Certain protagonists are trying to turn Muslims in Muslim countries from what is a more Islamic manner of administrating their societies using upright leaders applying Islamic principles to address societal needs and resolving contemporary issues of modernity. This is ‘Islamic Political Activism’ or ‘Islamic Islamism’ to distinguish it from general terms ‘Islamism’ and ‘Islamist,’ often used pejoratively implying ‘political extremism’ by Islamophobic sectors.
Islamic Political Activism is espoused by people like Rached Ghannouchi, who prefer the term ‘Islamic Movement,’ rather than ‘Political Islam.’
Its emergence was related to the Ottoman collapse.
Islamic political activism intends just government in accordance with Qur’an’s call: “judge between them by what God has revealed.” (5:48)
The Islamic Movement developed from efforts of Hasan al-Banna in Egypt and Abu Ala’ Maududi in India, who with Pakistan’s formation, focused on achieving an Islamic State. This was ‘Top-down’ Islamisation.
Its ‘success’ was establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which initially displayed democratic features and benefitted the poor. After Khomeini’s demise, the regime hardened, disallowing socialist election candidates while enhancing religious elite control.
Similarly, Jamaat-Islami-led Islamisation hijacked by President Zia ul-Haq benefited mainly an elite.
So, the Islamic movement changed to stress grass-roots approaches, especially within a democratic setting compatible to Islam (AMUST #197), while Allah stresses assisting the down-trodden (Quran 4:75).
The Islamic movements spectacularly succeeded, winning elections in Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Tunisia. Victories however, were overturned by ‘liberals’ and western interference in Egypt, Libya, Algeria etc!
Islamic Political Activism is defined as “Islamic socio-political activity, which should be moderate and guided by Islamic principles.” For example Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered Muslims during warfare: “Do not kill women or children or aged, infirm persons. Do not cut-down trees [nor] destroy inhabited places.” (Bukhari 4/52, 257).
Islamic Political Activism includes militarily defending one’s homeland against invaders.
Islamic Political Activism doesn’t include un-Islamic campaigns such as ISIS atrocities – decapitation of journalists, aid workers, and killing innocents. In 2014, 200 eminent Muslim scholars from 50 countries condemned the so-called ‘Islamic State’: “It is forbidden [in Islam] to kill emissaries; hence forbidden to kill journalists, aid workers [nor] harm/mistreat Christians.”
Murdoch media and certain ‘policy institutes’ who imply ‘Islamism’’ is synonymous with terrorism, represent biased anti-Islam campaigns.
Islam is a religion of moderation: “Thus we made you an Ummah justly balanced that you be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.” (Quran 2:143).
Eminent scholar, Hashim Kamali in The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam, stresses that avoiding extremism is the Islamic way: “Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir wrote that the Muslim ummah’s status as witnesses is conditional on commitment to moderation.”
‘Islamist extremism’ then is an oxymoron as Islam cannot be extreme.
The subject was muddied since sociologist Olivier Roy tried to restrict ‘Islamism’ to efforts to establish an Islamic state, and then termed Islamism a failure as Islamists turned to welfare/democratic activities, which he declared were secular.
This narrow view is irrelevant to Islamism, which wisely uses appropriate means in varied situations.
In Rethinking Political Islam, Hamid and McCants call ‘Mainstream Islamists’ “moderate Islamist groups that enjoy far deeper, broader support in the Muslim world – thus posing a more profound challenge to secular states.” These are ‘Islamists’ advocating Islamic political activism.
Hindu Post India in a recent article accused AMUST of being Islamist connected with the sub-continent Jamaat-e-Islami and promoting polices of the ‘Pakistani Regime.’
AMUST has supported Islamic Political Activism and naturally stands against injustices and oppression of Muslims in India in general and Kashmir in particular by PM Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP government.
It is surely the duty of all Australian media to condemn similar injustices against people anywhere in the world.