Comparative analysis of the rise of religious extremism in Arab and Indian Politics

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Comparative analysis of the rise of religious extremism in Arab and Indian Politics

The cases being discussed by the authors here are more significant than the discussion of any other Muslim or Hindu nation because of the fact that these cases discuss the role of these religions in their respective birthplaces. We can realize the importance of this point by considering, for example that the Islamic countries worldwide look towards the Arabic ulemas for validation of their Islamic policies and also each fatwa issued by the Arab ulemas is almost always followed by a similar action by their counterparts in other countries. Similarly, though Hinduism doesn’t have a transnational appeal like Islam, Hindus all over the world still regard India as the ‘holy land’. Thus the followers of both these religions tend to look towards these nations in the hour of crisis of faith.

Interestingly, many of the causes for the rise of extremist Islam in Arabic politics and Hinduism in Indian politics appear to be similar. The states’ unwillingness to recognize the role of religion in the society, the growing influence of secularists which led to the displacement of the traditionalists form their positions of power, and the ability on the part of religious groups to create a successful network of social, educational, religious and charitable organizations across the nation are some of these causes. In fact, the last of these similarities is strikingly apparent in context of the rise of Society of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India.

However, there are some significant differences, as well, due to the inherently different nature of the society and culture in different countries. One of the major reasons for th...

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...arate legal code for their community, was often perceived as ‘sticking together’. The Islamic precept of considering religion as superior to nationalism (Wataniyyah) and the oft repeated attitude of some Indian Muslims of not bowing before the national flag give rise to a bitterness between the two communities. In fact, such Koranic notions as dividing the world in two regions- Dar es Salaam (the house of peace, where Islam prevails) and Dar el Harb (the house of war, where Islam does not exist) - and proclaiming that there will be lasting peace on earth only when the whole world comes under Islam, are often behind the worldwide anti-Islamic view that we are witnessing in today’s world. Such circumstances, along with the promise to rebuild the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya, were fully exploited by the BJP to gain a significant political support and surge to power.

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