Religions and Fundamentalisms

Maria Bombardieri. Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy)

Fundamentalism is a term used to refer the faith in an absolutist and literalist manner. Fundamentalist interpretation entails a self‐conscious effort to avoid compromise, adaptation or critical reinterpretation of sacred scriptures of belief.

For the first time, the term “Fundamentalism” was applied to a specific Protestant Christian experience that emerged as a response to the development of Christian “modernism” in the nineteenth century in the United States. By the 1970s the term began to be applied to movements of religious revival in a wide variety of contexts. When applied to non‐Christians, the term most denoted individuals and movements in the Islamic revival of the final quarter of the twentieth century in Muslim and Arab countries. The phrase “Muslim fundamentalism” or “Islamic fundamentalism” is widely used in both scholarly and journalistic literature. This module presents three cases of Fundamentalims: Christian Fundamentalism in America, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, finally Fundamentalism for Islam in Egypt. A special case is the one of Cultural Fundamentalism against Islam and multiculturalism in Norway. Nowadays some radical fundamentalist groups can approve and justify violent actions (jihad) against people opposing the religious fundamentalist view. This is the matrix of terrorist actions based on the religion. Terrorism is the systematic use of violence generating fear as a means to achieve socio-political aims. Minority groups and Muslims themselves are often a target of Islamic terrorism.