by Yahya Abdul Rahman- Nov 7, 2006
Fundamentalism has nothing to do with religion.
In fact, one does not have to believe in God or any religion to be a fundamentalist.
Fundamentalism is a mindset or a particular way a person interprets what they see around them, and in turn determines their course of action.
Fundamentalists tend to be rigid and will not accept any other interpretation of how things are other than their own.
They adhere to a set of principles- sometimes codified in a book or articulated by some charismatic leader- and they refuse to waver from those principles even if they have been proven wrong.
In fact, they are never wrong, and that is why they are called fundamentalists in the first place.
Everyone else is wrong, stupid or an agent for some other vested interest and, as a result, they- the non fundamentalists- cannot see the true reality.
Underscore THE true reality.
Fundamentalists build a wall of virtue around themselves and they are the only true purists.
Everyone else is tainted.
They have been to the top of the mountain and their "eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
They are impossible to deal with and every argument one uses against them merely further confirms what they already believe to be true.
Thus, their position is irrefutable.
They do not believe in dialogue as that would be a cop out.
They don't believe in compromise as - once again - that would demonstrate that the other side may have a point.
If you even suggest to them to have an open mind then you are an apostate from "the cause" or an enemy that must be silenced at all costs.
They are usually vulgar and abusive in their language, but can dress their presentation up a bit when the need arises.
They may call themselves Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, atheists, anarchists, environmentalists, left wing, right wing, centrist, fascist, democratic, socialist, progressive, and every other kind of "ism" one can think of.
They are NOT out to save the world, but to make it in their own image and will spend all their energies doing so.
Generally, they are very sad people but are convinced of their rightness, so the sadness is a necessary sacrifice for a higher cause.
How one arrives at such a state of mind is a subject of a lot of debate.
I think it is their means at finding concrete and ready made answers in a complex world and this gives them a sense of security - a sense of smugness that they are right and have seen the light.
One thing is for sure it is a very miserable way to live one's life.
The label "fundamentalism" is hurled at members of the Muslim community quite frequently as it is currently an effective way to bludgeon Muslims into silence.
Ironically, those making the accusations are - for the most part- the worst kind of fundamentalists themselves and possess those characteristics which have been outlined above.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, fundamentalists, while claiming moral superiority, are the worst form of hypocrites one can imagine.