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The social science still widely believes that modernization leads to secularization. The global history of modernization has been considered to demonstrate a decline in religiosity, but the rise of political Islam presents a puzzle to the adherents of this belief. In this century, there have been witnesses the birth of new a political ideology, the political Islam (Martin & Barzegar, 2010). Political Islam can be described as a developing world of ideology of legitimacy and mobilization such as socialism and Marxism. As the politics in the Islamic religion continues to grow, there had been need to assess whether ideological flaws and hindrances exist in the Islamic political movements that prevent them from fully exercising power and influence political wise (Volpi, 2010). There has been the questioning of whether Islamic political movement plays a role in modernity and whether a conflict between existing political regime and Islamic movements exist in Islamic countries. However, it is apparent that the rises of Islamic movements influence the dynamics of the countries politics.
Ideological Flaws and Hindrances in Islamic Political Movement
There has been a number of ideological flaws in the Islamic movement message that has significantly hindered their legitimacy and full exercise of power. In the formation of the Islamic groups, they are usually influenced by both ideology and their organizational structures such as Muslim Brotherhood, although they remain far from playing an explicitly political role (Volpi, 2010). For instance, A Tunisia Renaissance Movement formed in 1970s, endeavored on religious and moral education and spreading a message of re-Islamisation in a society perceived as increasingly westernized and alienated from its Arabic-Islamic identity (Martin & Barzegar, 2010). Although the leaders of the movement were certainly aware of the political dimension of the contradiction between their own ideological orientation and modernist ideology, in their views, secularizing and westerninsing policy, their message was flawed since they articulated their critique of the situation at this stage in rather general cultural and religious terms. This has occurred because such a movement has called for isolation from ambient non-Islamic society by the so-called true believer, an aspect that hindered it expansion in society (Martin & Barzegar, 2010).
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In Iran, a deep social crisis in the country under the impression of increasing ideological interaction between Islamist students and the leftist group at the University significantly affected the political and ideological significance of the Islamic Revolution (Volpi, 2010). As a result, the movement discourse and practice turned rapidly to political and social issues of the movement, making the students start publishing leaflets in the name of Islamic trend. In fact, it was the student wing that had pushed the movement leadership to get involved with politics. For the movement as a whole, the shift to Islamic action implied a major reorientation to its ideological foundations, which significantly hindered its ability to exercise power and authority fully (Martin & Barzegar, 2010). This shift occurred because the movement abandoned an approach that was based more or less explicitly on the rejection of non-Islamic reality and building of unrealistic position regarding the concrete political and social problems of the country. Furthermore, there developed a severe criticism of the movement’s religious and political ideology. To them, neither the movement theoretical background nor the contents of the education gave the adherents a sufficiently clear, concrete, and coherent vision for the political Islam (Scott, 2010).
In addition, some of the ideologies held by Islamic movement tend to be flawed as they only persuade their followers to resort to violence as means of attaining their political legitimacy. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has well-known image of radicalization that is usually prepared to use violence in order to achieve its religious goals (Volpi, 2010). The group has been implicated in a number of assassinations, including the murder of the prime minister. Furthermore, they tend to support violent overthrow of the existing regime while others support embracing a devout life of continued observance of religious practices. Such ideological difference significantly affects the legitimacy of such factions within society.
The Role of Islamic Political Movement in Modernity
The Islamic political association has held a major role in enhancing modernity in the countries where such movement exists. In Iran, the movement has played a critical role in empowering the women contribution in the political process. The women of Iran were the major participants of the uprising against the Shah’s authority in 1977. The movement offered the women platform to participate in the improvement of their social-economic freedom. They opposed the Shah for varied reasons that included socio-economic deprivation and oppression (Volpi, 2010). Furthermore, in the revolution movement, among thousands of demonstrators there were the middle class and working class women wearing the veil as a symbol of the opposition to westernized decadence. Women who participated in the movement and wore their veils did not expect them to become mandatory. Therefore, although the movement did not fully support all issues underwent by the Muslims women in the movement, the mobilization of Iranian women created employment opportunities for enlightened women (Scott, 2010). Thus, it is apparent that Islamic political movement contributes to modernity.
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The Islamic political movement has been instrumental in prompting disruptive soil changes in authoritarian regimes. In the 1970s, the Islamic movements played a critical role in challenging the political direction adopted by Sadat. The movements provided a secularist social analysis of the Egypt socio-economic problems (Scott, 2010). They maintained that the cause of poverty in Egypt was not as a result of overpopulation or huge military expenditure, but spiritual failures, corruption, laxness, and secularism within its populace. As a result, they advocated for the return to the self-reliance of the earlier depicted by the Muslim life.
The Islamic movement is gradually becoming a fundamental feature, particularly in the Arab politics, and it is predestined to play instrumental role in Iraqi future politics. A huge moral and ideological vacuum has now immerged in Iraq, and the Islamic movements have designed Islam as a tailor-made a tool for providing a new moral compass to the people of the country (Scott, 2010). The movement’s ideologies will be essential in rebuilding the nation that has been war torn for decades. The Sunni Islamism that has been for long dormant and suppressed under the reign of Saddam Hussein will likely emerge. Although rivaled by Wahhabi Groups, its dominance with Muslim Brotherhood will reflect the growth of more fundamentalist approach to modernity in Iraq (Abu-Rabi, 2010).
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In Egypt, women have been involved in a large Islamic revival in the form of the women’s mosque movement for more than 15 years. The Islamic movement started with women gathering first in private residences and then mosques for weekly religious and Qur’an lessons. The ultimate of goals of such lessons is to combat the increasing secularisms in Egyptian society and helping the women to include it in their daily routine (Scott, 2010). Women in such movement do not call for the implementation of the sharia that tends to be repressive as the foundation of governance and justice. Therefore, the Islamic movement has promoted modernity by enabling the women to learn Islamic virtues in order to become better Muslims and impart knowledge to the future generations (Abu-Rabi, 2010). Furthermore, Islamic Political movement has been instrumental in counterchecking the existing regimes, especially in relation to their compliance with the established traditional cultural practices. This is especially essential since they protect the country from losing its social-cultural identity particularly in the wake of westernization, which Islamic movement vehemently rejects.
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Reason for Conflict between Islamic Movement and Existing Political Regimes
The major reason for the conflict between the Islamic movement and the existing regime is their association with terror. Most of the Islamic movements are connected with terror, which is usually attributable to increasing Islamophobia that is increasingly turning to be a sweeping trend in such countries (Abu-Rabi, 2010). Often, this occurs when a nation with little knowledge of Islam tends to accuse such movements of their association with terrorism. For instance, in countries such as Iraq and Libya, Islamic movements have been associated with massive terrorization of the individuals within the existing government.
The conflict between movements and the existing regimes tends to be aggravated by the political differences. For instance, in Pakistan, the Islamists confronted issues such as the need to establish an Islamic law in the modern parliamentary republic, an aspect that spells out the division between the states. However, the Islamization of society has been opposed by the existing regime, which leads to the growth of insurgency (Abu-Rabi, 2010). In regards to Algeria case, the 1991 national election was on the verge of bringing the Islamist party to power. However, within the Islamist party, there were two quite distinct factions. One faction had the sociopolitical aspiration that was broadly in line with the framework of the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood. However, the other faction had strongly militant tendencies that questioned the legitimacy of the existing Algerian order. Nevertheless, such political difference within the factions gave the existing regime an opportunity to dismantle its strength, which was an aspect that had led to conflict with the existing regime (Abu-Rabi, 2010).
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In conclusion, it is evident that a number of issues influence the relations between the Islamic movements with the existing regime, particularly due to ideological flaws associated with such movements’ messages. However, it is established that the Islamist movement plays a critical role in promoting modernity, especially in Arabic countries. Nevertheless, Muslim democracy may not be a universal trend within the modern Islamist movement; however, generational evolution in the Islamic strategy in the context of shifting political economies certainly seems to be. Furthermore, Islam has been and will be the feature of Muslim politics, and the Islamic movements will continue to shape the political life in the Arab countries.
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