Major Streams of Islamism

Islamism is considered to be an extremist political ideology, which is based on the Muslim religion where Islam is claiming to be the fundamental religion as well as the basis of political life in the Middle East today. Islamism means a return to Quran and early fundamental principles of Islam. Islamism is connected with creation of Sunni Muslim religious leaders and ideologues (Riaz, 2008, p.25). They believe that all Muslims must return to the early models of Islam and get rid from the western influence in political, economic, social, military and cultural spheres. Most Islamist ideologues consider the western world un-Islamic and proclaimed restoration and expansion of Muslim Caliphate.

Major streams of Islamism in the contemporary Middle East differ from each other. Some of them are violent, appealing for world-wide dominance, while others are calling for democratic changes. Some Islamists are also called “Jihadists” whose main idea is a holy war against non-Muslims, which is known as a duty of Jihad. Well-known radical Islamic organization Al-Qaeda shocked the USA as well as the whole world with the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

Another contemporary stream of Islamism is Muslim Brotherhood, which was observed in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen. This Islamist stream should not be confused with Jihad as it has democratic purpose to liberate Muslim people from oppression and transform democratic changes in these countries.

There are quite a number of political Islamist parties and movements which appeal for democratic changes in their countries, but most of them are far from reality. It is quite difficult to identify a unique policy of Islamists, because most of their demands can be estimated by scholars as opportunities and not as actual risk (Fuller, 2003, p.120).

In conclusion, it should be noted that various Islamist streams play different roles in the Middle East history, but they are all based on Islam religion, what is supposed to predict that all of them have similar ideology, though some of them are radical and others are in opposition.