Fundamentalism, terrorism and Islam
Sayyed Fadlullah: The West should first
admit that it is responsible for creating a favorable environment
Asked in his weekly seminar the following question :How
does Islam view so-called fundamentalism?
The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad
Hussein Fadlullah, said:
fundamentalism was produced in the West, and promoted in the East,
like many others, to serve the international interests without
having to be objective or realistic.
Therefore, we do not
accept the use of these terms, since they do not reflect the
religious and political realities in our Islamic and Arab world.
In addition, we have
our suspicions in the intentions of those who promoted them, since
they aim at distorting many firmly established facts in our Islamic
and Arab world.
We have always
called our intellectual, and journalists to use terms that were
produced by our Arab and Islamic environment, not because we are
fanatic, but because they are more realistic in reflecting the
political and cultural state of the nation.
But, in any case, we
can point out to two kinds of fundamentalism: the first represents
the holding first to the Islamic fundamentalism to accompany the new
developments in society and life. It inspires the profound, thought,
and the tolerance and openness that marked the early Islamic
experience that created a pluralistic society of many sects and
schools of thought, by means of translation and interaction with the
other civilizations. Such fundamentalism could only be viewed with
respect and appreciation.
The second kind of
fundamentalism is that of suffocation, rigidity and unconscious
fanaticism to the past. It treats everything that belongs to the
past with a sacredness that does not differentiate between what is
good in it and what is not. It is as if they want the clock to run
backwards, and they live in total isolation and a perpetual clash
with the others, whom they tend to accuse of unbelief, and
consequently justify killing him. This is the second kind of
fundamentalism, which we have reservations on calling some of its
violent parties, for we do not find anything in our Islamic heritage
that justifies their criminal and barbaric acts.
We believe that the
best way to control this kind of devastating violence is by going
back to the original and truly Islamic principles of mercy, lenience
and dialogue as the major means of conducting relations with the
Based on this, we
have always said that fundamentalism which means not recognizing the
other, or using unjustified violence is rejected by Islam. And we
have seen that it is rejected by various Muslim circles before being
condemned by others.
But the problem lies
is the Western circles turning a blind eyes towards the Western and
especially the American role in creating and nourishing these
mentalities and these groups before they turned against them.
Thus, we ask the
West, to acknowledge this responsibility in creating these groups,
as well as its consequent responsibility in creating a hostile Arab
and Islamic responsibility through its oppression to Arabs and
Muslims and support to Israel, before it initiates any reforming
movement or calls for to confront these radical ideas ..
The problem does not
lie in the academic curriculums in some of our Islamic countries,
but rather in the state of turmoil in the political environment of
these countries, which the American Administration and those who
stood with her created, at the expense of the Palestinians, the
Iraqis and the other people of the region.
We are against
minimizing the problem or partitioning it by claming that the
conflict is an internal one inside the Islamic reality or due only
to the misunderstanding of certain Islamic texts. It is as if the
West wants to deny its responsibility over the creation of this
bloody atmosphere in the region that has reached Europe of late.
Therefore as we
condemn these criminal acts against Muslims and recently Europeans,
we welcome some of the views that are voicing the truth, such as the
statement of the mayor of London who said that Britain would have
produced a large number of suicidal bombers, had it been under
foreign occupation and suffered as much as the Palestinians did for
We welcome this
logic and emphasize that this is the point addressing the problem
should start with.
On the other hand,
we want our people to go back to the original principles of their
religion that call for mercy with the others, whoever they might be.
We have entered a
phase of challenge that threatens our very existence and our
religion. It is a question to be or not to be in the face of the
American and Israeli occupation that wishes to steal from us all
that we have been left with.
On the other hand,
we have entered a phase of real challenge that will preserve Islam
of any distortion and prevent those who have undermined it from
talking in its name, and from those who wish to liquidate it.