu of Lahore, Pakistan, concludes that while men accord more respect to women than they used to, they at the same time feel threatened by ‘ Uncontrolled, educated and economically independent women’. 59. Michel Gilsenan, an anthropologist draws similar conclusions from Northern Lebanon. 60.
Role of Nationalism:
Fundamentalism emerges only when society is challenged by modernism and post-enlightenment scholarship. It co-opts nationalism. Fundamentals of Christianity in the 20th CAD as understood by evangelist Protestants were bound up with WASP identity which sought to preserve itself from such influences as German scholarship, Roman Catholicism, Socialism, Hollywood dominated by secular Jews, and African-Americans. Southern Baptist convention of 40,000 member churches is nearly all white and Bob Jones University prohibits mixed race dating. Fundamentalism in the U.S.A and Israel are barely distinct. 61.
US fundamentalists find no conflict between religion and patriotism. They have ‘converted’ the international message of Christianity to narrow nationalist chauvinism. They identify America with Israel as a land covenant to God’s people. Pat Robertson: The Turning Tide: The fall of Liberalism and the Rise of Common Sense, “In 1350 BC, Moses gave one final instruction before his own death and their entry into the promised land a wonderful blessing if …’obey the voice…of God and keep his commandments”. America has been going down since the Supreme Court banned prayer in school and legalized murder by allowing abortion, was defeated in a war, been at the mercy of OPEC… victim of drug abuse etc. 62.
Islamists offer similar arguments. Prophet Muhammad triumphed and his immediate successors conquered vast territories in Asia and Africa by following his example and teachings. The decline of Islam was directly attributable to loss of faith by Muslims especially among the rulers.
In theory, fundamentalism and nationalism are ideological opponents, the latter a product of industrial revolution and modernism. 63. Abul ala Maududi “Religion…opposite pole of nationalism…”64, it promotes national sovereignty, God alone is sovereign. 65. He saw Muslim nationalism in India as “being reprehensible in the Sharia”. 66.
Historically nationalism emerged in Europe following emancipation of the bourgeoisie from feudal bonds. French and American revolutions generated nationalist forces by extending bourgeois freedoms to the whole of society except for slaves in the U.S.A and excluding women. In France the revolution took an anti-clerical turn as the Church was allied with the regime. After 1792, the French revolution started exporting patriotic ideals, with its popular assemblies and processions.
Nationalism, though, is not uniformly anti-religious, especially in societies where nationhood is buttressed by religious differences-Presbyterian Scotland, Roman Catholic Ireland, Poland and Croatia, Eastern Orthodox Greece/Serbia, Muslim Pakistan, Malaysia, Buddhist Tibet, Thailand and Sri Lanka and increasingly Hindu India. Islamic religious leaders have been at the forefront of freedom movements in Algeria, Russia, Britain and Italy against colonialists in 19th and 20th CAD.
Successive defeat of Arabs at Israeli hand evoked memories of lost grandeur. Revival of Islamist movement dates back to the catastrophic defeat in 1967.
Before colonists divided the world into discrete areas with arbitrary borders, the power of the government in Islamic countries radiated from urban centers and authority was diluted with distance. 67. Patriotism was based on clan, tribe and only secondarily to Ummah-the illusory Islamic Nation (as in Pakistan). Religion played a collaborative role. Ibne Saud conquered most of Arab peninsula (against fellow Muslim Turks) in alliance with the followers of Abd al Wahhab.
Nationalist leaders like Nehru of India, Nasser of Egypt and Sukarno of Indonesia, promoted secular nationalism, which gave them upper hand over religious/ethnic leaders.
In the early post-independence period secular and religious nationalism worked together. The initial falling out between Nasser and the Brotherhood was about power rather than ideology.
In Khomeini’s Iran, the state is just as powerful as it was in the times of the Shah. In Sudan the state has extended its powers in the name of Islam. In Pakistan, Jamaat e Islami fervently supported army’s brutal suppression of Bengali nationalism, which involved mass rape of Bengali women as a measure of pacification and subjugation. Ref: 67a
Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Demons, “The object of every national movement…seeking for its god, who must be its own god…the only true (faith)…god is the synthetic personality of the whole people…”. 67b Emil Durkheim equated the sacred with the spirit of community. 68.
Nationalist rhetoric is everywhere informed with religious symbolism. Irish patriot Padriac Pewrse, speaking on the grave of an earlier patriot Jeremiah O’Donovan in 1915, “We renew our baptismal vows”. 69. Opponent of Irish nationalism, Ian Paisley in Steven Bruce, God Save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisley-ism “This little province has had the peculiar preservation of divine providence”. 69a
Gush Emunim and Hamas, who reject any accommodation, are in a paradoxical collusion against secular Jews and Arabs. Christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson further diminish the chances of a compromise. Pat Robertson’s commentary on CBS, June 5, 2003 on Bush ‘Road Map’ “God promised the land of Israel to Jews…And God is not going to let anybody take it away from them”. 69b
For Hamas after US troops were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990, “Another episode in the fight between good and evil…a hateful Christian plot against our religion…”. 70.
In January 2003, Bush lumped Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the Axis of Evil in a similar fashion. 70a
Religious language is used for gathering support for political/economic objectives. Israeli settlers use 80% of the water available to Palestinian farmers in swimming pools and flush toilets. Religion abets capitalistic grab. 70 b
*RSS, BJP and VHP of India, Jamaat e Islami and Wahabi groups of Pakistan and Sinhalese Nationalist party of Sri Lanka, all invoke religion against Muslims, Ahmadis/Shias and Tamils respectively.
Polytheistic Hindus and Buddhists have taken a leaf from monotheistic books. 71. The Hindu revivalist movement was anti-colonial, but the development of a religious identity generated reciprocal responses among Muslim, Sikh, Parsee and Jain communities. 72. The movement bears some resemblance to Muslim Salafi movement. Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (1824-83) founded Arya Samaj, which is a progenitor of RSS and BJP. By 1921, it had become Hindu Mahasabha. 73. A.B. Vajpayee, one time Prime Minister of India and his deputy, L.K Advani and Modi elected in 2014, started their career in RSS.
The parallels between RSS and Muslim Brotherhood are compelling. Both adopted a bit of the style of the colonialists, RSS from the police-shorts and batons and Brotherhood organized along the lines of YMCA and the Scout movement. Both transcend family ties. 74. RSS is ascetic, no salary, no mixing of sexes. There was some infusion of Sufism in the Brotherhood by Hasan al Banna; he liked to be called Murshid. 75.
K.B Hedgewar, the founder of RSS was called Doctorji. His successor M.S. Golwalker was called Guruji. Its intellectual V.D. Savarkar (1883-1966) wrote Hindutva ‘Hindu-ness’ is a manifesto of religious nationalism. 76. Hindutva is not the same as Hindu orthodoxy, its spirit is according to Savarkar, manifest in South Asian creeds like Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism but not in Islam or Christianity which are foreign intruders. 77.
Golwarkar expressed admiration for Nazis, who expressed similar ideas of national purity. 78.
Sikh movement founded in 16th CAD, was led by Bhindranwale (1947-84) an erstwhile protégé of Indra in the 20th century (whom she dropped like U.S did Osama). He fit the pattern of …religious tradition…end in violence. Fearing arrest, militants holed up in the scared golden Temple in 1984. 79
Rebels took over Kaaba in 1979. 80.
In Sri Lanka, demand for separate status by minorities linked to mainland India was perceived by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority as a threat to national integrity. Buddhism was suppressed in India by the ruling Brahmin caste. Sinhalese regard themselves as survivors of the Ashoka Empire. 81. Tamil Tigers are fighting for political rights as well as cultural, ethnic and religious identity. More than 60,000 have died.
The heart of fundamentalist project lies not in religion but in the agenda of power of the national state, itself under sway of Capitalism in the West and its satraps, feudal landowners and tribal leaders in other countries, which serve as agents of Global corporations, or as some would have it, the Jacobin states that appeared with the French revolution…and the movements that surfaced in its wake…communism, fascism and Zionism. 82.
In Bhagavad Gita, god Krishna tells Arjuna to submit to his destiny in fighting against his kinsmen. The Quran alludes to Muhammad’s battles to a moral order upheld by God. Christians attribute Jesus’ excruciatingly painful death to redemption for human kind. 83.
Human suffering made endurable, nay even desirable by the idea that death is not pointless as testified by the tragedy of Karbala (Muhammad’s progeny nearly annihilated by Yezid, who belonged to a rival wing of the same tribe).
Fundamentalism is religion materialized… the word made flesh as it were…all too often shattered (into) body parts by forces of holy rage. 84.
Harvey Cox, expressed fond hopes in The Secular City 1965 “The rise of urban civilization and collapse of traditional religion are the two main hallmarks of our era….’secularization’ is loosening off the world from religion. 85.
That went on till the mid-1970s. It was based on the writings of Karl Marx, Emile Durkhien and Max Weber, that secularization was integral to modernization. The 1979 Iranian revolution seriously dented the idea.
By mid-1980’s, it became clear that this was by no means exclusive to Islam. In the U.S.A New Christian Right raised a serious threat to Church-State separation. Peter Berger, a Weberian sociologist suggested that America was exceptional, irredeemably religious like India. 86. Since the fall of Soviet Union, Eastern Europe has been fast regressing into public religiosity and Latin America and Africa, Japan and Korea have all seen a marked resurgence of religion.
Religion retains the power to mobilize where it is a vital component of national identity or when invoked in the fight against colonialism. Jeff Haynes “Religion finds… work to do other than its pre-modern function of relating individuals to the supernatural”. 87.
Muslims in the West like other minorities are ghettoized. In sites like www.islam-qa.com, Saudi clerics advise Muslim women living in America to submit to abusive parents and by implication not to call ‘unbelieving’ authorities even if assaulted by fathers. 88
In a pluralistic society like the U.S.A, all religious groups use restrictions to mark the boundary between the believers and others. Muslim girls in high schools hold all girls prom, Mormons do not take tea, coffee or alcohol, Evangelical Christians hold assemblies of ‘promise keepers’, Jehovah’s witnesses reject blood transfusion, Christian scientist avoid conventional medicine as Christ is the only healer, some Hasidic Jews like some ultra-orthodox Muslims, do not shake hands with non-believers or women.
Cult leaders like Rajneesh, David Koresh and Jerry Falwell draw on religion, mysticism and psychology and are as great threats to secularism as fundamentalists are. Anson Shupe and Jeffery Hadden, “The economic and secular forces of …modernization contain seeds of reaction that brings religion back…”. 89.
The increase in religious militancy may be related to access to audio-visual media. In a low literacy society like Iran, audio-video cassettes helped Khomeini acquire a massive following. Monopolization of the media by the Corporations and deliberate befuddling by sports programs, American Idol and titillating public exposure of flesh unimaginable only a few decades ago, hinders literate societies from acquiring knowledge.
Afghanistan, attack on US embassies and 9/11 are ‘Above all a reflection of structural weakness of the movement”. 90.
9/11 revealed the dangers of apocalyptic belief. The leaders were not ignorant young men. Their faith in compassionate deity of Islam had been weakened. It was an act of profound despair.
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13. CBS (New York), 30 October, 2002.
14. Gross, Leo. “The Peace of Westphalia, 1648-48,” American Journal of International Law, 42 (1): 20-41 p 25.
15. Quoted in Ernest Cassirer, “The Philosophy of the Enlightenment” 175, trans. Fritz C. A. Koelln and James Pettegrove,(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951).
16. Ammerman, Nancy Tatom, “Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in Modern World”, 6, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987).
17 Crone, Patricia: Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh University Press, 2004); published in New York USA as God’s Rule: Government and Islam [Columbia University Press, 2004])
18. Barr, James, “Fundamentalism” 41, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978).
20. Friedman Richard Elliot, “Who Wrote the Bible”, 28 (New York: Harper and Row, 1987).
21. Bucaille Maurice, “The Bible, the Quran and Science”, trans. Alastair D. Pannell and the Author, (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1979).
22. ibid 18, p 173.
23. Joshua 3: 13-17.
24. ibid 18, p 236.
25. Koran 22:5.
26. Coleman, John A “Catholic Integralism as Fundamentalism”, in Kaplan Lawrence, “Fundamentalism in comparative Perspective”, 7, (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992).
27. Alexander, Daniel, “Is Fundamentalism an Integrism,” Social Compass, 32/4 (1985), 380.
28. Brower, Steve, Gifford, Paul and Rose Susan D., “Exporting the American Gospel”, 57, (New York and London: Routledge, 1998).
29. ibid, p 84.
30. Bell, R. and Watt W. M., “Introduction to the Quran”, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1977).
31. Wansbrough, John, “Quranic Studies, Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation”, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977).
32. Hawting, G.R., “The idea of Idolatory and emergence of Islam: from Polemics to History” 7, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
33. Armstrong, Karen, “The Battle for God-Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” p 33, (London: Harper Collins, 2000).
34. Giddens, Anthony, “The Consequences of Modernity”, 112-13, (Stanford, C.A.: Stanford University Press, 1990).
35. Ibid, 121 ff.
36. Ruthven, Malise, “The Divine Supermarket: Shopping for God in America”, (New York: Morrow, 1990).
37. Adapted from Sayyid Qutb, “Milestones: A Translation of Maalim Fi-l tariq”, 27, (New Delhi, Markazi Maktaba Islami, 1981).
38. Deutronomy 25:17-19.
39. Bat Kol, 26 Feb, 1980, Cited by Yehoshafat Harkabi, “Israel’s Fatefull Decision”, 153, (London: I.B. Tauris, 1988).
40. Lustick, Ian, “For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel”, 68-9, (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1988).
41. Hawley, John Stratton, “Fundamentalism and Gender,” 79 ff, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), Narasimhan, Shakuntala, “A Study of Widow Burning in India,” (New Delhi, Harper Collins, 1998).
42. Ibid, 41.
43. Riesebrodt, Martin, “Pious Passion: The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran”, 128, trans Don Renau, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993);
44. Hudood Ordinance VII of 1979, Feb. 9, 1979, Pakistan.
45. Hardacre, Helen, “The Impact of Fundamentalism on Women, the Family and Interpersonal Relations”, in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (eds.), “Fundamentalism and Society,” 129, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
46. Rugh, Andrea B., “Reshaping Personal Relations in Egypt”, in Marty and Appleby, “Fundamentalism and Society,” 151-80 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
47. Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father and brother in December 2007. CBCNews Canada, June 18, 2010
48. Khan, Tahira, “Beyond Honour: A Historical Materialist Explanation of Honour Related Violence,” (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006).
49. Moghadon, Valentine M., “Fundamentalism and Woman Question in Afghanistan”, in Lawrence Kaplan (ed.), “Fundamentalism in Comparative Perspective,”235, (Amherst, Mass: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992);
50. Ibid, 137.
51. Ibid, 137.
51a. Ref: Coll, Steve, “The Ghost Wars,” (New York: Penguin Books, 2004).
52. March 15, 2002, NewsBBC.Co.UK/2/hi/1874471.stm
52a. Ibid 44.
53. Judy Brink and Joan Mencher (eds.), “Mixed Blessing: Gender and Religious Fundamentalism Cross Culturally”, 3, (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).
54. Cited in Hawley, “Fundamentalism and Gender,” 100.
55. Jean Holm (Ed.), with John Bowker, “Women in Religion” 36, (London: Pinter,
55a. Koran 33:53, www.irfi.org/articles 2/articles_3351_3400/the%20of%20hijabhtml.htm
56. ibid 41; 143;
57. Ibid, 14.
58. Report in Pakistani press that 90% of truckers have homo-sex during truck stops-Discover Science for the Curious-August 3, 2011.
59. Weiss, Anita in Akbar S. Ahmad and Hastings Donnan (eds.), “Islam, Globalization and Post Modernity”, 137, (London: Routledge, 1994).
60. Gilsenan, Michael, “Lords of Lebanese Marches: Narrative in Arab Society”, 189, (London: I.B. Tauris, 1996).
61. Brower, Steve, Gifford Paul and Susan D. Rose, “Exporting the American Gospel,” 345, (New York and London: Routledge, 1998).
62. Robertson, Pat, “The Turning Tide: The Fall of Liberalism and the rise of Common Sense”, 294-7, (Dallas World Publishing, 1993).
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64. Adams, Charles in John Esposito (ed.), “Voices of Resurgent Islam”, 103, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).
65. Ahmad, Rafiuddin, “Redefining Muslim Identity in South Asia”, in Marty and Appleby (ed.), “Accounting for Fundamentalisms,”(The Fundamentalist Project, vol iv: 675, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
67. Hourani, Albert “A History of Arab Peoples”, 138, (London: Faber; rev. edn, 2002).
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67b. Dostoevsky, Fyodor, “Demons,” (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).
68. Smith Anthony D., “Chosen People: Sacred Foundations of National Identity”, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004).
69. In Macardle, Dorothy, “The Irish Republic”, 127-8, (London: Corgi, rev. edition, 1968).
69a. Bruce, Steve, “God Save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
69b. New York Times, December 14, 2002.
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72. Ibid, 537.
73. ibid 71; R.S. Appleby (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). “Fundamentalisms Observed, The Fundamentalist Project,” vol.4 539.
74. ibid, p 78.
75. ibid 71, p 563;
76. Ibid, 547.
77. Ibid, 549.
78. Ibid, 566.
79. Madan, T.N., “The Double Edged Sword: Fundamentalism and the Sikh Religious Tradition” 594, in Mary and Appleby,Fundamentalism Observed,” ibid 68.
80 Trofimov, Yaroslav, The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda, New York NY, Doubleday (2007)
81. Swearer, Donald K., “Fundamentalist Movement in Theraveda Buddhism,” 638-640, in Marty and Appleby, “Fundamentalism Observed,”
82. Eisenstadt, S.N., “Fundamentalism, Sectarianism and Revolution”, 91, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000);
83. ibid 70, p 159
84. Ruthven, Melise, “Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning,” 190, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
85. Cox Harvey, “The Secular City,” (London: Macmillan, 1961).
86. “Religion in Post-Protestant America,” Commentary, May, 1986.
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89. Anson Shuppe and Hadden Jeffery K., “Is there such a thing as Global fundamentalism”, 112 in Anson Shupe and Jeffery K. Hadden (eds.), “Secularization and Fundamentalism Reconsidered”, (New York: Paragon House, 1989).
90. Kepel, Gilles, “Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam”, 207, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002).
I was born in Dewa Sharif, UP, India in 1939.
I went to school from the fourth to eighth class in Gonda, UP and the 9th grade in Jhansi, UP, India.
We moved to Quetta, Pakistan and went to school for the 10th grade and intermediate college in the same town.
I was in Karachi University 1954-57, then Dow Medical College 1957-62. I Was in the National Students Federation from 1954 to 1962, trained in surgery in the Civil Hospital Karachi 1962-65, proceeded to England 1965 and trained in General surgery and orthopedic surgery till 73, when I left for Canada 1973-74, USA 1974-83, back to Karachi 1983 and built a hospital and went back to the USA in 1991, been in the USA since.
I retired from surgery in 2005.
I have worked in various HR and Socialist groups in the USA.
I have Published two books ,:”A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” and ,”God, Government and Globalization”, and am working on the third one, “An Analysis of the Sources and Derivation of Religions”.