Islamic fundamentalism is a more complex phenomenon. Initially, in the post second world war period, it was propped up and sustained by US imperialism in the face of democratic and socialist movements of people, like in the Arab countries. But with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and especially China, and the betrayal of the democratic national liberation movements by their compromising leadership, anti-imperialism has been expressed in traditional and often religious ways. Islam has also become an ideological force adopted by movements against the US imperialists like in Iran, or become the expression of resistance as in Palestine today (due to the betrayal of the older more secular and ‘left’ leadership). In the countries of the former Soviet Union too Islamic fundamentalism has become the means through which nationalist opposition to Russian domination and exploitation is being expressed. In countries like Afghanistan where there was no anti-feudal democratic mass movement, modernisation and, where increase in freedom to women was initiated from above during Soviet occupation, it could gain no support from the rural masses, and thus Islamic fundamentalism maint-ained its social base. Hence the warlords who came to power in Afghanistan after the Soviet withd-rawal in 1992 were as reactionary as the Taliban that swept to power several years later, and RAWA, the women’s organisation that opposed the restrictions on women’s rights, was as critical of the warlords as of the Taliban. Today the same warlords are back in power under US protection. But whether they are reactionary regimes like the Saudi monarchy or the more mass movement based organisations, they have been making control over women’s dress, her movements and manner of her participation in public life an important part of their campaign and this is what has gained the maximum publicity in the bourgeois and imperialist media given the campaign being launched by American imperialism against Islam.
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