How do we address Islamic fundamentalism?
Question: How do you explain the rise of Islamic fundamentalism?
Armitage: Certainly there has been a rise in the region. Just pick up your paper any day and look at the bombings in Saudi Arabia, or over in Morocco, over in Algeria recently, etc. But it’s not only a rise of fundamentalism which is directed against the west and western interests. There is also a great battle going on within Islam. And the battle is shaped around the question of, “Can a Muslim be modern, entrepreneurial and still a pious Muslim? Or must we return to the days of the Caliphate?” This is something that has to be resolved among and between the 1.2 billion adherents of Islam. And I would note that this is even more, however, confined to the Middle East. I wouldn’t say necessarily the 200 million Muslims in Indonesia are particularly playing the game of modernity versus the Caliphate. They’ve made their decision. They made their decision through the ballot box to opt for modernity and still be practicing Muslims. So it’s primarily confined to the Middle East.
Armitage, on the battle within Islam.
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