What “post post modernist” ideology did the Kharijites belong to?

I was on a blogstroll and came across this post by a Birmingham Mail blogger Faraz Yousufzai:

Islam has almost 1500 years of profound theological, legal and social scholarship. Never in that time has there ever been a ‘branch’ of thought that promoted the indiscrimate taking of life. ‘Extremism’ as we now term it, is probably best described as a post post modernist 20th century ideology. It has no roots in ANY faith – no matter what it claims.

What about the more fanatical amongst the Kharijites? Can all Muslim fanaticism or ‘extremism’ be passed off as purely the outcome of ‘external’ factors (e.g. ‘Western ideologies’, colonialism)? I am not sure this is a satisfying explanation, and at times borders on a sort of intellectual cowardice which is unable to ask and answer tougher questions.

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2 Responses to “What “post post modernist” ideology did the Kharijites belong to?”


  1. 1 ibrahim March 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Extremism amongst Muslims today is very similar in thought to The Khawarij of the past. The only thing that differs is the modern means of warfare by which they can wreak their havoc.

    As Muslims we need to move away from such simple readings of history, only taking the warm fluffy stuff which suits us. We can never hope to stop repeating the mistakes of the past if we don’t learn from it and we can’t learn from if we won’t even acknowledge it!

  2. 2 Julaybib Ayoub March 14, 2008 at 6:29 am

    I think the historian Michael Burleigh has probably come quite near to the beginnings of a sensible analysis:

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/academicexperts/story/0,,2264024,00.html

    Burleigh treats terrorists as individuals, balancing their motivation against their actions. And what he finds drives them is, at best, a perverted sense of altruism and, at the most basic level, an intoxication with excitement and mayhem. “It’s no coincidence,” he observes drily, “that most terrorists are males aged between 18 and 30.”


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