69 million page views

Dr. Pipes' Definition of "Islamist"

Reader comment on item: Is Sisi Islam's Long-Awaited Reformer?

Submitted by Alex (United States), Jan 21, 2015 at 15:50

This article serves as a very useful corrective to the gleeful touting of President El-Sisi's speech by many in the Western media. I wanted to share some brief--admittedly pedantic but I hope not too tortuous-musings of my own on on Dr. Pipes' definition of Islamism as the program of applying Shari'a law in modernity. I agree with Dr. Pipes that Islamism is a totalitarian ideology, on the model of Fascism and Communism. However, unlike previous totalitarianisms, Islamism can genuinely claim a historical precedent--in short, there may not have been a "First" or "Second 'Reich,'" but the various Caliphates of pre-modern Islamic history not only existed, but also made real (if varied) attempts to enforce Shari'a law over all aspects the societies they governed.

It is this distinction between Islamism and previous totalitarian ideologies that still confounds me thoroughly whenever I see someone with a long beard on TV arguing for the application of barbaric laws against women called an "ideologue."


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)