[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News]
Political Islam, as you probably have noticed before, is a dirty term. It often refers to angry men who impose veils on women and ban anything that is fun. It even reminds us of the horrific reign of the Taliban, whose heaven on Earth in Afghanistan looked rather like hell for most of us.
There is a good reason for this notoriety of political Islam. Its main proponents, such as the Pakistani thinker Abul A’ala Mawdudi (1903-1979), defined it as the effort to create an “Islamic state,” whose main mission would be the imposition of shariah, or Islamic law, within its most rigid and medieval interpretation.