As the title of our volume suggests, it makes sense to speak of fundamentalisms in the plural rather than in the singular – except for a discussion of the very concept of fundamentalism, which applies automatically to a number of religious and non-religious phenomena. AWID’s survey revealed that 51 per cent of respondents found the term ‘religious fundamentalisms’ useful in their work, while the other 49 per cent were either not sure or rejected the term for various reasons, among them the feeling that it reinforces negative stereotypes, that it targets Muslims in particular or that it is too ‘jargonistic’.
With regard to what the term meant to the respondents, whether they rejected it or found it useful, ﬁve categories received the highest scores: (i) absolutist and intolerant, (ii) anti-women and patriarchal, (iii) related to the fundamentals of religion, (iv) to do with politics and power, and (v) anti-human rights and freedoms.
While these descriptive features might be considered common sense, deﬁ nitions still vary. This is also due to the fact that fundamentalisms are frequently used interchangeably with terms such as ‘conservatism’, ‘radicalism’ and ‘traditionalism’. Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangam, for instance, explains that she does not distinguish between conservatism and fundamentalism, in her contribution to this volume.