There are a lot of definitions that have been ascribed to globalization. These definitions have a common base; that is the connectivity among different nations. The word globalization is coined from the word global that implies world over. Thus globalization is the interaction and the integration of people, governments, companies through increased accessibility and availability of a fast communication channel, transport network, internet connectivity and technology (Ritzer & Atalay, 2010). However, as Roy, O. (2004) asserts, religion and it relation to globalization-benefits form globalization, contributions and impacts are also a heated topic of discussion whenever one talks of the globalization phenomenon. It will be particularly interesting to examine the relation between Islam and globalization
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Globalization covers a wide range of aspects which are key to the human populace. They are the economy, politics and culture. There are several factors that drive the aspect of globalization and these are the technological, economic, political, socio-cultural and biological factors. However, trade and communication have impacted largely to globalization (Ritzer & Atalay, 2010).
The economic factor has brought a lot of change in the world. As Ritzer & Atalay (2010) notes there is no country that has no close relations to another in terms of commerce. This factor has been with us for a very long time. Trade has existed among neighboring countries. However, this trade was slow due to lack of a fast means of transport and slow communication channels.
In the past goods were being ferried by ships and large boats along water bodies. Commerce was going on but it belonged majorly between governments and big companies. In the same regard, trade has continued to unite more and more countries together as countries try to raise the standards of living amongst its citizens.
Globalization has also been propelled by the fact that there have been new inventions on quicker means of transportation. Not only do goods take a short time to reach their destination but also human beings now can travel across the world with so much ease. Businessmen as well as tourists can now enjoy the privilege of moving into other countries as conveniently as they can (Lane, 2006).
Travel across the world has been made very easy and this has caused a lot of interaction between cultures. This cultural interaction has led to globalization. People are now able to relocate and go to live in other places. There is now no place that has its culture intact without any influence from another one.
I believe that the technological factor is the one that has revolutionized the world. Over the past few decades, there have been a lot of advances in the technological sector. These great advances have made it possible for the world to become smaller. By this I mean that the world can now be connected faster and easier. Communication via satellite has been improved. Now one can talk to another person who is on the other side of the world simply by dialing a few numbers on the telephone.
Apart from that, there is the internet revolution which has transformed the entire world. Now by the click of a button, one can communicate with another person, who is very far away from him, via the World Wide Web. This translates to mean that it is not only salutations that can occur via the internet but also commerce.
Nowadays, transactions are being carried out through the internet on a computer. One need not travel to the market. What a person needs to do is to buy goods online. The same applies to the payment; due to technological advances, one can make payments online without any fear. The money will get to the seller and the goods will be delivered to the buyer in a specified amount of time. This was not the case a few years ago, so the advancements in the communication and technological sectors have played a vital role in globalization. The world has been interconnected in such a way that we now refer to the world as a global village.
Islamic fundamentalism and globalization
Now this brings us closer to the topic at hand. ‘Does the rise of religious fundamentalism have anything to do with the globalization?’ I strongly believe that the Islamic fundamentalism has been propagated by globalization. Since communication has been made easier, this has been to the advantage of this group of Muslims to spread their ideologies more conveniently.
Muslim nations are rich in crude oil, therefore they have the ability to trade with this very important commodity. As a result some the nations have strong economies and can be able to do a lot with the money that they have obtained. As a result, the rulers of these nations have used the countries wealth to proliferate the Islamic fundamentalism.
According to Lane (2006) the idea behind the Islamic fundamentalism is that the West has eroded and undermined the Muslim religion. These Muslims feel that they have been betrayed by westernization, more so by Americanization. Consequently, they are resisting anything that the West is doing. From their dress code to the way they conduct their salutations. They consider these as polluting the Islamic culture.
Muslims who are bent on spreading the Islamic fundamentalism have gone ahead to work together with other governments to ensure that this is achieved. For example the Iranian government has gone ahead to prohibit university lecturers from teaching tolerance with the west. Any lecturer found tolerating the ways of the West is sacked. The students are taught to believe that there can be no dialogue between them and the Americans (Lane, 2006).
I believe that globalization has made it possible for the follow up of the Islamic fundamentalism. These Muslims have made sure that they can monitor everything that is happening in their environment. This has been made possible by the fact that technology has been enhanced and now communication can be made very fast and action taken promptly.
I am sure that with globalization, a country like Iran can quickly influence other countries to take the same stand as it has towards the intolerance of the West. Academicians in Iran can connect with other lecturers from other countries and make sure that no case is found in which a lecturer is teaching the students on tolerating the ways of the western world.
Globalization has indeed spread religious fundamentalism. Since it is not difficult to know what is happening in another are, there has been the desire to follow up in the activities that are happening there. Muslims live together and are very supportive of each other therefore, when an issue arises there is the urge in them to be united. One thing that the Islamic fundamentalism is advocating for is the wholesome use of the Sharia law. Muslims believe that this law is divine and that the whole world should be controlled by it (Yoram et al, 2008).
The Sharia law has brought a lot of fighting between the Muslims and the Christians on which is should be universal. As a result many people have died in the pursuit of this belief. Globalization has made the Islamic fundamentalism to gain popularity because of the connection that countries have. Also, information now can be accessed easily making it possible for a large number of Muslims to be influenced by this ideology.
As I had stated earlier, Muslims are very cooperative. They are united and they support each other. Consequently, they trust each other very much and are willing to do anything that they are told without questioning. As long as they have been told to do something by their religious leaders, they do not question.
In the process of globalization, the Islamic fundamentalism has been spread even further. There was a time when a European cartoonist had allegedly drawn a cartoon of a Muslim in a way that Muslims thought it was offensive to their religion. This activity sparked a lot of chaos in the whole world. It was by the help of technology and the interaction of people from everywhere in the globe that such a demonstration was orchestrated.
In this situation we clearly see how the Muslims can be brought together in a very short time to protest what they believe and they have been told is an insult to their religion (Yoram et al, 2008). Were in not for the internet and other technological devices, such a scenario would not have occurred. This is why I am saying that the process of Islamic fundamentalism has been propelled by the realization of globalization.
Globalization has been attributed to advances in technology. This technology has been brought by education. In this case, the education which the Muslim children are receiving has been modeled to be in accordance to their own beliefs. That is why they can be able to be united the way they are. Their religious classes have been made easier due to globalization in such a way that the syllabus can be in sync everywhere.
Another thing that the Islamic fundamentalism is advocating for is the establishment of the Sharia courts everywhere. As it is now these courts can only be found in specific areas but since people are now living everywhere, Muslims are now pushing for the creation of these courts countrywide. For example, in Kenya the Sharia courts are only allowed on an eight mile strip off the coastline. However, there was a lot of debate if that clause should or should not be revoked in their new constitution that was promulgated last year.
The Islamic fundamentalism has got everything to do with globalization. Islamic celebrations such as Ramadan are now coordinated across the world with the new communication gadgets. The new moon has to be sited before the celebrations begin. In that case, communication can be made from wherever the new moon was sited and as a result, the whole Muslim faithful indulge in the ceremony that follows the break of their long fasting.
Such occasions and many other have been coordinated globally. This clearly depicts the level of globalization. This is a very sophisticated way to keep in touch with the rest of the world. The way Muslims follow their Islamic religion has made them embrace globalization in order to ensure that their activities are all done at the same time without major delays or hitches.
In the same light, there is the major Islamic pilgrimage in which Muslims go to worship in Mecca. This is one of the most important things that a Muslim can do in his lifetime. The Islamic fundamentalists do strongly advise the Muslim faithful to take part in this pilgrimage. This function strengthens their faith and binds them together.
With this regard, Muslims are able to coordinate their travel arrangements with their family members who are in different parts of the world. It is now possible for Muslims who are in the developing countries to attend this pilgrimage (Yoram et al, 2008). Before, it was difficult to travel to Mecca due to transport problems. It was only the ones who were near who could manage to travel by road. In fact, going to Mecca was preserve of the affluent. However, with globalization and commerce and technology, more people have been able to save up for that trip. Money obtained from international trade is used to fund this trip. Again, technological advances like the availability of airplanes have made it possible for the Muslim faithfuls to attend this important occasion.
It is not in doubt that globalization has helped the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. In addition, the international connection that has been made so far can facilitate the transfer of money from one country to another. With this rapid transfer of money a lot of things can be done. If there is a project that needs funding then donors can send money with ease. The Muslims who have this Islamic ideology have benefited from this fact. If they want to build a mosque in order for them to continue teaching their ideology, then it easy for them to obtain funds for the development of the new mosque. These possibilities have been enabled by the new things that globalization has introduced in the world. Otherwise, if globalization would not have brought in these developments, then the Muslims would find it very difficult to advance in their ideology of Islamic fundamentalism.
We are all aware of the controversy surrounding the building of an Islamic center near Ground Zero. The land near the September eleventh catastrophe was acquired by a Muslim faithful. He wanted to build among other things a mosque. Americans, who are not Muslims, were against that move. They felt that the disaster victims needed to be respected. Building of a mosque near the Ground Zero would be disrespectful to the victims owing to the fact that the attack was done by Muslims (Roy, 2004).
As a mode of protesting this accusation, Muslims came out in large numbers to condemn the objection of building a mosque there. They were very supportive of the imam who had this project in mind. From all over the world there were supporters who voiced their concerns about that controversy. I am certain that the Islamic fundamentalists rallied support for the construction of this center. That is why the whole Muslim world came out in support of one of their own. Muslims became defensive claiming that they have the right to worship and that the denial of their right would be against the constitution.
Islamic fundamentaalists allude that there are a lot of shortcomings in the theories and trends of thought of the West. These Muslims differ from the Western scientists who claim that life is inherent in nature of matter. They therefore claim that God gives life to dead substances (Roy, 2004). This difference in the school of thought between these two groups has generated a lot of debate among scholars. Globalization has made it possible for these Muslim scholars to research and work on this claim. It has been easier for them to consult with each on their findings and thus made concrete their claim that life is given by God.
Muslims believe in the story of creation as it is written in the Quran. Therefore anyone who does not have the same belief as them is not entertained. Muslims believe the Quran is the most reliable law and they can defend it with all that they have.
“According to the prophet and Muslims throughout the centuries, Islam is the best economic, social, religious, legal and political system on earth,” Jabbour (1994) in a study in Egypt shows that this is not the case. Muslims are not as rich as they should be. Generally, Muslims are not where they are supposed to be in the aspects just mentioned.
According to Jabbour (1994), the Islamic fundamentalists blame corruption, hypocrisy and lack of dedication for causing this ‘catastrophe’. They are now trying to educate the younger generations so that they do not get these vices. These vices are taking the Muslim people backwards and are hindering them from achieving their ‘divine’ goal. Here we see that globalization is now being used as means of educating the younger generations. Not only is Egypt providing this special education to its children but also other nations that share the same feelings. These nations connect with each other in providing the suitable education for the Muslim children. Some of these lessons are conducted online. These lessons may be posted on the web and thus they can be accessed globally. Another way in which globalization has facilitated the growth of this religious fundamentalism is by teleconferencing. The Islamic fundamentalists may use these means of communication to reach an audience that is at a distant location.
The Islamic fundamentalism is a movement that attracts the lower middle class and students; this is according to Jabbour’s findings in Egypt. What this means is that this ideology is for those who have despaired in life and feel that the world does not recognize and value them. Consequently, the fundamentalists thrive on these feelings. They indoctrinate these groups of people into believing that they have been denied the chance to be great. As a result the movement spreads to many people.
Globalization has indeed fuelled the progress of this ideology in this manner: the Muslim world has a lot of poor people. If the fundamentalists tell them that the West has denied them equal chances to develop, they will definitely believe. By so doing they will be accepting to be indoctrinated by these fundamentalists. Since the world has become a global village due to globalization, these disillusioned people can clearly see the suffering of their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. As a result, they will confirm what the fundamentalists are saying to be true.
The realization of globalization has definitely impacted the world in a negative way. As much as it has brought many good things, there is no doubt that some groups of people have misused the goodness of this great thing called globalization. It is obvious that globalization has improved the quality of lives of many people, there is also the side of negatively it has impacted on the same people. We can definitely find fault in globalization.
I cannot say that the rise of religious fundamentalism has nothing to do with globalization. In fact it is this globalization that has fuelled most of these religious movements. Though the ideology is mostly taught to people of a certain area, the availability of connection between people has largely fuelled the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.
As I have just discussed herein, the things that these Islamic fundamentalists are doing are not right. Furthermore, they are not even sane. It is the extremists who are leading this Islamic fundamentalism movement. These extremists are the ones who are coming up with crazy ideas and filling them in the minds of people. These extremists are the ones who are going to the extent of killing innocent lives in the name of protecting their religion. ‘Islam means a religion of peace through submission to God,’ (Yoram et al, 2008). It is ironic how such a ‘peaceful’ religion can cause a lot of harm to people. The Islamic extremists have on many occasions been involved in suicide bombings. These attacks have been targeted towards Christians. It is very unfortunate how these Muslims would take away the lives of fellow human beings and still expect the whole world to follow their Sharia law.
The rise of Islamic fundamentalism has been propagated by globalization in this among other ways. For the attacks to be implemented there must be someone who orchestrated them. These masterminds definitely know what is happening in the whole world at one particular time. These are some of the negative effects of globalization. Information can be used in order to cause harm. For example, the bomb attacks at hotels in Kenya and Tanzania were meant to kill Israelis who were staying there. This is because Israel supports the U.S. in some of the decisions which she takes.
What I am trying to show here is the fact that globalization has been used by these extremists to do harm to people. If a person can put on an explosive vest and goes to bomb a bus or a building in the name of eliminating pagans, then that is the highest disregard for human lives. It is very sad that such occurrences should be witnessed in the world.
In my view, I suggest that these religious fundamentalist movements should be checked and controlled. The whole population should be taught on what is right. There should be no pointing fingers and blaming other nations for your own misfortunes. It would be in order to reconcile your differences and find the best ways in which countries can help each other. By so doing the world will be peaceful.
In addition, countries that are privileged to have more wealth than others should not take advantage of the poor nations. They should strike deals which are equal or better still which benefit the poor nations more. After all this is said and done, globalization will have done a good thing to the whole world. Otherwise, if this is not taken into consideration, then globalization will continue being inappropriately used to propagate Islamic fundamentalism.