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Bismi Allah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem.  In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful
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Comparative Fundamentalism:

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:

  1. They create a counter-society - placing their community in the opposition to the rest of the society.

  2. 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)

  3. Criticism of institutionalised religion. Opposition to the established, "official" religious institutions. Negative labelling of those.

  4. 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.

  5. Literal belief in the inerrancy of their Holy Scriptures.

  6. 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.

  7. Crude fundamentalist theology. Vulgarisation of the concept of God. Belief in Satan, spirits.

  8. 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.

  9. Attitudes to women. Looking to retain them in the traditional roles.

  10. Attitude to members of other religions. Reject moderate or liberal fellow believers as "nominal". Secularists devoid of all values.
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