It is said that Islamist movements as well as their violent offshoots are the consequences of undigested modernity (Zemni, 2007). The problem lies in the political blind spot that composes the problem of coming to grips with modern and forms of ‘jihad.’ In the current neo-liberal globalization, the traditional kinds of boundaries such as that of inclusion and exclusion within the nations are already changing. Observers say that we are now living in a situation where there are opposite ideologies which are based on political parties. People are fighting democratically for the voice of the majority but have been replaced by the idea that capitalism is the solution. This implies that politics has become only something of a policy which reduces its liberating concepts and promises (Zemni, 2007).
In the current neo-liberal globalization, the traditional kinds of boundaries such as that of inclusion and exclusion within the nations are already changing. Observers say that we are now living in a situation where there are opposite ideologies which are based on political parties. People are fighting democratically for the voice of the majority but have been replaced by the idea that capitalism is the solution. This implies that politics has become only something of a policy which reduces its liberating concepts and promises.
There were several forms of resistance that emerged during the different forms of colonization. Several Arab thinkers searched for answers on the question of why the Arab world was overrun by powerful European countries. There were several reasons gleaned from the situation and one was a consequence of not following the ‘right Islam.’ Many reformists claimed that Islam was buried under the ‘wrong traditions.’ Thus, there emerged a restoration of the so-called Golden Age’ which started the modern religious, social and political movements. Therefore, one is now faced with a confrontation between the ‘ideal of jihad’ and the ‘rest of the world’. One gleans that the contemporary ‘ideal of jihad’ is a rigid and dogmatic form of Islam in which all deeds and actions of the believer are ‘weighed’ against an imagined authentic Islamic ideal.” This is not an ideology since it does not carry a positive perspective for a future society. It is also not a culture since this ‘new ideal’ wants to destroy all local forms of culture in the process. Thus, the attacks on traditional ceremonies are aimed at violence towards anyone against them and against other Muslims.
Even Muslim women’s status is controversial. In the Quran, men and women are supposed to be treated as equal with one another. However, in the Muslim society, Muslim men oppress Muslim women by compelling them to remain hidden behind the veil, sequestered in the home, and ignorant of the world by denying them access to education and worldly opportunities (Rasha, p. 1). While the wearing of veils is a very old Muslim tradition, many modern Saudi women prefer not to wear it anymore or wear it in different style as it was before. From an Islamic perspective, violence against one’s wife or wives has been condemned. The Qur’an explicitly calls on men to treat their women well. Scholars also encourage women to stand up and refuse such treatment from their husbands by threatening to leave or leaving home for a short while. If a husband does not alter his ways, then the authority gives women the option of seeking a divorce (p. 1). However, this is not what happens in real life. Many Saudi men will simply not allow their wives to leave. Muslim courts make it difficult for Saudi women to file and accomplish divorce cases. Many women are forced to keep on living with their husbands after being sexually assaulted. Saudi courts have recently seen several cases in which women have demanded divorces saying they have been subject to marital rape and unwanted sexual activities by their partners. Meanwhile, these cases have been stalled. As such, there is a lack of moral support from the Saudi Arabian society. Most Muslim families even blame women for failing to fulfill their husbands’ needs and for continuing to suffer in silence (p. 1).
According to Al Fayez, a journalist and a Saudi woman who speaks out against the inequality in their society, the Holy Book guarantees women equal rights and contains no ban on women working (Rasha, p. 1). However, the government does not have an open and inviting environment where both men and women can have equal opportunities and jobs, etc. The woman power in the kingdom is very high but, the said opportunities are very limited. If only the government will start recognizing the status of women and give them their public rights such as those of employment, education, among others.
According to Dr. Saleh al-Sheikh, the minister for Islamic affairs in Saudi Arabia, a combination of factors determines a Saudi woman’s obligations — the most important of which is raising a family (p. 1). Hence, this is where the government angles its viewpoint in restricting women rights. He believes that “Women do have rights, but they are based on our view of their obligations in life.” That is why they are not allowed to do several of those demands as mentioned above. Their circumstance is a combination of tribal, social, religious, and historical circumstances and the authorities favor those practices and policies that would protect the traditional roles of Muslim women more than challenge it. This way, it affirms its conformity and diligence to their Islamic faith. (Rasha, p. 1).
The government enforcement of social mores has set Saudi Arabia apart as one the world's strictest and most traditional societies. The enforcement of their religious and traditional rules, which is generally sexual segregation in public areas, falls under the responsibility of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, a government agency whose "morals police" monitors public areas to ensure that the rules are upheld to the highest standards of Islamic decency (Killian, p. 1). However, these rules do not necessarily fall under the Islamic tenets and teachings and how they should conduct their daily lives.
The common social practices mentioned above (greetings, clothing, communications, among others) are not purely taken from the Quran. Some are made from the life modeled by their prophet Muhammad while others are borne out of their own interpretations of their faith. Most of the violated norms and practices under the Muslim society fall under the realms of their women and their significant part in the Muslim society. As it is, the Muslim women are unfairly treated as opposed to what their faith enshrined in the Quran. This discrepant situation in the Muslim world connects to more other obtuse laws and practices in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. At one part, we may think that these are product of the very orthodox Islamic teachings yet in deeper scrutiny we find out that they are just part of the more popular polices and mores enforced by the social and political environment in the Kingdom. The Islamic faith is thus brought to a more modern interpretation and it is currently being challenged by those who want to change it. Activists and feminists, for instance, want to have more social equalities in simple aspects of clothing and human functions such as driving. They believe that not wearing of the abaya or learning to drive and driving around town are not sin against their faith but more of adaptations to a more sophisticated society.
The primary contradiction now is between Muslim societies and Western imperialism. The Task is to preserve the Arab-Islamic identity and to revive its authenticity (asala). This has been a stress on the application of Islamic law or to a complete break with the West to stop its dependence on them. This means that the intellectuals reject the ideas in the name of authority because of their being “borrowed,” “imported” or “alien.” (Barakat).
The obscure concoction of Islamic beliefs and cultures – pious and secular, fair and radical, integrated and segregated – may contribute to the uncertain future of Islam not only in America but as well as in other part of the world. They may remain marginalized, consolidate, or outnumber other religions to become a majority and ruling religious denomination. However, as Paul Barret revealed, Muslims’ affluence, high educational attainment, and active participation in politics and government affairs secure promising outcome of Islam soon. (Barret, 2007)