Since 9/11, the politics of Islam have been perceived by the West as trouble. This lies from the campaign that terrorist organizations threatened the established of our current world. When we trace back, the seed of extremist ideology actually has been flourishing since the Islamic world was able to build a resistance platform against colonialism. Today, that platform is called ‘Islamic revivalism’. As a political movement, that platform has a dream to make Islam great again. However, the problem of this movement is that they are relatively exclusive because they believe Islam is a solution and do not need other things beyond itself.
But as an ideology, Islamic revivalism seems to attract a huge audience. Some of them notice that the guardian army was needed to defend Islam from Western bad influences. Clearly, they rearticulate the Crusade War to burn religious solidarity. And in the early until mid-twentieth century this movement meet the nationalist movement that brought Muslim countries to achieve independence.
The established national-state model in Muslim countries was a big challenge for Muslim communities to organize themselves. This challenge lies around whether the foundation of the nation-state is secular or not. This debate about the structure of the state thus brings the political atmosphere heated and it never growing constructive societal development. In other words, Muslim countries are relatively immature to take inclusive politics that base on national consensus. I suppose that the priority of Islamic ideology over national community building was one of the reasons behind the underdeveloped Muslim countries.
Unfortunately, in history, political consensus is easy to fade away when the society feels dissatisfied with the authority. Iran Revolution was a good example. In short, the corrupted Shah regime and the low living standard push the Iranian people to seek new hope. And this hope will never be accomplished without throwing away the regime.
At the same time, their hope was fulfilled by Khomeini with their optimism about the Islamic state. After the Islamic State of Iran has established, we witnessed Islamic revivalists’ growth and gain influence. This optimism about the future of Islam then manifests vary within Muslim countries. But the initial character still privileges ideology over reality.
In Afghanistan, that optimism about Islam must handle miserable reality. In the 80s era, the Afghan people were in battle against the Russian invasion. This Afghan War involves global power such as the USA which supplies military armament. It is mean that this War was a proxy battle between Russia and America to gain political influence across the world. Interestingly, this War also grew a certain kind of political movement that frame Islam as the core ideology.
In the era of 90s, the collapse of Afghanistan’s political system made the fraction of military groups fight each other. In other words, Civil War has taken place in Afghanistan. But one militant group called Taliban try to unite them and take legitimate authority to stabilize political tensions.
In 1996 they successes took Kabul and to be the dominant power in Afghanistan. Sadly, because of the Taliban’s exclusive political ideology, Afghan people tend to be restricted according to Islamic normative law. And as consequence, societal development was relatively slow and the standard of living never improved.
We do not know precisely what kind of connections about the Taliban regime with Al Qaeda. It is also beyond our concern. But at least we can make an indication that the regime does not have the capacity to restrict or relatively permissive to what Al Qaeda struggle for. And it results in the bird of terrorist networks within Muslim countries. I think the essential problem of terrorist is that they have prisoned within a certain kind of image representation of the Muslim community that need suicidal sacrifice. It is a dangerous fatalistic cum nihilistic political ideology.
Terrorism thus has sedimented Islamophobia because most people are unable to draw distinctions ranging from Islamic norms, extreme or radical interpretation, and terror commitments. Within Muslim countries, this tendency made the Islamic political discourse emphasise the dichotomy of who is radical and who are moderate. This type of discourse then leaves the real conditions of the Muslim community as well as its education, its health, its productivity, and its cultures. And more importantly, Islam is never derived to a concrete political platform that is oriented toward the improvement of material conditions.
Maybe one defies that Islam is a system of values that guide Muslims. True, but beyond the normative prescription we handle a bounce of problems of material life that needed not only to comprehend but also to manage socially. I think the effective way to handle material problems within the Muslim community is through a political platform with specific goals.