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Summary of the article by Hava Lazarus-Yafeh "Contemporary Fundamentalism: Judaism, Christianity, Islam"
(in "Jewish Fundamentalism in Comparative Perspective", ed. Silberstein, NY University Press, 1993).
Lazarus-Yafeh presents 10 points of similarity between the fundamentalist movements in the three religions:
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- They create a counter-society -
placing their community in the opposition to the rest of the society.
- Rejection of the "Western ideologies", national state and democratic system.
Example - Egyptian fundamentalists demand a national state "with the Quran as its constitution" (in itself a unique and contradictory combination of old and new concepts). (H.L-Y, p.46)
- Criticism of institutionalised religion.
Opposition to the established, "official" religious institutions. Negative labelling of those.
- Attitudes to science - hypocritical, ambiguous.
Rejected when findings are contradictory to their belief, yet used to support their religious assertions. Detaching technology from the sciences.
- Literal belief in the inerrancy of their Holy Scriptures.
- Strong emphasis on the literalness of Holy Scriptures.
Most leaders are educated, but in sciences or technology. Not having education in humanities, simplifying the terms.
- Crude fundamentalist theology.
Vulgarisation of the concept of God. Belief in Satan, spirits.
- Apocalyptic mood.
Expecting "Kingdom of God" on Earth in clear terms of political power.
Personal leadership: one version of truth, one leader, one book, one way. No doubt or self-criticism, no development or change.
"It is a kind of historical irony that the rejection of Western values and modernity is expressed by most fundamentalists in typically modern, Western, political terms of a national and "constitutional" state, completely different form the Western democratic meaning of these terms." (H.L-Y, p. 51) See also point 2.
- Attitudes to women.
Looking to retain them in the traditional roles.
- Attitude to members of other religions.
Reject moderate or liberal fellow believers as "nominal". Secularists devoid of all values.
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