Challenges that the Structure of the Modern State and the International State System Pose to Modern Islamist Movements

The structure of the modern state and the international state system pose various challenges to modern Islamist movements. These challenges are attributable to the factors such as fixed borders, monopoly of uses of force, impersonal power structure and people endowed legitimacy, which characterize the structure of the modern states. In addition, the modern Islamist movements face the challenge of recognition and integration into the international state system and the associated organizations such as the United Nations, which limits their ability to articulate their interests. The challenge posed by the international state system could be attributed to the harboring of terrorist as well as violation of human rights and dignity among individuals living in modern Islamist movements’ jurisdiction. Therefore, the challenges the structure of the modern state and the international state system pose to modern Islamist movements are mainly attributable to legitimacy of their authority to govern and conduct their affairs.

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The legitimacy of the modern state to govern is endowed by the will of the people through democratic processes such as regular, free and fair election. In contrast, the modern Islamist movements have not yet fully embraced democratic processes in the selection political leaders and the subsequent formation of state organs (Ann 9). The legitimacy of the modern Islamist movements is mainly based on Islamic religious beliefs. The conduct of the modern Islamist movements with respect to governance is based on the Holy Quran. As such, there is no separation of the state and religion, which is a major contradiction with the structure of the modern state and the international state system. The participation of the people in determining their destiny is limited to the provision of the Holy Quran. As a result, there is lack of accountable leadership and transparent governance. The exercise of state power as envisioned by the modern Islamist movements is mainly focused on pursuing secular agenda rather than promoting the enjoyment of individual freedoms and liberties.

The modern Islamists movements face the challenge of using legitimate force, which is a monopoly of the state. The modern Islamists movements have continuously antagonized the state actors by using illegitimate force to achieve their goals. These, acts which are neither sanctioned by the structures of the modern state such as the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature nor by the international state system such as the United Nations Security Council, have increasing lead to the isolation of the modern Islamist movements. It has also lead to the increased pressure by the state and the international state system in terms of violent retaliation and disregard of their legitimate concerns (Tarek 1). In some instances, the state has responded by illegalizing the activities of such this movements and hence exposing them to external aggression. Examples of modern Islamist movements which have faced the challenge of using force which is monopolized by the state include the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Hizziborah in the Middle East and the the Al shabbab in Somalia.

The modern Islamists movements also face the challenge of the fixed bonder, which is a structural characteristic of the modern state. Majority of this movements, are cross-border in nature, which is mainly attributable to the fact that they are based on Islamic Ideology (Ira 453). Therefore, they lack definite line of jurisdiction within which they can perpetuate their authority. This limits their ability to organize themselves in into a modern state structure that is autonomous in the pursuit of social, political and economic interests. As, a result, the modern Islamist movements are unable to coordinate their affairs due to various constrains posed to them by state actors in areas where they have followers. It thus necessitates, they use of illegitimate means such as coercion to collect revenue or rely on external funding to finance their operations. Consequently, the modern Islamist movements are caught in endless conflict with international state system for failure to respect territorial sovereignty of legitimate states. This often leads to violent confrontation with individual states as well as international states system, which not only distracts their progress but also disfranchises their followers.

The modern Islamist movements are not simply political actors; they are committed religious groups whose main agenda is the spread of Islamic beliefs and practices. Since, these movements are formed within a state or in the international state system; they tend to conduct both religious and political functions within one umbrella. This could be attributed by the restrictions on engagement in political activities, placed on these movements by the state actors. As a result, their political ideology is very closely framed in the context of the Islamic religious beliefs. This leads to placing of more emphasis on moral issues in political engagements based on perception of good and evil that contradicts the democratic values, which are widely accepted with the modern state structure as well as within the international state system (Nathan, Arm and Marina 7). The continued perpetuation of oppressive tendencies towards women and intolerance of other religious beliefs further challenges the legitimacy of the modern Islamist movements within the international state system where the freedoms and rights of all individuals is of utmost importance. Both the state actors and the international state system have continued to place sanctions of the activities of these movements by citing the need to coerce them to conform to international values system. Otherwise, their recognition in the international political arena shall remain in the periphery until; they discard or moderate religious fundamentalism.

The modern state structure and the international state system have posed the challenges of open participation in open political and legal activity. The modern state structure as well as the international state system has embraced non-violent political activism as well as respect of international law practices, which is devoid of religious doctrines. This in effect alienates the modern Islamist movements such as Hamas and Al-Qaida whose perceive the only means of emancipation from their perceived oppressors is through violent acts. This has lead to the emergency of international terrorist networks, which are focused on using violence to create fear among their antagonists. These movements, are faced by the challenge of pursuing legal redress to their concerns since, they perceive that legal instruments and institutions are owned and controlled by the state and the international state system. The international state system has challenged these movements to abandon barbarian practices legal practices such as stoning and public humiliation of individuals who have committed gross mistakes. The modern state structure and the international state system dictates that both political and legal practices must be conducted within acceptable international standards in order for these movements to be recognized as legitimate societal organizations. The modern Islamist movements need to abandon religious fundamentalism and uphold the doctrine of separation of the state and religion in order to gain legitimacy within the state as well as in the international state system.

Works Cited

Ann Orford. International Law and the |Making of the Modern State: Reflections on a Protestant Project. Journal of Law, Politics and Societies, 3.1 (2008) pp. Web

Ira Lapidus. Islamic Revival and Modernity: The Contemporary Movements and the Historical Paradigms. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 40. 4 (1997). pp

Nathan Brown, Arm Hamzawy and Marina Ottaway. Islamist Movements and the Democratic Process in the Arab World: Exploring the Grey Zones. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 2006. Web Tarek Osman. The Second Egyptian Republic. The Cairo Review. 2012. Web

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