Wednesday, November 05, 2003

CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS IT IS NOT: A short follow-up on my first post on whether this is a clash of civilizations, which I think it is not.

One of the reasons there are so many pundits and prominent academics who think that we are engaged, or will so in the future, in a war, a clash, of civilizations is the overestimation of the role of religion—[militant] Islam—in today’s international affairs. It must be realized that the West’s political and cultural experiences do not serve as a universal model; other forms of political and cultural organizations may be just as valid and functional. A Muslim country's rejection of a liberal and secular government doesn't mean it’s anachronism for the past. The West grasps it only dimly because it’s rooted in a close connection between religions and politics; a connection the West does not make and/or finds uncomfortable. The same goes for the concept of Jihad. Both grossly mischaracterized and misinterpreted by dictionaries and so-called experts alike.

Until we don’t accept this perspective, we won’t be able to defend ourselves. And until we change our ways in this troubled part of the world, the Islamic world’s grievances against the United States will remain a dogma for Osama bin Laden.

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