Essay On Totalitarianism

1578 Words7 Pages
The rise of terrorist activity by Islamic extremists in recent decades has brought about the misconception that all religious fundamentalist groups are fuelled by totalitarian norms which are communicated through the use of violence. As Heywood (2012) states; the term ‘fundamentalist’ is now one of great controversy, with followers of several religions rejecting the term as ‘simplistic or demeaning’. It is important to note that religious fundamentalism is not an exclusively Islamic development, with movements across all major religions; including Christianity and Judaism (Macridis, 1992; Heywood, 2012). This essay aims to clarify this misconception and discuss various forms of religious fundamentalism: those prone to violence and totalitarianism…show more content…
Active fundamentalism takes the route of opposition and combat, and is concerned with an overtly political approach, looking to exert complete influence over the modern state. Such determination to eliminate religious and political separation and therefore construct a theocracy is where an overlap with totalitarianism can be identified. Totalitarianism is defined as an ‘all-encompassing process of political rule, in which the state penetrates and controls all social institutions, thus abolishing civil society and ‘private life’’ (Heywood, 2012). However, there are variations between the degrees in which particular fundamentalists have succumbed to such totalitarian impulses. For Muslims, Islam is a complete way of life and governs everything – both public and private. Nonetheless; it is a religion deeply divided within itself (Ball & Dagger, 2010). Muslims see their faith as threatened by external threats, such as influential Western ideas that have risen alongside modernity – such as liberalism and secularism. While mainstream Islamism acknowledges such threats, the difference arises in radical Islamism, where the threat is viewed as greater and the danger more imminent – resulting in a form of religious fundamentalism more prone to violence and totalitarianism than the
Open Document