Differences in the vision of IslamDiscuss the differences in the vision of Islam offered by more moderate groups and less moderate ones.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the primary differences between the interpretations of Islam comes down to political agendas.  For groups that are seeking to build a base of followers, a political message might be needed and this message is one that is decidedly anti- West, anti- capitalism, and brings out the idea that Islam is the force that can provide moral and political purity in a world that lacks both.  This is not necessarily the case in all worship of Islam.  The branch of Islam known as Sufism is a great example of this.  In this particular sect of worship, Islam is seen as a part of a greater mystical experience, where politicized ends are deemphasized in favor of greater and more transcendent understanding of spirituality.  The idea of Sufism is one where an individual pledges themselves to God, and this experience is mystical and transcendent, universally subjective.  In this vision of Islam, political ends or agendas are not as evident.  With such a view of Islam that decenters politics and realigns itself with the spiritual notion of the good, the Sufis have been subject to persecution, a telling sign that its vision of Islam flies in the face of the vision that has been appropriated by the "radicalized" forces within the religion.

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