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Arab Nationalism to Islamic Fundamentalism

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History 2606E
Maya Shatzmiller

Ideologies: From Arab Nationalism to Islamic Fundamentalism (3.12.2014) The Early Ideologies - The early ideological movements developed around the relationship between the ottomans and their rule over the ME - Al-Afghani, 1838-1897, is considered by many as the first to bring together ideas and political activism - His view was that the turks brought tyranny to the middle east and that arabs were different from the turks - Arabs were democratic by nature, unlike the turks, and once the middle east will rid itself from its tyrannical and corrupt rulers, i.e. the ottoman turks, arab rulers wil bring justice and equality to their society - The early separation between two groups of muslims, arab and turk achieved acceptance with intellectuals in both groups. Ethnicity becomes the center and the most crucial point dividing people. Very much European nationalism - But what about Islam? - Europeans, mostly French, attacked islam. They accused the religion of islam for being the main culprit in the decline of islamic societies everywhere. - Al-Afghani and his Egyptian disciple, Muhammad Abdu 1849-1905 responded that the blame rested with the people who took control of its political institutions - Agreement that there is decadence of islamic societies but islam is not to be blamed Pan-Islam - This was an ideology created during the reign of the Ottoman sultan Abdelhamid in response to the accusations against the Ottomans and in anticipation of the young turks opposition to his rule - The pan-islamic propaganda which was diffused from Istanbul into the ottoman provinces aimed to create unity through the common factor of religion and preserve the unity of the empire - The arab intellectuals responded by pointing out that Europeans achieved political power not because of Christian but because of the power of unification, mostly through their large language and race. They pointed out that Middle Eastern Christians were as poor as their muslim neighbours - For the rest of the 19 century and the beginning of the 20 , the leaders of the empire wanted to maintain islamic ties so as to preserve their empire - The arab muslims were torn between their allegiance to the caliphate and the hate for the turks, whom they blamed for all their decline Arab Nationalism - Nationalism is foreign, a term borrowed from Europe - For Middle Easterners it is a secular movement, based not on religion but on geography - It was difficult to identify with and certainly to come out and declare themselves against the religious principle which united them - For the arabs, the other tools needed for the defining arab nationalism were not there The History of Arab Nationalism - We identify themes in the history of the movement - Arab nationalism up to WWI - Arab nationalism in Syria and Lebanon - The political achievements of the movement both in Egypt and the fertile crescent occurred between the two world wars, but the ideological development took place earlier - The basis of arab nationalism was the scholarly investigation of the history and language. In this respect the Christian Syrians, who were educated by the first missionary schools, American and French, played an important role. They began to translate the arab choniclers mostly medieval, and put at the disposal of the public the tools needed to write an ‘arab’ history. Linguists worked on the Arabic language and created dictionaries, the linguistic tools which united all arabs - By the beginning of the 20 century the ‘national’ tools were in place. It now had history, language and geography - Similar developments occurred in the Turkish nationalism, which has now developed fostering linkes with the Turkic people in central asia. Political Achievements - Nationalism translated into independence - Between two wars and in the framework of the mandates, demand for independence were made using arab nationalism tools - Alienation of the middle eastern chrsitians. Since arab nationalism developed with islam as a ‘national religion’ the notion offended the Christians mostly those of Syria and Lebanon The Syrian National Party - Led by Antoun Sa’adeh a Syrian who grew up in brazil but returned to Lebanon - The political idea was to create a large Syria, which will include Lebanon, and which will offer equal existence for Christians and muslims - Sa’adeh was accused for being a national traitor and execute in Lebanon - Nontheless, the idea of a greater Syria allowed the Christian Lebanese to develop an ideology based in a multi faith regime in Lebanon under the French Pan-Arabism - Several attempts at political unification under this ideology: - Fertile crescent unification under the Hashemites 1941 - The arab league 1945 - The Baghdad pact - The Ba’ath Nasser unity, UAR 1961-64 Pan Arab Unification - In countries where the new middle east left a political weakness such as iraaq and Syria, the drive to politic
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