A theory or set of beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

imam (or Imam)

There are many usages of this word. Generally and in lowercase, it refers to the leader of congregational prayers; it implies no ordination or special spiritual powers. For many Sunni Muslims it is a figurative term for the leader of the Islamic community. Among Shii Muslims the word has many complex meanings; generally it indicates that particular descendant of the House of Ali ibn Abu Talib, who is believed to have been God's designated repository of the spiritual authority inherent in that line. The identity of this individual and the means of determining his identity has caused divisions among Shii Muslims.


Literally means open door; refers to Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat's policy of relaxing government controls on the economy to encourage the private sector and stimulate the inflow of foreign funds. This policy was implemented after the October War in 1973.


Translation of the Arabic for "shaking off." The term refers to a series of protests and riots, beginning in 1987, by Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

IRA (Irish Republican Army)

A nationalist organization committed to the integration of Ireland as a complete and independent unit. Formed in 1916, it was composed of the more militant members of the Irish Volunteers and became the military wing of the Sinn Fin party.


Formed in 1931, the Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization) advocated armed Jewish resistance to British rule and the establishment of a Jewish state. In 1946, Irgun members bombed the British office wing office wing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel. Ninety-one people were killed.


One who seeks to make Islam a more prominent part of the political and social order, usually by implementing some version of Islamic law, or sharia. Often used as a more accurate replacement for the term "fundamentalist."


The process of Islam's becoming a more prominent part of the political and social order. This may be through adoption of laws based on Islam, a stricter code of behavior for Muslims in a community, or significant portions of a population converting to Islam.