Politics in Minutes (2016)

Islamic fundamentalism

An extremely conservative approach to Islamic teaching led to the formation of the Wahhabi movement as early as the 18th century, and it has since gained a large following worldwide. Its fundamentalist ideology is behind theocratic Islamic states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and has been widely adopted in other countries, including Pakistan.

However, the term ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ has today taken on a different meaning, referring to revolutionary and often violent Islamist movements – more accurately called ‘radical Islam’. As a fundamentalist movement forcibly opposing the influence of Western liberal modernity, radical Islam first gained prominence with the revolution in Iran in 1979, which ousted the Shah and replaced him with a theocratic government of Ayatollahs. Since then, numerous movements, both Sunni and Shia, have fought for the formation of Islamic states, including terrorist networks, such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS, or ISIS or ISIL).