1. They are often 'directly tied to big semi-feudal landholding interests'.
2. They are usually supported by the western 'imperialists' (who do not want strong independent-minded democracies to emerge as rivals.)
3. Their policies often involve "vicious patriarchy and bigotry, religious warfare, 'honor killings', and the promotion of unscientific, superstitious ignorance."
Taylor notes that support for the fundamentalists grows stronger, the more the USA gets involved in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The U.S., despite all its talk about coming to the aid of women oppressed by the Taliban, has continued to back and install reactionary clerics and sectarian religious forces in the countries it has occupied."
He wrote: "the Saudi regime was a 'major financial backer of the Reagan administration’s 'anti-Communist campaign in Latin America,' as well as its efforts to destabilize the Soviet Union by supporting the Islamic fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan."
4. Indonesia is the world's biggest Moslem country and provides the best example of what is happening.
Indonesia, until the mid 1990s, had a mainly moderate and liberal form of Islam.
The world's biggest Moslem organisation, the Nahdlatul Ulama, particularly under the leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid, has been in favour of liberal democracy.
However, during the 1990s, Indonesia's President Suharto began to worry about:
(1) The growing movement to replace the corrupt elite with a democracy that would do more for the poor.
(2) The loyalty of certain generals, some of whom were close friends of the Pentagon.
Suharto began to promote Islamism, in the hope that it would counter the forces of democracy and counter the disloyal sections of the military.
The fall of Suharto, in 1998, eventually increased the power of the military.
After Suharto's fall, the policy of the elite was to maintain the feudal system by (1) promoting Islamism (2) keeping the military as the power behind the scenes.
There are strong links between the militant moslem groups and the military.
"Violent extremism's renaissance began with police using vigilantes to extract protection money from reluctant bar owners and blossomed withthe military's logistical support to send thousands of jihadis to the Malukus and central Sulawesi to undermine Abdurrahman Wahid's presidential election victory in 1999... Government reluctance to stand up to thugs gives the impression of implicit approval, or that the extremists serve a higher authority."
The Islam Defenders Front (known as FPI) is a militant Moslem group believed to be working for elements of the police and/or military.
Gary LaMoshi, in the Asia Times ( a counter-offensive ) 14 June 2006, wrote about an attack of former president Wahid on 23 May 2006:
"At an interfaith forum in the West Java town of Purwakarta, members of FPI and other radical groups forced Wahid, virtually blind and limited physically because of a series of strokes, off the stage. The radicals cited Wahid's opposition to the anti-pornography bill as an insult to Islam."