Report: Understanding Islamism



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Reacting to the spectacular and violent events of 11
September 2001, many Western observers and policy-makers have tended to
lump all forms of Islamism together, brand them as radical and treat them
as hostile. That approach is fundamentally misconceived. Islamism -- or
Islamic activism (we treat these terms as synonymous) -- has a number of
very different streams, only a few of them violent and only a small
minority justifying a confrontational response. The West needs a
discriminating strategy that takes account of the diversity of outlooks
within political Islamism; that accepts that even the most modernist of
Islamists are deeply opposed to current U.S. policies and committed to
renegotiating their relations with the West; and that understands that the
festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war occupation of Iraq, and the
way in which the "war against terrorism" is being waged all significantly
strengthen the appeal of the most virulent and dangerous jihadi tendencies

 


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