By Bobson Gbinije
“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
– William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed
Creature, the feeling of a heartless world
And the soul of soulless circumstances. It
is the opium of the people.”-Karl Marx
ISLAMIC scholars in their various dissertations agree that “Islamic Fundamentalism” connotes the universal absolutisation of Islamic doctrines as propounded and entrenched in the Koran as a format for governance. A form of Muslim theocracy based on Mohammedanism, Sharia and traces of Uthman Dan Fodio’s Jihad.
The recrudescence of renascent Islamic fundamentalism as a 21st Century phenomenon is traceable to Rohullah Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran – who fine-tuned the logistics, perfected the strategies and coordinated its motif, action and concept as a global, political, economic, cultural, religious and social power-seeking machinery – an avid desire to entrench world power into the hands of Muslims.
Its methodology of spread entails force, political parties (Democratic format), lobbying, bankrolling some terrorist organisations, channeling propaganda programmes through the social/electronic media and systematic indoctrination. Its proponents are members of regional, sub- regional bodies and world organisations, namely – D.8, Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC, AFrican Union, AU, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Asian and Arab Organisations, Economic Cartels and even the United Nations.
Befuddled by multitudinous sects, the concept of “Islamic Fundamentalism” has become so many things to so many Moslems depending also on the oscillatory swing of the religious pendulum and on what plinth you stand. The Quadiriya brotherhood, Tijaniya brotherhood, Shiite, Sunni, Al qaeda, Al shabaab, Boko Haram, State of Islam in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, Mujahideen Moslems etc. are some of the known brotherhoods or sects.
Religious extremism has been condemned as “un-Islamic” by the more moderate Moslems. But the Koran admonishes that “unto whom battle is declared, permission is granted by Allah to fight back, because he is oppressed.” Most scholars adjudge that the wrong interpretation of this prudential injunction is the cause of extremism in most sects. They further warn that Islam does not harbor violence and controversy. The Koran says in Sura 5 Ayat 76 “Do not transgress the bounds of your religion unjustly. Do not yield to the desire of those who have already erred, who have led many astray and have themselves astrayed from the straight path.”
This is further supported by Sura 22 Ayat 1 “Some wrangle about Allah, though they have neither knowledge or guidance nor an illuminating book. He who bends his side in scorn to lead others astray from Allah’s path, for him is disgrace in this life and shall taste the torment of hell on the day of resurrection.”
The Holy Koran is prodigiously replete with citations, Suras and Ayats warning against vain-gloriousness, violence, hypocrisy and all the terrible vices and the undue quest for political empowerment which some so-called leaders of Islam are pursing through Islamisation, Sharia, wanton Jihadism, fatwa, horrendous monstrosity against non-moslems and so-called infidels. The degree of Islamist insurgencies and sanguinary bloodletting in Kenya at the Garissa University, shopping mall in Kenya, Borno, Yobe, Benue states, etc. in Nigeria, the beheading of Ethiopian Christians in Libya, the drowning in the Mediterranean sea of 15 Christians from Nigeria and Ghana, the 9/11 tragedy in America, the London bombings, the serial unrest and religious imbroglio in the Middle East, North Africa and some nooks and crannies of our world show that Islamic fundamentalism and the spread by force/militancy of Islam has become the most predatory global plague of the 21st Century.
The dynamics of change entails the amalgam of techniques that ensures definite but controlled change, which, if super-imposed into a system or institution with a different aggregate of speed in the change channel, it might lead to a conflagration and escalationally disproportionate change. By co-extensive reasoning “Islamic fundamentalism” cannot be truly fundamentalistic in countries or states that have strong pluralistic religious and political base except by force.
That uncontrolled desire to spread and make Islam the superior and only religion worthy of practice and the belief that Moslems should be at the head of governments and should remain a religious cum political ideology is the root cause of Islamic fundamentalism. Most religions of the world especially Christianity, have suffered from the same fate. That desire to use religion as a political ideology to gain power. The Catholics as their name implies, tried through their religion to universalise their faith. The “Crusaders” in the middle ages made military expeditions to recover so called Holy Lands and remember the Spanish Inquisition etc.
The propagation of Islam is not the desire of the fundamentalist, it is to use the Koran as a political tool consistent with the words of Mahatma Grandi “Politics divorced from religion is absolutely meaningless, like corpse fit only for cremation.” It’s aggressive, underhand tactics and gains has made it an open-ended omnibus and many unwary countries are jumping in. Nigerian Moslems have been surreptitiously hobnobbing with these fundamentalists.
*Mr. Gbinije, a social critic wrote from Warri, Delta State