From Farid Esack, "In Search of Progressive Islam beyond 9/11", in in Progressive Muslims:  On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, Omid Safi, ed. (Oxford:  Oneworld Publications, 2003), pp.78-97.

The attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon represents the collision of two forms of religious fundamentalism; the one only cruder than the other. The fundamentalism of the Market was attacked, not by Islam but by a particular manifestation of it—a fierce, angry and vicious fundamentalism driven by pathological and deluded, but nevertheless religious, individuals.

While the Taliban and Al-Qaeda represented the worst of Muslim fundamentalism, in the larger scheme of things though, their reach was and remains rather limited. This is particularly true if one does not embrace the growing tendency of many states to utilize the new anti-terrorist orthodoxy as a way of dealing with all forms of internal dissent and resistance to foreign occupation ranging from the Uighur Chinese, to the Tibetans and Chechens. Far more extensive in its actual - as opposed to perceived reach - is the fundamentalism of the Market. As David Loy argues, because we have failed to recognize the Market Capitalism as a religion, let alone a fundamentalist one, we have failed to offer “what is most needed, a meaningful challenge to the aggressive proselytizing of market capitalism, which has already become the most successful religion of all time, winning more converts more quickly than any previous belief system in human history.”


Click here to return to the Progressive Muslims page.