Cairo- Intellectual and cultural figures across the world are called to go over the chaotic scene dominating fundamentalist movements around the world. They all should ask about the reasons standing behind this global threat and how to eradicate it. They should also think about the reasons linking fundamentalism to Islam, while other religions like Christianity, Judaism, and others have always had a share of it.
Dr. Murad Wahba, an Egyptian researcher discussed the contemporary fundamentalism over the past 100 years by studying a series of books published in the USA between 1905 and 1915 and were sent to important theologians. Wahba’s books on “fundamental concepts” (Osul) can be concluded in three main ideas:
*Struggle or jihad to defend fundamental concepts of Islam
* Rejecting scientific theories that contradict with faith in God, as stipulated by Abrahamic religion
* Rejecting views of liberal theologians who betrayed the faith, torn the sacred book in light of the theory of evolution and opposed the Genesis creation narrative.
The previous review of the Egyptian intellect pushes us to seek the source of the Western Christian “fundamentalism,” which played a major role in the rise of the “Islamic fundamentalism”…
Reasons behind the rise of fundamentalism
Apparently, fundamentalists issued these books based on two factors. The first is an objective factor, which is the emergence of the modernism that is based on rationalism and industrial revolution, in addition to the emergence of sociology which encourages secularism, and the emergence of liberalism that calls people to prioritize individual rights on social power, mainly the religious authority.
The second is the subjective factor, which is based on a lecture addressed by Charles Eliot, former Harvard president in 1869 “The Future of Religion”. This lecture raised concerns among fundamentalists and the concepts of religions and theologians.
Theology of containment and Islamic fundamentalism
Many think that the United States’ relation with the Islamic world and its support to its religious powers to take advantage of them politically started with the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan, which led to the creation of Taliban, maximizing the Islamic fundamentalism in the world.
Back then, Foster Dallas, a U.S. official had established The International Council of Christian Churches. During the council’s first meeting, Dallas, who was the son of a priest, described Communism as terrorism with no God and that its eradication is religiously legitimate. This action has been known as the “containment theology” and was called “the White House Theology”. This theology required a powerful ally, which pushed the USA to choose Afghanistan, a greatly Islamic country but ruled by communism.
In 1979, which unrestrained fundamentalism in the East, U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued a decision to support the Jihadist groups in their war against the Soviet invasion. This year also witnessed the transformation of Iran from a monarchy to an Islamic Republic and the inking of Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt under a U.S. sponsor. It is worth mentioning that from the Egyptian part this accord has been signed by President Anwar al-Sadat, who revived the extremist political Islam in his country to combat Jamal Abdel Nasser’s supporters, and by Menachem Begin from the Israeli part, a Jewish fundamentalist who enjoyed the support of extremist Torahtic groups in Israel.
Jewish people were the first to choose religious extremism because they suffered from social injustice and found that the civilization of the modern era was the reason behind the oppression and exclusion they faced. Europeans announced a clear enmity against Jewish people, which still exists till date despite all slogans they publicly adopt. Many European atheist philosophers have considered Judaism an ignoble religion that lacks rationality while Karl Marx considered that Jewish were behind the creation of capitalism and that they represent the main source of all evil in the world.
The unrestrained fundamentalism is the people’s search for the “chosen” among them and the adoption of ‘absolutism’ over ‘relativism’. A fundamentalist is an individual who thinks that he has found the absolute truth that other people cannot find.
The disaster of the modern world that suffers from terrorism, killing, and displacement comes from people’s practice of Gods’ roles; they atone whoever they want and follow whoever they want along with total absence of tolerance and mercy, the main pillars of all religions.