The Resurgence of Islam: The Background

The two articles that follow provide the background to the resurgence that is sweeping the Islamic world from Morocco to Malaysia. In the first, Professor Enayat of the University of Tehran considers why there should be a resurgence of Islam at this particular point in time and whether it is different from those that have preceded it.

The movement which has come to be known as the Islamic Resurgence and is currently sweeping the Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia has given rise to two essentially different interpretations. According to the first, it is merely an optical illusion: Islam has always been there as a powerful force behind the periodic political upheavals in the Muslim world, often in the form of massive protest movements against foreign domination. Only when some short-sighted regimes have chosen to suppress or offend the religious feelings of their subjects in the name of a secular ideal such as modernisation, development or nationalism, have the resultant eruptions appeared to an otherwise unwatchful external world as the awakening of a dormant force. But according to the second less widely held interpretation, what is at present happening in the Muslim world is in many respects unique in its long history. To ignore this is to disregard significant changes taking place in the Muslim mentality and attitude today.

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