How does "Islamic revolution" resemble other waves of revolution (Communist peasant rebellions in the 20th century, national revolutions in Europe in the 19th century, democratic revolutions in the 18th and 19th century)? How does it not? What accounts for the differences?

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Initially, when examining the concept of "Islamic Revolution," one of the most immediate connections would be the Iranian Revolution of 1978 and 1979.  While it might not necessarily fulfill everything about the concept of "Islamic Revolution," it was one of the most successful of movements that predicated itself upon something that sought to be depicted as a more "traditional" form of Islam.

Most claims to Islamic Revolution pull from the "Revolution playbook" that has been in operation for most of the modern setting.  Those in the position of power do not have the general will's interests at heart.  "Islamic Revolution" movements suggest a distortion of a particular sociological condition is due in part to a lack of spiritual rigor that a fundamentalist view of Islam offers.  Most of these movements feature populist appeal, similar to peasant rebellions of the 20th century as well as broad based revolutions that embraced a large contingent of the population.  For example, the Ayatollah and his followers argued that a strict and traditionalist embrace of Islam was the only way to rid Iran of the "decadence" that Western influence had peddled throughout the nation.  The Ayatollah tailor- made his message to the poor that were being isolated and alienated from the Shah.  For example, the Shah's use of the Savak as "the most hated and feared institution" in Iran was targeted at dissidents and opponents of the Status Quo.  The poor fell into this category, allowing a populist appeal mixed in with a fundamentalist message of Islam.  This tendency is still seen today, as fundamentalist clerics and organizations aim their message at the poor.  The 9/11 Commission report suggested a strong connection between poverty and the recruitment for Islamic fundamentalists who promise a "revolution:" "Millions of families, especially those with little money, send their children to religious schools, or madrassas. Many of these schools are the only opportunity available for an education, but some have been used as incubators for violent extremism." The convergence of sociological fragmentation and economic disenfranchisement becomes a critical recruitment and persuasive technique for those who put forth the idea of an Islamic Revolution.  Most of those who advocate change on this level reflect the idea that the majority has been placed in a position of disadvantage by those in the position of power, individuals who invariably are depicted as being against a "true embrace of Islam."  It is here in which appeals to populism as well as spiritual rigor become elements in the Islamic Revolution or call to change.

One way in which Islamic Revolution claims differ from other revolutions is its singular focus on Islam as the sole agent of change. While Islamic revolutions might embrace other avenues to gain social and political momentum, the reality is that Islamic Revolutions are wedded to a particular interpretation of Islam as the only notion of the good. Unlike other revolutions which were able to embrace a wider political appeal to navigate revolutionary claims, Islamic Revolutions can only turn to Islam.  It is in this respect in which Islam has been used differently than other religions.  It might also be for this reason that Islamic Revolutions are limited in their scope of being a statement of change and operate more as a response.

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