Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Fundamentalism Originates in Societal Structure

The emergence of the Taliban in the last decade of twentieth century (1994) and the terrorist act on September 11, 2001 followed by the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan for combating “international terrorism” led to a global challenge. Taliban are not only a local group restricted in a small geography but represent an ideological-political process across the region and their strength and decline will affect global issues. The Middle East, which was engaged with the native Islamic fundamentalists’ militancy, felt the Taliban’s threat. Similarly, after suppressing the insurgency of Muslim-dominated area, regional countries felt a serious threat with the emergence of the Taliban close to its border.
Taliban came under world’s attention for two reasons: First, for their support to nurture a new type of Islamic fundamentalism. Since the Taliban were equipped with educational centers and political supports, they strengthened the systemization of a new generation of Islamic fundamentalists. The fundamentalists, who were supported and sent to fight against the former Soviet, aligned themselves with the Taliban to fight against the US-led coalition forces. Secondly, it was their strange ideology, beliefs and practices. Arriving in Kabul, the Taliban closed beauty parlors and declared that tailors were not allowed to measure women’s bodies for making dresses and banned photography, listening to music and clapping.
Although the US strike led to the fall of the Taliban’s regime, they changed into a “silent volcano” and reemerged strongly. The Taliban fighters intensified their terrorist attacks and suicide bombings and inflicted great harms on Afghanistan’s nascent democracy. They continued operating against the US-led international and Afghan security forces. Following the appointment of Haibatullah Akhundzada as Mansour’s successor, the insurgency has increased in the country and the political stability deteriorated.
With the end of cold war and decline of Socialism’s hegemony and emergence of democracy, social rift surfaced around the globe and paved the way for norms and social-cultural anomies – this cultural particularism crossed the borders. Currently, political and social movements are seen around the globe, including the first, second and third worlds. It is believed that the social-political cleavages bred radicalism.
Although “radicalism” reminds one of fundamental ideology and parochial mindsets of some Islamic groups, a number of researchers consider radicalism as a wide political process around the globe which does not necessarily belong to one religion.
According to some researchers, radicalism is a method of controlling the body of women, a political way that rejects pluralism and a movement that support merging religion and policy as an instrument for continuing their objectives.
Fundamentalism is the result of discontentment, chagrin, social and political anomies and alienation. Whenever these factors are compounded with social injustice, the individuals will show great inclination towards social movements.  Jeff Hynes believes that Islamic fundamentalism is the product of disappointment stemmed from the failure of Socialistic and Nationalistic movements. According to him, within 1950s and 60s, Arab people desired they would gain their objectives under the aegis of Socialism. However, with the defeat of Arabs and Israel’s victory, Arab world witnessed the emergence of fundamentalism under religious terms. Their economy could not compete with global rivalry and technological revolution of the modern world. Hence, the educated youths and townspeople failed to gain their desires. Moreover, the underprivileged that were forced to take refuge to cities, for imbalanced modernization in agricultural fields, joined the discontented individuals. These all sowed the seeds of a revolution and caused tendency towards fundamentalism.         
Furthermore, modernization created cultural rifts and the concept of democracy, as western product, faced a backlash from the fundamental groups in Islamic world. Currently, the Taliban continue their violence and bloodshed in the country under the terms of establishing Islamic caliphate and combating western products and western-backed administrations. As a result, the Taliban stated the complete withdrawal of US forces as a precondition for peace talks and intensify their attacks against Afghan government and US forces.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which stage deadly attacks against Iraq and Syria, and also gained foothold in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is also a reaction towards modernization and operates under the traditional term of “caliphate”. This highly fundamental group blackmails the world through carrying out attacks in different parts of the world, including Europe and America – this year’s deadly attacks in America and France reveal the very fact.
Members of warring parties, including the Taliban and ISIL group, come from poor families and erupt suddenly as volcano for years of deprivation. The Jihad-e-Nikah, innovated by ISIL, discloses the fact that they seek to satiate their carnal desires rather than fighting as a bona fide ideologue. Hence, the backlash against modernization does not originate only from radical ideology but also extreme disappointments and chagrin formed by deprivations. A large number of mercenary fighters join terrorist networks to meet their physical and material needs rather than filling the vacuum in their souls. Hence, it is believed that one way for countering insurgency is combating poverty and building strong economy. The world should also provide employments and fight financial crises so as to undermine terrorist networks.