TeachMideast.org A website for K-12 educators featuring innovative
resource on the culture, geography, history and religions of the Middle East, including
essays, classroom activities, downloadable multimedia content and interactive Google
In the second portion of the interview Layachi discusses the concept of Islamic Fundamentalism‚Ä?, as it is often described in American media today. He explains his reasons for rejecting this term, preferring, instead, terms such as "Islamism", "Religious movements" or "Islamists" to refer to the militant movement getting so much attention in the media. These movements are described, with Layachi arguing that most Islamists struggle within their own home and community, trying to change their own society through peaceful means. Radicals, however, want change immediately and by any means possible. It is the radicals that make headlines, not only internationally but at home: Egypt, Algeria, etc.
He also explains that such reformist movements are not new, but that they have existed throughout the centuries. There have always been militants, as well. In 70s and 80s however, there has been an explosion of movements due to both internal factors and external facilitating factors that include the management of their countries, social injustice, etc. Reformist movements are also reacting to increasing Western influence on their society and a fear of Western domination.
Layachi lists and explains the following facilitating factors: 1) The inspiration of Iranian revolution 2) The victory of Mujahidin in Afghanistan who then returned to their home countries with combat skills. 3) The collapse of authoritarian rule in Eastern Europe 4) International economic factors. 5) The failure of secular ideologies-appeal of ideology that addressed people‚Äôs concerns in a language they could understand. 6) Economic restructuring that makes the state unable to face challenges of social welfare and the ability of Islamic groups to step in.
Layachi explains that Islamism is a social movement, supported largely out of a desire to change the quality of life and the quality o government.