This article by Charles Kurzman on the subject of Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims explains and brings clarity on the ideological differences in modern Muslims today in their cultural and religious goals and views. As well as U.S. and allies are hypocritical in supporting autocrats in Muslim-majority countries while declares to defend human rights and democracy.
The review of this article and assignment is most timely as death of Bin Laden will once again change ongoing struggles of war on terrorism may bring unknown results in the future for the radical minority of Muslims and the Western culture. In this article states that Osama Bin Laden exemplified radical Islamism as medieval and wanting to return to origin of Islamic world of its golden era to seek and conduct after the prophet Muhammad and his followers as Christians idealize the example of Jesus.
As both Islamic liberals and radical Islamists have much in common in that seek to modernize society and politics to redirect its tradition in modern form and function. Traditionalists as the Taliban Afghanistan by contrast with Islamists as bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, represent on less educated sector of society, believe in mystical and personal authority and are skeptical of modern organizational structure.
Many Islamist leaders have university instead of seminary educational backgrounds such as lawyer, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and these leaders railed against seminary-trained scholars , for being theoretician and politically inactive. As the growth of secular education led expending numbers of Muslims to approach religious questions without skills that causes college graduates have the sacred texts and analyzed them in do-it yourself theology, developing liberal interpretations as well as radical ones.
The social roots of Islamism are modern as well as their goals. Islamist political policy share western modernity. Islamists visualize overturning tradition in politics, social relations and religious practices. They are adverse to Saudi’s monarchy, like to abolish honoring of relics and tombs and favor egalitarian meritocracy. The support of Islamist organizations are a minority of Muslims and polls/studies show consistently that most of Muslims are against Islamists and their goals.