The Rise in Radicalism

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Okay, so I know this isn't explicitly a Christian topic, but I was wondering, how come Islam seems to keep getting stronger and stronger in the Middle East, as people are becoming more and more radical in their beliefs and ideologies?

The reason that I ask this, is because to so many people it is more than obvious the amount of detriment the religion has caused to societies around the world from its very advent, especially due to its highly Pharisaic-political and aggressive nature.

Can anyone give any reasons?



  • The way I see it [and I'm speaking from my own experiences living here] radicalism is on the rise because of the following:

    1- LACK OF EDUCATION.  Most Upper Egyptians [I mention UE, because it's the main source of radicalism] are minimally educated if not completely uneducated.  They follow folklore, more than religion, and sometimes they mix the two.  If a radical sheikh who shepards such people [who for the most part, are cognitively limited] and inspires them by speaking loudly and impressively, to promote hatred of all infidels, they will surely accept without too much thinking.  Now to add to this mix, a simple dispute about land [for example].  A fight will almost surely ensue and if the neighbors are of opposite religions, tensions will flare, and you have yourself a religious war, being fought by stubborn Christians and misguided Muslims.
    2- Strength in Numbers... the general population is Muslim, if a good wpercentage start showing radicalism, more are soon to follow.
    3- Social standings.  Egypt is a third world nation, with most people working occupations that barely cover the necessities of daily living.  Many of these people are farmers [falaheen] by origin, and are looked down upon, when they choose to move to a bigger city for work.  So, if someone who is a janitor per se, grows out the beard and starts learning the Koran, he ends up being called a sheikh.  Thus, he earns the respect of others who are of both higher and lower social standings, because they view him as a 'spiritual person.'  Now if the same 'sheikh' adopts a more radical view, he could join the Islamic Brotherhood [who although outlawed, are greatly respected, and commonly seen as "Robin Hoods."]

    I'm sure there are a bunch of other reasons, but these are the ones I seem to always run into:
  • Roots are deep when it comes to this problem, in the 70's and 80's many Egyptians went to KSA to work for a couple of years until they made enough money to make a decent living and then came back to Egypt. Of course, after having lived there for years, they must have carried some of the ideologies and beliefs with them to Egypt.

    Secondly, as you may now, in the era of Abdel Nasser, the Muslim Brotherhood (who had attempted to assasinate the president) where not tolerated, but once Sadat came to power in the 70's, things changed a lot, trying to counter the communistic wave that was in Egypt, he thought to employ the Muslim Brotherhood, he used to help them get to parliament etc etc, of course with the new freedom they got, they were able to spread the ideology a lot better.. eventually Sadat paid for that miscalculation with his life..

    Notice how before the 70's Hijab (let alone niqab) were rarely seen in Egypt!!! Before the nationalisation of the Suez Canal there were many foreigners living in Egypt, esp. in Alexandria which knew high numbers of Greeks and some Italians... Now there are only handfuls...

    Another reason is the modernization of media, whereas before thoughts and ideologies had to be carried from place to place by people, now with an instant click on the internet you can say whatever you like to anyone!!!

    Another thing is the fact that Islam doens't separate between religion and state (which in my opinion is the main reason why any democracy would fail: mixing between religion and state) Many muslims think that to be good muslims they have to support an islamic party instead of any other political party!!! Some think that a religious state would be the aAfghanisatan)

    I think also the factor of power! and prestige plays an important part...
  • But I think the reason is more deep than that. I think I know what the ultimate reason is at least: Islam is an incredibly hateful, aggressive, and regressive religion by nature, and every attempt to secularize is to be deemed a failure, because at heart it is a highly political religion unlike Christianity.

    But why have Muslims ALL AROUND the world become more religious in the past half century?
  • marephrem, if we think about it from a psychological perspective, their religion is strong because they make it strong. So what is really holding them together as a religion? Is it their "true" faith and teachings? Of course not! It must be the fact that they really support one another. You know when a new Islamic person immigrates to say Canada or US, other Muslims always try to take that person and his/her family in and find them a home, take them to the mosque, introduce them to others, help them make friends, etc. In other words, the people are really stuck together. They help each other. So because their beliefs, which are flawed, obviously cannot hold them together, they have to find another strategy: being closely knitted to others within their own groups and thus making the whole religion stay strong and not only that, but also get stronger and populate the world. And over the past half century, there have been more attacks to their faith, for example:

    • [li]September 11, and other terrorist attacks led a lot of people to assume that all muslims are terrorists (which is not necessarily true, there are a lot of peaceful muslims and we cannot just generalize) and this of course made them look bad[/li]
      [li]People are not as scared as they used to be about speaking out against what is wrong. Like have you seen Abouna Zecharia on tv? He points out everything wrong with Islam. And a lot of converts call in and say how it's so bad and they now found the right way.[/li]
      [li]...I'm sure there are more examples out there...[/li]
    So stuff like that have kind of brought more attention to Islam as a flawed religion. This threatens them, and no one, even religious groups, likes to be threatened. But if they make themselves stronger as a group, or at least if they appear that way to others, that will reduce that threat for themselves. Even though their religion is invalid, they feel strong because they stick together. And just that perception of strength is enough to keep them going. And of course all of the explanations mentioned by our brothers and sisters here, along with this one, work together to affect this. So you can't pinpoint one specific reason, it's complicated!!

    I hope that sort of helps to answer your question. So sorry for the long message ;)
  • Ladies, Gents,

    I think this article below from the BBC explains succinctly how islam has been spreading.

    It seems like a typical scenario. We need to educate western women , not just about Islam, but more importantly about their incumbant faith.

    I think the division between the Churches doesnt help the situation, and as orthodox Christians, we do not evangelise. The only image of Christianity they have is what the protestants, Catholics and evangelicals show to them.

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