Fundamentalism is a term that emerged in the late nineteenth century in the United States from a base of Christian conservatives who advocated a return to religious foundations.
Between 1910 and 1913 a twelve book serie entitled The Fundamentals was published with a distribution throughout the United States.
The series preached that the reading of the Christian Bible should be literal.
This literalism was based on a concept that the Bible was self-explanatory.
By derivation with the rise of Islamic radicalism the term was used to designate such movement.
However, differently from what the ter meant at first for the Christians defenders, the so-called Islamic fundamentalists do not have embarked on the literalism but on a Islamic radicalization exegesis.
How does the new elite of Islamic fundamentalism in the late twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century get born? The answer lies in the journey of the Egyptian educator Sayad Qtub who left Alexandria in November 1948 to study in the United States ·.
Qtub was a staunch critic of West moral and ethical condition , especially the United States. He was also a fervent advocate of the use of Islam as a tool to combat this evil denounced by him.
According to Yossef Bodansky, jihadists, in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the result of the riots in the Islamic world between the early 70s and late 80s. He cites among other important events such as the oil boom in the 70, the Shiite revolution in Iran in 1979 led by Khomeini and the notorious Jihad in Afghanistan that ended with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from that country. He said these were events that marked the life of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, respectively the number one and two in the hierarchy of al Qaeda back in 2001.
The strengthening of the economy based on the exploitation and export of oil brought some blemishes. Bodansky says:
The sudden enrichment of the ruling elite and the educated and upper classes as well as exposure to the West, led to confusion and an identity crisis generally poorly resolved, which resulted in the eruption of radicalism and violence.
Also in the 70 various intellectuals and Islamic preachers found place in mosques and Muslim universities creating a fertile environment for the birth of radicalism. According to them to deal with the threat that the Western world it was necessary to rescue the Islamic conservative side of Islam
Another Islamic thinker who had a major role in the birth of radical thought was the Egyptian writer Wail Uthman who in 1975 published The Party of God in Struggle with the Party of Satan (The Party of God at Combating the Party of Satan). According to the author, however contrary to what one might think the main enemy of Islam are Muslims themselves who profess faith, but are closeted opponents.
Even in the 70s the constant approximation of then Egypt President Anwar Sadat to Israel and the apparent submission of his administration to the USinte rests generated a huge internal dissatisfaction in his country, wich ended up extrapolating to emerge by way extremists.
An important aspect sometimes overlooked to understand the radicalization of Islam, points Bodansky, goes beyond a superficial analysis of the Islamic Revolution carried out by the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. There was a communion at about the same time between the doctrine preached by fundamentalist Shiites current responsible for the revolution in Iran and Sunnis.
The radical Shiite movement was the force behind the Iranian revolution, and its growth in Iran, Lebanon and Iraq was almost simultaneous and parallel to the Sunni revival in Egypt. In the late ’70s, the philosophy of revolutionary Shiite thinkers , expressed in publications, was quite similar to those who supported radical Sunni standards. Their approach to the diagnosis and healing to contemporary problems and their emphasis on the fundamental importance of confrontation and struggle were virtually identical.
The Islamic extremism is therefore the mode of action of Islamic fundamentalists who run a Jihad so much in their own way, nevertheless, not in consonance with the fundamentals of Islam.