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Slavin, M.O. (2017). Thoughts on the inner conflict within Islamic culture: Their existential anxieties and ours. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(3):160-167.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):160-167

Thoughts on the inner conflict within Islamic culture: Their existential anxieties and ours

Malcolm Owen Slavin

This paper focuses on how Islamic terrorism is primarily part of a larger internal conflict within Islamic culture. Western, liberal (largely Christian) democracies evolved over centuries of their own bloody philosophical and political struggles between religious authority and what came to be defined as a modern, civil society built on individual freedom of belief, secular authority, and law. Now, Western liberal modernity represents a deep existential threat to traditional Islamic societies around gender, family relations, and individual beliefs. A ferocious internal struggle exists between those Muslims who believe Islam can absorb those tensions – creating its own version of an open, tolerant, cultural modernity – versus political Islamists, jihadists, for whom the annihilation anxiety elicited by the threatened social change is directed both internally and in violent rage at the West.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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