NURAY MERT > Towards the end of post-Islamism

Print Page Send to friend »
It seems that the lifetime of so-called “post-Islamism” is going to be incomparably shorter than that of Islamisms of all sorts. In fact, “the good old Islamism” of the early period of modernization was a rather positive response to modernization, in the name of “modernist Islam” or “Islamic modernism.” Only after the end of the Cold War period did the reaction turn into a total rejection of modernity and hostility against the Western world in general, termed “Islamic fundamentalism.” 

The difference between Islamic fundamentalists who legitimize the use of violence or armed struggle and Islamists who denounce these ways and focus on peaceful social and political struggles became very noteworthy in this period. The so-called “moderates” not only began to be seen as an antidote to fundamentalism, the moderate Islamists were given credit as the new dynamic actors of democratization in Muslim countries. It marked the beginning of the discourse and politics of “post-Islamism.” The post-modernist Islamism became “the new good Islamism.”

In short, the basic idea behind the idea of post-Islamism was a possible compromise between “Islamism” (or “Islamisms”) and the idea of democracy. In theory, it is thought that if secularism and Western ways are detached from the idea of democracy in the name of cultural pluralism, it would be more agreeable for Islamists to comply with the ideals of democracy. In practice, the formula that if Islamists were to end their hostility toward the Western world and give up “Islamic ideal of social state,” like Necmettin Erbakan’s in Turkey, and adjust to free market economy model, everything will be fine, was much simpler.

Nevertheless, I think that the model or idea of post-Islamism had already started to crumble very shortly time after it began its ascent. Most of you may think that it is too early to suggest it, but it seems to be the case in every way. First of all, the shiniest pillars of the model, namely the Turkish model and the countries of the “Arab Spring” are in deep trouble. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was thought to be the showcase of the model, has turned out to be an old-fashioned conservative government (if we want to use euphemistic terms to define it). As for the Arab Spring, which brought Islamists to the center of the political scene, it turned to be a sham, rather than a political hope for Muslim countries.

In fact, the model seems to be collapsing for both sides: namely for the majority of people in Muslim societies and for hopeful people in the West. On one hand, the promise of post-Islamism could not offer much more to the individual than being a member of a conservative consumption society, with an indefinite period of time to draw the majority to its “ideals.” On the other hand, the idea that “pragmatism” on behalf of moderate Islamists would bring democracy was rather too shallow a projection to survive the challenges Muslim countries face.

Finally, it is no wonder that Islamism had a much longer life than the much-praised “post-Islamism,” despite all its shortcomings, since Islamisms of all sorts managed to voice great resentments and posed challenges. That is why it seems that there is a regression to the politics of Islamism in the Arab Spring countries.


PRINTER FRIENDLY Send to friend »


Red Tail

7/23/2012 8:28:16 PM

jafri mohd. We need more transparency and more debat. You seem to advocate silence since you believe that people can not handle a free flow of information? The best way towards progress is freedom of speech and open ness. To silence press just because they do not say what you want to hear, will just bring us backwards.

mara mcglothin

7/23/2012 4:04:35 PM

RIMONN TREE You have hit the nail on the head! Religion and government should not mix!

Johanna Dew

7/23/2012 2:11:40 PM

@jafri: the worst enemy of Islamists is information, so spread it.

Agnes Smith

7/23/2012 1:57:41 PM

Rimon - Spot ON ..........and yes Hasan the religious youth is being raised. And children, parents and teachers have no choice.

jafri mohd

7/23/2012 1:31:07 PM

extremely useless article!!!there is no need of wasting time in the discussion of terminologies, and it does not benefit the society at all... before you start writing article, you should have its results and consequences in your mind ...by writing these articles you are making the issue more complicated rather then solving them.......

Rimon Tree

7/23/2012 1:07:13 PM

As I have pointed out on several occasions over and over democracy is NOT only about deposing dictators (which eventually might even turn out to have been the smaller misfortune!) and having some elections. It is a state of mind and as long as Islamism does not take it on, any modernization will be doomed. The basic principle is the strict separation of Religion and politics. Neither Turkey nor the Arabs, let alone Iran, are ready for that step yet. Remember Germany, Hitler was elected!

Deniz Can

7/23/2012 10:20:52 AM

PART1 Dear Mert, Post-Islamism you have defined never became a collective, well-organised movement/force to use arising opportunity. I doubt if there was a movement to be called Post-Islamism. They were/are rather individuals, communities, groups trying to convince the West that Islam was peaceful. This group hasn’t taken any concrete step to condemn, criticize and take action against Islamist collectively. It was a force created automatically by Islamist violence

Deniz Can

7/23/2012 10:20:25 AM

PART2The main inputs of Islamist ideology was the US’s Cold World War policy to use the Islam against communist ideology and of course Israel- Palestine conflict. The third main reason is the failed neoliberal economic system to solve socio-economic problems. Plus, US’s dictating international politics within global structure became catalyst for the Islamist movement.The West and US used dictators in Arabic countries (for their own interest for many years) to suppress Islamic movement and others

Deniz Can

7/23/2012 10:19:55 AM

PART3”Arab Spring”created an opportunity for Islamism to express itself within a dynamic socio-political environment.At the same time,it created a new conjuncture for Post-Islamism to emerge.Religion as a political power and democratic political power are irreconcilable.With a dynamic social system fundamentalism,which is not dynamic,has less chance to survive.The power struggle between Ismalism and Post-Islamism have just started (process for Renaissance of Islam!).A price will have to be paid!

sam stevens

7/23/2012 9:41:48 AM

Good post & stating what we are all witnessing. There's no surprise of course, as long as you place practicing muslims at the head of government & have a book which is said to be immutable,the Koran, Islamism will follow. Everything that government does,every decision they make will be influenced by it. Muslim countries have failed to do what true secular states do, that is take the general principles of fairness & pluralistic approach...allowing people to make their own choices.
< >


AcerPro S.I.P.A HTML & CSS Agency