What prompted my earlier ramble on the current fragmented nature of left was trying to think of a better way of saying the following “currently one of the Shibboleths of the left is…” Clearly what follows isn’t a discussion of a Shibboleth of everyone who considers themselves progressive or leftwing, just some. If you want to know exactly whose Shibboleth it is, I refer you to my previous post. Having said that, lets start again.
Currently one of the Shibboleths of the left is that the wave of Jihadi terrorism that has been gripping the world’s attention since 9/11 is basically a new form of anti-Imperialism. This fits nicely with the “blame
Afghani realised that the Muslim world had created a history of culture and jurisprudence that would see the use of Western ideas as heretical or ‘un-Islamic’. Abduh and al-Afghani set out to clear the decks of over a 1000 years of sedimented Islamic scholarship that would deny the legitimacy of their modernising ambitions and continued to leave the reactionary conservative scholars, the ulema of the Ottoman Caliphate in power. To do this they looked back to the time of the companions of the Prophet, and the generations of followers who came immediately after, who were known as the Salafi – hence the movements name. The Salafis of the 19th Century argued that this seventh century Arabian Islam was the purest, and hence correct, form of Islam and what had evolved since was unwelcome innovation – or Bida. This argument, although sounding conservative, was actually progressive as it took away power of the ulema alone being able to say what was and wasn’t acceptable. This de-legitimisation of the religious “establishment” gave theological breathing room to allow the importation of western ideas including liberal democracy and constitutional government into the Islamic discussion.
Yet the First World War intervened, destroying the Ottoman Empire which had so long staked its claim as the seat of the Caliph, and hence the centre of the Muslim world. The remains of the Ottoman Empire were divided up between the British and French empires, with most of the modern states of the