What is Islamism?

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The term Islamism became associated with Islamic fundamentalism after the media started broadcasting the Iranian Revolution. Since then, the word has been equated to Islamic fundamentalism.

Islamism means the ideology and politics of Islam.  The goal of extreme Islamists is to put into power governments that follow Sharia Law in Muslim countries, are against democracy, and use extreme violence.  Mainstream Islamists do not want Muslim governments to follow Sharia Law, are not opposed to democracy, and are against violence  Another goal of all Islamists is to protect the tradition and authenticity of Islam. Extreme Islamists are patriarchal and do not support women’s rights. For example, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait limit the ability for women to vote or drive cars. Mainstream Islamists take a more liberal approach to women’s rights, but are still not leaders in the women’s rights movement.


Kramer, Martin. “Coming to Terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?” The Middle East Quarterly: 65-77. Spring 2003.
Gerges, Fawaz A. “Understanding the Many Faces of Islamism and Jihadism.” Nieman Reports Understanding the Many Faces of Islamism and Jihadism Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2015.

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