BETWEEN THE GLOBAL AND THE LOCAL

ANTHONY BUBALO

GREG FEALY

Against the background of the ‘war on terror’,many people have come to view Islamism as amonolithic ideological movement spreading from thecenter of the Muslim world, the Middle East, toMuslim countries around the globe. To borrow aphrase from Abdullah Azzam, the legendary jihadistwho fought to expel the Soviet Union fromAfghanistan in the 1980s, many today see all Islamistsas fellow travellers in a global fundamentalist caravan.This paper evaluates the truth of that perception. Itdoes so by examining the spread of two broad categoriesof Islamic thinking and activism — the morepolitically focused Islamism and more religiouslyfocused ‘neo-fundamentalism’ — from the MiddleEast to Indonesia, a country often cited as an exampleof a formerly peaceful Muslim community radicalizedby external influences.Islamism is a term familiar to many.Most commonly itis used to categorize ideas and forms of activism thatconceive of Islam as a political ideology. Today, a widerange of groups are classified as Islamist, from theEgyptian Muslim Brotherhood to al-qa‘ida.While sucha categorization remains appropriate in many cases,Islamism seems less useful as a label for those groupsthat do not see Islam as a political ideology and largelyeschew political activism — even if their activism sometimeshas political implications. Included in this categoryare groups concerned primarily with Islamic mission-IV Be t w e e n t h e G l o b a l a n d t h e L o c a l : Islamism, the Mi d d l e E a s t , a n d Indonesiaary activity, but it would also include a group such asal-qa‘ida whose acts of terrorism are arguably drivenless by concrete political objectives than religious inspiration,albeit of a misguided form. This paper thereforeuses the term ‘neo-fundamentalist’, developed by theFrench scholar Olivier Roy, to describe these groups andwill study the transmission of both Islamist and neofundamentalistideas to Indonesia.

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Filed Under: EgyptFar EastFeaturedIkhwan & WestMuslim BrotherhoodUnited States & Europe

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