30 May, 2007

"Islamist" and "Islamism"


letters to the Editor
May 30, 2007
Tired of ignorant labelling
Repeated and blatant use of the words "Islamist" and "Islamism" in all forms of international media is making me sick. I decided to find out exactly what they meant. An Islamist is a person who is technically orthodox and a fundamentalist. So anyone who follows the fundamentals or guidelines of Islam is an Islamist. Islamism is the ideology that Islam is not only a religion but also a system that governs legal, economic and social structures. Well, Islam is, indeed, a way of life with guidelines for the way we should live and conduct ourselves. So that makes me an "Islamist" ideologist. Arrest me, now!
Ms Tahseen Khateeb


Anonymous said...

You're not going to be arrested. You just don't get visa to go to western countries.

M said...

Lol @ anonymous!

I'm tired of all these labels too. They never existed in Arabic but they do today.

The way these terms had been used in the media is really negative, which really upsets me!

Keef said...

Ms Khateeb: Nonono. Use of the term 'Islamist' is a way of differentiating the hyper-religious nutcases from the average Abdullah in the street who does his prayers and trusts in Allah and believes in peace. Or maybe doesn't do his prayers, and wears a suit. 'Islamists' are people who twist the words of the Quran and the Hadith. They are bent on their own violent version of Jihad and that is what the rest of the world gets to think of as a typical Muslim.

On the other hand - if you believe that Islam provides for a viable and workable system of government across the entire Muslim world in the 21st century, (from Morocco to Indonesia) then I beg to differ. Religion and government do not mix well, in my opinion.

It is slightly tricky, but to me religious 'fundamentalists' are the most dangerous kind. They believe they are right and that people who do not agree with them are wrong (And vice versa, of course). And this applies to all religions - there are plenty of dangerously fundamentalist Christians at large in the US (in fact one of them might be the President).

I ask you, previous commenters. How would you describe Osama bin Laden? Good guy, bad guy, lunatic, saviour? I really want to know.

Cappy said...

OK. To Gitmo with ya.

Almehairi said...

I really dont like to discuss politics. but when it comes to religion. I really stand up and talk.

Here in Australia, ppl are really understanding of who are the Islamists and who're the muslim extremest.! they do differentiate this point in the media.

we have a number of ppl asking about islam, and very interested to become muslims. 3 weeks ago, an Australian converted to islam and I was really happy since it was my first experience.

and I thought, western societies knew Islam because of what happened in 9/11 and they used the medi tool scratch our religion. I think some other started to think of what is islam?>

Anonymous said...

Dubya is not a very accurate example of a fundamentalist Christian. He is, like many others in countries where religion plays a major role and where democracy is practiced, only using religion to drive his political agenda.
If i want to talk about fundamentalist Christian, my best bet would be Pat Robertson, with special emphasis on the mental.

rosh said...

"best bet would be Pat Robertson, with special emphasis on the mental"


There are plenty of evangelical preachers who influence the average Joe & Jane into politicization of theology via callousness and hyper-patriotism of mainstream evangelicalism. I think people like Pat Robertson thinks (even beyond) such ill fated ventures.

To me he comes across pretty mental & as a fundamentalist, beyond repair?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Khateeb makes the mistake of thinking that these words have singular, definitive meansings. Of course, they don't. Like many other words, they have different meanings to different people.

In the West, they are generally used to refer to violent extremists, or to people who are trying to forcibly convert non-Muslims.

In a perfect world, all individuals would be judged solely by their actions, but in our non-perfect world we need to use labels to sort people and simplify complicated distinctions. Sometimes, the labels are ambiguous, or have different meanings to different people, as is the case here.

Anonymous said...

Can we instead keep her in a zoo so we can marvel at how evolution is slower with some species?

Anonymous said...


Bin Laden = CIA Boy

When they reached their goals, it was time to finish him off


Dangerous Fundamental Christian?

Do they fly planes into builings?

Do they strap bombs on their kids?

Do they treat women like a goat?

Force them to wear a decor-burka?

Promise Virgins to Village Idiots?

No, they only want a $1,000 "Seed of
Faith" from Our Village Idiots! reb


Anonymous said...

^^ Those are not related to the fundamentals of Islam either. I am a muslim findamentalist and proud to be so

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Anonymous said...

i wonder what that media whore debbie menon would think of all this! anyway, both gulf news & khaleej times are shitty & i'm not too fond about emirates today as well!!

Anonymous said...

we think about westners and western women like rubbish and Infidels aand bla bla bla!

They dont give a rat arse as to what we think!

SO Why should we care what they think about Islam or Muslims????

Let them think whatever they wanna think!

We should mind our own business and develop ourselves, We along with the Chinese WILL take over this world!

Western world will later have no choice but to even learn about us in their homes and school!

hut said...

Most Mulims are tolerant. But it does not just matter what the Quoran says. What matters is how the religion is interpreted and practiced today by its followers, and this rightly scares the shit out of lot of people in the West.

Mullahs go on TV to call women "meat", Iran wants to wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth, Palestinian children are groomed to blow themselves up in pizzerias, Al Quaeda flies planes into buildings - all in the nae of Islam.

No liberal tolerant Muslim can ignore that in the name of his religion murder is propagated. Until tolerant Muslims curb the fanatic elements in their Ummah (community of Muslims) they cannot be surprised by the negative blowback they face in the West.

Michelle Nickelson said...

Well said Nick...

Al Sinjab said...

Academically, there is a profound difference between an Islamist and a fundamentalist.

A fundamentalist is usually defined as someone who takes the words of their Holy Book literally rather than figuratively. In this sense, every Muslim is by definition a fundamentalist (See Gilles Kepel).

Islamism is the belief in a strict and usually conservative Shari'a government.

So you if you are an Islamist you must be a fundamentalist, but not vice versa. The problem is that fundamentalism and Islamism are often used interchangeably in Western media, or at least seldom distinguished, and this causes so much prejudice and bigotry.

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