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Arabism and Islamism

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The concept of an ?Arab nation' emerged at the end of the 19th century as a consequence of the modernization of the Ottoman Empire. The starting point of nationalism is not the claim of a state but the assertion of cultural individualism. The ideologist Sati Al-Husri excluded religion from the factors constitutive of the nation, retaining Islam with only its cultural aspects. The nation is thus based on a linguistic ideology. The States are not nations (as opposed to what Lufti Al-Sayyid for Egypt affirms), but of the capacities which ensure temporary sovereignty in the waiting of unity. Arabism, at least for the elites, competed with the fundamental feeling of membership of Islam. In the Muslim movement, one finds theorists who are Christians as well. Islamism corresponds to a political movement, which aims for the establishment of an Islamic State, in opposition to the modern States of the West.

The fundamentalist claims are centered on the Sharia, the sacred law of Islam. It is also distinguished from theology but the politico-social ideology is inspired by the traditional values. Its specialty consists of its political analysis of Islam: it poses as a problem of the State. The Islamist ones preach the political re-unification of the Arab world by the abolition of the borders and the states which divides it. It is the order of the policy that orders social space. The Islamists were able to reflect divine unity; it must be ?one'. The nation rejected the profit of the ?Umma', the community of believers. The aspiration was very strong at the time of the First World War. The general wish is the constitution of a united Arab State including Arabia and the Close East. A feeling of frustration called anti-imperialism developed. It is a question of seeing how the Arab unit will be able to retain only one ideal that witnesses the progressive strengthening of Islam.

Between the two wars of nationalism increased from Christians to Muslims. In 1940, it was not the king of the Arabs who embodied the resistance to anti-imperialism but the Grand Mufti. But the claims of Arabs were under estimated. After the war, leaving only the British in the Middle East, the idea of Arab unity was reborn. The initiative for the creation of an Arab League returns to Nuri Said, the Prime Minister of Iraq at the time. The victory of Cairo to Baghdad contained a promise of assistance to any Arab national movement, but as there was a lack of funds it was limited to making proclamations and paralyzed by the rivalry between states.

Tags: Arabs and Arab nation; Islamism; establishment of Islamic State;

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