CONN 322

Jihad and Islamic Fundamentalism

The emergence of Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist political thought in the twentieth century has garnered much media attention in the last few decades. This course examines how Islamic fundamentalism developed in the first half of the twentieth century in the wake of Western colonization and why it gained so much support during the second half of the century. The course develops in three stages: (1) historical background of Muslim confrontations with the West and the emergence of fundamentalism, (2) case studies of selected Muslim countries and regions, and finally (3) discussion of challenges and problems of fundamentalism in a pluralistic world. Similarly, the course examines the major intellectual figures of Islamist thought and its malcontents in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Muslim communities of Europe and the Americas. Examples include: Hassan al-Banna, Abu Ala Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb, Ayatollah Khomeini, Usama bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Sherman Jackson, among others. Islamist ideas of modernity and the revival of a traditionalist approach towards the life and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad is also discussed. Finally, students take a close look at the idea of jihad and discuss the implications of Sharia law for the twenty-first century.