Social Scientist. v 8, no. 94 (May 1980) p. 3.

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The Mature of Islamic Revolutions

WHEN we try to classify a number of developments in various countries together under the name of "Islamic Revolution", we have to answer two questions: 1) Why are revolutionary developments taking place at all in these countries? 2) What is the significance of the Islamic aspect of these revolutions, and why do we find in Islam a connection between religious fundamentalism and political radicalism that is absent in the other present-day major world religions?

The answer to the first question has to be specific. Vague historical generalizations will not teach us anything. We have to look at specific developments in specific countries. Here an attempt is made to analyze developments in Iran because it is the most typical example of an "Islamic Revolution", and because it is the Muslim country best known to the writer. First, we shall have a brief look at developments in a number of other Muslim countries, however, with which the Iranian case might be compared.

Libya is a rather untypical example. KhadafTs revolution was originally not launched in the name of a return to Islam, but for the sake of anti-imperialism, for a more honest and efficient government, and for a better distribution of national wealth. In fact, the Libyan monarchy had more of a religious sanction than the

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