The article observes some of the important reasons that could have been provoked the resistance of Islamic movement in the modern Middle East. It highlights the processes associated with the intensification of a Globalization trend, that make a part of the Muslim society wary of the dangers that these excessive changes may pose to their cultural and religious values. The radical Islamists view the global progress as the modern form of Western cultural imperialism.
After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, the last of the Islamic Empires disappeared. This brought Europeans to the occupation of former Ottoman lands for few decades and encouraged hostility to the Western world. The collapse of the Islamic Empire created political vacuum in the region and various forces made different attempts to fill it. Economic, social and political modernization led by nationalist leaders of the twentieth century failed. After the failure of imported western ideologies, the unsatisfied masses turned to Islam, as the only opposition force in the region.
The Islamic hostility to the Western world increased after a Jewish state was established in 1947 in a part of the world that had been considered Muslim for many centuries. Israel’s economical achievements and high technological level are frustrating its Muslim neighbors. Islamic hatred and opposition has been directed against the United States, as Israel acquired the most powerful military force in the Middle East with American aid and support. Many militants also denounce American support for unpopular and undemocratic regimes in some Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia. The crisis in the Persian Gulf in 1990-1991, in which the USA played a pivotal role, fed this discontent, in part because Americans used the bases in Saudi Arabia, which Muslims consider sacred territory.
The militant Islamic movement is largely influenced by the works of the twentieth century Egyptian intellectual Sayyid Qutb, who is seen by most of the experts as the ideological father of modern fundamentalism. His reinterpretation of the key Quranic terms of-Jihad and Jahillyyia-justifies violent actions against not only the Western world but against the contemporary Muslim societies as well, especially against the contemporary Muslim rulers. This ideology challenges: a) the idea of universal human rights and universal standards of human rights that grew out of the secular statements of the French Declaration of the rights of Man (1789) and the US Constitution (1788) and Bill of Rights (1789), and was finally embodied into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The principle of equality most fully articulated in Article 2 states, that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms regardless of race, color, sex, religion etc.; b) The women’s rights movement supported by the Division for the Advancement of Women of the United Nations, that is viewed by radical Islamists as the aggression against the local traditions and their religious and cultural values.
The militant Islamists accuse the Western world and the United States of having narrow concerns and condescending attitudes. According to this perspective, universal human rights and women’s rights as well, are based on the Western cultural values and are strange for the Muslim world. With the attempts to endorse its cultural values the Western world tries to beat former colonial societies into the submission. The Muslim governments who are practicing non-Islamic policy and do not resist the anti-Muslim attempts of the Western World and the United States are considered infidels and allies of the Western World. The radical Islamists describe them as idolatrous and neo-pagan. Thus, according to this ideology they must be swept away by a violent Islamic revolution, violent Holly War-Jihad.