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Mentioning the “c” word

Friday, 21 September, 2012

As security forces in many Muslim countries are gearing up for a day of protests against the amateur film, Innocence of Muslims, the government of Pakistan has declared a “special day of love” for the Prophet Muhammad, and Pakistani TV is showing President Barack Obama condemning the film in ads paid for by Washington. Time to consider if the “c” word, in the form of “clash” and “civilization” as outlined by Samuel Huntington in Foreign Policy way back in 1993 is slouching towards the West.

In his overview of “The Middle East Mess“, Walter Russell Mead weighed up the evidence recently and noted:

“The person who comes out of all this looking smartest is Samuel Huntington. His book on the ‘clash of civilizations’ was widely and unfairly trashed as predicting an inevitable conflict between Islam and the west, and he was also accused of ‘demonizing’ Islam. That’s not what I get from his book. As I understand it, Huntington’s core thesis was that while good relations between countries and people with roots in different civilizations are possible and ought to be promoted, civilizational fault lines often lead to misunderstandings and tensions that can (not must, but can) lead to violence and when conflicts do occur, civilizational differences can make those conflicts worse.”

Mead believes that the rift between Muslims and non-Muslims is growing and the consequences are that “Europeans will worry more and be less welcoming to Muslim immigrants. Many Americans will draw closer to Israel, be more concerned about any signs of increase in the US Islamic population and have a harder time trusting the Muslims in our midst. Those reactions in turn will make Muslims in Europe, North America and the Islamic-majority parts of the world feel more suspicious, more threatened and more alienated.”

If you haven’t read The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, now is the time. Helpful, too, to understand what is happening is “Muslim Rage & The Last Gasp of Islamic Hate“, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Muslim rage


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