Maajid Nawaz is the cofounder of the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam and founder of the Khudi movement, which works to promote Democracy and democratic mores in Pakistan. He recently wrote about the ever increasing fascist drive that dominates contemporary Islam throughout the world.
For radical militant Muslims, the true enemy is moderate Islam. Although traditionally adverse to politics as witnessed in the failure of Marxism throughout the Near East, contemporary Islam is coloring itself with fascist garb in its attempt to deal with modernity and the West. For Nawaz, Islamism is an ideological project which uses religion to justify total CONTROL over both individual and STATES. Its adherents don’t think in terms of the Nation State, for ideology drives its followers. “It was only after losing the fight over total state power against democracy and dictatorships alike throughout the Near East that Islamists launched their war against the West.” For him and many others like him, Islamism struck at the Twin Towers on September 11.
Maajid Nawaz reveals “that throughout Islamic history there really was never an attempt to codify any version of Sharia law”, for the Caliphs believed themselves to be ecumenical in both outlook and practice. Just witness the rule of ‘dhimmis’ or bonded ones throughout the Cordoba Caliph in Spain, these were both Catholics and Jews who maintained their political ties to the Caliph as protected infidels, thus bonded, by paying a poll tax. This religious apartheid was/is considered the apex of Islamic ecumenism. Throughout our history “Dynasties launched religiously justified wars both against themselves and infidels, for the simple fact remained that Kings during the Medieval period viewed religion (Islamic or not) as a political convenience. We witness the same with the conversion of Constantine (on his death bed nonetheless, for baptism and the forgiveness of sin was only once a lifetime!) to Catholicism, still the political overtones of unifying both distant and distinct churches of Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople.
Nawaz reveals that contemporary militant Islam has broken with such an ecumenical tradition emerging as “an entirely modern social engineering project designed initially to resist colonialism” now seeks to arrogate to itself a political incubus unalloyed from Islamic faith. Contemporary Sharia has informed itself from the ideas of the enlightenment, specifically the Nation State in shaping a single version of Sharia to be imposed on the faithful, not to mention an idea of an Islamic Constitution! Nevertheless, two of the world’s most populous Muslim countries, Bangladesh and Indonesia have resisted fascist Islam and its Sharia as social engineering in favor or democratic mores. Mr. Nawaz writes that “throughout the Near East, most especially for the last 20 years, radical militant Islamists have politically failed.”
This is most interesting given how welcomed such failed projects are among liberals in the West! Perhaps Eric Fromm’s ‘Escape From Freedom’ does have shelf life in portraying the types of personalities that seek domination.
Maajid Nawaz has written to expose the flaws inherent in Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash Of Civilizations’ thesis that Muslims form a distinct anti-secular civilization that is on a collision path with the West. For Mr. Nawaz, any decent reading of a western presence in the Near East shows the failure of native political movements. For Nawaz, the import of Democracy is a blessing. He has taken great pains to reveal how the Medieval legacy of Muslim Spain, specifically the Cordoba Caliph in southern Spain shaped the political foundation for modern Europe.
“If there is a clash of civilizations, as elections show, between democratic and pluralistic peoples verses those who wish to forcibly impose rigid ideas on others in the quest to construct an artificial model of social perfection that only exists in their minds, well, then yes, their is a clash, but its IDEOLOGICAL.”
Mr. Nawaz continues to write that “throughout history, and indeed today, Muslims have repeatedly rejected the al Qaeda message of enforcing one view of Islam over all society.”
Let’s hope the West is listening to Nawaz!