Blog #5: Looking Deeper into Religions

May 8th, 2011

In the video, “In Israel, When a Jew is Not Jewish Enough,” I was surprised by what was said mostly due to the fact that I myself am Jewish. Jonathan Levitt, a Jew from California went to the state of Israel to serve in the army. But he was rejected, and told he wasn’t Jewish according to the Jewish law. There are many different levels of Judaism that Jews across the world practice, but to me it doesn’t matter who is more Jewish than the next. This situation with Jonathan Levitt, definitely needed to be looked into more for them to for sure know according to the Jewish law whether he is Jewish or not. But regardless, if you believe in the state of Israel and you want to fight for it, then why can’t a person be a part of it? That’s what truly matters.

In the article, “The Christian Revolution” by Philip Jenkins, he discusses the stereotypes of the Christians. Some see it as the religion of the west, un-black, un-poor, or un-young. So Christianity then seems to be dying out more and more. But this is just a stereotype and seems not to be true because the Christians are doing very well in the global south, and keep expanding. This will continue, and they will keep growing, despite the stereotypes that may be present. After we realize this global perspective that they are prospering in many more places than we believed, we should think before we say statements about what modern Catholics accept. Western Christianity has been dying down, and Southern Christianity is just emerging.

Blog Post #4: The Growing Anti-Globalization Movement

May 8th, 2011

In the Introduction to Part X, “Resisting Globalization: Critique and Action,” editors Frank J. Lechner and John Boli begin dissecting the anti-globalization movement. Its roots grew from the World Social Forum, held in Brazil in 2001. Protestors and opposition groups see globalization as a Western capitalist system that is unjust and unequal. They argue that globalization undermines “local cultures and democratic-self control” (441).

According to the editors, there is no specific face of an anti-globalization protestor.  Those in the anti-globalization movement can be “students protesting athletic apparel produced in sweatshops to peasants resisting multinationals’ control of their land and seeds; from indigenous groups defending their forest habitat to religious leaders seeking debt relief for developing countries” (441).

The popularity of globalization as a social problem has caused many groups to jump behind it, even though these groups may have specific grievances. They all share in common the call for “another world” and global justice; they see justice in globalization as only for those with capital (442).  Despite their backgrounds and reasons for protesting globalization, they share a common goal, “global justice…especially increased regulation of global economic activity (442).

Boli and Lechner write that the “global intent” of this movement is “to remake world society in accordance with principles that conflict with established institutions” (441).  It’s no surprise then that the keys players from both sides include intergovernmental organizations (IGO’s), international nongovernmental organizations (INGO’s) and nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s), and transnational corporations (TNC’s). These groups participate in the struggle for some form of power in developing nations, whether it is advocating on behalf of local communities or against them.

One manifestation of the anti-globalization movement can be seen with UK students’ protests over austerity reforms that will end up increasing education costs. The protests were covered in the BBC News article “Dubstep Rebellion: the British banlieue comes to Millbank.” The UK Parliament has reasoned these cuts were crucial as Britain had to tighten its belt following the global economic crises. Working students especially came out to protest. They were standing up for a world they envisioned, one in which affordable education is a reality.

We can see firsthand the student protestors Lechner and Boli discussed.  Even closer to home, we had a protest on campus last week involving students sleeping in tents to raise awareness for global genocide.  In my opinion there is definitely some weight to the argument that we can be too heavily globalized.  I think one of the effects of being overly globalized is that too many people get lost in the mix.

Blog Post #3 Religion in the Future: Israel’s Legal Definition of Jewish and Jenkins’ Christian Revolution

May 8th, 2011

In the NPR story “When a Jew is not Jewish Enough” by Lourdes Garcia-Navaro looks at the current state of Jewish law in Israel. Navaro tells the story of Jonathan Levitt, from California who migrated to Israel in order to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. When he went to apply, he was told that by Jewish law he was not considered Jewish because his mom had converted. As a result, he did not possess equal rights under Jewish law – he could neither marry nor be buried in Israel.

Since Levitt’s story is but one of thousands, the IDF decided to instate a three-month conversion program, completion of which would entitle the individual to full legal protections under Jewish law in Israel. But now the conversion program is coming under attack by Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox communities.

One Ultra-Orthodox newspaper wrote an editorial condemning it as a “massive industry of fake conversions;” an influential Ultra-Orthodox rabbi called it “cheating.” Their complaint is that those who underwent the conversion did so under false pretenses, and did not take the Jewish Orthodox oaths seriously. He said that the reform movement “made conversion something else.”

But a Reform rabbi responded that the Orthodox community was “holding diaspora Jews hostage” to a strict interpretation. He stated that 60 after the Holocaust, “people want to become Jewish” and “we’re turning them away.”

How does this story fit in with our reading by Philip Jenkins’ “The Christian Revolution?” For one thing, the Jewish faith in Israel is seeking to more narrowly define itself, at the same time that the Christian faith is becoming less narrowly defined. Once considered the religion of the West and North (America and Europe) Christianity today is spreading quickly through Latin America and Africa. He refers to them as “Southern Hemisphere Christians,” and states that by 2025 “Africa and Latin America would be in competition for the title of most Christian continent” (380).  Europe would only be in third place, while now it takes first.

The Southern Christians will not share the ideals of the Western and Northern Christians. Their beliefs are either very traditional or very reactionary by Western standards.  Most Southern Christians will comprise the poorest populations in the world.  Jenkins writes that “the churches that have made the most progress in the global South have either been Roman Catholic, of a traditionalist and fideistic kind, or radical Protestant sects, evangelical or Pentecostal”(381). They will not reject supernatural –based explanations of life and will be “more interested in personal salvation than in radical politics” (381). Jenkins sees a parallel between the “churches of the future” and “those of medieval or modern Europe” (381).

Jenkins spends the next few pages detailing what he sees as the rise of New Christendom, but summarizing that in itself can constitute another blog.  It seems interesting to see how the Roman Catholic Church, seen as the most orthodox of Christianity, is spreading its religion into other regions. Meanwhile, many high religious level figures in the Israeli government see Judaism as heading down a much more insular path. This is not to say that Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics do not view their respective religions in equally serious light. I do not pretend to be a religious scholar, and I don’t pretend to understand religious leaders’ reasoning. But we can’t deny globalization is playing a significant role in how these religions define themselves going into the future.

Blog #2: Face Veil Ban

May 7th, 2011

In the video on the face veil ban, there a debate about whether the state is entitled to tell people what to wear and what not. Professor Tariq Ramadan doesn’t think the state should be the one to say so. He believes it has to do with political atmosphere. I believe the state shouldn’t be the one to have a say in something like this, especially when it is something most people willingly do. He stated that many of the women who wear the niqab, converted to Islam, and they say they are doing it on their own, this is this own choice.

I personally know many women who wear the niqab because it is their decision and they are willing to do so, not because it is being forced upon them. It’s not about what to wear and what not, like being limited to being naked or not wearing pants, or indecent exposure. That would be on the grounds on offensive to other people, not on grounds of religious expression. Wearing more shouldn’t be a problem, nor should anyone else have a say besides the person wearing it. Freedom of expression should exist in this situation. Mona supports banning the face veil, and she opposes the burka. She states the niqab renders women invisible. I disagree with Mona, I don’t think it makes women invisible.

Sam Harris states that some significant percentages of the earth’s women are forced. I think that is a very bad assumption for him to make. Some women who converted to Islam actually take their religion more seriously than the ones that are born into it. And those women willing wear a face veil or burka. I feel people should be free to dress however they want to dress.

In the interview with Malalai Joya, she speaks of the situation today on Afghanistan. She spoke of the apology U.S. had to make for a series of killings around children, men, and women. She said the government was killing innocent civilians, and they would pay $2000 to each victim’s family. They feel insulted that the lives of their people are worth $2000 for them. When Obama sent more troops in Afghanistan, it resulted in more killing and failure. People were being killed as if birds were being killed.

Soldiers called the kill teams are now on trial; they murdered unarmed afghan civilians and collected body parts as trophies. They took pictures and posted them up on sites also. To her Afghanistan is now the 2nd most corrupt country. Almost 80% of people are jobless, and people don’t have enough food to eat. She doesn’t believe the troops will leave Afghanistan anytime soon, she believes it’s all lies, the troops double the civilians miseries.

Content for May 10th posting deadline

May 6th, 2011

Since we’ll continue to discuss issues and themes from last week, there’s still an opportunity to blog about some of the material from last week.  Choose two items from the list below.

“Everyone’s missing the point” (Barry Lando) Truthdig, 5/3/10. This is an opinion piece, from a political blog, that ties together a number of the topics we’re dealing with through the remainder of the semester.  Challenges to his arguments are, of course, welcome. In your response you’re free to be as opinionated as you like.

Ch. 45, “Obedience vs. Autonomy: Women and Fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan,” (Shahla Haeri) pp. 370-378.

Recommended (video): “France Face Veil Ban Provokes Heated Debate,” (panel discussion featuring author Sam Harris, Professor Tariq Ramadan, and columnist Mona Eltahawy) BBC Newsnight, 4/11/11. (10 min) and Eltahawy and Ahmed debate, Parker-Spitzer, CNN (10 min).

Recommended (audio-stream): “Inside American Islam,” On Point, NPR, 9/14/2010. Top Islam expert Akbar Ahmed just visited one hundred mosques in America. This is his report. (46 min)

Recommended (video): “Mother of the Revolution,” (interview w/Nawal el-Saadawi, Egyptian novelist, human rights activist, and radical feminist) Riz Khan, Al Jazeera English, February, 2011. (25 min)

Recommended (video): Interview with Malalai Joya, former Afghan member of parliament, antiwar campaigner, Democracy Now!, 3/28/2011. (13 min)

May 10

Ch. 46, “The Christian Revolution,” (Jenkins), pp. 379-386.

Recommended (audio-mp3): “In Israel, When a Jew is Not Jewish Enough,” Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, All Things Considered, NPR, 11/10/2010. (5 min)

Recommended (video): “Revolution in Cairo,” PBS Frontline, March 2011. (24:56)

May 12 – Resisting Globalization: Critique and Action

Paul Mason on global youth protest, “Towards a Politics of Solidarity,” Opening Plenary, Left Forum, 3/18/2011.

“Dubstep Rebellion – The British Banlieue Comes to Millbank,” (Paul Mason) BBC Newsnight, 12/9/1010.

Recommended (video): “Deleuze’s Postscript on Societies of Control,” Liquid Theory TV, 2010. (For the theory heads among you)

Muslim women debate France’s face-veil ban

May 5th, 2011

Hebah Ahmed and Mona Eltahawy, both Muslim women, debate France’s decision to ban face veils (niqabs) in public.  As Ahsana suggested, this debate is probably a better one than the shouting match from BBC Newsnight that I showed in class.  Both positions are laid out more clearly here.  (Actually, I will admit I found Ramadan’s style and behavior towards Eltahawy interesting and worthy of discussion in its own right.  Some might feel it departs from his rhetoric about respect for women.)

Blog post 1 Bin Laden and other Thoroughly Modern Muslims

May 5th, 2011

What I took out of reading this article was that Charles Kurzman really broke down the similarities and differences liberal Muslims and radical Islamists.

He goes on the state that most Islamists have graduated from modern schools, share modern values such as human equality and rule of law, and use modern technologies and some of them the latest methods of warfare. Many Islamist leaders have university instead of seminary educational backgrounds such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering and lawyers. So this goes to show that no matter what their religion is they still share modern values like in the western world.  Although the traditionalist groups, such as Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, are less willing to become a more modern entity.

Kurzman does believe that Islam is in fact a Western religion with many Muslims from across the world practicing Western politics

He seems very fare and equal, he stands by his views. He mentions that there needs to be more diversity in the Islamic countries which I agree with. I found a quote that I thought was extremely important In the interview with Tariq Ramadan. He was arguing that Muslims are “Western by culture, Muslim by religion”.


May 5th, 2011

In “Formerly Banned Muslim Scholar Tours U.S.” an Oxford Professor who was at one point banned from a number of countries is interviewed about his beliefs regarding reformist-Islam. In it, he says that he disagrees with the statements that Islam is not a western religion and that Muslims are not integrated. He feels that Muslims are already integrated because they live in western countries, speak the language of western countries and abide by the laws of these countries. Rather, he feels that Muslims living in western countries need to go beyond simple integration. He feels that Muslims should contribute to their countries rather than live there and abide by its laws. In regards to a debate he had where he stated there needs to be a “moratorium” on stoning he stated that he used that word because his goal isn’t to appease the west, but rather to change beliefs in Muslim-majority countries. In a way I agree with most of what he is saying here. I feel that people of all religions living in various countries should work to contribute in the country they live in. If they don’t contribute then it appears that they are simply living there and don’t really care about the country.

In Locke’s letter he talks about how he feels that religious toleration rather than religious uniformity is the solution to the civil unrest occurring in Europe at the time. He feels that civil unrest stems from the persecution of religious groups. I have to agree with him here. Throughout history, some of the largest uprisings in various countries stemmed from the leader of that country persecuting a religious group in that country. If religious tolerance had existed, then many of those uprisings would not have happened. It is a shame that even in modern times, this idea is still rejected and religious groups are still being persecuted.

In “Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims”, Kurzman talks about the shared similarities between radical and the more liberal Muslims in the world. The most common goal is modernization. He talks about how various leaders in the Muslim world had secular education and use technology. He also talks about how even groups such as Al Qaeda who seem to be against western beliefs use modern technology to operate throughout the world. In his article, Kurzman worked to eliminate some of the stereotypes about Muslims throughout the world both radical and liberal such as the belief that many of these countries are backwards and anti-technology.

Blog Post #2 – “Inside American Islam” NPR stream

May 5th, 2011

The stream “Inside American Islam” begins by pointing out how the Islamic religion has been celebrated through history.  I did not know that John Adams had called the prophet Muhammed a “great truth seeker,” and that Thomas Jefferson had hosted an “If-tar”(possible sic) dinner in the White House. I do remember, as broadcaster Tom Ashbrook pointed out, that even George W. Bush spoke out against mistreating Muslims (despite his military campaigns in the Middle East.)

In this audio stream Islam expert and ambassador Akmar Akbed discussed the issue of dual identity that Muslims in America face, since Western practies have for the most part not included values recognized by strict followers of Islam.  Akbed has been an advisor to Gen. Petraeus, and he also holds a number of speaking and teaching positions.  During the interview he spoke of his experiences visiting 100 mosques in 75 cities. When Ashbrook referred to Akbed as the Tocqueville of his time, he rejected the notion.  He instead referred to himself as an anthropologist.

Akbed says we are living in times of rapid change. He says that right now in society everyone feels under pressure, because we are going through many societal changes. We are dealing with economic and immigration issues, wars, and our first African-American president…according to Akbed, all these developments add to Americans’ sense of fear and uncertainty. Akbed spoke of the “lightining rod of Islam,” also on Americans’ minds. Saod Akbed, “All you needed was a catalyst,” and that arose with  the mosque issue in NY and the pastor in FL.

Akbed finished his project in 2009. He found that the gap between muslims and nonmuslims had not closed. A sense of unease exists among muslims, although many acknowledge that the USA is still the best place in the world to be muslim. Muslims feel threatened.  Akbed spoke of vandalism against mosques, including a mosque that was firebombed in TN.

In Akbed’s opinoin, the biggest problem in the muslim community is religious leadership. For instance, members of the boards and the imams running mosques who come from the Middle East don’t know culture in America.  This leads to friction with younger followers who are dealing with teenage issues like how to handle alcohol and sex. If imams and parents can’t provide proper guidance, muslim youth go online.  There they may increase their exposure to what akbed and other analysts call “homegrown terrorism” – radicals in chatrooms looking to assimilate more radical believers.

Akbed also said that ethnic divisions exist amongst Muslims from different countries, and ethnic divisions bring national and sectarian divisions. Akbed continued to say Islam in America does possess a unified muslim leadership and does not know where its going. Unless muslim leadership “comes to grips with the situation” it will affect American society.

Akbed believes that America can absorb the muslim community into its culture.  But it all revolves around the debate about american identity.  Akbed said our assimilation of Muslims depends on the kind of America that Americans want: “genuinely pluralist” – respectful of all – or a society made up of “tensions within communities.”

This was an exceptionally interesting piece because it presents another side of the narrative. Media coverage often adds fire to already caustic religious divides in this country, and rarely shows things from a muslim perspective.  Akbed stands against extremism. In my opinion the media needs to pay more attention to peaceful Muslims and stop giving radicals the attention they so desperately crave.

Obedience and Autonomy # blog 3

May 5th, 2011

First of all Islam is a religion Muslim are believe on Allah Almighty they should flow the Quran ( Islamic holy book ) and Hadith ( the Action of Prophet Muhammad). Muslim believes that Quran is the Devine Book came from Allah for the Help mankind. So Islam is total understanding just not what ever we see today around us. I feel sorry when the main stream media miss interpret Islam, Quran, fundamentalist ulema and Imam are speak for their favor. I was read the article “Obedience and Autonomy: Women and Fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan by Shehla Haeri”. In this Article writer talking about marriage in Islamic worldview she mention about Bridalprice as a seal price of bride that is totally wrong because this Bridalprice is the security of woman if she get divorce or her husband past way. In our understanding in western society we can compare with divorce money. In Islam adultery and prostitution are prohibited (Haram) this law is same for female and male. Marriage is not only very important for sexual and productive work it is also important for life partner for peace and love among the western people and Muslims. Arab world is not representing whole Islamic world only twenty percent of Muslim are live in Arab countries. Before Prophet Muhammad was born in Macca women are sold in the market like product. In the American history we can se African slaves are also sold in market beside the Arab world. Like that some extreme and strong dominant in Marriage contract came from cultural not from Islam. In Islam people can’t have ownership upon others. When write said in marriage contract husband gain exclusive ownership for sexual and productive activities I was thought for long time a there are any way man can give a birth of child in the world other then Islamic world. May be she try so say in Islamic world man are dominate autonomy over woman for sexual and productive activities. This is an extreme case and narrow thinking among the Muslim they are the minority in Muslim world. It is true women should ware modest clothing but this is not just true for women mane should modest with clothing and thinking.

I am always afraid of give any statement with out proper understanding and knowledge. In the western media and terrorist (who are Muslim) they said that war is jihad. They miss interpret the word jihad. Jihad not means the holy war its mean war against me from devil work. This is not it there are too many things in the western world that totally miss interpreted. Before we talk against or favor Islam we should understand Islam and Muslim. Cat Stevens now Yusuf Islam former British singer from 1970-1977 makes a statement that he will not change his religion and become Muslim if he did not read the Quran before he meet with any Muslim. So we should not judge any religion, ethnic and cultural group of people with out proper knowledge.

Blog Post # 5 Charles Kurzman/Audio

May 5th, 2011

As I listened to the audio conversation with Mr. Ramadan, he instantly striked me as a very confident man. After being banned from so many countries, it seems that he is still so popular and there are obviously many people who would like to sit down and have a chat with him. I completely understand his argument but some things he mentioned were striking to me. He argues that Muslims cannot/should not please the west. Ramadan urges that the mentality of Muslims needs to be changed from the inside. They spend so much time trying to adapt and adjust to western culture and society that they often forget the tru meaning of Islam. He claims that there are many arguments but above all, Muslims must live by the text. Regardless of the norms that were set ages ago, Ramadan argues they must continue to live by them. For example his argument on the stoning of women ( that got him kicked out of France) should be “celebrated”. The idea of being “too much Muslim”  to certain parts of the world is bizarre. Perhpas Mr. Ramadan knows a lot about the west and a lot about the Muslim world. This should not classify him as being a threat to the world. If anything he is spreading the knowledge both the west and the Muslim world need to know. His argument is very understandable and clear. Although I do not agree with every point he makes he does clarify the importance of knowledge and the different interpretations of Islam around the world.

According to Charles Kurzman, he discusses the modernization of Islam. He claims that there are so many differences yet there are similarities too. I don’t believe that this large group of people are living in ancience times and following an extremely ancient text. The Muslim people have every ability to become modern along with the rest of the world. Perhaps further modernizing the Muslim world will settle so many disputes the world is having. Perhaps it will eliminate harsh stereotypes and a lot of hate surrounding Islam. Islam is a beautiful thing with a long history and many traditions that should be able to keep the history but also become modern along with the rest of the world.

Blog #4 – Charles Kurzman, Tariq Ramadan, & John Locke Articles

May 5th, 2011

After reading the article, “Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims” by Charles Kurzman and the notes on Ramadan and excerpt from Locke, I feel that my view towards this topic has somewhat changed. Many are unaware of how many Muslims ideas, specifically Islamists, have similar ideas mirroring those of the West. Kurzman states in the beginning of the article, “media coverage has portrayed the radicals Islamism exemplified by Osama bin Laden as medieval, reactionary and eager to return the Islamic world to its seventh-century roots.” Even though this is true in one sense, both Islamic liberals and radical Islamist seek to modernize society and politics.

Islamists’ roots in Secular Education have caused many Muslims, especially those who are more educated, to question their religion and religious beliefs. The goal to modernize society and politics may result in diversity amongst Muslims. As Muslim individuals modernize, their traditional views will gradually fade away. Traditional religious practices may eventually be lost if modernization continues amongst Muslims; causing diversity amongst traditional and modern Muslims.

In the interview, “Formerly Banned Muslim Scholar Tours U.S.” Tariq Ramadan strongly states that all Muslims are “Western by culture, Muslim by religion”. Ramadan believes that Muslims should go beyond integration and should become more involved with contribution. Ramadan also states that his point is not to please the West, but to change the mentalities of those within countries encompassing large Muslim communities.

In the excerpt, “Letter Concerning Toleration,” John Locke discusses the issue of religion and government. He states that religious toleration is the solution; arguing that religious groups prevent “civil unrest.” An excerpt from his letter reads, “For if men enter into seditious conspiracies, it is not religion inspires them to it in their meetings, but their sufferings and oppressions that make them willing to ease themselves.” I agree with Locke’s statement; the main reason why people gather into “seditious commotions” is due to their experience with oppression, not necessarily religion.

Open to your suggestions on structuring short response Qs on Exam

May 4th, 2011

Part I of the final will be the same as the midterm — you choose 7 out of 10 key terms (full set provided on review sheet; generally indicated on slides by bold italics).  Part II will be a set of questions based on the required material from the second half of the course.  You will choose 4 out of a larger set of questions and write a response of at least one paragraph.  As you well know, we’ve covered a lot of ground since the midterm.  So I need to delimit the material that will be covered in the questions.  In the past, the questions have been linked to specific items (almost always, texts, mostly from the reader).  I could keep it that way, but link it to a specific subset of required material.  If you’d like to keep it that way, which items do you think should be in the subset?

Or the questions could be more thematic, in which case you’d be free to draw on *any* material, required or recommended, for your response.  In this case, I’d provide a list of themes/topics/general questions in advance, on the review sheet.  If anyone has any thoughts on this — suggested themes/topics/questions —  let me know (here or in class).

Other proposals are welcome too.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts about what makes a good exam (i.e., good meaning providing fair assessment — not good as in easy, of course ;)

Add’l posting option for 5/5: Empire Special-“Beyond Bin Laden”

May 4th, 2011

This special program on Al Jazeera English features an in-depth, wide-raging discussion among regional experts on the present and future of terrorism in the Greater Middle East. They consider the nature and reach of al-Qaeda and contrast it with the Taliban.  Panelists compare OBL’s rhetoric and reality, finding that despite OBL’s rhetorical references, al-Qaeda never really had a discernible “social program.”  From the episode description:

Osama bin Laden is dead. The world’s most wanted man has finally been killed after a hunt that lasted more than a decade, triggered global wars, and cost the lives of tens of thousands of people.

But will this be the end of terrorism, or is al-Qaeda now a global franchise that will replicate itself no matter what has happened to its most famous founder?

What does it mean for US wars in the Muslim world?

And will the US actions unleash a new wave of attacks around the world?

Joining us to discuss these issues are: Tariq Ali, a historian, political activist and the author of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad; Farwaz A. Gerges, a historian, the director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and the author of Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy; and Vali Nasr, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, a former senior advisor to the Obama administration for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the author of Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What it Will Mean for the World.

Blog Post 4- Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims

May 4th, 2011

Charles Kurzman thoroughly identifies for his readers the differences and similarities between radical, liberal and traditionalists Muslims in his chapter, “Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims.” He goes on to state some of the important parallels that liberals and radicals share, that of which being a goal to modernize their society and the politics that engulf it. Both the radicals and the liberals feel that becoming modern is not just a quality of the Western cultures. The traditionalist groups, such as Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, are less willing to become a more modern entity. There are in most cases, less educated and have a firm belief that outside forces, such as magic, act upon their culture. Although certain Islamist groups do not see eye to eye about some important issues and topics, they all agree when it comes to shari’a law; which is to them the law of the land.
Although one might say that Islamist politics are very different from our Western political views, this is untrue. Many Islamist political platforms reflect the ideas of Western platforms. An example of this would be the opposition to inherited social hierarchies. I would not go as to far as to say that the Islamists and our Western faculties strive for the same goals and operations, though some ideas are similar when in contrast with one another. Many radicals for example have very different cultures and aim for very different societal goals. One of the most commonly known radical groups, Al Qaeda, are extreme in their ideas and worships. They are also extremely advanced and their group operates as a bureaucratic organization with certain authoritative figures giving orders. They operate with mass communication systems such as the use of commodity chains and high-tech satellite technologies. They posses global capital and have affiliations with other radical organizations across the global. All of these things, I believe, would make this organization a threat to the greater public. Societies such as our own most often fear this organization in particular because of its continuous history of terrorism.
From the interview with Tariq Ramadan, it is evident that because of the affiliation with a certain group is it hard to get your point across without because prosecuted unjustifiably. Ramadan speaks briefly about his ban of six countries. He believes that Islam is in fact a Western religion with many Muslims from across the world practicing Western politics. He rebuttals to the question about the clash of Western culture and that of his own by stating that Muslims reactions to certain culture shocks were in fact calm and understand rather than up-roaring and uncontrollable.