The author, John Esposito, tries to define what political Islam is and its connection and presence in Southeast Asian countries and, most especially, in the Western part of the world. “Political Islam, or more commonly Islamic fundamentalism, remains a major presence in governments and oppositional politics from North Africa to Southeast Asia. ” Esposito made some strong points regarding Islam, political Islam, and the West. While it is true that most of the Muslims have become more keen and observant with regard to the practice of their faith, many of them are adapting to the continuing development of the world.
These people have come to realize that they do not have to limit themselves to the rules of their religion, and that there are numerous opportunities out there if they allowed themselves to take part in it. They have to realize that the world is completely different from what they knew from the past, and that they can practice their religion and still experience what the world has to offer at the same time. Esposito states that Islamic belief has reemerged as an alternative to the perceived failure of secular ideologies like capitalism, nationalism, and socialism.
However, Islam reemerged because they chose to do so. They realized that it was time to change what others thought of them and that they should not be submitting themselves to the judgment of other cultures and religious groups. It has been too long that they isolated themselves to a certain part of the world where they did not allow the Western culture to become a part of their own. Although they are still adamant to adapt this culture, or any other culture for that matter, they are willing to explore the world and its recent progress.
They are more willing to expand their horizons at this time compared to the past. “Early underestimation of religion as a source of identity, as well as a political force has led to its overestimation today. ” Religion might have been underestimated in the past but it surely is not overestimated today. In contrast, the world learned how to acknowledge the presence of religious groups and the contributions they make to the world and the society.
They are not being overestimated because if they were, everyone should have chosen and participated within their own group and practice its customs and beliefs. There would be no one person who do does not belong to a particular religion. The author also states that secular Westerners tag the Muslims who speak of Islam as a comprehensive way of life, as people who are retrogressive and resistant to change. Not all Westerners think this way. Some believe in respecting the sacredness of the Muslim religion and that Muslims are not resistant to change.
They are, however, more committed to their religion than other groups. They do not see their religion as something that they have to do once a week or once a year. They see it as a part of their everyday lives. It matters to them that they belong to a group and that support is always available to them. The article also indicates that “many believe that Islamists were not representative and would be rejected in popular elections. ” This is only true because many people assume negative things about the Muslim people.
They generalize the things they see on the media to all Muslims, which makes it hard for them to give the Muslims a chance to prove them otherwise. It is very important to state that not all Muslims are the same as portrayed in the media. Political Islam and the West may have numerous different perspectives. However, they have one goal common to both sides, which is to provide a better way of life for their people. The Muslims are only beginning to adapt to the changes around them and have more
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