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Religion Library: Islam

Modern Age

Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka

The combination of foreign interference, grinding poverty, political repression, and violence has led many Muslims to turn to Islam as their best hope for liberation, peace, security, health, and prosperity. The devastating effects on families of ongoing violence have caused particularly powerful grievances. Corrupt regimes, failed states, and the marginalization of Muslim immigrant populations in Europe have recently led some to seek more radical solutions to ongoing despair and repression through a more globalized Muslim community that transcends the boundaries of nation-states (e.g., al-Qaeda).

Islamic revivalism has become a powerful force in Muslim politics, present in nearly every Muslim country. At its heart is a belief that the politics of the 20th century have failed Muslims, and that a full return of Islam to the center of personal and public life will restore Muslim power and influence, and bring health and welfare to Muslim societies. To this end, Islamic organizations are active in social services, education, publishing and broadcasting, and economics. Meanwhile, secular Muslims work just as hard to achieve the same goals for their families and fellow Muslims. It remains to be seen how peace will be achieved.

Study Questions:
1.     When did the Islamic revivalist movement begin? Why did it start?
2.     Does Islam take a separatist stance from the modern world?
3.     Why did Muslims continue to struggle with identity creation, even after “defeating” colonialism?


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