The uniqueness of islamic fundamentalism

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This article explores the notion of fundamentalism, and anchors it in the concepts of extremism, radicalism and scripturalism. It argues that it is possible to study the phenomenon of fundamentalism within the paradigms of rationalism that prevail in modern social science. Furthermore, while all fundamentalist movements share certain characteristics, Islamic fundamentalism differs from other fundamentalist movements in many substantial ways, including political space, the ability to penetrate inter-state boundaries, Islam as a protest movement, the total adherence of believers to a set of behavioral tenets, the difficulty of separating state from religion, a strong orientation to things collective, Islamic legitimacy of states, the commandment of jihad and the immediacy of faith in the life of believers. In the light of all this, Islamic countries tend to be rather vulnerable to waves of fundamentalism, which, however, ebb and flow in response to concrete social, political and economic conditions in the relevant countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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