Skip to main content

Rise of Islamic fundamentalism: Reason world powers sought to counter left-secular forces

By Bharat Dogra 

While fundamentalist and sectarian elements of all religions generally have violent tendencies and are harmful for peace, social harmony and democracy, in recent times more attention has been focused on Islamic fundamentalist and sectarian forces including the militants among them.
It is important to try to understand how many of these militants with fundamentalist beliefs increased in several countries in the middle of several modern influences. Partly this increase reflects a reaction against some harmful aspects of modernity which damage social relationships in significant ways, but in addition there are other factors too.
One of the biggest sources of funds for the spread of Islamic fundamentalism over the years came from Saudi Arabia royalty, while Saudi royalty got special support from the USA. In many countries the fundamentalist forces could be strengthened because of the financial support received from Saudi Arabia or some of its allies who had plenty of oil money at their disposal for this.
In due course this money was used by the USA and its CIA, using Pakistan in the important role of intermediaries, to collect Islamic militants from all over the world to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan which had come here to support a communist government at its invitation. This provided the biggest opportunity to these militants from many countries to get modern deadly weapons as well as the training to use these weapons effectively. After their use for ousting the Soviet army was fulfilled, these militants were by and large left free to roam to many places including their original countries and spread violent disruption there.
Earlier the Islamic fundamentalist elements were used widely to kill communists (who were also Muslims) on a mass scale in Indonesia, at the time of the US-supported coup to oust President Sukarno in the mid-sixties. Nearly half a million people were killed.
In Iran the democratically elected patriotic Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh was ousted by the USA and Britain when he tried to protect the national interests of Iran. In his place they brought back the monarchy of the Shah of Iran who established a regime characterized by suppression of people and torture. It was the repressive rule of this US supported regime which created the conditions for the arrival later of the regime of fundamentalist forces.
In Afghanistan it was the highly corrupt and inefficient regimes supported by the USA which created the conditions for the return of the fundamentalist forces led by the Taliban.
In Palestine the emergence of Hamas was supported with the help of Netanyahu during one of his earlier tenures as a counter to left and secular forces among the Palestinians. Netanyahu has received the maximum support from the USA in pursuing his sectarian agenda during his various tenures as prime minister of Israel.
Thus what we see in country after country is that Muslim religious fundamentalism grew either when a lot of funds and support became available for this from the forces of imperialism or its allies, or else militants among fundamentalist forces were directly recruited or supported to be used against left and secular forces. Communist forces and leftists among Muslims were regarded as the real enemies by the forces of imperialism but many idealistic and well-read Muslims had a tendency to be drawn towards the left ideology, and so the forces of imperialism used the forces of fundamentalism to curb them and sometimes to destroy them in very cruel ways, as in Indonesia. Sometimes secular Muslims who were not communists were also identified by hostile forces to be close to left forces, and hence they too were attacked.
As forces of imperialism supported many corrupt dictatorships and monarchies in Muslim countries, the youth had to find some channels of opposition. As the communists and left forces faced simply too much repression, the secular paths became more risky. For those still keen to oppose the corrupt and oppressive dictatorships, the mosque could still provide some protection and hence the forces of resistance also found a more convenient channel in fundamentalism.
This explains how Islamic fundamentalism could spread at a fast pace in many parts of the world, with imperialism playing an important supporting role in this, although later it was also forced to fight such forces, often of its own creation (directly or indirectly), in many places.
At the same time, imperialism has also played an important role in supporting (and getting supported by) fundamentalist forces of several other religions too at various levels in various contexts.
People should realize how they have been opportunistically used by various forces in narrow ways for their own interests, and come to enlightened , welfare-oriented, liberal path of religion that emphasizes peaceful co-existence, while giving up the sectarian and rigid, narrow path. In addition they should promote inter-faith harmony for the unity of their nation and indeed for the unity and welfare of all humanity.
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children, When the Two Streams Met and A Day in 2071



Towards 2024: Time for ‘We the People of India’ to wake up before it is too late

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is Constitution Day once again! We, the people of India, gratefully remember 26 November 1949 when the Constitution of India was passed and adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly comprised women and men of distinction, who were able to represent the heart and soul of the people of India without fear or favour. They gave of their best, so that we may a visionary Constitution, which would be the mainstay for and of democracy in India!

Regretful: Kapil Dev retired not leaving Indian cricket with integrity he upheld

By Harsh Thakor  Kapil Dev scaled heights as an entertainer and a player upholding the spirit of the game almost unparalleled in his era. In his time he was cricket’s ultimate mascot of sportsmanship On his day Kapil could dazzle in all departments to turn the tempo of game in the manner of a Tsunami breaking in. He radiated r energy, at a level rarely scaled in his era on a cricket field. Few ever blended aggression with artistry so comprehenisively. Although fast medium, he could be as daunting with the ball as the very best, with his crafty outswinger, offcutter, slower ball and ball that kicked from a good length. Inspite of bowling on docile tracks on the subcontinent, Kapil had 434 scalps, with virtually no assistance. I can never forget how he obtained pace and movement on flat pancakes, trapping the great Vivian Richards in Front or getting Geoff Boycott or Zaheer Abbas caught behind. No paceman carried the workload of his team’s bowling attack on his shoulders in his eras muc

Critical factors that determine, contribute to the success and effectiveness of NGOs

By Rohit Rakshit  Over the last few years, I have been fortunate to work with numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across various states in the country. This experience has allowed me to gain insights into their diverse areas of work while also enabling me to analyze the key attributes that contribute to the success of a good NGO. According to my observations, the following are the critical factors that determine the effectiveness of an NGO.

Eight years of empowering tribal communities through water initiatives in Chhattisgarh

By Gazala Paul*   In the heart of Chhattisgarh, amidst the echoes of tribal life, a transformative journey has unfolded over the past eight years. The Samerth organization has diligently worked to elevate the lives of indigenous communities in the Kawardha district through the project, "Enabling Baiga Community to access safe drinking water." 

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Raising temperature of frozen foods by 3 degrees from -18°C to -15°C can slash carbon emissions: Study

By Payel Sannigrahi  Frozen food temperatures could be changed by just three degrees to save the carbon dioxide emissions of 3.8 million cars per year, research suggests. 

Odisha leadership crisis deepens: CM engages retired babus to oversee depts' work

By Sudhansu R Das  Over decades, Odisha has lost much of its crop diversity, fertile agriculture land, water bodies, employment potential, handicraft and handloom skills etc. The state has failed to strike a balance between the urban and rural sector growth; this leads to the migration of villagers to the urban areas leading to collapse of the urban infrastructures and an acute labor shortage in rural areas.  A large number of educated, skilled and unskilled Odia people have migrated to other states for higher education, quality jobs and for earning livelihood which plummet the efficiency level of government departments. Utmost transparency in the recruitment and promotion in the state government departments will improve governance mechanisms in the state.  "No near and dear one approach" in governance mechanisms can only achieve inclusive growth for the state on payment basis. This is a moral hazard. When so many educated young people seek employment outside the

20% of Indian businesses have no emission plan in place despite climate emergency: Report

By Jag Jivan   New research underlines urgent need for strategies and transition plans to combat climate change, remain successful and meet stakeholder expectations.

TERI researchers outline ways for robust, equitable and flexible outcome at COP28

By Sanya Hans  Researchers at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) launched two crucial policy briefs ahead of the much anticipated 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) scheduled from November 30 to December 12, 2023 at Dubai, UAE.  Former climate negotiator, Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, a Distinguished Fellow at TERI emphasized, “Adaptation is an imperative and absolute must in present times for the Global South. COP28 needs to make the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) integral to climate commitments and action”.  “Climate change demands that energy use must be sustainable; the development imperative of the Global South demands it to be inclusive, just and fair," Mr Puri added.   Outcome on GGA will be a key determinant for the success of COP28   The policy brief titled ‘Road to Dubai and The Global Goal on Adaption’ reviewed the discussions around the GGA framework to provide perspectives on what could be a robust, equitable, and flexible outcome of the GGA process at CO

1982-83 Bombay textile strike played major role in shaping working class movement

By Harsh Thakor  On January 18th, 1982 the working class movement commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Textile Workers Strike that lasted for 18 months, till July 1983. It was landmark event that played a major role in shaping the working class movement. With more than 2.5 lakh workers from 65 textile mills joining in this strike for almost two years, this strike became one of the most significant strikes in terms of scale and duration All democrats should applaud the mill workers’ united battle, and their unflinching resilience an death defying courage continues to serve as a model for contemporary working-class movements. Many middle class persons harboured opinions that the Textile workers were pampered or were a labour aristocracy, ignorant of how they were denied wages to provide for basic necessities. The Great Bombay Textile Strike is notably one of the most defining movements in the working class struggles in Post-independent India. Bombay’s textile industry flourished in