Islam vs Islamism

I’ve made an issue several times before of ensuring we are careful to use the term Islamism when we ought to, and given today’s upcoming announcements by the PM, I thought I’d make a brief summary of my position now:

  • Problem of Islamism – A security problem. A policy of hatred of others. Jihadism. Promotion of Islamic rule (hence a so-called Islamic caliphate) by any means at the expense of the freedoms and rights (and lives) of other Muslims, sects and non-Muslims. Solution involves both inter-national political effort and lethal force.
  • Problems of Islam – Cultural issues. The source of Islamist ideology (see above). But, also some imposition of repressive, irrational, patriarchal, discriminating and even barbaric practices on other Muslims, even where those same individuals are also members of free democratic and/or secular states. Some problems shared with other religious practices. Solutions involve intra-national political effort and legal force.

ie in taking care to target Islamism when that is what is at issue, is not to say Islam itself is without problems or that the two are unrelated. Indeed thoughtful Muslim commentators see the role of the Islam in Islamism, whilst demanding care in addressing both issues. Care that recognises that the political and cultural freedom issues also have quite independent ethnic and nationality dimensions.

Both Islam and Islamism represent problems, but different problems with particular relationships, each with different solutions and each requiring care to avoid conflation of issues and tarring all with the same brush.

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