Occidentalism, Terrorism, and the Shari’a State: New Multivariate Perspectives on Islamism Based on International Survey Data
81 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2016 Last revised: 13 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 12, 2017
Our article attempts to be yet another empirical contribution to the evolving international debate about global Islamist terrorism. We rely on the analysis of PEW and World Values Survey data from Muslim publics in different countries around the globe to analyze by multivariate promax factor analysis and standard OLS multiple regressions which factors contributed to the approval or the rejection of terrorist acts, measured by such variables as the opinion on suicide bombing, the strict application of Shari’a law and the favorability of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. We also analyze the drivers of general opinions on Islamic extremist groups and reactions to the ambitions of Iran and its nuclear program. We also present cross-national country data evidence to support our conclusions.
We think that it would be wrong to define radical Islamism only in terms of the identification with outright support for the immediate “bomb-throwing terror”, while neglecting the underlying ideological radicalism and also the ongoing radicalization of such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood or the Turkish Milli Görüs, which both start, like the most radicalized factions of Islamist terrorism, from the intense hatred of “Jews and Free Masons” and Western civilization as such. These groups appear for many on both sides of the Atlantic as “moderate Islamists” and worthy partners of dialogue, while in reality they provide the fertile ground from which the armed terrorist groups can develop. We highlight the role of the omnipresent hatred of America and the West which we term “Occidentalism”. We also point to the intense competition between Islamist and secular, Marxist terror groups which still exist in the Middle East and the entire Muslim world, and the Sunni/Shia competition as well as regional quests for hegemony. With Bassam Tibi we also analyze the close connection between the Islamist sharia ideology and the overall aspects of Islamism. Based on PEW data, we show that the two main drivers of Muslim opposition against suicide bombing are the rejection of honor killing and the rejection of the death penalty against Muslims who chose to leave the Muslim community altogether. Our cross-national econometric and politometric analyses of the drivers of the Global Terrorism Index at the nation state data level support our general contentions.
Keywords: Relation of Economics to Social Values, Index Numbers and Aggregation, Labor, Economics of Minorities, Economics of Gender, Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion
JEL Classification: A13; C43; F66; J15; J16; N30; Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation