To what extent is it true that religious fundamentalism arose as a reaction to the influences of the West?
It is true to the large extent that religious fundamentalism arose as a reaction to the influences of the West due to US backing for Shah, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the support for the Mujahedeen. However, Western influence may not be the only factor as globalisation and the failure of modernization and secularization also play a part in the rise of religious fundamentalism.
At that point of time, many Islamist organizations define themselves in opposition to the West, and particularly the United States, especially as the latter’s foreign policy has become ever more interventionist in the region. The death of the democracy in Arab states in combination with the collaboration between the US government and many regimes in the Middle East prevented certain opposition groups from expressing themselves. In effect, they have no say in the running of their countries. As a result, they turn to religion for divine validation. The emergence of the overly anti-American Islamic Republic of Iran reflected the wave of popular discontent with US interference and influence throughout the region. The shah was restores to power by an army coup inspired and paid by the US and the UK, despite his lack of popular support. He pressed on with his ‘White Revolution’, which was ever more dependent of Western capital and political leadership. Therefore, due to US backing of the Shah, it provided aids and military supply to him thus making Iranian to resent the Shah and leading to the rise of religious groups.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan triggered international jihadism. As Muslims around the world, from the Middle East, Southeast Asia in the West volunteered to join the armed struggle. US and Saudi Arabia recruited Muslim volunteers around the world to aid in the jihad with the Soviets. The Afghan experience encouraged individuals such as Osama Bin Laden...
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